SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ - Established landscaping companies that have built good reputations through decades of hard work are beginning to feel threatened by illegitimate landscapers that can charge significantly lower prices.

Rodney Santacross, owner of RS All Pro Landscaping, is one who faces serious competition from these inexperienced businesses that refuse to play by the rules.

According to Santacross, there are few things that can be done to stop losing work because fly by night companies charge much less than established competitors.

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“These guys get a lawnmower and a pickup truck and all of a sudden they’re landscapers,” he said.

Like any business, running a landscaping company requires the proper documentation, things like insurance and licenses are required by law. Without paying for the mandatory certifications, operating costs become lower and work can be done for a lower price.

Consumers may be excited by what seems to be a great deal but experienced landscapers like Santacross know that the quality of work reflects the price paid.

Despite their reputation and loyal customer base, many companies are feeling the push to lower prices and offer discounts to make their businesses more attractive.

For those looking for a landscaper, ask friends or neighbors for recommendations. Word of mouth is one of the best advertisements for companies and the most informative for consumers seeking information about a specific landscaper’s knowledge and experience.

When choosing a particular company, ask for references in order to speak with past consumers and learn about their individual experience. If possible, visit a job site in progress to see the landscaper in action.

While Santacross has not gone so far as to lower prices, “I stick to my guns,” he said, he is offering a coupon for first time customers, giving $25 off spring cleanups.

There are many challenges to maintaining his business but Santacross still enjoys the work, especially being outdoors and the gratification that comes with beautifying an unremarkable patch of grass.

There is not much else he would like to be doing, “You can’t predict the future,” he said, “But as it stands now I don’t want to do anything else.”

His company provides a wide range of services including lawn maintenance, planting designs, pavers, stone walls, yard clean-ups and snow removal in the winter.

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