Respect the earth–and your wallet: Five tips for hiring the right landscaper

It’s Earth Day, time to think about all things green and how you can help create a more earth-friendly environment.

If you’re a homeowner, you can promote Earth Day by making your landscape fit the local environment, which will help reduce the amount of fertilizer, pesticides and water it takes to maintain your yard.

If you lack a green thumb, you can hire a lawn care service or landscaper to ease the burden. Choose carefully, however. Without the right helping hands, your dreams of a green wonderland could quickly turn into a brown mess.

Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin advises consumers to get clear, written expectations for what services the company will provide and agree on a fee before work starts.

In the past 12 months, BBB received over 7,500 complaints against landscaping and lawn maintenance contractors. Many of the complaints allege dissatisfaction with the services provided and companies not performing the agreed-upon duties. Other complaints allege problems with advertising or billing. It’s important to do your research before hiring a lawn care business. You can find a list of BBB Accredited lawn or landscaping contractors at checkbbb.org.

BBB offers the following five steps to finding a lawn care company you can trust:

  1. Know what you want from a lawn service. Lawn care companies provide many services, so it is important to decide what services and products are appropriate for your needs and budget.
  2. Find a trustworthy company. Go to bbb.org to check the company’s BBB Business Review. You can find important background on the business, such as how long it has been in business, advertising issues, ownership information and how it resolves complaints.
  3. Check references. Ask the company for references and photos of previously completed projects. Call all references, and ask about their experience working with the company and if they were satisfied with the services provided.
  4. Ask for a lawn inspection and free estimate. Lawn care companies that quote a price without seeing your lawn may not give you an accurate estimate. A company should be willing to visit your home to provide you with an agreed upon fee.
  5. Get a written agreement. A contract should clearly state the services you will receive, guarantees and refund policies, as well as how and when payment will be handled. If you are using a recurring service, the contract should also include how often the company will come out to work on your lawn, how to cancel the service and a schedule for when payments are due.

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To check out a company and find trustworthy businesses, visit bbb.org.
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