Quality vs. Cost
Today I am going to stand up on my soapbox and critique a few landscape companies out there along with their practices. No company names here, but I’m sure they know who they are. I see and hear about them every year. There really are many great reputable companies out there that do a great job.
Then there’s the guy or gal that thinks mowing lawns is an easy way to make money. AND I suppose it is, but are you as a client getting what you’re paying for? Maybe you’re getting exactly what your paying for and that can be a bad thing. There are so many homeowners out there that are NOT thrilled with the way that their lawn is cared for each week. They complain about how it is mowed, or treated with herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers. I think it is so hard for the average homeowner to choose a company to take care of their lawn and/or flower beds, shrubs and trees. I would be willing to bet that 90% of companies out there have absolutely NO education in turf (lawn), shrub, tree, or perennial care.
You Don’t Need a Degree to Mow
Why I was even told by what I call a ‘mow and blow’ landscaper back in 2010 that I didn’t need to go to college to learn how to cut grass, and you know he was exactly right. You don’t need to go to college to learn how to mow, because a ten-year-old can cut grass. I’m pretty sure that’s about the age I learned how to run a push mower. I became darn good at mowing over the years just through the experience too. Why I can cut in straight lines, I don’t mow in circles, I don’t mow the same direction every week, and I don’t cut my grass so short it could be a putting green at a golf course. You could say that I was already a professional landscaper and no I didn’t need no stinking college degree.
Hey, wait a minute, did I know how to fertilize the proper way and calculate out how much to apply without turning it into a brown dust bowl? Well, you just follow what the Scotts bag says, right? Did I know how to treat for grubs, dollar spot or frog eye? Uhhh, who’s frogs eye? Oh, and what do you use to get rid of crabgrass or cinch bugs? Hmmm? A what bug?
Now, I’ll be the first to tell you, even after my degree that I am not an expert in the Turf Industry. I like pretty green grass, but it wasn’t my first love. So, after spending five years in the industry, working alongside a veteran in turf at Stan Hywet (Turf Dave), and my college degree, I do have enough knowledge to know when one of these “mow and blow” landscaper companies is full of bulls—.
What a Deal I Have for You
It was about a month ago that my husband said to me, “hey there’s a guy at work that runs his own mowing business here in town. He said he can come over and aerate our lawn, then he will apply lime to it and it will make it really green”.
At the sound of this offer, I’m pretty sure the hair on the back of my neck stood straight up, kind of like a dog or cat when they are ready to fight. YOU know what I’m talking about! I turned and looked at him and said, “Well, first off, I can aerate my own lawn by renting the machine plus I can go do all my kids lawns too. Secondly, applying lime on a lawn without even knowing what the soil pH is, well that is just plain stupid. Third, applying lime isn’t going to green up my lawn. Fertilizer, lots of sunshine, and plenty of water is going to green up my lawn.” I’m pretty sure by this time, my husband is running in the opposite direction and wished he had never said anything to me about this. Man, I was so furious because this is the kind of crap these so-called, you don’t need a diploma, mow and blow landscrapper guys sell to clients that trust them.
Please be my Mowing Company
I’ve just recently had several of my clients and friends ask if I can recommend a company for them to use for mowing. They even were hoping that I mowed, but I’m not at this time. (Although that may change in the future).
My response to them is that there are so many companies out there to choose from. They all seem to respond with the same complaint, that they have already used several. They mow too FAST, tear up the yard when they turn, they don’t always trim, and they even leave a mess at times. I know why it happens, it is because they are uneducated in turf, scheduled so tightly with clients that they are mowing like maniacs, and they need to get them all done within that eight-hour day. So, the faster they mow, the more lawns they get done, the more the company they work for makes in $$$.
Whether it’s a small or large company shouldn’t matter. They really need to focus more on training employees in turf, safety, and quality of work. If they are spraying pesticides or herbicides they must be licensed. You get what you pay for, right? Make it so you attract quality employees and maybe they will put out quality work. Pay them better, offer them benefits, and year-round work if possible. In turn, though, the clients must be willing to pay more for their services.
Fixing the Problem
So, my advice to anyone looking for a mowing or fertilizing company to take care of your lawn. Research several, ask friends and neighbors who they use and do they like the work they do. If someone says they will apply XYZ to your lawn, make sure they have done a soil test first. Call your county extension agent if you don’t understand the soil test. They are a great resource. They can explain just about anything from pH levels to the weird bugs that are eating your lawn and shrubs. You can call or message me. If I don’t know an answer, I’ll find it out for you. Hire someone that is educated, licensed and willing to put in quality work. Oh, like ME!
Till next blog, think spring, think green and check out those Degree Days in your zip code. Then look around to see if things are really blooming out there!