In my first post, I covered some initial points to consider while researching lawn care companies. Ease of communication ranks high and provides vital comfort for ease of asking questions, changing your program, or if a problem/question arises. While anyone can call me directly on my cell phone or e-mail me directly 24/7, you will not find this in other companies. On the contrary, you will be forced to call an out of state call center out or a leave a message due to “standard business hours”. Being forced to wait for an answer or return call is tough if you have a serious disease or insect problem. Fortunately, the world of business is changing and those who do not provide the highest level of communication will be left to slowly whither on the vine.
I explored the need to do a little home work first, researching a few companies by asking for referrals, or checking out the existence of a website or blog. Determine the level of transparency such as a “face book” fan page and the ability to review current or future client comments online. Communication is very important and the more ways that exist- the easier you can communicate with your lawn care provider, the more enjoyable and comfortable the relationship will be- leading to a long lasting, satisfying experience.
So what is next? The program! Who made it? In most cases, the actual program will be a cookie cutter, generic printout faxed by a corporate center on the other side of the United States. That’s not all; this program will specify certain rates of fertilizer or other products over the course of the year be it here in New England or Colorado regardless of the regional weather conditions and more importantly the unique characteristics of your lawn and microclimate. Believe me, this does matter- this is big, real big. When the trucks roll and have a “batch” of pre-mixed chemicals, the rate of fertilizer is set and cannot be changed- period. So what? What if you just signed up for service and your lawn needs a higher rate than what is in the truck? What if your lawn is shaded and it does not need as much fertilizer? Too bad, when the spray truck pulls up to the curb- you get X, the mix of the day- preset and unchangeable! Perhaps you are beginning to see how this will not, cannot provide the kind of results like a custom program.
When I made my own program, I called it ETC (Essential Turf Care). I began by researching hundreds of products and picked out dozens of products to stock my kitchen from natural, organic, and traditional materials based on my 24yrs in the business. On the other hand, the large companies tell their branch offices what type of fertilizer goes down and at what rate from an out of state corporate office. Who would you prefer to place your trust in- the employee who is at your property or a glassy building in the Midwest? It gets worse. Many of the “technicians” who do the work often have less field experience than you do! That’s right, the big boys need so many employees, they must hire literally dozens upon dozens each year. I know from first hand experience, I did the recruiting. While these folks may have a fresh state license and the proper certification, being book smart and field trained are two entirely different worlds! Chances are, you have a high probability of having your lawn treated by someone who has never treated lawns before- how does that make you feel? Do you want the experienced veteran electrician or the green apprentice? Think about this for a moment. What do you really think you are getting with that bargain basement price of X? In many circumstances, you are better off trying it yourself and may well have more experience than any of the “technicians” who are spraying solutions on your property. Most of the time, they did not even fill their own truck with mystery mix A or B- it is done for them. Wow! How do you feel now? Enlightened I hope! I speak from experience, this is the real deal. This is high volume, one size fits all lawn care where the number of lawns treated in a day (production dollars) outweighs the results and substance. Simply put, this type of lawn treatment is old school and continues to decline for obvious reasons.
To summarize, if you want a generic, non-specific, unchangeable, one size fits all lawn program sprayed onto your property, call 1-800 I am a lemming! Break the trend this spring, you can get so much more in terms of results and experience, not to mention caring for the environment and still have a healthy lawn! Every service you buy, you are making a choice and supporting either your local economy- or a glassy corporate building in the Midwest. What will it be? Are you willing to at least explore a different option?
If this information does not move you, wait for part 3!