BALTIMORE - Spring cleaning isn't just about getting your home in top condition. You've got to get your lawn under control too. But trusting that work to just anyone can end up getting you scammed if you're not careful.
After winter neglect, the blossoming months of spring often mean a lot of work around the house. But not everybody wants to take on the challenge themselves. Angie Barnett with the Better Business Bureau of Greater Maryland says, "If your lawn care looks overwhelming and you want to get some help, there are just a few things you want to know."
Barnett says those without a green thumb need to ask questions before they sign up with a company, "Consumers don't think to ask, ‘Are you licensed to actually do the work you're doing?'"
Experts say with some outside work, contractors do need a license. Tree care experts in Maryland need a license from the Department of Natural Resources. Companies that put pesticide on your lawn are licensed by the state's Department of Agriculture and contractors that do concrete or paving for your patio need permits or a license from the MD Home Improvement Commission.
Regardless of which company you choose, Barnett says you need to get everything in writing. She explains, "You want to have an agreement with them on what they'll do. What are the costs?"
Angie says you should also take time to review contracts before having any work done and then take pictures so you can compare before and after. If the job is done well, those pictures can showcase the effort but they can also help you take action if there's been a problem.