Whether you are a new homeowner or have lived in your house for 20 years or more, there comes a time when you ask yourself, “Should I hire a lawn service?”
If you are asking that question, then obviously having a nice lawn is important to you. However, before you decide to hire a lawn service company, there are several factors to consider.
Convenience versus cost
Clearly, it is more convenient for you to pay someone else to do the job. But make sure you know that you’re getting a quality service for the price.
Before talking to anyone, set a limit for how much you’d like to spend, and then get several estimates and compare prices. Most companies will give you a free estimate. Once you have several estimates, don’t just agree to the lowest price. Be sure that you clearly understand what the estimate covers. Also, understand that you might be signing a contract, which often details how often the lawn is treated, costs for additional services, and the length of the agreement. Some companies don’t require a contract but they still outline the services you are purchasing. You should also inquire as to what you need to do to cancel the service.
Compare the companies by finding out what type of fertilizer they use. Is it liquid or granular? What are the active ingredients, and are they safe around children and pets? Do they offer a satisfaction guarantee? Do they make house calls? Do they offer other services such as aeration or seeding? Are they licensed by your state?
Inquire as to what type of training, if any, the company conducts for its employees. Again, this is where cost becomes a factor. Anybody can spread fertilizer to a lawn, but a trained lawn professional will help care for your lawn and will be able to spot potential problems and recommend the right solutions.
And you’re not just paying for service either, you are also paying for the product that is applied so be certain you know what you are buying. Remember, not all fertilizers are the same. For example, Scotts LawnService applies the same patented Scotts fertilizers that are sold in stores. Scotts fertilizers distribute even feedings to the lawn for up to two full months, while some fertilizer products cause a surge in growth, uneven feedings or don’t control unsightly weeds. Certain liquid fertilizer combinations may require you to stay off the lawn for 24 hours, and they don’t have the proper slow-release nitrogen that is important to a healthy lawn.
Finally, ask friends and neighbors for references and check with the local Better Business Bureau or State Attorney General’s office, and be sure the company is a member of the Professional Lawn Care Association of America, which ensures that professional standards are met by its members.
DIY (Do It Yourself)
Of course, you could always do it yourself (DIY). The main benefit of DIY lawn care is the ability to time the applications according to weather conditions, when you mow your lawn and what type of activity occurs on the lawn. You’ll also have the satisfaction of doing the job yourself and there are no contracts or forms to sign.
Keep in mind that you’ll need to purchase a quality spreader, which will cost you in the range of $30 to $70 depending on the size. You’ll need a place to store the spreader – that typically isn’t much of a consideration, unless you have a small, one-car garage or storage space is an issue. You also will need to arm yourself with information, such as what type of grass you have, what products to apply and when to apply them. Much of that information can be obtained on this site, or you can talk to your local garden center.
With DIY lawn care you have complete control over the cost, and it is usually less than hiring a lawn service company.
If you can’t decide between the convenience of a lawn service or cost of DIY, remember that this site is full of answers to common questions.