Consumer Protection
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How to Protect Yourself: Lawn Service Contracts
Source: Florida Attorney General's Office


Lawn service companies provide services that eliminate time-consuming lawn maintenance activities such as mowing, edging, watering, fertilizing, and seeding of lawns as well as the pruning and feeding of trees and shrubs. Certain functions such as, insect control, weed control and fungus control applications are regulated under Chapter 482, Florida Statutes, and require the company to be licensed through the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Bureau of Entomology and Pest Control, Tallahassee. Some companies require expensive and long-term lawn care contracts, so you should take the time to investigate and find a reliable company with a good reputation.

Consult Your Neighbors
Talk with others in your neighborhood who have used lawn care services. Find out which companies have done a good job and why.

Check On Licensing And Complaint Record
If your company will make chemical applications, other than fertilizer, verify that the company has a pest control business license issued by the State. You may contact the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Bureau of Entomology and Pest Control, 1203 Governor's Square Boulevard, Suite 300, Tallahassee, Florida 32301-2961 (850-617-7997) for any licensure and complaint history on any pest control business licensee. Also, check with your local Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been filed against the company. Verify that the company is insured to cover any accidents that might occur while work is being performed.

Read Your Contract Carefully
See if there are any extra charges for special services, such as fertilizing, disease control or reseeding. The contract should specifically state the term of the service contract and the costs of contract renewal. The contract should further state whether or not the services provided are guaranteed.

Make Sure That You Are Getting Custom Service
Each lawn is different. Your lawn does not necessarily need the same treatment as your neighbor's. Ask to see evidence of specific and real problems before you agree to any treatment.

Use Care In The Authorization Of Chemical Treatment
If pesticides are going to be used on your lawn, find out what specific lawn problems are being addressed and inquire about the availability of less harmful chemical compounds or alternatives to chemical treatment. You are entitled to a copy of the pesticide label if you request it from the applicator. If pesticides are used, find out what you need to do during the chemical treatment and for how long. Should you stay indoors, keep your windows closed, bring in lawn furniture or your children's toys? How long should you stay off treated areas? What about your pet's safety? Florida law [Section 482.2265(2), Florida Statutes] requires the posting of a sign at the time of application to notify persons that the lawn has recently been treated. You should still be mindful of small children in the neighborhood (who might not comprehend what the sign means) to protect them from any problems that might arise from the pesticide application.