With every mowing maintenance account, a contractor will generally need to string trim and edge as well. Although landscape edging may not be thought of as the most difficult task, it is the finishing touch to make your client’s landscape look better than their neighbor’s. A high-quality, finished project depends on doing the job the right way. Use these four tips to help.

1. Even with mowing height

It can be easy to overdo it when trimming grass around fences or trees. For that reason, Don Porter, owner of Don’s Lawn Care, Austin, Texas, favors mowing first and trimming afterward. “That way, I can see where the cut is from the mower, so I can visualize where the string needs to be in order to even it out,” he explains. Putting the trimmer too far to the ground can kill the grass over time and leave an edging of dirt. “You don’t want to be too high so it looks like you didn’t do anything; but you don’t want to be too low to where you’re scalping it,” adds Antonio Zeppa, owner of Zeppa’s Lawn Service in Louisville, Kentucky.

2. Efficiency is vital

Landscape maintenance jobs are estimated and bid based on labor hours and one of the most competitive contracts to secure since they are won or lost based on price. Completing jobs to customers’ satisfaction is crucial, but efficiency is just as important since labor hours are the biggest expense for these services.

3. Mulch and border installation

Consider installing mulch or borders to make trimming easier for your regular maintenance routine. The installation can be an add-on service to what you already provide to the client, an improvement to the health and look of their landscape, plus extra revenue for your business while also creating efficiencies around unusually shaped landscape features. Mulch around trees is important for the root system and will help protect the fragile trunk from mowers and trimmers. Borders can be installed using aluminum, concrete, stones, etc.

4. Trimming training

Spending too much time on a relatively small task can eat into a contractor’s labor hours. If you don’t teach your employees the best and most efficient way to use an edger or a string trimmer, you will see your profit margin shrink. It is worth the extra time up front to teach new employees — after teaching yourself first — the best practices so that your crews don’t get stuck in a rut with time-wasting habits.