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The BBB suggests the following when hiring a lawn service:

* KNOW WHAT YOU WANT FROM A LAWN SERVICE: Lawn care companies provide many services, including mowing, maintenance, aeration, seeding, landscaping, fertilization, pest control applications, and tree care.
* FIND OUT WHICH COMPANIES PROVIDE SERVICE IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD: Ask your neighbors or friends for a recommendation.
* ASK FOR A LAWN INSPECTION AND A FREE ESTIMATE FOR SERVICE: Services that quote a price without seeing your lawn cannot be sure what your lawn might need.
* ASK ABOUT THE PRICE SYSTEM AND WHAT SERVICES ARE INCLUDED: Lawn services may offer a yearly contract or a simple verbal agreement giving the customer the right to discontinue service at any time. Find out what happens if you have a problem between contracts. Will the service calls be free or is there a charge?
* CONSIDER ANNUAL COSTS VS. COST PER APPLICATION: Many companies allow you to pay after each treatment and may offer a discount if you pay the annual cost up front.
* GET A WRITTEN AGREEMENT ABOUT COSTS AND SERVICES BEFORE YOU PAY: Document the duration and expected results of the lawn care service.
* LOOK FOR GUARANTEES AND REFUND POLICIES: Some services may offer a guarantee of performance. Others may offer refunds if they fail to meet your expectations.
* MAKE SURE THE SERVICE IS LICENSED TO APPLY LAWN CARE PRODUCTS AS REQUIRED BY STATE LAW: Check with your state Department of Agriculture or Environmental Department for details.
* LOOK FOR PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIP: A service's membership in one or more professional lawn care associations and active participation in the local community is a positive sign. Professional organizations keep members informed on new developments in pest control methods, safety, training, research and regulation. Most associations have a code of ethics for members to follow. Affiliation with a professional group is one indication that a company strives for quality in its work.
* GET A BUSINESS AND COMPLAINT REPORT: For further information on the company's service record, contact your local BBB.

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