Scams on home repair, remodeling, and lawn maintenance are a real threat to homeowners today. Recently in Kansas, a lawn care company scammed over $78,000 out of five elderly clients using high-pressure sales tactics and deliberate deception.
There are several ways you can protect yourself from scam artists running cons as a lawn care business. Here are a few tips from the certified professionals at Magnolia Lawn.
Word of Mouth
Come springtime, your mailbox will be flooded with brochures and advertisement cards for local lawn care services. While these are helpful, an elegant postcard isn’t a true indication of quality services. When it comes to finding the best businesses in your area, your best source of information is word-of-mouth.
Ask family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers about lawn care providers they use. How long did it take for them to decide on their provider? Do they feel they were given a fair price for services? Are their lawn technicians prompt to respond to questions, concerns, and regular maintenance? Overall, are they satisfied with their lawn services?
Most states require businesses to obtain an operating license and business insurance. When you are shopping for a lawn care provider, ask for this information. Verify with your local licensing authorities that the business license is up to date. Contact the insurance provider and verify the levels of coverage.
Business insurance is important because it protects the customer in the event an accident occurs on your property. Also, ask about professional licenses and certifications through nationally accredited associations. The Georgia Urban Ag Council is one such organization that ensures members are trained in the latest industry standards and safety.
You can usually verify these certifications on the phone or on the organization’s website.
In today’s digital age, most professional businesses do their advertising online via their own websites, social media, and email. Most of the people who sell door-to-door these days are either selling cookies, Bibles, or scams.
When the person at the door tries to sell you lawn care services, be wary. Ask how long they have been in operation. This can be verified with a business license check. If they do not have a business license and are less than a year old, chances are they are scam artists.
Ask them for a written estimate on company letterhead (not just a verbal quote) and a copy of their standard contract to review. If they can’t provide these things for you, consider a different company. An estimate will break down the cost of services, materials, and labor. Do some comparison shopping with other local businesses to get the best deal for the best services. Be wary of companies that ask for money up front before any contract has been signed or any work performed.
Finding reputable lawn care companies isn’t difficult, but taking the steps to ensure you’re hiring a qualified and experienced lawn service is worth a little extra time.