Let’s face it — many homeowners don’t have the time, tools, or energy to keep up with their lawn throughout the summer. To keep your yard looking green and healthy throughout the summer, you’ve got to mow, weed, trim, fertilize, and more every week.
Hiring a landscaper should help take the pressure off you as a homeowner by keeping your lawn and outdoor living space healthy and beautiful.
But not all landscapers are created equal, and not all are going to meet your expectations. You don’t want to waste time, energy, or money by investing in a landscaping professional who isn’t meeting the agreed-upon expectations of your partnership.
But how do you know when it’s time to kick your landscaper to the curb? That depends on what you hire your landscaper to do.
What Does a Landscaper Do?
Some landscape companies offer services as simple and straightforward as mowing your lawn every week. Other professional landscapers offer specialized expertise to help plan, cultivate, construct, and maintain your outdoor living space.
On the more basic end of the spectrum, a residential landscaper can:
- Mow the lawn
- Trim weeds, hedges, and trees
- Fertilize your grass and plants
On the higher end of the spectrum, an expert landscaper can help plan, construct and/or plant flowerbeds, gardens, trees, shrubs, and other features that will raise the value of your property.
A professional landscaper will also have firsthand knowledge of the types of plants that are easy to mix together in one setting. For example, placing plants that have different watering needs too closely together can cause one to drown from over-watering (or the other to die from under-watering).
A higher-end local landscaper should also possess a working knowledge of the plants and flowers that flourish in your area, so you don’t plant anything that won’t thrive in the local climate. And some professional landscapers can assist in planning outdoor lighting, patios, decks and walkways.
Red Flags to Look for in a Basic Landscaper
Just like any industry, no two landscaping companies are alike. And depending on what you’re hiring a landscaper for, there are different signs to look for that say, “It’s time to fire your landscaper.”
Here are red flags to look for when hiring a professional landscaper for basic mowing and trimming services — and signs it may be time to find a new option.
1. They’re Uncommunicative or Unreliable
If your landscaper is scheduled to mow your lawn every week, routinely missing their appointments is a red flag — especially if they don’t communicate with you about the reason.
Your landscaper’s routine will likely be delayed by things like holidays, or if it rained the night before they’re scheduled to show up (as mowing your lawn when it’s wet can damage it).
Wet grass tends to bend over, causing the mower to miss the blades. And wet grass cuts less cleanly, causing larger clippings which can clump together and block up a mower’s deck.
Whatever the reason, your landscaper needs to communicate with you if their appointment date or time is going to change, and make sure this change is alright by you, the homeowner. If they’re a routine no-show, it’s time to find a more reliable company.
2. Your Yard Doesn’t Look Like You Want It To
If you’re paying for professional lawn care service, your lawn should look like it!
A good lawn care professional will be able to keep you up-to-date on the progress of your lawn, and give you an explanation if there are any problems areas, while telling you what they plan to do to fix the issue.
For example, if after your landscaper mows your lawn it looks thin and yellowish instead of thick, green, and healthy, they may have cut your lawn too short. Sometimes a “scalped” lawn can be caused by a crooked or dull blade — but sometimes it’s a sign they’re inexperienced.
If you speak to your landscaper about your concerns and you see no improvement, this is a good sign they’re inexperienced and it’s time to move on.
3. They Have Bad Customer Reviews
If you have consistent issues with your lawn care service, it’s possible you aren’t alone. Try looking up your lawn care company on review sites like Yelp or Facebook and see what past and current customers say about their experience.
Even the best companies will get a few bad reviews, so pay close attention to how the company handles any negative feedback. Did they respond at all? If so, did they offer solutions and resolve the issue?
4. They Spilled Gas, Fertilizer, or Weed Killer on Your Lawn
We all make mistakes, even professionals. But if your landscaper kills a spot in your lawn by spilling a toxic chemical and doesn’t fix the issue with new sod or by having it reseeded in a week or so, it’s time to say goodbye.
How to Pick the Right Landscaper for a Big-Scale Outdoor Project
Hiring a landscaper to help you revamp your yard or property comes with a different set of red flags to watch out for.
Any basic landscaping company can handle mowing and trimming your lawn adequately and affordably. When you hire a high-end professional landscaper, you’re not just paying for manual labor, but for their specialized expertise.
This type of project requires a much bigger budget and planning process. As such, it’s important to find a landscaper who has the experience and expertise to complete your project on-time, on-budget, and provide the dream yard or outdoor living upgrade you’re looking for.
1. Hire Smart
Keep yourself from having to fire an unprofessional landscaper by not hiring one in the first place!
Similar to hiring for basic mowing and maintenance, be sure to do your homework before hiring a landscaper to handle your project. Look into reviews from past customers, ask to see credentials, and be sure to ask for a written quote or contract for the project.
The following behaviors may be a sign your landscaper doesn’t have the experience or credentials to make them a reliable choice:
- Won’t show you their business license, proof of insurance or that they are bonded (if required by your state)
- Doesn’t provide a written quote or contract
- Asks for more than 50% of the total cost up front
- Won’t file necessary permits (or asks you to manage the permit process)
- Gives a low-ball estimate that’s far from competitor estimates
- Requests payment to their personal name, not their business
- Will only accept cash
- Won’t share any client referrals
- Uses high-pressure sales techniques to get your business
2. Look for Red Flags
Once you’ve chosen your landscaper and signed a contract, there are some red flags to keep an eye on as your project progresses.
Be wary of a landscaping professional who:
- Ignores or fails to follow your agreed-upon budget
- Consistently arrives late or fails to show up
- Is non-communicative and won’t solve problems or answer questions
- Displays dangerous or inappropriate behavior
If you struggle with any (or many) of these behaviors, you can terminate your partnership by outlining the ways your landscaper has broken your professional legal agreement. That’s why it’s critical to always have your landscaper sign a legal contract before hiring them on!
We Take Great Care of Lawns
For more than 20 years, GSC has been Boulder homeowners’ top choice in lawn care services. Our company has the knowledge and professional staff to get the job done right the first time.
We provide the following basic lawn care services in Boulder County on a one-time or weekly/bi-weekly basis for home owners, property managers, and facility managers:
- Trimming & Edging
- Weeding & Small Branch Cleanup
- Trimming Bushes & Small Trees
- Raking Leaves and/or Blowing Sidewalks
- Spring & Fall Cleanups
Ready to make your yard the envy of everyone in the neighborhood? Request a lawn care quote today >