Beware of these Lawn Care Scams: Tips for Wise Homeowners in Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton, PA

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

lawn care scamsThere’s nothing worse than feeling like you’ve been duped. Nobody likes marketing gimmicks or scams that make them feel “tricked” into buying a product or service. It’s frustrating, even demeaning when you’re taken advantage of in this way.

Unfortunately, our particular industry is full of lawn care scams. It’s something that is extremely frustrating to us. After all, it undermines the lawn care industry as a whole and makes the honest lawn care companies in Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton, PA (or anywhere) look bad. But most importantly, it makes it difficult for homeowners to know who to trust.

Because we don’t want you to get wrapped up in a deal that is “too good to be true,” we want to expose these lawn care scams as an effort to help you avoid them.

DIY Lawn Care Products that Overpromise (and Under-Deliver)

You know how the saying goes: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. This is definitely the case for DIY products that you can purchase at the local big-box store or even purchase online. They’ll make all kinds of marketing claims but it’s largely over-inflated, leading us to call it a “lawn care scam.” 

We’re not saying these products don’t work at all. But the fact is, a store-bought product is never going to get you as good results as the commercial-grade products that a professional is utilizing (even though many of the companies making these products would claim otherwise). 

But just think about this: A lawn care technician has to be licensed in order to apply many of the products that a professional company utilizes. That’s because they’re using something more powerful (which also means, more effective!)

lawn care technician spraying lawn

Not only that but buying products yourself comes with added hassles and problems to figure out. For instance, consider just a few of these issues that arise when you decide to purchase products on your own.

  • Do you have a safe and secure place to store any remaining product that you didn’t use?  If you have children or pets, this could be a serious issue.
  • Do you know which products to buy for which purposes? Reading labels alone can be confusing and difficult to decipher. 
  • Does the store or retailer offer you any guarantee these products will work? If you work with a pro, you’ll also gain the assurance that what they’re doing will work (and if it doesn’t, they’ll switch things up to make sure it does). But if you invest in a product on your own and it doesn’t work, you’re simply out of luck.

In general, a DIY lawn care approach simply doesn’t compare to hiring a professional. With a pro comes training, certifications, and skill—and of course, access to those professional-grade lawn care products that you can’t just pick up on your own.

While product manufacturers spend a lot of money trying to convince homeowners that they can get just as good results performing their lawn care on their own, it’s a lot of marketing noise that won’t guarantee you get the lawn you desire.

The Small, Fly-by-Night Lawn Care Companies

Along the same lines of “too good to be true” comes the companies that are out there offering dirt-cheap prices but impairing the reputation of the industry as a whole. 

Unhealthy grass with thin spotsWe’ve heard some of the horror stories from our customers who have gotten duped by the cheap prices these types of companies have advertised for their lawn care services. But then they’ve left them high-and-dry—out of their investment and without the lawn care results they were after.

Sometimes these companies start the work but never finish. They take the cash and then go out of business or sell off their company to a national franchise. 

Sometimes they stick around but they perform shoddy work. If they’re a tiny operation (maybe one-man-and-a-truck), they don’t have the resources to perform great lawn care services that will produce great results. Chances are, they’re using cheap products and equipment and they don’t have the labor they need to effectively service many properties.

How can you spot a “fly-by-night” landscape company and catch a lawn care scam in the making? Be on the lookout for some of the following warning signs:

  • A company that asks for cash upfront likely does not have your best interest at heart. You could risk them taking your money and running.
  • A company that works on a “verbal-only” agreement might have something to hide. If there’s no contract or terms and conditions, something might be awry.
  • A company that has bad reviews either online or via word of mouth is one to avoid. Listen to what other people have to say and learn from their mistakes in hiring a company that turned out to be a lawn care scam.
  • A company that doesn’t even seem to “exist” is also a problem. Sometimes a fly-by-night company is just that—a lawn care company that’s here one night and gone the next. They do some work in one town, get as much money as they can, and move on. If they don’t have a website or seemingly any “roots” in Allentown, Bethlehem, or Easton, PA, be incredibly leery!

Big National Brands with Poor Reputations

Bigger isn’t always better, especially when it comes to lawn care companies. While it’s easy for homeowners to get caught up with a “name they know,” it’s important to consider whether you know that name because of marketing gimmicks or because of the great reputation that precedes them. Oftentimes, with large companies, people just know the name because these companies have millions of dollars invested in marketing (and getting their name out there).

lawn care scamUnfortunately, many of these big, national lawn care companies also have bad reputations, particularly at a local level. The national advertising might sound great and might even overpower the negativity that’s out there but when you start digging deeper and looking at online reviews of local branches, oftentimes the message is a lot less positive.

With large companies often comes less personalization. Many times these companies have a revolving door of employees. Plus, they’re often working from a prescribed set of rules that their national corporation sets, instead of taking a local and individualized approach to the properties that they treat. They’re just following a set of standard guidelines, even if it’s at a disservice to the client.

Oftentimes, when homeowners go this route, they feel cheated. They get caught up in the marketing claims of a big company (a “name they know”), only to be disappointed when the results just aren’t what they desired.

Unusually Low Lawn Care Prices 

This is another big one to file under the “too good to be true” category. If a company’s pricing is significantly cheaper than the competition, it should make you stop and wonder why.

A lot of times, lawn care companies will hook you with a very inexpensive price but that’s because it doesn’t actually include everything you need. 

Once you’re a customer, they’ll immediately try to sell you multiple more treatments (and you’ll need those treatments or else your lawn care results will be subpar). Choosing a lawn care service like this will often mean you’re constantly being sold to, which is very frustrating. You’d rather just know what your lawn needs from the get-go.

Similarly, inexpensive prices can also mean that the company doesn’t pay their people well, which might lead to a revolving door of employees (and never the same technician visiting your property). It could also mean that they only employ entry-level people who really don’t have a good understanding of diagnosing and solving lawn problems. 

This is also true when it comes to buying products. If a company offers rock-bottom pricing, chances are, they’re using cheap lawn care products that aren’t going to work as well. It’s all about saving themselves money since they have to make up for their prices being so cheap.

As with anything else in life, this is a case of “you get what you pay for,” and you should be leery of the results and service you’ll receive. 

Be a Wise Consumer and Avoid Lawn Care Scams

We understand it can be challenging to be a wise and educated consumer when there is so much marketing noise constantly drowning out the clear and honest messages from companies that have your best interest at heart. As we mentioned, we are frustrated by companies that use lawn care scams to gain business as we believe that it hurts the industry and you.

While we certainly are not saying every lawn care promotion or deal out there is bad, we just want you to be an educated consumer who is able to weed through the things that are “too good to be true,” and the things that are worth taking advantage of. There are so many lawn care promotions out there that it can certainly be difficult to tell what’s valuable and what not.

JT-lawn-care-general-no-music

At Joshua Tree, we believe in making things clear and simple for our customers. We don’t play marketing games and we like to tell things like they are with our customers. Our customers tell us that they appreciate knowing exactly what they’re paying for with their lawn care program. We are both honest and transparent and you can count on us to tell you what your lawn needs. After all, we believe that’s why you’ve turned to a professional in the first place. You’re looking for someone that you can trust.

If you’re tired of feeling duped or taken advantage of by various lawn care scams, then we invite you to have a conversation with us. Even if you don’t end up choosing us to provide your lawn care, you can count on us to steer you in the right direction and help advise you on what’s legitimately a good deal and what might be a lawn care scam. We are always here to answer your questions and to be a resource to the Lehigh Valley community. In the end, that’s what we pride ourselves on.

If you’d like to find out more about our three lawn care program options, contact us for a free consultation or give us a call at 610-365-2200 so we can answer your questions.

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Tips for hiring lawn care company in Allentown, Bethlehem, or Easton, PA

Joshua Malik

Written by Joshua Malik

With an intense passion for arboriculture and lawn care, founder Joshua Malik brings to Joshua Tree over 20 years of experience in the tree and lawn care industry. And he expects the same passion in his team by employing representatives and field personnel who have achieved and maintained proper industry credentials to ensure clients benefit through best practices.