Better Business Bureau
For many consumers, the spring blooming of flowers and trees means it’s time to hire lawn care and landscaping professionals. The Better Business Bureau advises consumers to research options thoroughly before choosing a service.
“While a lawn care and landscaping specialist may have an impressive green thumb, that talent may not translate to professionalism for some,” said Michelle L. Corey, president and CEO of BBB St. Louis management, in a statement.
Last year, BBB received over 5,000 complaints against lawn and landscaping companies. Many complaints alleged dissatisfaction with the services provided. Other complaints reported issues related to contract compliance, punctuality and billing.
A Missouri man told BBB in December 2020 that he hired a landscaping company to help maintain his home when military service took him to another part of the country. However, he said the company had either failed to complete or performed very poor work on several lawn maintenance and planting projects for which he had signed a contract. The man told BBB that the company was refusing to refund payments he had already made and was threatening to send his open invoices to collections. The company did not respond to the man’s complaint to BBB.
Tips to consider before hiring a lawn or landscaping service:
• Query at least three companies for offers based on the same requirements. Discuss the offers in detail with each contractor and ask them about price variations. The cheapest offer may not be the best.
• To remember the rule of thirds. If you’re buying a new patio, deck, or major landscaping, consider paying one-third of the contract amount to secure the contract, one-third when the job is half-done, and the final third only when the job is complete and that you are satisfied with the work.
• Query for a free lawn inspection and estimate. Lawn care companies that quote a price without seeing your lawn can’t be sure what you need. A landscaper will need to measure the area where the patio or deck will go and consider access to the yard. Quality companies will offer you an estimate after seeing the condition of your property.
• Query on business insurance. Does it offer workers’ compensation, property damage and liability insurance? Ask for proof of insurance or the name of an insurance agent you can call to verify coverage.
• To verify with local authorities to find out if permits are required. The contractor should be aware of any permits or inspections that may be required. If digging is necessary, have someone notify utility authorities by calling “811” at least two to three days in advance so that utility workers can mark the lines underground. public services.
• Discover what to do if you are not satisfied with the service or the product. Some suppliers will replace dying plants within a certain time frame. Find out how quickly the company will come back to correct the problems. Know who to call for customer service issues.
• Query for a contract. Get all verbal promises in writing. The contract should describe in detail the services and products provided, the billing rate and the payment schedule. Make sure the contract includes the start date and the expected completion date.
• Are you okay with chemical treatments for lawn care and landscaping? If you have young children or pets, you may want to opt for an eco-friendly, pet-friendly lawn care service.