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Why Hire a Professional Landscape Maintenance Company: An Interview with Steve Gilder of Got Mow? Lawn Care

By Steve Gilder

Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation.

A friend of mine started the company back in odd five and I became intrigued with the idea after talking with him. I liked it so much I bought the company! Its success is based around two things: efficiency and ease of billing. Before, we would be dotting all over town on any given day, just watching the gas gauge plummet, but with Got Mow all the yards on a particular day (for any one crew) are very close to one another. This means you can not only get a lot more work done, but you can keep your prices low. Everybody wins. And when it comes time to invoice the customer it's all done by credit/debit card transactions. No check writing, no postage, no hassle.

What are some of the services your company provides?

We keep it simple so that we can excel at our specialties. We mow lawns. We fix sprinkler systems. That's what we do.

How often should a yard or lawn be maintained in order to stay healthy and beautiful?

You know, we always say "mow every week" because that is the best way, but you can get away with every two weeks if that is your preference. Any more than that and you're going to shock the plant. Botanically speaking grass is very interesting. It's one of the few plants on the planet that actually likes being cut. The cool thing is you can't mow it too often. The less of the blade you cut off the happier it will be. Rule of thumb: a third of the leaf, no more than that. That's why if you mow every couple of weeks we would cut it higher. One thing that drives me nuts is people who want to save money by cutting every two weeks, but still want it cut short. Not gonna do it.

What services are required to maintain a lawn?

You want the best lawn on the block? Here's how: get a sprinkler system and program it properly; mow it every week; give it a snort of fertilizer every spring; and aerate every couple of years. Boom. Done.

What kind of knowledge is required to properly maintain a lawn?

One thing is know not to cut the lawn too short. I've seen some folks scalping the thing and then wonder why they have dead spots. At least three inches should be left on the leaf and in a drought of the middle of summer, even longer. Remember that the longer the grass is, the better it will survive times of stress.

Also, know how to set your sprinkler system. This may seem like a no-brainer, but I'm sure we've all seen lawns being watered in the middle of the afternoon. You do that you're losing most of the water to evaporation. Water when it's cool and make sure you water deeply. What do I mean by deeply? At least a half an inch per watering. If you're not sure how much water your system is putting down, put a rain gauge in the lawn (or an old soup can!) and see how long it takes to get to that half inch measure. If you have a pop-up system you'll find it generally takes fifteen to twenty minutes; if you have rotors it could take five or six times longer. Every system is different, so test it out. If you get these two things right, everything else is gravy.

What are some lawn maintenance services that professionals have the ability to handle where homeowners may not?

You know, it really depends on the homeowner. I mean, messing with fertilizer or renting an aeration machine isn't something a lot of people want to get into, but I know some who do and more power to them. One thing I would definitely say is leave the irrigation system to a professional. We've come across some homeowner fixes that have made the problem worse and leave us standing there shaking our heads. Oh, and before you hire anyone make sure they are licensed by the State of Texas. Very important. If you hire an amateur you have no recourse when they screw it up.

In your opinion, what are some benefits of hiring a professional versus trying to do it yourself?

Are you kidding? You get your weekend back! Done deal. Sign me up!

Are landscape maintenance personnel typically paid hourly or single-fee based?

Just me personally, but I've found paying by the hour is no incentive to get more work done. When you give people the chance at more money for more yards they really step up their game and get motoring, which in this business always boosts the bottom line. They get more money, I get more productivity- what's not to like?

What's the best way for people to get in contact with you or your company?

We try to have as large a web presence as possible- it's the new age, you know! Check out the website at www.gotmow.com. However, if you prefer a personal touch, you can give us a call at 512-785-7787. Success in business comes from repeat customers, customers that boast about your service, and that bring friends with them.

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