If you’re looking for professional lawn care services in Bergen County, NJ, you should be aware that all lawn professionals are not the same. Not only do they vary in price, they also vary in the quality of work and lawn care services they provide. Before you hire a professional landscape company, it’s important to go through a process to make sure you find the best one for your property needs.
Where To Start
First, you want to make sure that you hire a qualified landscape company with professional experience, knowledge and skills to handle the job. The best way to do that is with some upfront research to find out important information about the company. By researching first, you will find lawn professionals who appear extremely qualified and those who don’t. Here are some research tips:
- Do An Online Search – Most established companies have a website that’s used as a marketing tool and a reference site for new business. Take a look at the company’s website and gather helpful information such as the services offered, work experience, professional qualifications, job photos and client testimonials.
- Get Referrals –A company’s name and reputation get around quickly, especially in the service areas where they do business. Talk to your neighbors to see who they use, and get referrals from friends and family members in your area. When you talk to different lawn professionals, ask them for referrals from previous or current clients.
- Visit the premises – Some lawn professionals have an office, showroom or nursery that’s open to the public. If that’s the case, stop by for a visit to get a feel for the company’s work and services they provide. It’s a good opportunity to meet people who may be helping with your lawn care and maintenance.
Schedule A Consultation
Once you finish your research, narrow down your choices to two or three landscape companies that seem to be the best qualified for your needs. Schedule a consultation with each one at your home to discuss your lawn care needs and ask important questions. This will give you an opportunity to meet them in person and talk about their services. It will give the lawn professionals an opportunity to see your property location, size, terrain and discuss any lawn care problems you may have. Here are some important questions you’ll want answers to:
Find Out About the Company
To find the best landscaping company that fits your long-term yard service needs, you should ask important questions that will give you better insight into the company’s professional knowledge, experience and skill levels within the landscape industry.
How long have you been in business?
The length of time a company has been in business is a good indicator of successful experience. A company that’s been in business more that ten years is established and a company that’s been around more than 20 years is clearly providing skilled, quality services with satisfied clients.
How large is your company?
A larger company usually has bigger crews and staff employees to handle work loads and service issues. Make sure that lawn professionals have the ability to handle all of your property needs, both large and small.
What are your professional qualifications?
You should qualify the company’s professional background. Often, professional landscaping companies are owned and operated by someone with a background in landscape architecture or an extensive knowledge of horticulture, but the qualifications of lawn professionals can vary extensively.
Are you licensed and insured?
Qualified landscaping companies should be professionally licensed and insured to provide professional services. They should have a current business license and liability insurance that covers any unexpected damages to your property, as well as workman’s compensation insurance that protects their workers in case of injury on your property.
What areas do you service?
Find out what areas the company services. If you’re dealing with a local Bergen County landscaping company, they probably have an established reputation in the area. If they have been providing yard service in your area for a while, it should be easy to get credible feedback or referrals from neighbors and homeowners in the area.
Do you belong to any professional affiliations?
Professional affiliations are an important part of a company’s credibility. Lawn professionals who belong to trade organizations are serious about their work and participate in educational seminars and professional meetings dedicated to lawn care. Ask if they belong to some of the better national or Northern NJ organizations that promote horticulture education and safe, ethical business practices.
- Professional Landscape Network (PLANET)
- New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association
- Builders & Remodelers Association of NJ
- American Society of Landscape Architects
- Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program
Find Out About The Services
Since services can vary from one company to the next, ask each one about the basic lawn care services they provide. This gives you a good way to compare each company’s services before you make your final choice. If there’s a lot of variance in services provided, ask why so you fully understand what you’re getting.
What lawn care services do you provide?
Professional lawn care typically includes basic services and and maintenance for your property. Basic services usually include:
- Regular weekly lawn mowing
- Regular weed prevention and control
- Regular border edging for sidewalks, walkways and driveways
- Regular cleaning of hard surfaces like sidewalks, walkways and driveways
- Spring yard cleanup to remove dead winter growth and debris
- Fall yard cleanup to remove overgrowth and preparation for winter
Additional lawn services often include:
- New planting and foliage
- Lawn renovations
- Tree and shrub pruning
- Irrigation repairs
- Garden design
- Organic lawn care
Do you offer organic lawn care?
Organic lawn care is a great way to provide a safe, healthy, chemical-free environment for your family and pets. It promotes a green lifestyle that protects the environment from toxic fumes and harmful chemicals that get spilled into the earth’s atmosphere from traditional, over-the-counter fertilizers and pesticides used for yard service by many professional lawn service providers.
Organic lawn care promotes strong root growth for your trees, grass and plants. It helps to naturally control thatch growth by improving soil conditions. Custom mixtures of organic nutrients promote healthy plants and add resistance to most problems caused by insects and diseases that can create an unhealthy and unsightly lawn.
Do you offer a pest maintenance program?
All lawns are subject to disease, especially when they are malnourished and ill-maintained. Most lawn diseases are caused by some type of fungi that invades grass blades and topsoil layers. Fungal spores can be spread by wind, rain, insects, contaminated soil and people walking around on the grass when it’s wet.
In addition to fungal and bacterial diseases, your lawn can also suffer damage from a variety of insects like grubs, snails, chinch bugs and beetles who love to feed on plants and trees. If you live in a more rural area or have a wooded property, you may find various kinds of wildlife like skunks, racoons, rabbits, gophers, moles and voles, and different birds that can cause extensive damage to your lawn, shrubs and trees, especially fruit trees that provide tasty treats for wildlife and insects.
Do you provide any additional services?
In addition to basic lawn care and maintenance, many licensed landscape contractors and lawn professionals provide other valuable services for your home.
- Landscape Design – Creating a new layout and landscape design for your home. This may include new trees and plants, an outdoor garden design, outdoor walkways, pathways, patios and seating areas and special outdoor features.
- Property Grading and Re-sloping – Providing grading or re-sloping service to build a swimming pool, outdoor patio or terrace and new garden areas.
- Land Clearing and Cleanup – Providing land clearing, hauling and cleanup of seasonal debris such as fallen limbs, dead shrubs and excess leaves.
- Landscape Lighting – Installing landscape lighting that includes a variety of outdoor spots, accents lights, pathway lights and motion detection lighting for added security.
- Design/Build Services – Designing, building and installing a variety of specialty outdoor features for your home that add beauty and increase property value. Special outdoor features include:
- Swimming pools
- Spas and hot tubs
- Patios and terraces
- Outdoor fountains and waterfalls
- In-ground ponds
- Pathways, walkways and driveways
- Outdoor fireplaces and fire pits
- Fully-equipped outdoor kitchens
What Services Do You Need?
As you go through the process of finding a qualified landscape company, you also need to think about your lawn care goals and special wants or needs for your Bergen County home. This will help you to accomplish your goals and end up with the best lawn care professional that can handle your needs. Here are some things to consider:
- Is your existing landscape in good condition?
- Does your yard have brown spots, bare patches or dead grass?
- Does your yard have a lot of weeds?
- Does your property contain overgrown trees, shrubs and brush?
- Does your landscape provide adequate privacy and security for your home?
- Do you want to re-design the layout or look of your existing landscape?
- Do you want to add more color to your existing landscape?
- Do you want to add special outdoor features like an outdoor kitchen, pool or spa?
If your long-term goals include a new patio, swimming pool, outdoor kitchen, outdoor water features, outdoor fireplace or fire pit, landscape lighting, fencing or retaining walls or any other design/build features, make sure you hire a qualified, licensed landscape contractor who’s skilled and equipped to handle these types of projects. Hiring lawn professionals who have expertise in a variety of lawn care services will offer many advantages for your long-term goals.
Discuss your budget openly so they can help you understand the landscape possibilities within your budget. The contractor will be able to take a good look around your property, make suggestions for ideas and services and give you lawn care costs estimates. Before making a final decision, it’s a good idea to get at least three estimates to compare services and prices.
Find Out About The Costs?
Professional lawn care services can vary based on your location, property size, terrain and the services you need for your home. It’s important to discuss your immediate and long-term needs and wants with lawn professionals, so they can give you an accurate assessment of costs. If you get prices from several landscaping companies, make sure you discuss the same information with each company for accurate price comparisons. Discuss your budget concerns and cost concerns to make sure the company you hire is aware of any budget restrictions or special circumstances that may affect overall costs.
Whether your landscaping needs are small or large, ask your contractor to break down the estimate so it’s easier to understand with separate prices for materials, labor and installation. If your needs require multiple projects, you can get a separate estimate for each project with the same breakdown. This will make your lawn care cost estimates easier to understand and compare.
- Materials – Depending on the work you’re doing, materials can include new sod or seed, plants and flowers, mulch, fertilizer, soil, nutrients and bark chips. If you’re building something, materials will include any and all materials necessary to complete the project. Landscaping price estimates can vary greatly based on the building materials you choose.
- Labor – Labor costs include the cost for necessary time to complete the work. Labor costs can be quoted in hourly charges per worker or a lump sum charge for the entire job. If your estimate is based on hourly charges per worker, make sure you know how many workers and the required total hours necessary to complete the job.
- Installation – Sometimes estimates lump labor and installation charges together, but separate them if possible. There may be additional charges for installation that have nothing to do with labor costs.