The spring and summer air is sweet and the dandelions and weeds are delighted with your
garden. You can almost SEE your grass growing – and you just mowed it on Sunday! It’s time
to look for help with the seasonal demands of lawn care, but where do you start? If you don’t
have a willing teenager on hand or if trusted friends and neighbors don’t have suggestions,
consider these tips before you make your hiring decision:
MAKE SURE TO GET CURRENT REFERENCES. In our still-ailing economy, many people are
looking for part-time work and not all of them are equally capable. Rather than be moved by
the urge to help people out by giving them your business, ask politely but firmly for phone
numbers of those who have been pleased with their work.
KNOW WHO WILL BE DOING YOUR WORK. Some lawn care workers employ a number of
different people for their jobs. Make it a rule that you must meet and approve of anyone who
will be doing work on your property. Some communities require lawn services of any kind
to be licensed by the town or community. This can be some assurance of the validity of the
person you are about to hire.
ASK IF THEY HAVE INSURANCE. If they get injured on your property you could be facing a law
DON’T MAKE THIEVERY TEMPTING. Make sure that your lawn care workers have limited
access to your home and possessions. It’s best to be home yourself when the work is being
done, but when that’s not possible, make sure windows and doors are locked.
DEFINE LIMITS. Be clear about what tools and environments your workers can share. If you
want your garage, yard barn or pool to be off-limits, state that right away. Also, schedule
what days and hours are appropriate for performing yard work. Don’t leave it to the workers
to decide when they would like to come over!
KEEP WATCH ON YOUR CHILDREN AND OUTDOOR PETS. Kids and cats can get in the way of
workers’ trying to do an efficient job. The lawn care people aren’t there for child- or pet-care,
so make sure they don’t find themselves in that position. This is a safety measure for both
your family and your workers.
GET IT IN WRITING. Make a written contract with your lawn care service provider that
defines the duties, pay rate, terms of payment (same day/weekly/etc.), means of payment
(cash/ check, etc.) and any relevant restrictions or additions. For instance, you may need
lawn mowing every week but stump-pulling only one time—clarify what the pay will be for
irregular or unusual tasks as well as for maintenance. Have the contract signed by the person
responsible for the work, and by you.
If you can’t find what you need through personal connections, try Angie’s List at http:/
/www.angieslist.com/ This is an excellent referral service with recommendations (and
warnings) from real customers, not advertisers, but it requires a small fee to participate.
NOW YOU CAN GET GROWING!