How to Interview a Lawn Care Service Provider

lawn1Given the various duties that a lawn care service provider can do, beyond just lawn maintenance, it is important to interview and select the lawn care professional that will be the best fit for you.  Instead of just opening the phone book and signing a contract with the first company listed, it pays to do your homework and interview a few companies.  Not every lawn care service provider offers the same services, certifications and professionalism. My Mom recently went through this while hiring someone to take care of their yard.  (They live in Indiana.  I literally can't do it for them!)   I'm happy to report that, because they did their homework, my parents have been quite pleased with the work from their new landscaper.  Here are some of the things I mentioned that she should look out for, and questions she should ask.

Questions for Lawn Care Service Providers

  • Do you have commercial pesticide license?
    • Now, it might seem like jumping the gun to charge right out of the gate with this question, but the answer will tell you much more than whether they are legally allowed to treat your lawn.  It will also tell you if the provider has had some formal training with lawn and garden care beyond mowing his or her parents' back yard.
    • The license signifies that the provider has been instructed about how to safely apply fertilizers, weed and insect controls-whether organic or synthetic.
    • Also, if they don't have a commercial pesticide license, they cannot legally apply any chemicals to your lawn.  Period.
  • Do you have insurance-business, liability and worker's comp?
    • This is another biggie.  If the lawn care provider does not have insurance, if they damage something on your property, you may or may not  be able to get the damages repaired.
    • Additionally, if the business owner or  injure themselves on your property, you want to make sure that they have the proper insurance so that you cannot be held liable.
  • May I see your portfolio?
    • Now, this one is more important for landscapers that will be doing more work than just lawn care, but it never hurts to see pictures, regardless.
    • Look for clean edging, no mower marks, healthy plants, etc.
  • Do you give notice before spraying chemicals?
    • This is especially important if you have children or pets, as you will want to make sure that they are out of harm's way, and stay off the grass for the specified time.
    • Additionally, you don't want them to come do a massive weed treatment one week before your big garden party or cookout.  Burned weeds everywhere? Not pretty!
  • What is included in each weekly visit?  What treatments are included in my yearly service plan?
    • That might seem like a no-brainer, but it is always good to get in writing what you are paying for.
    • A list of included services will also help you plan any events you have at home.  (You don't want your lawn care provider to aerate three days before a party, either.)
  • Can the service provider do any seasonal garden maintenance, or just lawn maintenance?
    • A little bit of extra landscaping goes a long way toward increasing your home value.  It also makes a home more inviting.  However, many people don't add extra landscaping because they don't want to take care of it.  Hiring a lawn care service provider that can help with landscaping maintenance makes caring for your garden much easier.
A thorough interview including the above questions will help you find a lawn care service provider you will be happy to use.  Less time working on the lawn means more time leftover for fun!
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