Looking for a reliable lawn care service? Find one with record of trust, good customer service

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As you start to spruce up your lawn for the summer, make sure you’re working with a trusted lawn care or landscaping service.

A beautiful yard takes hard work, and sometimes you need to call in the professionals. Whether you’re looking for help with spring to-dos like yard cleanup, weed control or seeding, or if you have a bigger landscaping project in mind, it’s important to choose a lawn care professional carefully so you trust that your yard is in good hands.

Look for a responsive company with a strong track record of trust and good customer service. Consumer complaints to BBB about lawn or landscaping contractors and companies often involve poor work, failure to respond to concerns or incomplete projects.

BBB’s tips for finding a lawn care professional:

  • Start your search with BBB. Once you’ve assessed your lawn’s needs and your budget, you can use BBB.org to find trusted companies near you. Their BBB Business Profile will give you free information on their history of complaints, customer reviews and whether they are a BBB Accredited Business.
  • Look for BBB Accreditation or membership in a professional organization.  Most associations and accrediting organizations (like BBB) ask members to meet high standards for service. Professional organizations such as the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) keep businesses up-to-date on new industry methods and safety standards.
  • Get references. Friends and neighbors with lawns you admire may be able to direct you to a great contractor. Ask potential contractors for references to call and pictures of past work.
  • Get estimates. Ask for estimates for the same list of services from at least three different companies. Compare pricing and timelines.
  • Check for licensing and insurance. Your contractor may need a license to work in your area, particularly if they’re applying pesticides. Ask for a certificate of insurance from the business’s insurance agent.
  • Consider a lawn inspection. An inspection can build trust between you and the contractor and help both of you understand what work your lawn might need. Keep in mind that businesses may charge you to discuss specific landscaping ideas – this is to protect themselves against clients who want to get their ideas and implement them themselves. They often credit you for the initial fee if you contract with them.
  • Ask for the small print. Make sure you know everything a service includes: For example, does mowing also include edging or disposal of clippings?
  • Ask about timing and safety. Will the work be done while you are home or away? Will you need to take safety precautions, particularly if pesticides are involved?
  • Confirm how and when you’ll pay. Depending on the service, it may be best to pay once for a specific project, or regularly for an ongoing service. Be wary if a company asks for a large deposit or payment in full before work is completed. Pay by credit card if possible – this makes it easier to handle disputes.
  • Get it in writing. Get a written contract that outlines the expected duration of the service and the quantity, size, and types of plants and other materials. Make sure the contract includes any promises made verbally. Some contracts can be open- ended, meaning they renew until the client specifically terminates – know how you can cancel your contract. Get an itemized receipt for all payments.

Don O’Brien is the regional director for the Quincy Better Business Bureau. Contact him at dobrien@quincybbb.org or 217-209-3972.

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