1. Application Company vs Lawn Service Company
What’s the difference between a Lawn Service Company and a Lawn Application Company? It’s important to know the difference before deciding which company is best for you and your home. This depends completely on what you need. If you are comfortable with lawn fertilization and weed control then you might want company to outsource to, an Application company. If on the other hand you are looking for someone to partner with, that will have answers to questions and help coach you along, then you would look for a Lawn Service company.
Now no business is going to come right out and say “we focus on applications only” but there are ways to tell. Some clues to look for would be generally a lower price point. Sales staff that don’t service lawns or work in the field, and high pressure sales. Different technicians on the lawn each service and they must always refer you to someone else if you have questions. These style of companies or more production oriented and a better choice if you are looking to subcontract your lawn care.
A “Lawn Service Company” will be more focused on a partnership with you. More about giving advice and making recommendations in addition to treating the lawn. Most of all being available to answer questions. Often times you can tell this by reading reviews. Look closely at the reviews, are they about help and responsiveness as much as about how great my lawn looks. Then you know you have a winner. Size and age of the company doesn’t always tell you what you what kind a company it is. Some small companies are ex-employees of application companies and continue in the same vein. A line in a great movie applies “Choose but choose wisely.”
Communication between homeowner and lawn service is crucial. A fertilization program or sprinkler maintenance program isn’t a “one and done” type of business, it’s an ongoing relationship. Both you, the client, and the service need to be available and responsive on a timely basis. Now the green industry generally isn’t earth shattering, emergency type of work. So 24/7 availability isn’t needed, but prompt attention to questions in a business type setting is. The better you can get to know the lawn coach and the office team the better responses you will receive.
The company you choose should have a live person available during business hours and longer is better. There should be multiple channels to communicate like email, text messaging, as well as phone calls. The urgency/responsiveness should appropriate for the channel. They are on your team, so treat them like you want to help them win.
3. Payment Options
This one doesn’t always seem obvious at first. Of course, it is important to be able to pay easily and it needs to be understandable and transparent but there is more to it than that. Please, stay with me for a minute. Clients get upset with their lawn company when their grass doesn’t look good. (Makes sense, that is what you are paying for) but one of the main reasons lawns start to look bad is because the timing of the treatments gets spread out or even treatments get missed. The biggest reason for that is payments are not on the same schedule as the treatments. It is common for a company to offer a service and then you pay after each service. But if you pay on 30 or even 60 days and treatments are every 5-7 weeks things can get messy. This is a place where both you and the company need to trust each other and say that you are in this for a season no matter what. We are dealing with a living plant and Mother Nature has her own time tables. It will take a year to really see solid improvement in your lawn. The best lawn care companies will offer payment options like prepaying for the season (usually with a discount) and some sort of autopay or level pay option that charges an account or card after each service. This way we remove an easy problem and gives a better chance for success.
4. Accountability and Goal Setting
If you are unhappy with your lawn whatsoever, it is important to notify your lawn service. They cannot fix your issue if they are not aware of it. Remember beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Some clients want the 18th hole at Augusta and others just don’t want to be kicked out of the home owners association. The best lawn care services will make recommendations but will refrain from critiquing too heavily if they are unclear of the expectation. Make sure you are setting clear expectation (and are doing your part to achieve the goal, remember this is a partnership) and then hold them accountable. We recommend following a 3 strike rule when it comes to holding them accountable:
- Strike 1: We are all human. Accidents and mistakes happen.
- Strike 2: Coincidences can and do happen so don’t jump to conclusion. Mother Nature is oftentimes unpredictable.
- Strike 3: Is when a change needs to be made.
Now you ask yourself, “Is it time to fire the company?” In our opinion, if you are not satisfied with the product, it may be time to move on. But if it’s that you don’t like the guy on the lawn, then maybe request a new guy.
Make sure goals are established so you can check progress and hold the lawn company accountable. Listen to the professionals recommendations and then decide if that process will work for you and your situation. Be realistic when setting the goals you want to achieve. Sure everyone wants the 18th hole at Augusta, but it won’t be cheap or easy.
5. Build Relationships
This tip is easy. The best lawn and sprinkler companies will encourage you to build a relationship. Simply get to know your lawn coach and the person in the office that answers the phone. If you’ve opted for an application company get to know the managers. They are the ones that can help you. Building this relationship has an immeasurable impact on the overall success of your lawn. As I stated earlier this isn’t a “one and done” transaction, it’s a partnership. Don’t forget to say please and thank you!
Part of building a relationship is giving value above and beyond just the monetary transaction. The best services will give advice, throw in tips and small extras to help get the lawn you want. You can return the favor by leaving good reviews and referring friends and neighbors. In the end everyone wins.