The Wisconsin Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a non-profit organization that has worked for more than 70 years to create a marketplace where buyers and sellers can trust each other. It accomplishes this through consumer and business education, setting ethical standards for businesses, complaint resolution and exposing unethical business practices.
It’s a truism of customer service that you can’t give someone what they want…if they don’t know what it is. Lawn care businesses offer many services. Are you looking for someone to mow only? Does your grass need aeration or seeding? Are you in need of landscaping, fertilization or tree care? What about pest control?
As summer revs up, here are some tips to consider:
• Ask for a lawn inspection and a free estimate for service. Companies that quote a price without seeing your lawn can’t be sure what your property might need.
• Be cautious when considering services with a negative option. This contract clause has led to many BBB complaints in the past. A negative option means the service automatically continues until you cancel it. Other options include a yearly contract or an agreement giving you the right to discontinue at any time. What happens if you need service between contracts? Will there be a charge?
• Consider annual costs versus cost per application: Many companies allow you to pay after each treatment and may offer a discount if you pay the annual cost up front.
• Get a written agreement spelling out costs and services before you pay. Document the duration and expected results of the lawn care service.
• Ask about guarantees and refund policies. Some services may offer a guarantee of performance. Others may offer refunds if they fail to meet your expectations.
• Look for professional membership in one or more lawn care associations and active participation in the local community. Most associations have a code of ethics and keep members informed on the latest developments in methodology, safety and regulation. The Better Business Bureau also has a directory of reliable lawn care businesses that meet BBB accreditation standards.
Remember, just because someone leaves a flier on your door does not mean they are reliable or even legitimate. Check out businesses at www.wisconsin.bbb.org. Ask neighbors or friends for a recommendation. You can also make sure a company is properly licensed to apply lawn chemicals with the state’s Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.