When you work a full-time job and juggle a full calendar of responsibilities, mowing the lawn is the last thing you want to do when you finally get some free time. A lawn care company can take the job off your schedule so you can sit on your backyard patio and enjoy a perfectly manicured lawn without lifting a finger to keep it that way. Homeowners can also hire a lawn care professional for other care tasks, like hedge trimming and fertilizing the yard.
Ready to hire a lawn care company but not sure how to go about it or what to look for? Here's a quick guide to get you started.
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What a Lawn Care Company Does
When it comes to yard upkeep, you could do it yourself, but the task gets repetitive, hot, and time-consuming. Plus, it's potentially dangerous to work around chemicals and sharp tools, and you'll spend a lot of money buying a lawn mower, weed trimmer, and other lawn care equipment. A lawn care service handles all types of lawn maintenance year-round to make your life easier. This can include weekly visits for lawn mowing and seasonal services a few times each year, such as aeration and fertilizing.
Some services offered by a lawn care provider include:
- Moving services: The lawn care company can mow your lawn regularly on a prescheduled basis or occasionally when you need a hand.
- Pest and weed control: Chemical controls for pests and weeds when needed help to keep your lawn looking great.
- Fertilizer application: Regular fertilization during the season helps your lawn grow well. The lawn care company can apply the fertilizer at the right time to match your lawn needs.
- Aeration: If your lawn becomes compacted, the company can aerate it.
- Trimming: Lawn care services handle edging and trimming for a tidy look.
- Seasonal care: Lawns need special care at different times of the year, such as winterizing the lawn at the end of the growing season.
Doing Your Homework
Hiring the best lawn care company is easier when you know what you need. Lawn mowing is the most common service and usually happens once a week, but you might need other help to get your lawn healthy. Thinking through the details helps you ask the right questions and obtain a detailed quote from the lawn care vendors you're considering.
Knowing your lawn care concerns helps you determine if you need additional services. For example, if the lawn has brown spots or dying patches, you could have a pest or disease problem. If your lawn looks like it has more weeds than grass, a pro can help you tackle the unwanted growth. A lawn with lots of puddles, hard soil, or stressed grass might need to be aerated.
Why Hire a Lawn Care Company?
Understanding what a lawn care company does and the benefits of hiring one can help you decide if you should do it yourself or leave it to a professional. Before comparing the two, it's important to note that a lawn care company isn't the same as a landscaping company, although one company might offer both services. Landscaping services include things like designing landscaping, planting, installing hardscape features, and mulch application. A lawn care company focuses on lawn needs for an existing or new lawn, and handling ongoing upkeep.
While you can DIY your lawn care, hiring a professional offers many advantages. For example, when you hire out the work, there's no need to buy a lawn mower and other equipment, maintain the equipment, or find room to store the equipment.
A lawn care company can offer specialized tasks, and the pros have special knowledge about caring for your lawn, including:
- Assessment of lawn needs to keep the grass healthy
- Knowledge of common grass species and their special needs
- Familiarity with local pests and diseases that affect lawns
- Diagnosing and treating lawn problems
- Trimming hedges properly to keep them healthy and attractive
- Knowing when and how to apply fertilizer
- Applying appropriate weed treatments based on the type of weed and time of year
Questions to Ask a Lawn Care Company Before Hiring
A big part of choosing a lawn care company is asking questions. This ensures you have a clear picture of the services, and you can compare all the companies fairly when you get the same information from everyone. Consider what's important to you when choosing questions to ask.
Ask several questions to learn more about a lawn care service provider before hiring:
- Do you have a license for pesticide application?
- What lawn care services do you provide?
- What kind of lawn fertilizer do you use?
- Do you offer environmentally friendly lawn care?
- Are the chemicals you use safe for kids and pets?
- How often will you mow my lawn?
- Are you a member of any lawn care professional organizations?
- Do I have to sign a contract for the entire mowing season?
- What do you do if there's bad weather on my scheduled mowing day?
- Do you specialize in a certain type of lawn care?
- Can you give me an in-person estimate for lawn care services?
- What precautions do you take to protect property, people, and pets?
- Can I customize the lawn care program, or is everything on a prescribed schedule?
- Do you do background checks on your employees?
- How do you train your employees and keep them current in the lawn care industry?
It's also a good idea to research online to look for red flags. Visit the Facebook page of the company to look at the ratings and reviews left by clients. When you click on the reviews tab from the company's Facebook profile, you can see the overall star rating and written comments. Online review sites, such as Yelp, Google reviews, and Angi, are also useful.
The Cost of Hiring a Lawn Care Company
Lawn mowing services can range significantly in price depending on the variables. The size of the yard is the biggest factor, but there are also differences based on geographical location. The complexity of your yard is also a consideration. A simple, rectangular yard will be cheaper than an odd-shaped lawn with steep hills and lots of structures that the mowers have to work around while they mow. Basically, the things that frustrate you and make mowing more difficult could mean you'll pay more for a professional.
In general, basic mowing costs an average of $175 per acre, which works out to about $30 to $80 per mow for average homes. The cost is often provided per visit, but some companies might charge an hourly rate of $25 to $60 per hour. You might be able to snag lower rates if you commit to a contract for the full mowing season. Hiring a close lawn care service can also save you money since a company that has to drive several miles to get to you might charge more for the driving time.
Any extra services will come at an additional fee. Some lawn care companies offer various packages that you can choose with certain services included. Compare the prices of add-on services that you might want in order to estimate your total cost. Some samples of pricing for individual services include:
- Weeding: $35 to $120
- Fertilizer application: $80 to $380
- Aeration: $70 to $190
- Hedge trimming: $48 to $79 per hour
- Seasonal cleanup: $100 to $250
- Winterization: $80 to $380
Lawn Care Licensing
In most states, you don't need a license to open a lawn care business. You don't need specific experience or education. For that reason, it's important to thoroughly research the companies you're considering.
However, to apply commercial pesticide chemicals, the service provider needs a commercial applicator license through the state. Some states might have stricter requirements than the federal requirements, but all lawn care companies that offer pesticide services need the license. Verify that the company has this license if you're planning to hire for those services.
- Joshua Tree: 9 Truth-Revealing Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Lawn Care Service
- United States Environmental Protection Agency: How to Get Certified as a Pesticide Applicator
- HomeAdvisor: How Much Does It Cost to Mow and Maintain a Lawn?
- LawnStarter: Pricing Guide: How Much Does Hedge Trimming Cost?