There is a saying that goes “Peoople may know the price of everything but the value of nothing”.
We all recognize that the price of something is an important consideration when buying anything, lawn treatments included. Are there any real differences between lawn company A versus company B? If so, is it worth the extra or reduced cost to go with one over the other? These are very good questions and they demand consideration because upon quick inspection, price is more than perception- it is what you value and desire- be it results, service, ease of communication- take your pick. Price, unto itself is the summation of all of these things- or absence of them in many cases.
You are looking at the proposals, maybe you have 2 or 3 for comparison and the prices vary from dollar store pricing to more than double on another. What gives? As we dissect the proposal, we must consider known facts in each area of importance. The components which add up to the price come from the products used, the employees doing the treatments, the service infrastructure of the company, training, and the program itself. While there are certainly more, these represent the real meat that equates to what you are charged for a given treatment to your lawn in NH or VT.
All the products are the same; each company uses the same stuff and applies it at the same rate- comparing oranges against oranges- WRONG! Nothing could be further from the truth! This statement would be like saying 75% ground chuck is a great meat just like prime rib or a filet. Sure, they are both kinds of meat, but wow- you get the picture right?
Price and the real value of lawn applications
So how does this relate to lawn products? The large national companies like Trugreen utilize bulk manufactured, highly soluble, quick release fertilizer. The branches dotting the USA have no say in what they receive, they get product X- this is like everyone getting 1% milk. That’s it, no variation. Does this fertilizer work? Yes, but that is not the main point. The most important facts with this kind of fertilizer are each office/branch fills each truck at a set rate, so everyone gets a certain amount of actual fertilizer. It is set, like 87% octane- there is no changing it- so everyone gets the same generic mix. While this may be ok in some situations, your lawn likely needs either more fertilizer or less depending upon your grass types, shade vs. sun, and let’s not forget the weather. Speaking of the weather, this high soluble fertilizer is not good in the heat- so the amount of fertilizer added to the water is significantly reduced- yet you pay the same. Are you enjoying the value now? You have no idea what rate is applied, it is just mix X.
The price of your lawn treatment is based a great deal on the material to be used. What do you think you are going to get for $29.99? It is your lawn, not mine- your decison to make. My job is to educate and inform. The next important factor to consider is the applicator or employee- this includes the equipment used, the training, and applying the products themselves. You hire a professional lawn company to care for your grass because they are supposed to know how to apply these products correctly. In doing so, you receive the results you are looking for- otherwise, why not just do it yourself? In addition, your professional lawn company should be able to spot potential problems during a visit. Not every brown spot is drought or heat stress my friends. So let’s expand on this theme. The large chains hire dozens upon dozens upon dozens of new employee’s each year to meet the ever rotating staff. So what? Well, a few weeks of training on the road does not a lawn tech make, in fact, you probably have more experience yourself. To be fair, this is not to say that these branches or companies do not have seasoned, qualified staff- because they do. What I am saying is do you like to gamble? Your likelihood of having a qualified, experienced technician is slim- it is just statistics. If your lawn company is Trugreen- it has at least 50 field technicians, up to half or more usually have less than a few months experience to a year. So there is your value. Add up the total value of this service- the willing new employee, the material, and you get a $29.99 lawn treatment. If that makes you happy, dial the phone- and that brings me to the next point- no local representatives.
Part three of value, you have a question and need to call the office- your call will be forwarded to a call center out of state. A note will be entered, and each time there is a relay in information there is another person involved, another opportunity for a mistake or error. These is not fictitious- or make believe, this is fact. Who is your contact person? Who sold you the program? If you answer “A sales representative”, the big boys have a sales force like non-other. Most have no background or relevant experience in this business. Their job is to sell you the package, and sell it they will. More value lost. This is McDonalds of lawn care, would you like fries with your lime treatment?
As you have seen, there is a lot more behind the price than meets the eye. There is more, but I must stop here- the main points are made. Sure, we can talk about powered equipment that compact’s soil, tears up turf being operated incorrectly and so forth, but that is another post. I could expand upon other product differences beyond fertilizer like types of lime (calcium vs magnesium), or sea kelp. This is another story.
All turf or lawn companies are not created or run equally. Before you say yes or sign on the dotted line, consider the points I have made, regardless of who you chose this season because the price does reflect upon what you actually get. Believe someone who has first hand experience because information is power. Good luck!