Looking for a company to properly care for your property’s turf? Save yourself some time and money by following these five simple tips before you start calling for quotes:
1. Know what you want
Are you looking at turf care only, or do you want an all-season package that will include care of trees, shrubs, garden beds, snow removal, etc.? Many landscaping companies offer a discount when you combine services and take advantage of their bundled packages. Looking at turf care specifically, consider frequency. There’s a big difference between once-per-season winter prep and weekly or bi-weekly maintenance.
Regular turf care could include aeration, fertilization, pesticide and weed control applications, depending on your goals. There are a lot of options, and frankly it is easy to be oversold. You should have a solid idea of what you want before you start looking for quotes.
If a company starts pushing multiple applications of fertilizer, pesticides, aeration, and all sorts of ‘extras’ on you before even seeing your turf, that is a bad sign. Different soil compositions have different needs which can be met through the use of different fertilizers – there is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Geography plays a roll as well. Turf in a wet flood plain will need different care than turf on dryer, higher ground. Unless you tell the landscaping company otherwise, there is no reason for them to think that you have pests – they shouldn’t be spraying pesticides or weed control unless there’s a reason to.
Company size is another consideration. Size is especially important if you want one landscaping team to handle all of your landscape needs, which will often land you a better price on your turf care. Smaller companies may struggle to handle multiple roles, but larger landscaping companies are capable of specializing in multiple areas.
2. Ask for a free consultation
Depending on the size of your property (or properties) your contract could be worth a lot to a turf care company. The best companies will recognize this value and should offer a free consultation. Only after inspecting your turf will they be able to give you an honest and straightforward assessment of what your property needs to keep your turf lush, healthy, and well maintained.
3. Ask for a contract
Some companies will quote you a great price without mentioning that it requires a multiple year commitment or without exposing certain details within the contract. The right company will define every service and frequency for you before they present you with a contract. You should avoid companies that are willing to work on an as-needed basis, or on a verbal contract. The best companies are booked far in advance and are already strategizing work for multiple seasons into the future; this means it may be hard to hire them on short notice to handle a lawn-care crisis.
For property owners or managers, the best option is always to get a contract; it will be cheaper in the long run and clearly lays out the expectations of both parties. Ensure that the contract comes with guarantees of quality assurance and timely service. Having a contract allows both parties to agree on and work towards long term goals for your property.
4. Make sure they are licensed and insured
What can go wrong in lawn care? Well, considering lawn care involves mowers, line trimmers, lawn aerators, plus trucks to haul everything – a heck of a lot! If an employee of an unlicensed or uninsured company hurts themselves on your property, then you could be liable. That means a lot of time, money, and paperwork. Hiring only licenced and insured companies will help protect your property, your finances, and the employees of the company.
5. Seek local reviews
Online reviews can be very handy when it comes to vetting turf care companies. Consulting with your local chamber of commerce or business owner’s association is also a good idea. Ultimately though it will all come down to you. Shop around, ask for multiple quotes, and don’t settle for anything less than the best!
Written by David Lammers
David Lammers is the president of Garden Grove Landscaping. Garden Grove provides Commercial Landscape Management Services across the Golden Horseshoe, GTA and Southwestern Ontario. David may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-866-996-1099.