When my wife and I lived in Atlanta, we had
terrible awful dreadful horrible experiences with a few different lawn services. One company claimed to have sprayed our backyard, but I was home and back there. He didn’t. And lied. Twice. The company backed the dude up! But that wasn’t the real issue. Our lawn was constantly full of weeds, browning, etc. The services we tried (three of them) just didn’t work.**
To be fair, keeping a lawn healthy and green—especially in extremely hot or cold climates—is a challenge, and services like these are only a part of the equation. How you cut your lawn matters a lot. Frequency, blade sharpness and height… it all matters. We learned too, that if your lawn cutting service doesn’t wash their equipment (and few do), they can bring contaminants from other lawns. How often you water and how much is obviously key as well.
Today, we use a local company and they’re great. Expensive, but great. Of course, most of you will just tell me to do it myself. But getting those chemicals requires a license (right?). Plus, I have nasty allergies. OK, enough excuses.
TruGreen today announced it has completed its merger with Scotts LawnService to create North America’s premier lawn care company. Scotts LawnService is a former subsidiary of The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company (NYSE: SMG). The merger of two industry leaders in professional lawn service will bring more resources, local experts, enhanced service and innovation to customers, with a shared belief that life is better lived outside.
As a result of the merger, TruGreen is expanding its leading services in lawn, tree and shrub care to approximately 2.3 million residential and commercial customers across the U.S. and Canada. TruGreen President and CEO David Alexander leads the newly combined company, which will operate as a privately held company under the TruGreen brand and remain headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee.
I truly hope what’s good about each brand makes for a better customer experience, and what’s bad will get weeded out. Pun intended.
How to Choose a Lawn Care Services Company
As I mentioned above, we use a local company that we’re somewhat happy with. I say that cautiously because in the hot North Florida sun where—for whatever reason—builders install grasses that don’t stand up all that well to THE FRIGGIN’ SUN, it’s difficult to pinpoint what’s truly causing issues with the lawn. But these companies must control weeds, critters that ruin grass and shrubs, and control browning. That’s non-negotiable. It’s why they exist.
Through many years of trying many services, I’ve learned a few key things to ask and expect when looking for a lawn care services company (and we’re talking chemical stuff here, not lawn mowing).
- What is included in the full program? You need to know how many applications of what and for what. As the experts in your area—in your climate—if they’re telling you that it’ll require six applications to control XYZ, you should expect XYZ to be controlled. Oftentimes, we had to call the companies over and over for additional applications beyond what they told us our lawn—which was pretty typical of the area—would require.
- How much, for what and for how long? This is an obvious question, but you need to understand exactly how much you’re paying and for what (point #1). Does the program include the entire yard (front and back), shrubs, trees, seasonal aeration, etc? Note that aeration is kind of like undercoating on a car, some lawns do not need it, but you always get the pitch. Do your homework before agreeing to it.
- What are they guaranteeing and is it in writing? Most of these services will not guarantee a green lawn or bug-free shrubs. What we learned, however, is that most will come out to re-apply at no additional charge when you complain. The problem we ran into was that this became a common theme with a few of them, despite our following their recommendations to the T.
I’ve talked to neighbors who’ve negotiated for fewer applications, which most of the services will do. But then those same neighbors will complain about weeds and such. I’ll go back to my initial sentiment above: these guys are the experts. If you’re going to hire them, take their recommendations, and if things don’t work out even if you’re doing everything else right, then you can complain.[box type=”info” align=”” class=”” width=””]** Disclaimer: One of the poor experiences I encountered was with one of the two companies I’m covering in this piece, but I’m not going to divulge, as I realize that lawn care requires homeowner participation (and I wasn’t all that good at it), and circumstances differ across many fronts.
Disclaimer 2: One of these two companies was a fantastic client of mine when I ran my marketing firm. And it may or may not be the same company that I’m ranting about in the first disclaimer.[/box]