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Some springtime advice from the BBB for selecting a lawn service

  • Special to The Eagle
  • Published Friday, March 21, 2014, at 3:03 p.m.

Spring was never more welcome in Kansas than it is this year.

As temperatures warm and thoughts turn toward outdoor chores, some of us are enthused at the prospect of tending to gardens, flowerbeds and lawns.

For those who cannot perform yard work, those who do not have the time or those who want a more professional look in their landscaping, this is the season for choosing a lawn care company.

Here are some things to consider if you are among those looking for the right company to keep your yard trimmed up and well landscaped.

Ask a neighbor

One of the most reliable methods for choosing a lawn maintenance company is to simply check with a neighbor.

If you see good work being done for them, ask who they use. Inquire about reliability, pricing and satisfaction.

Compare the work done for your neighbor with what your needs are. If you are home when their work is being done, you have an opportunity to observe the crew, their work habits and efficiency.

Be prepared

Before you talk to a potential contractor to do your lawn work, take a moment to analyze exactly what your needs are.

Be able to approach a company with a specific list of what jobs need to be done. Do you just want simple mowing? Do you want edging, trimming, tree care, fertilization and pest control? Are you in need of more involved landscaping?

Know your budget before talking to a lawn contractor. Be sure of the price you can afford and stick to that number. Extra services may balloon the costs beyond what you had planned.

Be wary of anyone who quotes prices without seeing your yard. You should be able to get a free inspection of your lawn and estimate of the charges for doing the work required.

Many complaints about lawn service companies are related to what’s called a “negative option” in a contract. This is an automatic continuation of service until you cancel it. Some customers have been surprised that work on their lawn has continued past the period of time they originally intended.

Discuss what the length of time is for the company to do your job. Is it a matter of months or is it longer? Can you cancel the service if you are unhappy with the work? What is the schedule of payment? Some companies may offer a discount if you pay upfront for a year’s service.

Reliability

Always check with the BBB’s website for the record of any company with which you are considering doing business. If there are a lot of unresolved customer complaints, look for another business to deal with.

Keep in mind that a professional-appearing business card or flier left at your door is not an indication of legitimacy or reliability. If you are approached by someone soliciting your business and something seems “not right” about their demeanor or the promises they make, trust your instincts.

Don’t make on-the-spot decisions to contract with them. Get their name, their company’s name and take the time to check them out.

It’s finally getting warmer after a long Kansas winter. Don’t let an unscrupulous company snow you into a bad lawn care experience.

Denise Groene is state director of the Better Business Bureau of Kansas. Reach the BBB at 800-856-2417 or www.kansasplains.bbb.org.

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