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Choosing a Lawn-Care Service

Even if you love cutting your own lawn, it helps to use a reputable service when you're away.

Taking care of your lawn can be a chore. Maintaining a good stand of turf requires mowing, trimming, fertilizing, and heading off or curing problems. If you'd rather leave the job up to someone else, consider hiring a lawn care service.

The tips below can ensure that the company you hire will do the job right.

Undecided between a lawn service and lawn mower? Here's how to find the right mower for you.

  • Decide what you want from a service. Most offer fertilizing, weed and lawn-damaging pest control, aerating, mowing, and small tree and shrub maintenance.
  • Inquire about the company's philosophy and methods. Do they use long-acting fertilizers? (That's good). Do they routinely spray for pests or problems that you haven't experienced? (That may be bad.) Do they check you soil before recommending a fertilization program? (Another good sign.)
  • Talk to neighbors who use lawn services. This is a good way to determine which services operate in your area and to get a homeowner's recommendations.
  • Request a lawn inspection and a free estimate of service costs from the company. Beware of companies that quote guaranteed annual prices without having seen your lawn.
  • Ask about prices and what services are included. Some companies require a yearly contact; others work on verbal agreements that can be discontinued by the customer at any time. Find out what happens if you have a problem between applications. Will there be a charge for these service calls?
  • Check to see if you can save money by paying an annual fee up front. This method is more convenient than paying after each treatment.
  • Understand what services the company is proposing to provide before work starts. Find out what treatments are included, approximately when they will be applied, and what results can be expected.
  • Find out what is guaranteed. Some will assure performance, and others will refund your money if the work is unsatisfactory.
  • Make sure the service is licensed to apply lawn-care products as required by your state.
  • Check with your local Better Business Bureau to find more information on a specific lawn-care company's service record.

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