{this blog is written by Phil Argent, The Dyslexic Blogger - so there might be a few typos, a few bits that don't seem to make sense, but should be a general good read}

How to select a lawn care company

Today I went leaflet dropping, its something that I have to do every day - if I can - to keep business going. The thing about leaflets is its just a bit of brand awareness, its not the best sales tool in the world and to be honest its not going to tell you the potential customer what you will really get from the service you buy.

That leaflet is a way to getting one of many marketing actions working, I think I've come up with the assumption that it takes on average 3 leaflets, 1 or 2 occasions of seeing the van before anyone really locks the brand in and what the brand offers.

So, lets assume for the benefit of this blog that you have a demand for one of the services we offer, whether its Lawn Plan Basic, Lawn Plan Complete or Lawn Plan Renovation, or perhaps a new lawn. the one thing we do that all the others don't claim to do is "we work with grass". The others treat grass, kill weeds and do other treatments. But do they really understand the product they work with.

Working with grass

Working with grass is the job of a green keeper and its not an easy one, you have to consider how long it would take you to understand how to grow grass "successfully". What it takes and how many years you need to do it before you know how can be vast. Some people can say its easy. but the elements you have to consider are complex and not every lawn maintenance company will have the knowledge to understand - they won't have done there time. If the company your going to employ hasn't ever grown a lawn from seed, how do you think they know how to treat one.

The elements to growing a lawn successfully are listed below, and its worth saying that there is no exact order for carrying out each one:

  1. Correct lawn mowing
  2. Correct watering
  3. Correct feeding schedule
  4. Knowing when to mow and how short
  5. Knowing about the growth rate
  6. Knowing how the lawn will respond to a treatment
  7. Understand when a lawn needs aeration
  8. Making sure you only scarify a lawn when it really really needs it
  9. Understanding diseases (thats one word I really don't know how to spell)
  10. Knowing how a lawn will perform over a dry season/ wet season/ cold winter
  11. Understanding that moss is something you have to manage, you can't kill it
  12. How to over seed, less is more
  13. How to patch a lawn
  14. Know that ants are there for good
  15. Make sure you don't let a lawn burn out in summer (fine chance of that this year)
  16. Understand that cutting directions do need to change from time to time
  17. Know that a lawn will only get better or worst, and in some years it will fail completely for no obvious reason
  18. Understand what grass types work on what lawn
  19. Know that soil types make a difference
  20. Be able to communicate all of the above at the right time, so you the potential client doesn't make the lawn technical carry out the wrong task because you want it sorted fast.
  21. Nature is in control
  22. Understand that if you have a lawn you are just "a custodian' you don't own it

You can see that the list is vast, and therefore the experience you require to correctly look after lawns is not easily learnt and its not easy to share. The reason its hard to share it quickly is you have to live and breath the grass season for a year or 2 or more. The greenskeeper at Wimbledon has been there since 2013 but has year and years of knowledge. 

Did you know it take 15 months to grow one of the grass courts at Wimbledon.

You know more now:

So, you have established that your lawn company needs some knowledge, and therefore some experience of what they are doing. It shouldn't be a case of just put down a feed and spray. If thats the job for that time of year thats fine, but what happens if the lawn needs something a little more to grow it correctly?

Every lawn need either an experience lawn technician working on it or it needs someone who is working to a specific plan, that plan should be clear to you, and if its not you should ask of some information.

Its quite useful if you share information with the lawn company, its great to be sent photos and information from time to time about the lawn. If your lawn company is only coming to your lawn once every 12 weeks, (we do with some of our Lawn Plan Basic customers), its great if you share what you see happen when it doesn't look right. Its a sharing world these days with social media and you can tweet, post or blog what ever you see when you see it.

Building a annual plan:

Do keep in mind when you are selecting you lawn company, just give some thought to whether you need a one off service, pay as you go, or would it be better to set up a annual plan? after all one thing you should be able to understand now is no lawn is the same and no year is the same, so having a commitment to a company for the year will allow for both you and the lawn company to learn from each other.

Signing up:

You shouldn't "trial" a lawn company. Its a bad habit to trial every thing. It may be a good idea with a sport club, but growing something from scratch (no matter if its a renovation or new lawn) takes time and getting commitment on your part will give the lawn company a feeling of commitment to making it work. I'd also say I think its good to do that so you can get a "guaranteed service"

There you go, a few tips from me on how to select a lawn company, There is probably more to share but my brain feels like its pretty much got to a nice end.

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