Lawn Care Contract Template

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Updated December 16, 2022

A lawn care contract is a legally binding agreement between a contractor providing lawn care services and a client paying for those services. Common lawn care services include lawn mowing, watering, hedging, weeding, and clipping. The services usually occur on a scheduled basis, with the client paying a recurring weekly or monthly amount.

The lawn care contract differs slightly from the landscaping contract; the latter is typically used in the context of large projects that involve the re-design of a landscape.

Table of Contents

Common Lawn Care Services

Here’s the thing about lawns and yards: they’re beautiful, but they also require a lot of work to maintain. Plants, like people, never stop growing. Lawn care is any work that makes an outdoor space look nice and well-maintained.

Lawn care professionals provide a range of services, including but not limited to:

  • Mowing lawns;
  • Trimming hedges and bushes;
  • Weeding and removing weeds;
  • Cutting overhanging tree limbs;
  • Raking leaves;
  • Removing debris;
  • Applying fertilizer;
  • Watering plants;
  • Aerating; and
  • Thatching.

Differences Between Lawn Care and Landscaping

Lawn care focuses on maintaining grass, lawns, and plants, whereas landscaping is more about the design of a property and how all of its elements fit together. Landscaping typically involves a designer and an architect who create plans for a site based on surveys and comprehensive discussions with the client.

This doesn’t mean landscaping is just about the designing and sketching of a landscape. Landscaping can involve planting trees and shrubs; it can also involve installing systems for properly irrigating those trees and shrubs, laying pathways, or constructing outdoor dining venues.

One differentiating factor between lawn care and landscaping is the timeframe of the work. Generally, a landscaper will build a landscape, which can be a time-consuming, thought-intensive process. The lawn care professional will then follow up regularly to maintain the landscape, doing work for shorter time periods at scheduled intervals.

Another key difference has to do with qualifications. Lawn care professionals need only a strong work ethic, an ability to lift heavy objects, and a willingness to get their hands dirty. Landscape designers and architects typically have qualifications, such as certification through the National Association of Landscape Professionals.

How to Become a Lawn Care Professional

There are no special certifications required to become a lawn care professional, but familiarity with the machinery, fertilizers, and chemicals used in lawn maintenance is essential. One way to obtain this is by taking agriculture or horticulture courses in high school or community college. Other ways include joining an association such as the National FFA Organization and assisting or shadowing lawn care professionals on some jobs.

For professionals wanting to stand out or hone their competitive advantage, the Professional Grounds Management Society offers two certifications: Certified Grounds Manager and Certified Grounds Technician.

Eligibility for certification as a Certified Grounds Manager begins with either a bachelor’s degree in a recognized field, a two-year degree and six years of work experience, or eight years of experience. The certification process involves taking a test and being evaluated by a mentor in a range of areas, from knowledge of turf management and irrigation to familiarity with budgeting and safety standards. This certification must be renewed every three years. Anyone wanting to become a Certified Grounds Technician must have two years of experience and a high school degree.

As is the case for any freelancer or independent contractor, it’s essential for every lawn care professional to know how to operate a business – to be familiar with the basics of insurance, invoicing, accounting, and filing taxes.

Do Lawn Care Professionals Need Licenses?

The short answer is no. In order to mow, mulch, weed, trim, and haul debris, no specific licensing is required. Established companies typically offer a wider range of services and some of these, such as installing irrigation, require licenses. To determine what requires a license, check with the licensing department in the city or county in which the work will occur.

How Much Does Lawn Care Cost?

Rates will depend on a range of factors, including location, accessibility of the property, and services required. They can vary widely; for example, the cost of lawn mowing can range from $32 to $250. To get a fair idea of the pricing for lawn care in a particular area, start by sourcing three quotes from three separate lawn care businesses.

National Lawn Care Costs

  • Hourly Rate:
    • Median Rate: $16.55/hour (source: BLS)
    • Mean Rate: $16.94/hour (source: BLS)
  • Square Foot: $4-$12/square foot (source: HomeGuide)

Tips for Creating a Lawn Care Contract

Be specific about the services being offered. Rather than referring to “maintenance” or even “weekly maintenance,” itemize the specific tasks involved, such as “weekly lawn mowing” and “pruning of various trees and shrubs every four months.”

It’s also important to be clear about payment schedules, given this kind of work typically recurs. Will the payment occur weekly? Will there be a fixed monthly fee? Also include payment terms.

Specify somewhere in the contract what types of equipment will be used. If the equipment belongs to the client, for example, the contract should indicate that the professional will be borrowing equipment and factoring this into the rate being charged. The contract should also specify the client’s obligations to maintain the equipment.

Samples (3)

Sample 1

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Sample 2

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Sample 3

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