Spring Yard Prep with The Better Business Bureau
BBB Tip: Avoid Spring Cleaning Headaches with Reputable Lawn Care Businesses
As warmer weather arrives, Michiganders are thinking about how to tackle winter’s aftermath in the yard. Hiring a helping hand may seem like a great idea to keep your yard looking fresh this spring, or assist you in creating your dream outdoor oasis. But before you start your spring yard work, make sure you are doing business with the right people.
“Businesses in these types of industries get such a bad rep thanks to the many scammers out there looking to make a quick buck and rip people off,” says Lisa Frohnapfel, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau Serving Western Michigan. “That’s why it is so important to use the BBB as a resource for finding the right companies. You can breathe easier knowing you are working with honest and trustworthy people.”
- Research companies before you hire. Make a list of the projects you need done, and decide which ones you need professional help with. Whether its lawn maintenance, or an entire transformation, check the company’s rating on BBB.org. You can use the “Get A Quote” feature to find qualified companies near you.
- Ask for a lawn inspection. Services that quote a price without seeing your lawn cannot be sure what your lawn might need. Businesses will sometimes charge you to discuss specific landscaping ideas to protect themselves against clients who want to get their ideas and implement them themselves. If you contract with the business, they will often credit you back for the initial fee.
- Have a clear scope of work before asking for estimates. This includes defining the area to be worked on and what you want done. When getting bids, don’t compare apples with oranges. Make sure that each business has included the same services. Also, be sure that each business breaks the cost down in the same way (per visit, month, year, etc…).
- Get specifics on prices and be clear on what services are included. Are you paying for a specific project or ongoing maintenance? Do you pay by the mow or by the month? What happens if it rains the day someone is supposed to come mow your lawn? Does mowing include edging? Who bags and disposes of the clippings and other refuse?
- Ask for pesticide licenses and insurance. If the company applies pesticides, they need a license with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. Does the business provide liability and workman’s compensation insurance to protect you in the event of an accident on the job? Ask for a certificate of insurance from the business’s insurance agent.
- Get everything in writing and read all agreements and contracts carefully. Make sure the contract contains all topics discussed and promises made. Document the duration and expected results of the service. Some consumers are unaware that contracts can be open-ended, meaning they renew until the client specifically terminates.
Use the ‘Get A Quote’ feature on bbb.org to compare multiple price options with Accredited businesses near you.
File a complaint with a bad business at bbb.org.
Report scams to bbb.org/scamtracker