Winter has likely left your garden with sticks or unsightly leaves to clean up. And grass is already turning green. Neighbors may already be mowing their lawn and disrupting your afternoon nap.
Some people love to work in the yard. You can’t wait to bring out rakes, shovels, and other tools to clean up and improve the landscape. If you’re not a handyman or have a new patio, deck, or other large project on your mind, you may be looking for a contractor to help.
Before getting help, take some time to think about what you want to do. Do you need someone to mow and cut the lawn every week or so? Do you need help removing old bushes, installing a patio or redesigning the landscape?
Ask friends for recommendations, but also check out the contractors. The Better Business Bureau has BBB business profiles for more than 5.3 million companies across the country, including many in southeast Missouri and southern Illinois.
The profiles contain ratings from A + to F based on a number of factors including how long a company has been in business and how it has responded to customer complaints. In the profiles, you can find out about complaints against a company and their resolution by the company, as well as customer reviews. They also contain contact information for companies.
Common complaints about lawn and landscaping services include missed appointments, billing disputes, or treatments that customers claim were paired but never applied.
BBB recommends that you get at least three bids before choosing a contractor. Getting bids will give you a better idea of what a project will cost and whether a company’s bid is better suited to your budget. However, read each suggestion carefully to make sure it includes the materials to use, a schedule for completion, and whether you will receive a lien waiver indicating that suppliers and subcontractors have been paid.
BBB offers the following advice to help consumers find a lawn maintenance or landscaping company they can trust:
- Know what you want. Lawn maintenance and landscaping companies offer many services. Therefore, it is important to decide which services and products are right for your needs and budget. What should the yard, patio or deck look like when the job is complete?
- Ask around. Ask friends and family which lawn maintenance companies they use. If you’re considering a large project like a deck or patio, ask friends if you can see their projects and ask what it was like to work with the contractor.
- Check out the company with BBB on bbb.org. BBB business profiles provide important background information about companies, such as: B. How long they have been in business, who they belong to and how they resolve complaints.
- Request a lawn inspection and a free estimate. Lawn care companies that quote a price without seeing your lawn can’t be sure what you need. A landscaper needs to measure the area the patio or deck goes into and consider access to the yard. Quality companies do not offer a cost estimate until the site has been inspected.
- Request a written contract. A contract should clearly state what services you will receive and how you will pay for them. When you sign a contract for a recurring service, it should include how often the company mows your lawn and when you will be billed.
- Remember the rule of thirds. Whenever you get a new patio, deck, or new landscaping, pay a third of the order amount to secure the contract, a third when the job is halfway through, and the last third only after the job is done is and you are satisfied with the work.
For more information, visit bbb.org or call (573) 803-3190.