Hiring lawn care tips

We don’t have an enormous suburban yard–maybe a sixth of an acre all told–but we have a janky old mower and two adults who hate mowing and no edge trimmer; and my wife has said that she’d love me to look into a lawn service so we can take this off our plate.

I have no idea what to expect, though; and estimates I’ve read, like $100 a month for two mowings, seem pretty extravagant to me.

So if you were hiring a service just to mow and edge-trim, where would you start looking, and how would you evaluate services, other than cost?

Ask on local Facebook groups or Nextdoor. You will get some good recommendations, some people pimping themselves or their relatives, and maybe some parents or teens saying they can do it.

You’ll want to pick at least 3 to come over and do an estimate. Make sure you find out what their planned schedule would be for your yard and how much it costs.

Personally I would ideally want someone I can communicate with by text. My lawn is super lush and needs mowing more often than some others. I’d want to be able to text and say “hey can you come within the next 3 days? Looking awful shaggy” instead of being on a schedule. In the dead of summer you might not need it as much and mowing could hurt the grass.

A sixth of an acre is very small. I’d hope you can find someone that could squeeze you in on a moment’s notice.

Check Amazon for lawn mowing prices. https://www.amazon.com/Lawn-Mowing-Edging-Every-Weeks/dp/B06XBQ4PGL/

Mrs. Charming and Rested had an Odyssey finding a lawn care guy. Our yard is about twice your size. She got quotes from four contractors. Every one wanted to schedule recurring mows every two weeks on their schedule. If we wanted to schedule it every three weeks, it would cost more because the lawn will be taller and it’s harder to mow, according to them (WTF?). We went with the lowest bidder, $85 per mow. For one year, they mowed every two weeks religiously, whether we needed it or not. Every four weeks would have been fine because our yard is 75% covered with trees.

The next year, the contractor says he’d give us a 10% discount if we paid in advance for an annual contract that included 16 (I think) biweekly mows, so we chose that. Then he started deferring appointments. It was too rainy one week. The ground was still wet one week. Rain was forecast another week. They were behind schedule due to the last week’s rain. On average, he would show up roughly every three weeks, which was still more frequent than we needed it. He continued irregularly mowing our lawn well after the grass stopped growing, got covered in leaves, and went dormant for the year. We eventually got all of our mows, we think, but we didn’t need about a third of them. His prices for extras like edging and leaf cleanup were terrible.

The next year we got a quote on Amazon. $70 based on the size of our yard and, I think, $10 extra for edging. We can schedule it whenever we need it for the same price and they just send whatever licensed landscaper accepts the bid. After four or five times, we realize the same crew keeps showing up. We hired them directly for $50 per mow and they do the edging for free from time to time. We still schedule it whenever we need it and everyone is happy. They do a pretty good job although sometimes they forget to latch the gate.

As for evaluating the services, the lawn ought to look tidy and even, with no big ruts. It helps if they keep the weeds under control (our guys don’t unless we ask and they charge extra).

Ask your neighbors if they use someone or a service. You may be able to get a group discount if several of you use the same service. Years ago when I lived in a large neighborhood, there were 5 of us on the same block that used the same lawn service. They gave us all a considerable discount, since they could do all of our homes without driving to the next neighborhood.