10. They over-seed AND use a pre-emergent in the spring.

A pre-emergent application stops all seeds from developing; including grass seed.

9. They don’t have a website.

You’re really in trouble if they don’t have e-mail.

8. They regularly schedule mowing on a Saturday.

You can’t make money mowing on a Saturday due to the overtime you are required to pay.  If they don’t pay overtime; they are exploiting their workers.

7. They don’t have a physical address.

If something goes wrong you want to be able to track them down and I’m pretty sure a PO Box is too small to live in.

6. They hedge sheer deciduous shrubs and trees.

I’ve seen 25’ high Magnolias hedge trimmed to within an inch of their lives.

5. No business phone line.

The business number is their teenaged daughter’s cell phone.  Seriously, it happens.

4. They can’t identify common plants.

Landscaping is not like other trades and has a specific knowledge set needed to perform the work properly.

3. They bill irregularly.

My friend bought a house and the landscaper from the previous owner has been mowing it for three years without sending a bill.

2. No insurance? No Federal Tax ID number?

If they can’t provide a certificate of insurance or if they do have insurance, the policy just started. A common trick is to pay the first installment to get the certificate and then cancel.  Call the carrier, not the agent, to verify.

They can’t provide you with a Federal Tax ID number.  If they aren’t paying taxes, the property owner is liable for the money.

1. No name on the trucks and no uniforms

And the number one way to tell if you’re dealing with a zombie landscaper is:

No name on the trucks and no uniforms. When the last time you bought something from a business that didn’t have a sign?  Or from someone in a concert t-shirt?  Was it legal?