What people hate about lawn care companies

Over the many years of doing lawn care. I’ve notice a trend in what I hear so many people complain about.

Below is a list of thing we DONT do. But have noticed many other companies still struggle with.

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How We Test & Train The Best People, Even Before We Hire Them!

 Here at Top Notch Lawn Care potential employees must first demonstrate they have what it takes to be qualified to work here. We really only want the very best people in the industry.


  • All our employees are true specialist.
  • We only hire the very best people we can.
  • We understand that happy employees make happy clients

How To Stop Dogs From Urinating On Your Lawn

Have You Noticed Brown Spots in Your Grass?

Do You or Your Neighbours have a Pet Dog?

If so this damage can be cause by a dog urinating on your grass. Dogs have very high acidity in their urine which will kill your grass.

There are a number of safe, harmless techniques to create a long-lasting impression on dogs.

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The Top Five Lawn Care Company Nightmares

Written by: David Cotterell

Are you aware of the many risks associated with hiring a Lawn care/ Landscaping Service Company to take care of your property?

For the most part your time is probably spent working, taking care of your daily responsibilities, engaging in your personal and interests, and hopefully relaxing! Hiring a service company should only improve your daily life, giving you more peace of mind, happiness, and free time!

Just the feeling of needing to stay on top of a company to get things done right or worrying about if they will show up and do exactly as they promised is terrible.

Below are the top 5 Lawn Care/ Landscape Company Nightmares. Followed by tips to instantly know how to avoid all possible problems and improve your daily life, giving you more peace of mind, happiness, and free time!

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Why did you Go Into Business for Yourself and How was Top Notch Services Formed?

The way our company, Top Notch Services was founded, was basically founded by our family. Over eleven years ago, I used to work in the backyard with my father, just sweeping dirt. I remember when he used to clean up after the apple tree. After the apples would fall off the apple tree, we would sweep with our brooms across the border. As a child, I would sweep, and I would remember sweeping across the side of this border, and noticing that there was dirt left behind as I swept.

My dad is a real detailed guy, and he came right behind me. As a child, he said to me, “No, you have to sweep everything, even the dirt.” That’s kind of the first time… I always remember that, it’s very strange to remember something so small, but I remember that as I moved into landscaping, that detailing when working in a yard is really important.

Over eleven years ago, when the company came together, I worked for a variety of other lawn care and landscaping companies. I used to manage a company called Green Lawn Care, and I used to work with product lines and order in new products and things like that. I spent a lot of time working at this company.

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What did you dislike about other lawn care companies that inspired you to start your own business?

I was working for a company, and, basically, when I was out on the field, and we were doing an application of a fertilizer. I don’t think everybody does this, but I’m pretty sure that this scenario probably happens to a lot of people who hire lawn care companies.

You hire somebody to do your lawn care application of fertilizer. They trained the technicians to go around the borders of your lawn, and then go back and forth across the rest of your lawn. They start around the borders of your lawn, and then they go back and forth, until they finish your whole lawn’s applications. This is a standard application process to do a lawn, which will give even coverage, et cetera.

The difference that I would see with many lawn care companies is that they would have technicians with such large routes, so your route would be forty (0:16:19), and this company that I worked for is really well known in Toronto, I don’t want to mention their name.

This is what they do. They will put down an application of fertilizer. You order an application of fertilizer, they tell you when they’re going to show up, or they don’t tell you when they’re going to show up, and the only way you know they showed up is by putting a lawn sign on your lawn.

What happened with this company is a technician would get to the property, he would around the borders with the fertilizer, and some of the fertilizer would spread on the driveway, some would spread on the porches, and because he is in such a rush, he’s going back and forth through the lawn, not really giving it an even coverage.

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Are you licensed, what insurance do you carry, and what does it cover?

Our company is fully insured left or right. All of our employees are WSIB covered, that’s Workplace Safety Insurance Board. We pay a fee all the time to make sure that our employees are protected, if they get injured on your property, you won’t be sued. They’re actually covered through an insurance company called WSIB. We have full coverage for all of our employees.

We have $2 million liability insurance for the comfort of our clients. The two million dollar liability covers everything on your property, anything we can damage, and it will cover you, so there’s no need to worry in any aspect. All of our employees have personal insurance as well.

They have their own personal insurance for their health and everything, so everything at our company’s completely insured from left to right, be it for our clients, be it for our employees, be it for the safety of the employee on the property, be it for the damaging of anything on that client’s property, be it a pipeline or… down to anything they could mention, even the stone being nipped off the side of their house, we’re sure that we can cover it dollar for dollar, for certain.

If an insurance claim had to be filed with our company, it would be as simple as the client contacting our office, informing us that there is damage. What would happen then, we would view the damage on the property. We would take a photograph of the damage, and supply that to our insurance company.

Our insurance company would then come out to the property and estimate the damage and provide full coverage to the property owner of whatever the incurred damage is, or just to a company to repair it.

Either route would be good as an option for our clients to take, they have those options with our insurance company, and that is covered up to $2 million for any damage possible on the property.

What kind of Guarantee do you offer and what does your Guarantee cover?

We are a residential and commercial landscape provider in Toronto. We do a variety of services, but, with doing such a variety of services, it’s hard to give a guarantee for many different companies. With our company, we have a powerful guarantee that we have now on our website.

Basically, we’re not like the average company. If you have a problem, or if anything happens, or if you become unsatisfied with our service for any reason, if you’re not happy with how the work turned out, if you’re not happy with the end result or the timing that we told you or anything, we’ll try to fix that immediately. We will, we’ll fix it right away.

If you’re still unsatisfied with the way we fixed it or how we handled the issue, we’ll pay a competing company of your choice to fix it. You can choose the company you’d like to fix it, and we’ll pay them to do it for you. That’s our guarantee for our company.

With that sort of a guarantee, we honor it. Recently, we had an issue, as companies do here and there, and one of our employees went to a property to do a sodding job. We have a client that I can mention that will back this up. He went to go do a sodding job, he grabbed his Bobcat and a sod cutter. He was instructed to do the front lawn.

For some reason, I guess it slipped his mind, we’re all human, and he forgot. He started to clear the backyard, which was huge. It was on a slope and it was massive. He tore out the whole lawn, tore out everything. He tore out the front lawn. He filled up two extra bins. We ordered one bin to remove all the debris. He ordered another bin and they filled up two bins.

We had those bins hauled away, and the job tripled in cost. Our profits went to nothing, I think we lost on the job. Now, a lot of companies would try to negotiate the cost with the client, would go back and say, “Hey, look, we’re going to do the backyard, the guy didn’t mean to rip it out, could you just pay us a little bit more?”

What happened was the client knew that we removed sod, the complete sod from his entire property, and because he knew that, he knew something went wrong. He called in, and asked if there was an issue. The first thing our office told him was, “No, everything’s fine.” We didn’t mention to the client that he’s going to be getting new sod for free.

What we did was we just went ahead and installed all new sod in his entire property, re-edged his garden beds, we weeded out his garden beds, we cultivated the soil. For some of his shrubbery, we shaped them within the garden beds, and we installed his new sod, front and backyard across the [slopey] hill and the front yard.

We regraded his whole property so it was even and it was perfect. When we completed the job, we just let him know, we’re donating a portion of that payment that he’s sending us to cancer research. And that’s it. When he found out what happened, he said, “I can’t believe that,” and we said, “Yes, we made a mistake. But when we make mistakes, it’s our mistake, not yours.” He was so wowed. He’s one of those clients, actually, that now donates to Cancer Research Society just because of that.

How are your staff trained and do they receive continuing education?

When a new employee is hired with our company, he or she is trained on the job, watching the additional employees. We actually train our employees by allowing them to sit right beside us. We walk them through step-by-step, with exactly what to do and how we do it. We also give them videos of how to do their job that they have to watch when they take it back home and come back and do a test in regards to the videos that they watched to see if they remembered everything.

They are trained, until they are left alone, most employees, even the field employees, train, we don’t leave anybody alone until at least a month after training, even when they got it right. We actually start watching them. We monitor their phone calls, we record their phone calls, that’s for the inside staff.

We have our field employees that work outside monitored, not working by themselves until 30 days into the job. Just to mention, we won’t even hire an employee unless we test them out to see if he’s good enough to work, if he or she has what it takes, as we are not demanding, but we are very thorough with our work to ensure everything is completed to the satisfaction of our clients.

What are the top complaints you hear from clients about their previous lawn care company?

The top complaint is “The guy didn’t show up”. Another top complaint that I hear is that, basically, “This guy didn’t close the gate”. “They don’t close the gate”, “they don’t do what they say they’re going to do”, basically, that’s the top complaint.

I think the top complaint is, “They didn’t show up and they didn’t do what they said they were going to do.”

I guess the third complaint, I’m just going to mention the complaints, another complaint is saying “They didn’t do a good job, and they messed it up, and they didn’t fix it”. That’s where our guarantee comes in.

When we get new clients, we often get new clients that are saying, “We had a guy, and he didn’t do this part, and he wasn’t good at this part, he tried to build this retaining wall, he did some interlocking, he didn’t finish this area, I don’t like how he did this.” The client is complaining, or the client is mentioning their concerns to the company, and the company’s saying, “We’re going to lose money, and we’re not going to finish it. This is done,” and leave it and take it how it is.

That’s the difference with us is, we’re not going to leave until it’s finished, until they’re happy, and if they’re just absolutely not happy, we’ll pay them to get someone else to make them happy. That’s the top complaints that I’ve noticed, for sure.

we had a competitor who was installing a new retaining wall, interlocking and adding in some new sod. Basically, this company had given this client a design and told them that they’re going to go ahead with this design. The client went and purchased this company to go ahead and start the work.

The company started the work, and every so often, and I know a lot of people notice this, every so often that company would take off a Thursday or Friday, and say, “OK, we’re going to come in a couple of days,” leaving lots of material just sitting on their driveway, just sitting there. There are stones there, there are HPB stones, there’s cut stones on the driveway, and the job just doesn’t seem to be progressing.

This lady was mentioning that she had some family coming in from England, and they needed the patio done and they needed all the stuff done with interlocking so they have places to park. It was just delays in service with the jobs, and it just ultimately didn’t get completed. When her family did show up, she was left to have a party in the park that was across the street, and it was very, very frustrating for her. She said that was why she called us. That was just a simple horror story.

Now, I guess I wanted to mention one more horror story. I kind of mentioned an example in the e-book that we have, of a client hiring a company to do a sod job. They hired the company. This is a client that I had, that’s where I got the story from. They hired a company to do the sod job, and they hired them over the phone, said, “Go ahead and install the sod.”

They met the guy and said, “Go ahead and install the sod.” The guy went off to work, and when he came home, his lawn was a swamp. His front lawn was a swamp because it just had tons and tons of mud everywhere on the lawn. He didn’t see the company. The lawn care company was nowhere. He saw the turf was taken off and left in the driveway. There was just tons of mud everywhere, the sprinklers were going off. He ran in the house, and a portion of his basement had water in it because it was soaked for so long.

He ended up turning off the pipes somehow and calling the company and asked them what was going on. They said they broke the pipe, they didn’t know how to fix it right away, they didn’t know how to turn off the line, and they went to go get somebody to fix it for them. They didn’t have a key to get inside. What happened was they hired an amateur.

The guy didn’t know how to turn off the sprinkler system, how to cap it. He didn’t know how to handle the scenario of something being broken. They didn’t take the necessary precautions of calling the Dig Company, the “Call Before You Dig Company”, which we have here in Toronto. They didn’t take the necessary precautions to ensure that those things won’t happen. That happens all the time, even with really good companies. The ones that aren’t detail-oriented, they bump into those problems all the time with hiring staff that you can’t depend on. You can’t depend on staff all the time to know exactly what to do.

If he hits a pipeline, does he know what to do? What are you going to do? We thought these things through, about what happens if we hit a pipe, and we can’t get inside the person’s house. Do we know to cap off the line until somebody gets back? Do we know to stop the water from coming out of the pipe so it doesn’t start to swamp?

After seeing scenarios like this, we actually have to listen for each and every one of those. The client ended up calling us, and we fixed the lawn. We actually recommended a company to clear out his basement, but it was covered by insurance, thank God for him, somehow he got it covered. That whole story is just a strong example of a major nightmare that can happen if you hire the wrong guy.