You may be very satisfied with your current lawn care company or maybe you are shopping around for one. Regardless of your situation, you undoubtedly want the best. But what is “the best”? If you are like most consumers, price may pop into your mind as an initial factor in your decision. However, if you dig deeper, you will find that price really is only one variable when comparing services. As in any important decision, sometimes all you see is frosting on the cake and not enough substance. The lawn care industry has evolved over the past decades and while there are many similarities, there are more differences which end up being the value of the service you ultimately hire. Specifically, there are huge differences in a company’s real experience as it relates to company size, experience, and customer service. Let’s examine each of these components in the context of a lawn care company in NH or VT.
Company size relates to who created the lawn program and what materials are used or not used for a variety of reasons. For instance, larger lawn companies have regional lawn programs that are pretty much the same over a geographic area for consistency and ease of implementation. Smaller lawn care companies have a greater ability to offer more tailor-made offerings and make spontaneous changes during the year because they are not bound by a set program of an it’s either on the menu or it’s not. While both types of companies and programs have a lot in common, there is more flexibility and ability to customize a program to your needs with a smaller organization. In fact, what some of the larger companies offer can be very canned in nature, often with online measuring devices being used to price your lawn. Personally, I cannot imagine getting a quote and recommendations without a qualified manager with the appropriate agronomic training providing an actual on site visit; like I do with Chippers’ turf division. How can any real advice be provided if your property has never been seen or the sales rep just left a retail sales job to canvas a neighborhood and pitch a lawn program? Clearly there are differences in price and approach, to each their own.
How about experience? Do you search for a doctor or plumber with lots of experience or are you content with an apprentice? Again, the experience of your lawn technician is very important because nothing substitutes real life, hands on experience, both in diagnosis and proper application technique. While anyone can learn in a short period of time the basics of good lawn care, time is the real teacher when it comes to creating and maintaining a high quality lawn. Larger firms have a difficult time retaining and training massive amounts of employees because while some parts of lawn care are easier than others, the work is demanding and takes a special individual. I have trained hundreds of employees and know this first hand from experience with 28 years in the industry. When you look at a lawn treatment bid from two different companies, one is $45 and the other is $60; remember to consider the experience factor. What are you really getting and what is important to you as it relates to experience? Diagnostic skills are very important to determine what past, present, and future problems may impact the health of your lawn. Experience shows that the more time in the field the better your program and results will be once in place. I have written many blog posts about how difficult diagnosing disease, insect, weed, and environmental problems can be without substantial experience in turf care.
Customer service has become nonexistent in the service industry over the past few decades and in other businesses as well. Customer service used to mean a real person answering a phone and if they did not know the answer, they put you in touch with who could. How many businesses that you deal with today are not associated with an 800 number and you need to press five buttons just to reach a department? I have found that consumers are starving for customer service at any level that resembles humanity and caring; this goes for lawn care as well. At Chippers, we have real people answering the phone and if you want to reach a manager; your call will be returned the same day or the next at the latest. Can you believe that? I thoroughly enjoy giving my e-mail as a source of communication to aid Chippers’ lawn care customers so they can ask me questions any time. I even provide a direct cell phone number since I’m in the field looking at lawns a lot! If you have a lawn care company right now, can you reach a manager or quickly get an answer to your question? If your lawn care company is large, my bet is an answer of “no” in most instances. It’s just the way it is, good or bad; that’s your call as it relates to what is really important to you. I have found many people who had been enticed by low prices become frustrated because their former lawn care company had no customer service at all, or very little.
There are not good or bad lawn care companies, but there many who will satisfy what you are looking for and they exist, you need only find them with a little work and luck. You don’t have to settle for grape juice if what you really want is a great wine. Don’t get frustrated, ask the questions and get what you pay for because customer service, experience, and knowledge are very important in the business world, lawns included! Good luck and may your lawn be green and may you be happy with both the experience and the outcome.