Even after last week’s cooler temperatures, springtime is here. Flowers are blooming and the Cherry Blossom Festival is just days away — so now may be the time to start landscaping your lawn.
Whether your lawn needs a little touch-up or a complete makeover, the Better Business Bureau advises finding the right helping hands so your dream of a green wonderland doesn’t turn into a nightmare.
The BBB advises consumers not to rush into hiring lawn help. It’s important to get clear, written expectations for what services the company will provide and agree on a fee before work begins. Last year, BBBs received more than 7,200 complaints against landscape and lawn maintenance businesses and contractors.
Many complaints alleged dissatisfaction with the services provided and performance of the business. Other complaints reported problems with contracts and delivery.
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To find a lawn care business you can trust, BBB offers the following advice:
▪ Know what you want from a lawn service. Lawn care companies provide many services, so it’s important to decide what services and products are appropriate for your needs and budget.
▪ Find a trustworthy business. Go to www.bbb.org to check the company’s BBB business review. Here you can find information on the business, such as how long they’ve been in business, how they have responded to complaints, contact information and customer reviews. If you don’t have a specific company in mind, you will also be able to find BBB accredited businesses you can contact.
▪ Check references. Ask the business 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.
▪ Don’t sign up for services on the spot. If a sales representative comes to your door, get that person’s name or business card. Call the business directly or perform the transaction through the company’s website, and give the sales representative’s name if you’re concerned about them getting credit for the sale. If you insist on signing up on the spot, carefully read all the documents you are signing, particularly if they are electronic. On tablets or laptops, scroll up and down to see the entire document you are signing.
▪ 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.
▪ 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.
Lawn maintenance can be a chore for some and relaxing for others but with a little research, you can make sure that finding the right help doesn’t become a nightmare.
For more trustworthy consumer tips, visit www.bbb.org.
Kelvin Collins is president/CEO of the Better Business Bureau Serving the Fall Line Corridor including 83 counties in portions of Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. The column is provided by the local BBB and the Council of Better Business Bureaus. The BBB sets standards for ethical business behavior, monitors compliance and helps consumers identify trustworthy businesses. Questions or complaints about a company or charity should be referred to the BBB at 1-800-763-4222, www.bbb.org or by email to email@example.com.