On the inside, we all think we can do just about anything we put our minds to. In reality, there are just some things best left to the professionals.
That brings us to lawn service. Should you hire a professional lawn service or do it yourself? There are fair arguments on both sides of the spectrum, and we’ll cover all the key ones to help you decide if DIY lawn care is something you should consider.
Benefits of Hiring a Professional Lawn Care Service
It may be a strike against your pride as a renowned DIYer, but there are key benefits to allowing a professional to come in and handle your lawn care.
Professional lawn care companies have years of experience managing various types of turf. Whatever is going on with your lawn, they’ve likely seen it and know just what it needs.
This knowledge may result in quicker improvement in your lawn. So, if you have severe lawn damage that needs immediate results, a professional may be your best option.
Plus, some professionals even guarantee their work, so you’re not out any money if their services don’t do the trick.
Probably the biggest benefit of hiring a professional is convenience. While the professionals handle your mowing, fertilizing, weeding, and other tedious lawn tasks, you can tackle other things around the house.
Plus, if you work a job with flexible hours or an on-demand side gig, like an Uber drive or a freelancer, you can use the time you save to earn extra cash to cover the service’s cost and still have a little spending cash.
To determine if you can create positive cash flow by working while the pros handle your lawn, simply multiply your average hourly rate by the number of hours you estimate spending on DIY lawn care. If the resulting number is higher than what you’d pay a professional lawn care company, it’s likely worthwhile to hire a pro.
There are some lawn products the government regulates heavily and limits to only professional use. These are often far more potent and deliver better results than what you can pick up at the local home improvement store.
These more specialized products can lead to more rapid and long-lasting results than you get with DIY products.
When you hire a professional, always hire one that’s bonded and insured. Also, never depend on the company telling you about its insurance. Many states have a department you can call to verify a lawn care company’s license, bond, and insurance.
Do an online search to see what department handles licensing in your state. You can then call the department to verify the company has a valid license, insurance, and bond.
When using an insured and bonded company, you can rest assured you’re covered if the lawn care company damages your property while performing its work. Anything from accidentally breaking a sprinkler head to damaging your vehicle with its equipment will be covered.
Cons of Hiring a Professional Lawn Care Service
Lawn care companies have a lot to offer homeowners, but there are plenty of drawbacks to hiring a pro to handle your lawn.
Cost and Commitment
The biggest issue of hiring a professional lawn care service is often cost and commitment. Lawn care companies must buy the product they put on your lawn and cover tons of other overhead expenses, including:
- Purchasing and maintaining equipment
- Insurance and bond
- Fleet vehicle maintenance
These overhead costs get spread out among the lawn care service company’s customers, which can drive the cost of hiring a professional into the hundreds or thousands of dollars per year.
On top of the higher cost, many lawn care professionals require at least a 6-month commitment — some even require a full year.
You can generally save hundreds of dollars per year by purchasing products and doing it yourself.
Another big problem with hiring a professional is not every professional lawn care company delivers the results you expect. Some can be downright terrible too.
Unlike you, the homeowner, the company has no vested interest in your property. The company didn’t pay for it, nor does it have to deal with whispers from friends and family about how poor your lawn looks. Paired with uninterested laborers, this can all lead to poor workmanship and unsatisfactory results.
You can do internet searches and check reviews, but these offer limited help, as virtually anyone can write a positive Google or Yelp review, including the business owner, their employees, and all their family members. These fake reviews can bury negative reviews, making the company look better than it actually is.
Lack of Control
The final key drawback to consider when debating DIY or professional lawn care is the control you’ll have.
When hiring a lawn care company, you show the representative your problem areas and the technician applies what they think is right for your lawn. You have virtually no control over what products the tech uses.
So, if you want all organic products, you either have to find a professional who offers that service or DIY.
Benefits of DIY Lawn Care
DIY lawn care offers tons of benefits you’ll miss out on by hiring a pro.
It’s sometimes hard to sprinkle in a little exercise into our busy lives. By handling lawn care yourself, you’ll get some exercise while getting work done. Sure, it’s not like hitting the gym and targeting specific muscle groups, but you’ll get in plenty of walking, lifting, crouching, and standing.
Saving money is one of the biggest benefits homeowners are looking at when considering DIY lawn care. Without the additional overhead lawn care professionals have, you can save hundreds of dollars per year.
A lawn care company may charge you $600-$1650 per year, according to RemodlingExpenses.com, to manage an average 11,000-square-foot lawn. However, you can pick up enough liquid fertilizer to handle the same lawn for around $55. If you’re fertilizing twice per year, that brings your annual cost to just $110.
Even on the lower end of the professional service’s cost spectrum, you save $490 per year.
Use the Products You Want
For those who love being in control of their domain, DIY lawn care is a must. When doing your lawn servicing, you can choose whatever products you like.
Want to go all organic? You can. Want to increase the nitrogen? That’s totally doable with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer. And so on.
Use the Products You Want
When dealing with weeds and other lawn problems, quick action is half of the battle. If you see a patch of dandelion sprouting or a fungus starting to grow, an early attack makes it easier to control.
As a DIYer, you can perform the service as soon as you spot the issue. If you rely on a professional, you could wait weeks for your next service date to show the technician the issue.
Like any DIY project, the more lawn care tasks you handle yourself, the more you’ll learn about your turf and keeping it healthy.
This learning experience will prepare you for any larger-scale issues that crop up and help you reduce costs further as you learn what your lawn needs and doesn’t need to stay healthy.
Spotting Other Problems
Not every lawn care professional is out looking for other issues in your lawn.
Most lawn-fertilization companies will let you know if you have a cinch bug issue. However, a landscaping company, for example, likely won’t notify you of problems with your turf’s health.
If you’re handling all your lawn care yourself, you can keep an active eye out for fungus, weeds, bugs, and other issues — even if you’re just out mowing.
Cons of DIY Lawn Care
There are many valuable benefits to DIY lawn care, but there are a few drawbacks to consider before diving in.
While you’ll become a relative lawn care expert with time, you’ve got to start somewhere. As a novice, you’ll have a steep learning curve ahead to reach DIY expert status. This can lead to costly mistakes along the way, like lawn burning from incorrect fertilization or applying the wrong post-emergent herbicide and killing sections of your turf.
As a DIYer, you generally lack the experience to fully understand the most beneficial chemical mixtures for the type of turf you have and your soil type. You’ll gain this expertise over time and with experimentation, but this can result in added cost while figuring it all out.
Also, you may lack the experience to predict oncoming seasonal lawn issues, like crabgrass or other weeds. Without this ability to foresee issues, you may miss critical pre-emergent weed control, leaving you with unsightly weeds that will take more time and money to eliminate.
DIY Lawn Care Is for the Average Homeowner
There’s no doubting the benefits of hiring a professional. The experience they bring to the table is invaluable. However, the average homeowner can reap many more benefits through DIY lawn care.
You may run into struggles along the way, but the new skills you gain, the money you save, and the ability to control what goes into your lawn easily make up for the early struggles. The key is to get started now and establish a healthy lawn, which will give you a small buffer to compensate for any early missteps.