When it comes to landscaping projects like spring cleanups, many homeowners think they can tackle them on their own. In reality, spring cleanup jobs can be a massive undertaking that require more work than the average “weekend warrior” can handle. Derek Swango, maintenance operations manager for Exscape Designs in Novelty, Ohio, says they commonly run into homeowners who want to tackle cleanup jobs on their own. But there is an opportunity to capture this kind of work once the client understands just how much is involved, Swango says.

It’s not uncommon for people to think they can tackle spring cleanup on a Saturday afternoon, he says. But in reality, an average spring cleanup job takes Exscape Designs 20 man-hours even with the resources available to them as professional landscapers. The average mulch job may take as long as 25 hours. Swango says that once clients actually realize it’s not a one-day, one-person job, they often decide they’d rather have a professional handle it.

The other thing that is important for clients to realize is how much goes into a job “below the surface” in order to achieve a truly healthy landscape. There’s a lot more to the work than meets the eye, says Swango.

“Most people understand the finished product and how they want it to look but that is just the final piece of the puzzle,” Swango says. “They see the end result and think they can easily do it on their own. For instance, everyone likes a fresh mulched flower bed so each year they order their 5 yards of mulch, spread it and maintain their weeds. But there’s so many other factors that come into play.”

Swango says they educate customers on all the other factors that matter: What is the status of the plants’ health? Is the mulch breaking down fast enough around the plant material? Are you cultivating the existing mulch so that the minerals are not stuck on the surface? What sort of soil is underneath your years’ worth of mulch? Are you ordering the correct mulch?

Once people understand just how much is involved, they begin to see the true value in having a landscape professional do the work. Oftentimes they just need a little bit of education on the importance of a landscaper’s level of expertise.

Swango says it’s also important that customers know that making mistakes during spring yard cleanup can be more than unsightly. Pruning mistakes, for instance, can actually lead to permanent damage to the plant.

At the end of the day, there will always be those clients who think they can tackle it all on their own, and in some cases Swango says they may even think they’ve achieved what they want. But oftentimes they have only touched the surface and in three months their property may be back to the way it was before the cleanup job.

Very few people truly have the time to keep their yard looking as pristine as they’d like. But sometimes it takes clients going through a round of doing it on their own to realize it’s something they’d rather not continue to handle. Swango says it’s important to continue educating the customer and offer services as, ultimately, they just may come back to you for help.

Read more: 6 Spring Cleanup Services to Market to Your Clients

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