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Shop Around for Summer Lawn Care, Says the BBB

Posted by Admin On May - 8 - 2015

CHICAGO, IL – Warmer weather is here and that means it’s time to start caring for your lawn. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has a few tips to keep in mind if you are thinking about hiring a business to care for your lawn.

In 2014, the BBB received 28,248 inquiries and 108 complaints against lawn care services. Many of the complaints were about shoddy workmanship, a faulty contract or billing and collection issues. For homeowners who choose to use a lawn care service, the first step to a beautiful lawn is making the right hire.

“It’s important to get everything in writing when you’re hiring a landscaper,” said Steve Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “Find out exactly what you’re getting before signing and never sign a contract that is partially blank.”

BBB recommends the following when hiring a lawn care maintenance service:

  • Know what you want. Have in mind the types of services you are seeking such as fertilizing, weeding, aerating, or mowing. Ask about the products used like seed, fertilizer, or weed killer and request a lawn inspection and estimate. Be wary of any business that offers a quote without first seeing your yard.
  • Understanding pricing. While price is certainly a major factor in any purchasing decision, find out exactly what you are getting. Do you pay by the mow or by the week? What happens when it rains? Does mowing include edging? Do they mulch or bag the clippings? Are services performed by employees or sub-contracted out?
  • Shop around. Get written estimates from at least three different businesses. Check out BBB’s Accredited Business Directory for landscaping contractors in the area. Keep in mind that the cheapest estimate is not necessarily the best option. Don’t feel pressured to hire the contractor with the lowest estimate. Landscapers with more experience or higher quality materials may charge a little more for the job.
  • Check first. Make sure the business has an up-to-date license as required by your jurisdiction, when appropriate. Always check their BBB Business Review at bbb.org/chicago. Ask for references and check the business’ affiliation with national franchises or associations.
  • Scrutinize the contract. Some landscaping contracts automatically renew unless you specify otherwise. If you do choose to sign a long-term contract, make sure you get information about your cancellation rights in writing, in case you find the services to be unsatisfactory.
  • Understand the warranties and guarantees. If the service is not to your liking or the lawn doesn’t look as you anticipated, understand what recourse you may have.

For more tips, visit www.bbb.org/chicago, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or add us on Pinterest.

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