Get Quotes from Top Lawn Care Companies in Boston, MA

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Lawn Care Company

While many homeowners believe lawn care to be an easy task, this is far from the truth. Surveys show that at least 31 percent of Americans do not know how to grow a healthy lawn, and 57 percent also erroneously believe that a lawn is not healthy if it isn't green! Proper lawn care requires time, effort, and commitment, and it is often easier to outsource this activity to a professional lawn care company. The benefits of hiring professional landscapers to implement a proper lawn care program for your lawn include:

Asking the following questions before hiring lawn care companies in Boston can help you determine if they employ qualified, experienced, and well-equipped landscapers that can satisfactorily implement suitable lawn care programs for your lawn:

How Long Have You Been in the Lawn Care Business in Boston?

Finding out how long a lawn care company has been in business is a crucial step to take when looking for lawn care services in Boston. It is always a good idea to hire lawn care companies that have been around for a while, ideally no less than a year, and also have a solid track record of success. This is usually an indication that their landscapers are experienced, competent, and more likely to provide your required services satisfactorily and without any complaints from your end. Considering that more than 700 home improvement-related complaints were filed by consumers in and around the Boston area in 2021 alone, the importance of hiring reputable lawn care companies that have a record of satisfactory service delivery cannot be overemphasized.

Another advantage of hiring lawn care companies that have been in business for a while is that their landscapers are typically more conversant with native grasses and garden plants than less experienced landscapers, and better versed in the right ways to properly take care of these plants. Some of these native grasses and garden plants that are popular among Boston homeowners include:

  • Butterfly weed
  • Foam flower
  • Columbine
  • Maidenhair fern
  • White yarrow
  • Joe-Pye weed
  • Creeping bentgrass
  • Eastern showy aster
  • Perennial ryegrass
  • Black cohosh
  • Blue star
  • Fine-leaf fescue
  • Tall fescue
  • Zoysia grass
  • Kentucky bluegrass
  • Red chokeberry

Note that, no matter how long a lawn care company has been in business, you should do your due diligence before hiring them. To this end, ask them for references of previous clients who can vouch for the quality of their services, and make sure that you check these references. You can also go a step further by researching the company's business history and customer feedback online using resources like Google Review, the Better Business Bureau, and Yelp.

Do You Hold Any Professional Qualifications Relevant to Lawn Care?

Another crucial step to take in determining a landscaper's suitability for implementing your lawn care program is finding out if they hold professional credentials in lawn care fields that are related to the specific scope of services that you need. It should be noted that landscapers and lawn care professionals operating in Boston are generally not subject to any local occupation-specific licensing requirements. However, depending on the types of services that they plan to incorporate into your lawn care program, they may be statutorily mandated to abide by certain state-level regulatory requirements.

For instance, landscapers that wish to apply pesticides on lawns in Boston are required to complete a state-level licensing and certification process that is overseen by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR). This department offers several licensing and certification options to eligible landscapers, and these include:

  • Applicator Licenses: this option is available to landscapers that wish to apply general-use pesticides and have never obtained a pesticide license from the MDAR before or have a previously issued license that has been expired for at least five years
  • Commercial Certification: this option is available to landscapers that wish to apply restricted-use pesticides. Note that this certification can only be obtained by landscapers that have held valid MDAR-issued applicator licenses for at least two years
  • Dealer License: this is required by any individual or business that wishes to sell restricted-use pesticides

These aforementioned licenses and certifications can be obtained by completing the following steps:

  • Registering for an MDAR-administered examination online via the department's EEA ePlace Portal
  • Paying all stipulated fees
  • Sitting for and passing the MDAR-administered examination
  • Submitting an appropriate license application and proof of insurance, where applicable

You can contact the MDAR at (508) 281-6787 or via email to get more information on its licensing and certification requirements and procedure for landscapers that wish to apply pesticides as part of their services. Note that providing these types of services without proper licensing or certification by this department is considered unlawful. Landscapers who do this face statutory penalties that include fines of up to $25,000, jail time of up to two years, or a combination of fines and jail time.

Landscapers that do not apply pesticides as part of their services also often obtain voluntary certifications from organizations like:

  • The Massachusetts Association of Landscape Professionals
  • The International Society of Arboriculture
  • The Tree Care Industry Association
  • The Professional Grounds Management Society
  • The National Association of Landscape Professionals
  • The Irrigation Association

These voluntary certifications are usually obtained in fields like arboriculture, irrigation, organic farming, and other specialist areas of lawn care, and they generally indicate that the landscaper has attained advanced knowledge, expertise, and competence in these fields.

Note that you should always confirm any claims of voluntary certification made by landscapers that you want to hire by asking for proof and checking it with the appropriate certifying organization. Likewise, if your lawn care program will include the use of pesticides, you can verify that your landscaper has been authorized to provide these types of services through the MDAR's EEA ePlace Public Access Portal.

How Much Do You Charge Compared to Other Lawn Care Companies in the City?

Lawn care costs in Boston are dependent on several key factors, which are:

  • The size of the lawn
  • The type and scope of lawn care services needed
  • Current lawn conditions and features, like soil type, and the presence of steep hills, fences, rocks, tree stumps, and other obstacles
  • The types of lawn care tools and equipment needed for the job
  • Labor costs
  • The frequency of the required lawn care services
  • Your location within the city
  • Your preferred lawn care company's local reputation

Professional landscapers in the city typically take these aforementioned factors into account when charging for their services, and these charges are usually calculated using one or more of the following methods:

  • Per Hour Billing Method: under this billing method, the client is charged for the total amount of time that is spent working on their lawn. Here, the landscaper sets an hourly rate for their services, and these rates typically range from $30 - $100 per hour, depending on the nature and scope of required services
  • Per Square Foot Billing Method: under this billing method, the client's charges are calculated based on the size of their lawn. Here, the landscaper sets a rate for every square foot of lawn area that they work on, and these rates typically range from $4 - $15 per square foot
  • Per Service Billing Method: under this billing method, the client is charged a flat fee for their required lawn care services. Here, the landscaper may decide to charge a separate fee each time a service is rendered, or they can charge a fixed fee for a group of agreed services to be rendered over a period of time. These fees typically range from $50 - $1,000, depending on the type and scope of services in question

During your search for qualified landscapers to a suitable implement lawn care program for your lawn, you should strongly consider getting and comparing prices from up to three different lawn care companies in the city before making your final selection. This is an effective way to find out the current market rates for your required services and also avoid getting overcharged by dishonest lawn care companies and landscapers. Comparing prices also helps you spot landscapers that offer ridiculously low rates just to entice clients. In many cases, these landscapers jack up their prices once they are hired for the job.

Lawn care contractors in Boston earn an average wage of $43,440 every year. The list below compares the average wages earned by these contractors per hour against the average hourly wages of lawn care contractors in other parts of Massachusetts and also in other locations across the United States:

Boston Lawn Care Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Worchester Lawn Care Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Springfield Lawn Care Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Cambridge Lawn Care Contractors Average Hourly Wage
New York City Lawn Care Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Philadelphia Lawn Care Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Chicago Lawn Care Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Houston Lawn Care Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Los Angeles Lawn Care Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Washington D.C. Lawn Care Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Is Included in Your Lawn Care Program?

Finding out the exact types and scope of services that will be included in your lawn care program is a vital step to take in ensuring that you receive satisfactory lawn care services. Lawn care programs offered by professional landscapers and lawn care companies in Boston typically consist of a wide range of lawn care services, such as:

  • Lawn mowing
  • Mulching and composting
  • Lawn seeding
  • Landscape design
  • Sprinkler system installation and maintenance
  • Root care
  • Soil treatment and topsoil care
  • Lawn fertilization
  • Hydroseeding
  • Weed control
  • Tree trimming and pruning
  • Lawn aeration
  • Shrub, flower, and tree planting
  • Sodding
  • Shrub and hedge trimming
  • Artificial turf installation
  • Pest control
  • Yard cleanup and debris removal
  • Turf disease remediation

These lawn care programs are usually offered via two different types of packages, which are:

  • Basic Lawn Care Package: this package usually only includes lawn care services that are designed to enhance your lawn's look and appearance without improving its overall health, such as lawn mowing, hedge and shrub trimming, and yard cleanup
  • Full-Service Lawn Care Package: this package typically includes lawn care services that enhance your lawn's aesthetic appeal and also improve its overall health. As such, full-service lawn care packages typically include basic lawn care services like lawn mowing and hedge trimming, as well as other services like tree pruning, turf disease remediation, lawn aeration, and weed and pest control

Note that some unscrupulous lawn care companies may try to convince you to sign up for their services by offering relatively inexpensive lawn care programs that contain only basic services, knowing that your lawn will eventually need more intensive lawn care services. To avoid the misunderstandings that this usually brings down the line, always insist on knowing the nature and scope of lawn care services that you will be paying for upfront, particularly if you intend to sign up for recurring services. Also, make sure that you are given a service contract that includes the cost of these services, a payment schedule, and the expectations and guarantees made by the lawn care company concerning the services.

Cost estimates for common lawn care services that professional landscapers and lawn care companies in Boston typically include in their lawn care programs are provided below:

Lawn mowing & maintenance
$40 - $70 per visit
Lawn fertilization
$80 - $150 per application
$60 - $150
Lawn aeration
$60 - $250
Lawn seeding
$350 – $1,000
$0.10 - $0.35 per square foot
Leaf removal
$70 - $300
Sod installation
$0.95 - $1.80 per square foot
$50 - $100 per hour
Sprinkler system installation
$2,000 - $4,500
Hedge/Shrub trimming
$50 - $90 per hour
Tree trimming/pruning
$350 - $750
Garden cleanup and debris removal
$150 - $400
Landscape design
$90 - $120 per hour
Landscape installation
$40 - $65 per hour (labor only)
Retaining wall installation
$1,000 - $4,500

Do You Provide Organic Lawn Care Services?

Organic lawn care simply refers to lawn care services that do not involve the use of pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, and any other types of synthetic chemicals or substances. Lawn care companies that implement this type of lawn care typically use carbon-based substances gotten from plant and animal parts or residue to implement their lawn care and maintenance services. Examples of these types of substances include leaf mulch and compost, bone char, seaweed, worm castings, manure, and mycorrhizae.

Organic lawn care is a great option for lawn owners who either have children or pets that regularly play on their lawns, are environmentally conscious, or both. This is because it significantly reduces the exposure of these kids and pets to potentially harmful chemicals, and at the same time reduces the volume of chemicals that are released into the atmosphere, with the overall goal of creating a chemical-free environment.

It should be pointed out that properly implementing organic lawn care programs is usually a labor-intensive activity, and this in turn makes this type of lawn care more expensive than conventional lawn care. However, organic lawn care also offers several benefits that ultimately save you money in the long run, such as:

  • It provides a safe environment for children and pets
  • It makes your lawn healthier
  • It improves root growth
  • It revitalizes your lawn's ecosystem
  • It reduces soil and water pollution
  • It involves zero danger of over application
  • It improves soil resistance to pests and diseases

Do You Offer a Warranty for Plants Installed?

You should always find out if the lawn care company you intend to hire offers warranties for their services, especially if sod or flower installations will be included in these services. Warranties are typically offered to assure clients that their installed plants will grow and flourish as expected, and you should consider it a red flag if your preferred lawn care company does not offer them or seems hesitant to do so.

Note that plant warranties typically have specified validity periods and areas of coverage, which are usually determined by the lawn care company that offers them. In many cases, plant warranties offered by Boston lawn care companies are usually valid for up to one year and include terms and conditions that must be followed during this period, such as:

  • Plant watering schedules
  • Acceptable mowing heights and techniques for installed grasses and turf
  • Fertilization requirements

Likewise, plant warranties offered by lawn care companies in the city do not typically cover certain situations, such as:

  • Damages to installed plants caused by pets, children, natural disasters, or acts of vandalism
  • Damages to installed plants caused by the lawn owner's lack of care or maintenance as directed by the lawn care company

To this end, it is always a good idea to request a written copy of any plant warranties that you are offered and familiarize yourself with its terms and conditions to avoid having it voided.

Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Lawn Care Companies in the City?

Lawn care and maintenance activities account for approximately 100 deaths and 143,000 serious injuries across the United States every year. Given the potentially hazardous nature of these activities, it is imperative that you always verify that the landscapers you plan to hire are adequately insured before they begin any work on your property. Doing this provides you with legal and financial cover if any injuries or other unanticipated unfavorable events, like property damage, occur during the implementation of your lawn care program.

Note that, per state requirements, lawn care companies that operate in Boston are mandated to carry workers' compensation insurance for all their employees. Landscapers that also offer pesticide-related services are equally expected to comply with certain financial responsibility obligations, based on the type of license and certification that they hold:

  • Landscapers that hold MDAR-issued applicator licenses must carry liability insurance of at least $50,000 per occurrence or  $100,000 aggregate for bodily injury and $50,000 per occurrence for property damage
  • Landscapers that hold MDAR-issued commercial certifications must carry liability insurance of at least $100,000 per occurrence or $300,000 aggregate for bodily injury and $100,000 per occurrence for property damage

As such, always ask your lawn care company for proof of insurance before signing any contracts with them, and validate this proof with the appropriate insurance provider. Also, confirm that the company's liability insurance will sufficiently cover third-party injuries and property damage, regardless of the type of services that they intend to provide.

You can also get additional information on state-mandated workers' compensation insurance requirements for Boston lawn care companies by contacting the local regional office of the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents at (617) 727-4900 and (800) 323-3249. Inquiries concerning the mandatory insurance requirements for landscapers that offer pesticide-related services can also be directed to the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) at (508) 281-6787 and (617) 626-1700.

How to File a Complaint Against a Bad Lawn Care Service in Boston

Complaints concerning bad lawn care services in Boston can be filed locally with the Boston Consumer Affairs Department and also at the state level with agencies like the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office.

While many of the lawn care companies that operate in Boston provide their services competently and professionally, there is always the chance that you run into an unscrupulous landscaper when making arrangements to implement a lawn care program for your lawn. Data published by the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office suggest that over 24,000 consumer complaints were filed with this office in 2021, and matters involving home improvement services ranked second on its list of top complaint categories. As such, it is advisable to look out for con artists and shady landscapers when searching for lawn care companies in Boston. Some actions that these individuals take to scam unsuspecting homeowners include:

  • Lying about their qualifications and level of experience
  • Convincing homeowners to pay the full cost of the required lawn care services upfront and then providing subpar services or absconding without doing any work at all
  • Using low-priced packages to entice homeowners, knowing fully well that the advertised programs will be inadequate for the homeowner's long-term lawn goals
  • Offering contracts that include hidden fees and malicious clauses
  • Claiming to provide organic lawn care services and charging premium rates for these services, only to perform conventional lawn care

Taking the following actions can help you avoid these shady landscapers and ensure that you retain the services of a legitimate lawn care company in the city:

  • Do not hire any landscaper that shows up to your home or contacts you out of the blue and offers you free or discounted lawn care and maintenance services
  • Consider getting referrals to reputable lawn care companies near you from friends and family that have successfully implemented lawn care programs or through online directories provided by organizations like the Better Business Bureau and the Massachusetts Association of Landscape Professionals
  • Compare cost estimates from up to three different lawn care companies before making your selection
  • Consider it a major red flag if the landscaper or lawn care company you plan to hire provides final cost estimates or quotes for the job without first inspecting your lawn
  • Do your due diligence on any landscapers that you plan to hire. Request references from them and check these references. Also, look them up online via third-party review websites like Yelp, Google Review, and the Better Business Bureau
  • Always verify any qualifications that your landscaper claims to hold. If your lawn care program includes pesticide-related services, make sure that the landscaper has been properly licensed and certified for this by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources
  • Always confirm that your intended landscaper is properly insured
  • Never hire any landscaper or lawn care company that does not issue written contracts for services to be rendered
  • Always review any contract that you are offered, make sure that it is well detailed and that you understand its terms and conditions before signing it
  • Do not pay the full cost of your lawn care program upfront and never hire any landscaper that asks you to do this
  • Limit down payments to no more than 30 percent of the total cost of your requested services and make sure that subsequent payments do not get ahead of the work
  • Always keep copies of all documents related to your lawn care program

In situations where you find yourself dealing with a shady lawn care company or landscaper, you can file a complaint concerning the matter with the Boston Consumer Affairs Department by calling (617) 635-3834.

Complaints against shady landscapers, unsatisfactory lawn care services, and other unfair or fraudulent business practices can also be filed with the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office, either online or by completing and mailing a pdf consumer complaint form to:

Office of the Attorney General
Consumer Advocacy & Response Division
One Ashburton Place
18th Floor
Boston, MA 02108

You can also contact this office's Consumer Hotline at (617) 727-8400 between the hours of 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., Mondays to Fridays, to make inquiries concerning its consumer complaint submission and resolution process.

Lastly, matters specifically involving the application of pesticides and inappropriate or unauthorized pesticide use in Boston can also be reported to the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources through its pesticide enforcement hotline at (617) 626-1781.