Picking up Nickels

Friday, March 23, 2007

Does lawn service really cost this much?

I was a victim of sticker shock when I stopped by Lowe's for a bag of Scotts® Turf Builder® With Halts® Crabgrass Preventer this week. The price of the bag that I use (offering coverage for 15,000 sf) has now reached $40! I was surprised to see that even a similarly sized bag of the basic Scotts® Turf Builder® fertilizer now costs $25, where off-brand equivalents can be had for $15 - $20.

Once the budget-minded gardener in me settled down a bit, it did occur to me that I could still follow a DIY four or five step lawn care program (like the Scotts Annual Lawn Care Program) for less than $200 annually. Considering that I like having a nice lawn (and I enjoy doing the work), I have to admit that $200 is a pretty cheap price to pay for a nice looking lawn.

I am unusual in these parts though, since I live in a neighborhood full of people who pay others to perform all of their lawn maintenance. In fact, I often receive quotes from these eager landscapers who graciously offer to handle all of my lawn care needs.

I kept the following quote that I was given last year to remind me why I do this work myself:

When I consider the prices that I was quoted by these guys ($1046 for their basic five step program or $1795.76 for the five step program with grub control), I will happily spend $200 and about 5 hours of my time per year doing the work myself. While I admit that my knowledge of lawn care comes from reading a few books over the years, I can't justify paying these guys an $800+ premium to fertilize my lawn for me.