AUSTIN (KXAN) - For those that lack a green thumb, hiring a lawn care service or landscaper can ease the burden of beautifying your own yard.
However, the Better Business Bureau advises consumers to get clear, written expectations for what services the company will provide, and agree on a fee before work starts. Otherwise, dreams of a green wonderland could quickly turn into a brown wasteland.
In the past 12 months, Austin's BBB received over 150 complaints against landscaping and lawn maintenance contractors. Many of the complaints claim dissatisfaction with the services provided and companies not performing the agreed upon duties. Other complaints allege problems with billing.
BBB offers the following advice to help consumers find a lawn care company they can trust:
- Know what you want from a lawn service. Lawn care companies provide many services, so it is important to decide what services and products are appropriate for your needs and budget.
- Find a trustworthy company. Check out any company's BBB Business Review at centraltx.bbb.org to see important background on the business, such as how long they've been in business, ownership information and how they resolve complaints. For an online directory of Accredited Businesses visit checkbbb.org .
- Check references. Ask the company for references and photos of previously completed projects. Call all references and ask what their experience was working with the company and if they were satisfied with the services provided.
- Ask for a lawn inspection and free estimate. Lawn care companies that quote a price without seeing your lawn may not give you an accurate estimate. A company should be willing to visit your home to provide you with an agreed upon fee.
- Get a written agreement. A contract should clearly state the services you will receive, guarantees and refund policies, as well as how and when payment will be handled. If you are using a recurring service, the contract should also include how often the company will come out to work on your lawn, how to cancel the service and a schedule for when payments are due.
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