How to Choose a Contractor

How To Choose A Lawn Service

Choosing a Landscape Management Professional is an important decision. By choosing a company that has received and trained their employees with the proper education, helps ensure that they have the tools needed to manage your landscape. They will be able to guide their customers through the different steps it takes to achieve positive results. Your landscape is a large investment. Don’t under estimate the damage that can be caused over a period of time by uneducated people that only concern themselves with cutting the grass rather than managing your landscape. You may want to consider the cost of replacing turf or plants that did not receive the proper care. Did we really save anything?     “Quality remains long after the price is forgotten”

 

Here Are Some Things To Consider…

Business Ethics – Choose lawn service contractors that are ethical. Ask them to see a certificate of insurance. The professionals will be happy to provide this important document. If employees are injured on your property and the company does not have the proper insurance in place, you the property owner, may be liable. A reputable company should also be able to provide the proper permits and occupational licenses that are required by law by the state or county.

Technical Skill – Your lawn service contractor should posses a good working knowledge of turf grass, plants, insect and disease problems, environmental laws, materials, supplies, equipment and methods to do a quality job. Ask what training they’ve had and what certifications they hold.

BMP CERTIFICATION REQUIRED BY 2014 – Here is the link to find if your contractor has the BMP Certification-http://fyn.ifas.ufl.edu/professionals/certification_lists/cert_county_name.shtml#St.%20Johns

Equipment – Your lawn service contractor should have the right equipment – and enough equipment for the job. Equipment appearance can tell you a lot…is it well maintained and are proper safety devices in place?

Business Know How – Sound business practices help assure you the business will be there for you over the long term. Good business management and fair prices are the cornerstone of a successful reliable lawn service contractor. Ask for customer references before you decide on any lawn service.

 

Other Considerations…

Security – Those maintaining your grounds will have access to your property. Even without interior access, they will become aware of your routines, your security precautions, when you are home and when you are away.

Landscape Management is a Complex Business – Competent professionals can stay current on the laws, regulations and technical advancements in the industry.

Avoid Misunderstandings – Contracts clarify responsibilities and obligations for both parties. You need to know exactly what services will be provided, how often, and what it will cost you. You need to know what services are considered basic and what services are extra. The what, when and how should be spelled out in writing (when and how it will be mowed, mowing height, type of mower, clippings, edging, weed control, mulching, pruning, clean up, pest control, etc.). Ask for a contract. It will protect you from misunderstandings later. Many residential contractors have a 30 day termination clause which is fair for both parties. Commercial contracts may have a 60 day termination clause that includes a grace period to allow the contractor to correct problems.

 

What’s Next?

Interview – Ask your prospective lawn service contractor about the things discussed here; licenses, certifications, insurance. Ask about education and training of supervisors and crew members. How many are Certified Landscape Maintenance Operators (CLMO)? Do employees attend special and/or in-house training programs? How long have they been in business (a brand new business may provide excellent service, but you want to ask in-depth questions about their technical and business know-how). How big is the business? The complexity of your property may require careful consideration of the size of the lawn maintenance firm.

References – Ask for references and take the time to check them out. Look at two or three properties maintained by the service…try to observe the crews working.

Trade Associations – Trade Associations work to improve the industry and are an indicator that a business is professional and conscientious. Is the business a member of one or more of the following? Landscape Management Association (LMA), Florida Turf grass Association (FTGA), Florida Nurserymen and Growers Association (FNGLA), Florida Pest Control Association (FPCA), or others such as PGMS, ALCA, PLACCA, and others.

To find a quality contractor in your county? – Go to Locate a Landscape Professional

Hurricane Irma’s Aftermath

Hurricane Irma’s high winds left thousands of toppled trees in its wake, and the recovery work related to Hurricane Harvey continues.  As employees in the tree care industry work to remove trees and debris in the recovery effort, they should be aware of the hidden dangers of downed power lines, wildlife, and the hazards of the equipment they are using.  OSHA knows safety will continue to be a priority, and we are here to help.  OSHA’s hurricanes and floods, and tree care industry online resources, and our toll free number (800-321-6742) are available 24 hours a day.

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Atlantic Coast Chapter

Any Questions or communication needed email our President:  Scott Reiter –  flimagelandscape@aol.com

or Director Ty Whitney: twhitney@thesenagroup.com

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Classes

UF/LMA On-Line Certification Class

2017 Registration To Be Announced Soon

Enroll in Landscape IPM: Ornamentals and Turf, and take your first steps toward getting a UF Pest Management Certificate or becoming LMA Certified! Classes to be announced soon!

A three credit/six week course will be offered starting June 2016 at the University of Florida (UF). The course is called “Landscape IPM: Ornamentals and Turf” and is course number IPM 4254. This course will be offered for UF credit and will be available for students that are enrolled at UF or for people outside UF that are interested in the material. UF will offer the course and it will be available 100% online. You must have computer and internet access to take this class. This course is for UF juniors and seniors and landscape and pest management supervisors and owners.

This course will be used as a measure for LMA Certification. The LMA will offer students who pass this class (with an A or a B) the opportunity to become LMA Certified without additional testing since they will be tested as part of the course. LMA will also provide a free membership to passing participants. In addition we offer scholarships to individuals that have passed and  have sent in their submission in to the LMA office. This course will also count towards a UF Certificate in Landscape Pest Management.

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