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Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - 11:59am

Avoid getting clipped when hiring lawn-care services

MGN Online
Monday, April 21, 2014 - 11:55am

It's that time of the year again when the temperatures rise and the smell of freshly cut grass fills the air. If you are starting to think about lawn care, the Better Business Bureau has a few tips to keep in mind.

In 2013, BBB received more than 3,500 complaints against lawn-care services. Many of the complaints were about shoddy workmanship, a faulty contract, or billing and collection issues. BBB recommends the following when hiring a lawn care maintenance service:

Know what you want. Have in mind the types of services you are seeking (fertilizing, weeding, aerating, mulching, mowing). Ask about the products used (pesticides, herbicides, fertilizer).

Understand pricing. While price certainly is a major factor in any purchasing decision, find out exactly what you are getting. Is there an additional charge for an oversized lot? Is pruning included? What happens when it rains? Are services performed by employees or subcontracted out? Request a lawn inspection and an estimate of service costs from the company. Beware of companies that quote guaranteed prices without having seen your lawn.

Check first. Always check the company's BBB Business Review at www.bbbelpaso.org. If pesticides will be applied, make sure the company is properly licensed by the Texas Department of Agriculture's Structural Pest Control Service. Ask for references and check the company's affiliation with national franchises or associations if applicable.

Scrutinize the contract. Some companies require a yearly contact, which may automatically renew unless you specify otherwise; others work on verbal agreements that can be discontinued by the customer at any time. If you do choose to sign a long-term contract, make sure you get information about cancellation rights in writing.

Understand warranties, guarantees. If the service is not to your liking, or the lawn doesn't look as you anticipated, understand what recourse you may have.

Shop around. Get written estimates from at least three companies. Keep in mind the cheapest estimate is not necessarily the best option. You may have to invest a little more for higher quality service.

Do your research. A lawn is an environmental asset, and choosing a quality lawn-care service will help you maintain a healthy lawn, which will prevent soil erosion, improve the surrounding environment and increase property value.
 

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