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Article Archive >> Business

Tips for Consumers: Lawn Service Contracts

Tips for Consumers
Lawn Service Contracts

Now that the warm weather has arrived, many consumers in the Hagerstown area are signing up for lawn services to keep their lawn, trees and shrubs looking good. Different lawn service competitors solicit your business every year with promises of better products, more attentive service or a lower price. Here are some tips on finding a good service:
* Don't assume. Each lawn service is different, so ask questions and determine exactly what they provide. A full-service firm will offer lawn analysis, fertilizing and seeding, controlling weeds and pests and caring for your trees and shrubs. Their products will be applied four or five times from spring through fall. Some services also offer mowing and even watering if you wish.
Before selecting a service, do your homework. Talk with your neighbors to see which companies have done a good job. Check our BBB report on various lawn care firms. Just visit our web site, www.bbbmd.org or call us 24 hours a day at (410) 347-3992.
* You will probably be asked to sign a contract with the new service you select, so review it carefully to see what is included and which services (like aerating, grub and disease control or reseeding) are extra.
* Do they offer a guarantee? If so, get it in writing. Know what it includes and how long it lasts. For example, if you believe a seeding produced minimal results, will the company return and reseed for free during the same growing season?
* Most services use pesticides to provide weed and pest control. The products vary; some are more environmentally friendly than others. Ask what the service uses and specifically what lawn problems each addresses. Ask to see the EPA label and read it before they apply the products. What are the harmful characteristics of the pesticide to children or pets? Are their employees properly trained to apply the chemicals and do they post signs to alert your neighbors? How long must you stay off the treated area?
* Important! Most lawn service contracts renew automatically every year unless you call and cancel. We sometimes get complaints that "I hired another firm but the first service came out without telling me." You must cancel them yourself; don't assume they will just stop coming next year.

To file a complaint visit: www.baltimore.bbb.org or write: BBB, 1414 Key Highway, #100, Baltimore MD 21230. Their office serves Baltimore and all of Greater Maryland.

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