Ready to shed your shoes and run around barefoot in the grass? As spring approaches, dreams of yard parties, playing outdoors with your family, or simply lounging with a good book while admiring your beautiful landscaping begin to take shape.
Enlisting the help of a pro can be both a time and money saver. From fertilizing and aerating to mowing, adding design elements and more, a BBB Accredited landscaper or lawn and garden expert can add beauty to your outdoor living spaces (and give you more time to kick back and relax, since you’ll be spending less time weeding and mowing!).
If you’re new to the idea of hiring outdoor help, there are some important considerations to keep in mind before you begin searching for that perfect service provider. Ask yourself the following questions prior to beginning your hunt for an expert green thumb:
- What exactly are you looking for? Think about your outdoor to-do list, what chores you want to outsource and which you plan to keep doing on your own. For example, you may be OK with mowing your lawn but hope to outsource weeding, tree trimming and fertilizing.
- Do you have any lawn care equipment or supplies on hand? Some experts bring their own supplies, while others may charge less to use your mower, weeding equipment, tools, and grass seed and feed. Catalog what you have in your garage or garden shed and which items you’d let a hired hand use.
- How often are you looking for help? Are you looking to have someone supplement your outdoor work with a quick clean-up once or twice a season? Or are you looking for hands-on, weekly help?
- Are you OK with chemical treatments … or do you want only natural options? If you have young children or pets, you might want to forgo strong pesticides and chemical treatments. There are several pet-friendly and green lawncare services on the market, like BBB Accredited Dr. Green Management. The company, which serves the western Chicago suburbs, offers environmentally friendly lawn care options, certified technicians, and a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee.
- Are you looking for fall and winter outdoor services? If you’re thinking of getting help with snow removal and fall and spring cleanup, you may be able to bundle services with the same provider. Many landscaping pros spend their winters hauling snow and plowing driveways in the off season. A few also provide cleanup services to trim trees and shrubs or haul away fallen branches, too.
Now that you have a better idea of the services you’re looking for, visit askbbb.org to research service providers you know you can trust. As you narrow down your list of lawn care pros and decide who will be tending to your lawn’s needs, consider these five helpful tips to guide you toward experts you can trust, and away from possible backyard scammers.
- Check out the business’ paperwork, licensing and reviews/ratings. At askbbb.org you can search by name for the business you’re considering to find customer reviews and ratings (both negative and positive) along with other valuable information. It is also a good idea to give the business a call to ask if they’re licensed to operate in your area and if they’re insured. Getting references can help you connect with local customers and learn about their experiences with the landscaper or lawn care expert.
- Get an estimate, and ask how pricing works. Does the service provider require you to pay upfront for the season, or do you pay per job or each month? Getting all the pricing info in writing, prior to signing a contract or making payments, is always a good idea.
- Understand warranties/guarantees. Find out what happens if the work doesn’t meet your expectations or if weather prevents certain jobs from happening. Can you get your money back or reevaluate the contract?
- Don’t sign the contract until you understand exactly what’s laid out. If something doesn’t make sense to you, ask the provider to explain it to you. Don’t be afraid to take your time reviewing your paperwork before signing on the dotted line. Due diligence now can prevent problems later!
Be a smart shopper. Last year, the BBB reported receiving 143 consumer complaints relating to lawn care service providers. As you search for a reputable and trustworthy landscaping expert or lawn care pro, look no further than the BBB directory of Accredited service providers. Using the BBB as the resource for your search ensures that whomever you hire has been vetted and has passed carefully laid out Accreditation standards.