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BBB Offers Tips on Hiring Lawn Care Services

June 5, 2014

It’s that time of the year again, when the temperatures rise and the smell of freshly cut grass fills the air. However, this spring follows an extraordinarily harsher than normal Wisconsin winter, and according to local landscape companies, there is atypical damage to lawns, plants, and trees as a result of the exceptionally cold weather, harsh winds, and salt damage we experienced these past winter months.

If you are starting to think about lawn care, Better Business Bureau has a few tips to keep in mind.

In 2013, BBB received more than 3,500 complaints against lawn care services. Many of the complaints involved shoddy workmanship, a faulty contract, or billing and collection issues.

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 (fertilizing, weeding, aerating, mowing). Ask about the products used (seed, fertilizer, weed killer), request a lawn inspection and estimate, and be wary of any company that quotes a price without first seeing your yard.

Understand 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?

Check first. Always check the company’s BBB Business Review at bbb.org. Ask for references and check the company’s affiliation with national franchises or associations. Choose a BBB Accredited Business by utilizing the BBB Accredited Business Directory.

Scrutinize the contract. Some contracts automatically renew unless you specify otherwise. If you do choose to sign a long-term contract, make sure you get information about cancellation rights in writing, should 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 recourses you may have.

Shop around. Get written estimates from at least three different companies. Keep in mind that the cheapest estimate is not necessarily the best option. You may have to invest a little more for higher quality products and services.

For more tips you can trust, visit our website, www.bbb.org/wisconsin. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

For an online version of this story click here

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"Hidden Tosa" is a semi-regular feature where reporters Rory Linnane or Rachel Minske explore the closed down and closed off parts of Wauwatosa.

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