The best company around is a difficult thing to quantify in a service industry, but let’s take a shot, shall we? Spend a couple minutes with this post to help guide your decision when picking out a lawn care provider.
The ‘Lawn Care Industry’ is different than the landscape industry. We are talking specifically about application based companies that offer fertilizer programs and probably tree/shrub care and some pest control. Some companies offer a wide variety of services and could be included in both industries. Don’t be confused, let’s outline the lawn care companies.
In general, service companies are more judged on how they handle the day to day operation. Do they do the simple things right, like answer the phone or call back right away? Are they willing to listen to you? Do they show up when they are scheduled to do so, and if not, do they call and let you know? How consistent is the billing? Are you confused on what you are paying for or receive the bill weeks later? These simple tasks should be routine by a good company. Let’s now define the differences in companies.
The size of the provider is a good place to start. You can typically figure this out through their website and how many locations they have. The larger companies will have many locations of course. They tend to have lower prices and really concentrate on volume, treat more houses at a smaller dollar amount. This of course will lead to the technician spending less time on your lawn because he is required to treat many houses in a day. Customer service may be difficult at times for the same reason. The technician will not want to spend 20 minutes meeting a customer for free. The employee turnover rate will be high and you will probably deal with a different technician year to year. Some of the benefits will be the price of course, you will be able to get the lowest price on market. The answering service will be professional and quick. You can expect to talk to someone very quickly and start working towards an answer to your question or problem. To me, this is a great benefit. You should also expect a very professional service. Their trucks will be painted and clean, clean uniforms and professional looking technicians, and also professional invoices, paperwork and an online presence. You’ll have the different payment options and probably have an online account to check in from time to time.
Here are some of the biggest companies around, and share similar traits;
- The Lawn Company, TLC
- Lawn Doctor
- Naturalawn of America
Smaller companies on the other hand should be able to provide more attention to your lawn. You will be dealing with the owner or a loyal member of the company. When the technician is on your lawn, there will be better detail given. Although these companies may not have a professional answering service, a good small company should answer the phone or call back quickly. When you do get in touch with them, there will be a far greater effort to help you because customers cannot be replaced that quickly. The price will probably be slightly higher because they need to maximize each application. You may not be dealing with a ‘professional’ looking company, but may very well get better service. The truck may not be painted, they may not have uniforms or even company shirts, and the invoice and paperwork will be of low quality.
Your safest decision when hiring one of these companies somewhere in between – a larger company that has stayed local. The owner will not be out treating your lawn, but he will have a hand in the day to day workings of the company operation. They will have the ability to handle all the work they have scheduled and processes in place to provide a consistent service. Your questions and concerns will be close to the top of the priority list because they understand the value of a single customer, and the cost of losing one. You will probably be dealing with the same technician, which is comforting to know they are familiar with your property and your specific needs. They will have a professional appearance. A few examples in central MA are Ford’s, Gatsby Grounds, Turf Logic or Turf Unlimited.
Full disclosure, I have no personal dealings with any of these companies. Your best judgement will be to trust your gut. I have high support for the small company and helping them get started. They may be the best in the market, even without the professional look. And many complaints of the larger companies lack of customer service, may not apply to you and you have a great relationship with them. I would recommend to pay for each application as they are done and keep yourself flexible by not getting involved with a contract. I will write another post on hiring a company and things to look out for, to help make the ‘gut’ decision. Hopefully this post gave some insights on the potential companies out there. Thanks for reading!