You would think that when you hire a lawn care service to fertilize and spray your weeds that you are hiring an expert and that they will only do what will improve your grass and not make it worse, especially when you hire a company with a well known name and fancy trucks and marketing materials. The salesmen tells you how they care for every lawn and spoon feed them ambrosia from the gods. They promise to turn your lawn neon green and eradicate all problems. For those of you who have experience in hiring a lawn service you may unfortunately be able to relate to this all to well. There are several interesting pieces of information that I would like to share with the consumer that I know from being on the inside. While many larger companies have great marketing, good salesmen and fancy trucks covered in graphics making them look like they can do the job, all to often they cannot deliver. I will list several problems that cause their service to be less then adequate in a "tell all".
Many major companies are only about profit margin. There is nothing wrong with profit, after all that's why were all in business. However when it starts to bring down service and affect customer satisfaction your going to far. In the field the majority of the technicians that I speak with working for major companies have one year or less of experience. The training they receive is just enough to allow them to spread fertilizer and spray weeds. However, they do not understand the finer points of lawn care, the little tricks, tips and plant cycles that allow you to better control weeds and create a much healthier lawn. It is important for your technician to understand different soil types and conditions, life cycles of plants and insects, insect and plant identification, disease and disease identification, different grasses and what conditions they grow best under, proper horticultural practices, fertilizers, chemicals, when it is best to apply them and why. Now I bet you would agree that if your paying forty dollars a month for someone to come to your lawn and apply chemicals you expect to have an expert on your lawn looking out for potential problems and communicating with you about them and being able to use their knowledge to make recommendations. And I also bet you would wonder why these large companies don't have employees that have this knowledge or why they don't train them to. The answer is simple they see momentary profit. The quicker you can't send someone out there to spread fertilizer and spray weeds by themselves, the quicker they are hanging bills on doors. It is more costly to train employees really, really well. The other reason is within these companies there are a shortage of knowledgeable individuals. They may have one or two within an office that are knowledgeable. The problem is they are not the ones on your lawn. They are managers with a fleet of trucks out treating lawns. They have several thousand residential lawns they care for and do not have the time to be out monitoring your lawn. Unfortunately by the time they come out and look your lawn usually already has major problems and they are just playing clean up. Another problem is that even if the technician was fairly knowledgeable they end up not even having time to see or diagnose a problem until it is a big problem. Why would this be? It's because the major companies admit it or not pay the employees for speed not quality. They are generally expected to hang a bill on thirty doors per day and if they do not are forced to work on the weekend. Now you can imagine if you are rushing around driving house to house and you need to complete thirty lawns per day you don't really have more than five minutes to spend at each average size residential lawn. How much attention to detail and customer communication can you really take the time to do. Employees do not want to work Saturday after working all week in the heat so they do what it takes to hurry up and finish any way they can. The technicians are also paid more for doing more lawns per day. This encourages cutting corners, while there is no incentive for low customer turnover or other measures of quality. The employees are so busy rushing around from day one that they never have time to be taught the appropriate knowledge.
You may ask why does it really matter if the guy throwing fertilizer and spraying my weeds is really that knowledgeable. Well it is important that they number one have the knowledge and number two really care and take pride in their work. An example would be brown patch, which is a lawn disease caused by fungi spores in your soil when they become active. The ability to identify this is important because it affects they way you should treat a lawn. If someone does not recognize it and goes ahead as normal and puts high nitrogen fertilizer on the lawn, the brown patch can go crazy accelerate and either kill a large portion of your lawn or make it look dead. You should also avoid excess herbicide application under this circumstance. I cannot tell you how many technicians and companies either do not know how to identify it, or do not care and are more interested in hanging a bill on the door than taking a risk of not being able to bill you and suggesting another course of action.
Two technicians could be given access to the same chemicals at the same mix rates and be given two identical lawns and the one taken care of by the more knowledgeable individual will almost undoubtedly look better over time.
It is important when deciding which company to use to pick the brain of the salesmen who is selling you the service or the technician caring for your lawn. See how coherent their answers are and whether or not they seem confident in there information and can give you more complete answers. You may even want to double check them, just to make sure that you are getting what you are paying for, which is to have a professional on your lawn.
If you live in Saint Louis or Saint Charles Counties and want to find out what it's like to have one knowledgeable professional care for your lawn from start to finish you can call me at (636) 439-0808, or visit my website at www.theturftrainer.com and I will be happy to answer your questions and provide you with a free estimate and lawn analysis. Thank you and good luck with your lawn.
- The Turf Trainer
- I am a state certified certified applicator and have worked on over 1,000 lawns in the Saint Louis Area. I enjoy fixing lawns and keeping them in shape. My company the Turf Trainer LLC. offers customized lawn health packages to customers in Saint Louis and Saint Charles Counties.