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Millions of acres across North America are devoted to lush, green lawns. According to Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment, lawns take up 40.5 million acres and individuals spend $30 billion on average for lawn and garden upkeep in the United States alone. People certainly love their lawns and often wonder if those lawns are best left in the hands of professionals.
The National Gardening Association states that 72 percent of American households do some work in their yards. However, a growing number of homeowners also hire others to make their lawns look pristine. Homeowners who want to leave lawncare to the professionals can consider the following factors as they search for a company that best suits their needs.
■ Work with a licensed and insured company. Lawncare services that are licensed and insured provide more peace of mind to homeowners than the alternatives. Should an injury occur on your property while work is being done, an insured business will be able to take care of it and you won't be liable.
■ Ask about membership in a professional or trade organization. Businesses that belong to an organization invest in continually learning about the evolution of lawncare. This increases the likelihood that member companies will be up-to-date regarding the latest, most environmentally friendly lawncare techniques. Participation in a trade organization also may indicate education in the landscaping field.
■ Research reviews before hiring. Although public reviews may not paint the entire picture and they often reflect only the very positive or very negative experiences previous customers have had with a given business, they can provide an idea of how a lawncare company interacts with its customers. Prospective customers who contact the Better Business Bureau may learn if there have been any glaring complaints against a particular contractor.
■ Find out which services are offered. Ask each business what services they provide. While nearly every lawncare contractor will mow the lawn and trim shrubs, many homeowners prefer companies that can adapt when the yard needs a change. This may include pest treatments, fertilization, aeration, and seasonal cleanups.
■ Look for a company that's organized and connected. Customer service should be a factor when choosing a lawncare service. You want to be able to reach the company promptly. A company that responds quickly is ideal, especially if you need to change a service or need to inquire about additional or emergency work.