In these economically uncertain times, everyone is always looking for that really great deal. The ongoing hunt for the ideal gardener for landscape maintenance is no exception. The services offered by different gardeners vary greatly and the lowest price doesn’t always mean the best deal. Value and peace of mind, as well as price, are important factors to consider when selecting a gardener.
The value of a gardener is ultimately determined by the overall day to day appearance of the yard he maintains. When interviewing potential gardeners, ask what he will do for you each month (i.e.: mow, blow, prune, fertilize, etc.) Good communication is very important. Make sure you tell your gardener what services you expect to be done each month. Remember, it takes more time to provide full service than it does to just “mow and blow” each week, so expect to pay more for complete care.
It’s helpful if your gardener has a general knowledge of horticulture, pesticides, weed control, fertilizing and sprinkler system and timer repair. Without this knowledge and experience, mistakes are more likely to occur. Doing a little questioning at the point of hire could save some big disappointments (or disasters) down the road.
Peace of mind is another important factor. Ask your potential gardener if he carries his own liability insurance and Workers’ Compensation insurance if he has employees. Never assume he does. Whatever happens on your property is your responsibility unless your gardener has his own insurance to fall back on. Keep in mind that this bit of “peace of mind” also adds to your gardener’s monthly cost of doing business, but it may pay for itself down the road.
Now that you have found out what he’s going to do for you each month, you are ready to ask him what he will charge. When making your decision, remember that value and peace of mind don’t come without expense. Expect to pay more for a full service gardener than for one who will fly through each week (or possibly not come at all). The saying, “you get what you pay for” certainly holds true in the maintenance field.