BBB Advises Consumers to Get a Contract, Set Clear Expectations When Hiring a Lawn Service

July 01, 2011
As the always sweltering Tucson summer arrives, homeowners may be considering hiring a service to rejuvenate lawns or take care of routine chores like mowing, fertilizing and trimming in the coming months.

Hiring a lawn service can ease the burdens of caring for your yard.  To avoid headaches or misunderstandings, the Better Business Bureau advises consumers to make sure you and the lawn service have clear, written expectations for what the company will provide for the agreed-upon fees.

“A lush, green lawn can be a source of pride for homeowners,” said Kim States, BBB President. “But if a lawn service fails to mow regularly, leaves a mess or doesn’t do what the homeowner expected, disagreements and complaints often arise. Consumers should get a clear understanding of what services are provided and how much the service will cost in advance.”

One option many southern Arizona consumers may be considering is installing artificial turf in lieu of natural grass. Artificial turf has several advantages over natural grass, but there are also some things consumers should watch out for before having it installed.

“Most of my customers who request estimates from us say that they don’t have time to maintain grass,” said Gabriel Lobato, owner of La Cholla Landscaping in Oro Valley. “You also don’t have the same issues with allergies and wasted water that you get with natural turf.”  

When receiving an estimate for artificial turf Lobato warns that some contractors may try to lower their bid by leaving out crucial aspects of the installation process.

“People should really be aware of proper installation,” Lobato told BBB. “Before installation you have to lay down a base of crushed gravel; it gives the turf a smoother feel, and rain passes through it much better.”

Lobato said to also watch out for toxic in-fills, which contractors place in the turf to give it a more realistic look and to safeguard it from the elements. Some in-fills may have chemicals that can seep into ground water. Lobato says he uses a brand called Durafill, and recommends consumers use that, or another non-toxic brand.

The BBB offers the following advice to help consumers find a lawn care company:
  • Know what you want. Lawn care companies provide many services, so it is important to decide what services and products are appropriate for your needs and budget.
  • Ask around. Ask friends and family what lawn care companies they use. This is one way to determine a company’s reputation and quality of service.
  • Check the company out with the BBB at BBB Business Reviews provide important background on businesses, such as how long they’ve been in business, owner information, licensing information if required, and how they resolve complaints.
  • Ask for a lawn inspection and free estimate. Lawn care companies that quote a price without seeing your lawn cannot be sure what you need. Quality companies will only offer an estimate after they see what they are working with.
  • Request a written contract. A contract should clearly state the services you will receive, as well as how you will pay for it. If you are contracting for a recurring service, it should state how often the company will maintain your lawn.
  • If installing an artificial lawn, make sure you get multiple quotes, and ask questions about the installation process and the type of in-fill used.