You probably haven’t thought about it much, but did you know there are actually 4 different types of lawn care service companies? Depending on your needs and budget, you may only use one or two but it’s important to understand who to call to get what you need.
The 4 Types Of Lawn Care Service
Within the residential lawn care business, you generally have four types of lawn service:
- Lawn Maintenance
- Fertilization & Weed/Pest Control
As a general rule, each of these categories is a business unto itself. Among smaller companies it’s rare to see a lawn maintenance company that also does good fertilization. Or you may find a good fertilization company, but they don’t do landscaping, and so on.
Some larger companies are able to perform more than one service at a high level, but even then they usually perform one service better than all others.
Lawn maintenance consists of maintaining the week to week basic physical needs of your lawn. Common maintenance tasks include:
- Mowing (includes edging, trimming, and general clean up)
- Small and medium shrub trimming & pruning
- Mulch installation
- Leaf clean Up
- Hand weeding
- Small tree pruning
- Aeration (optional)
Commercial Or Residential
These tasks need to be completed on commercial and residential property on a constant basis and within the lawn maintenance niche some companies may strictly perform commercial maintenance or, like Lawnshavers, may be focused squarely on residential service.
For most lawns in the Cumming, GA area, the growing season is approximately March Through November, with March and November both requiring less than weekly mowing. Additional tasks such as leaf clean up and pruning can be completed over the winter months. If you have a lawn with cool-season grass, you will need additional maintenance through the winter.
All maintenance crews use the same general tools. One ore more lawnmowers of various sizes, string trimmers (weedeaters), and edger, leaf blowers, and various hand tools and smaller equipment. For more efficient operations, trucks outfitted for maintenance will generally consist of a specially modified bed designed to hold all of the equipment. Many operations may also utilize open and enclosed trailers to store and haul equipment.
While general lawn care may not seem like it requires much skill, truly professional lawn maintenance providers must know proper mowing and trimming technique and know how to prune various shrubs and decorative plants. Most maintenance companies do minimal if any installations, but GA requires a license if you are selling or distributing live plants as a “landscaper.”
Lawnshavers falls squarely in this category. In fact, we even specialize in particular types of lawns within the lawn maintenance category.
Fertilization and Weed Control
Fertilzation and weed control consists of keeping your lawn and landscape healthy and thriving. The primary applications include:
- Periodic fertilization applications
- Pre-emergent weed control applications
- Identifying disease and pests
- Miscellaneous pest control
Commercial Or Residential
Like maintenance companies, fertilization and weed control companies often serve commercial and/or residential accounts with some companies focusing on one or the other.
Fertilizaton and weed control applications occur throughout the year at periodic intervals based on your grass and plant types.
One of the reasons lawn maintenance and fertilization don’t go hand in hand is because fertilization requires it’s own setup separate from a a maintenance rig. For smaller operations, it’s simply not practical to own a fertilization equiped vehicle and only use it periodically throughout the year. It’s much easier for a company to specialize in one or the other and then refer other quality service providers to their customers.
The second reason maintenance and fertilization companies are separated is simply due to the knowledge required for each. Chemical application requires the company to be licensed as a pest control contractor and spray technicians require very specific training on the needs of ornamental plants and turf. Applicators must also require specific knowledge about various pesticides and their affect on plants, animals, and humans.
As a lawn maintenance company, Lawnshavers does not currently offer fertilization and weed control, but we will happily refer you to a competent company that can. We do plan on offering fertilization and irrigation services in the future.
Irrigation Service & Maintenance
Irrigation service includes the installation and/or maintenance of your irrigation system (generally sprinklers). Common tasks include:
- Installation of complete watering systems
- Maintenance of watering system
- Irrigation repair
Commercial Or Residential
Like other services, both commercial and residential customers require service, though less specialization occurs. Many commercial outfits have their own onsite repairmen as well.
Sprinkler and irrigation needs occur year round with both repairs rising with use in the spring and summer. Installs can be completed year round, weather permitting.
Like maintenance and fertilization, irrigation service is best served with it’s own vehicle setup. A irrigation technician needs tools and supplies on hand to complete their work.
Knowledge of irrigation, plumbing, and Low Voltage Electrician’s License.
Lawnshavers does not currently offer irrigation installation or repair, but we plan to in the future. We will happily refer you to an irrigation professional if needed.
Landscaping consists of anything that would change the overall appearance of your yard and goes hand in hand with hardscaping. Landscapers handle:
- Landscape Design
- Landscape Installation
Commercial Or Residential
Again, landscapers and hardscapers can do both and often specialize in one or the other.
Most landscaping work occurs during the growing season when weather is nice, but some projects can be completed in the winter. It also depends on the company. Hardscaping projects, such as water features and patios, may be more common, but irrigation and new plants projects can be done. Obviously winter weather may affect any planned winter projects.
Equipment needs vary based on the type of landscaping work being done and the varied equipment needs are another reason you see some lawn maintenance companies who don’t specialize in landscaping. Dump trucks, large trailers, and even heavy machines like back hoes or skid-steers be required for many landscaping projects.
Many landscapers and hardscapers will need a contractor’s license to stay above board with the state. Knowledge of equipment, plant life cycles, plant needs, erosion control, and ability to manage large projects and crews are needed.
Many landcapers may have lawn maintenance divisions as well though some don’t and those that do tend to cater toward commercial accounts.
Lawnshavers does not provide large landscaping projects. We will happily refer you to a landscape company if needed.
Choosing A Service Provider
Sometimes you will see a lawn maintenance company that also provides fertilization or vice versa. At a certain size, a company can afford to outfit multiple trucks and will have a customer base that can support both services. However, it is still common for them to be more proficient at one than the other, at least in the early stages of such an effort.
When in doubt, hire a specialist for each type of project you need. Many lawn companies say they “do it all” when in fact they simply do not have the equipment, skill, or people to adequately do the job in question. Less than 10% of lawn care companies are truly large enough to be able to adequately serve multiple types of clients. Often this is because they are trying to do too much.
Hire Separate Companies To Minimize Your Overall Concerns
Unless you know your company has dedicated people to serve each individual sector of the lawn care industry, hire a lawn maintenance company to handle your grass and shrubs, hire a fertilization company to make your grass as green as you want, hire an irrigation company to manage your sprinklers, and hire a landscaping company if you want to redesign your landscape.
You will be better served and ultimately happier for it.
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