Friday, March 18, 2011
Who needs who?
As the nice weather becomes more prevalent in the change from winter to spring, you might be considering a lawn maintenance company, or a lawn care company to help keep your turf's aesthetics in top condition.
When doing so, it is important that you treat the process as if you're interviewing a potential employee for a vacant position. Too many times it seems like the other way around where a company is coming in to assess a property and telling the home owner what they need.
Sure, you're calling in the first place because you need assistance, but don't forget who the boss is. You.
Here are some basic questions you should ask any lawn care provider before making the decision.
Although for many people price is an issue there is one of more significance; is the company licenced to perform the necessary applications?
In order to run a company, you must first have a Land Exterminator Licence, (not easy to get BTW) and an operating licence with the Ministry of the Environment.
Usually this is only a problem if the company is a smaller operation. However, be aware that the Exterminator Licence allows up to three non-licenced technicians to work under your licence. Ever wonder why there always seems to be students working on your lawn?
Insurance/ business liability?
Again the bigger guys- not usually an issue. However if someone punctures a sprinkler line with an aerator, or burns the hell out of your lawn, are they covered to replace the damage?
You wouldn't hire a dude to work on your kitchen, or build a deck without seeing previous work would you? Your lawn company should be no different. Usually you can get a feel from the website, but remember it's easy to load a page with stock photos. Sadly I've seen it done.
Do you need to be called prior?
Do you have children, pets, allergies? Do you really want someone coming a day before the big B.B.Q. to do an aeration? Make sure you are called the night before an application so if there's a problem you can let the company know and they can reschedule your application.
What do you get for your buck?
How many applications? What do they include? Is there an extra charge for return visits between scheduled applications.
Some people like my buddy Dave at the Gardener do lawn maintenance and cutting during the season. He also does snow removal in the winter, some don't. Be aware of your needs.
Are there any hidden provisions in the contract? i.e. renewal stipulations. Some companies will automatically renew your contract without your say-so for "your convenience" just like a gym membership.
Ask yourself if you're not happy with the work, do you really want them to keep coming back year to year because of the fine print?
Take back the control. After all it is your lawn and on your lawn they work for you.