Okay, time to finally admit it. Your lawn needs more TLC than you can personally give right now and you’re ready for a little help. You’ve tried googling “lawn maintenance companies near me.” But there are so many lawn care companies out there, of all sizes and degrees of professionalism. How do you select quality lawn service for your yard? Simple — just take a look at this list designed to help you figure out the type of lawn care you need and the best lawn expert for the job.

What type of lawn care service do I need?

Mowing. If your grass is in good shape, it could be that all you need is basic lawn mower service. This might be either temporary (for example, while you are extra-busy or out of town) or long term. Most grass cutting companies offer both short and long term contracts. A short term arrangement is more flexible, but a longer term will usually be a better deal in terms of price.

Troubleshooting. When you notice that your lawn is looking less than its best — perhaps the grass is patchy or discolored — it’s time to call in a good lawn care business to troubleshoot the situation. Lawn care experts are trained to identify the problems underlying unhealthy-looking grass, by processes such as soil testing.

Remediation. Based on their assessment of your yard’s needs, professional lawn companies should be able to offer an individualized remediation plan, which may include one or more of these treatments:

— Aerating your lawn (if your yard’s soil is overly compacted, removing small “cores” of lawn soil will allow oxygen, water, and fertilizer to reach the grass roots more effectively)

— Dethatching (when a thick layer of dead, decaying grass and roots forms between your soil and the live grass, it needs to be cut up and removed for a healthy lawn)

— Treatment of lawn pests and weed control

— Eradication of lawn diseases

— Overseeding lawn

— Hydroseeding

— Fertilizing service

How do I choose a great lawn care service near me?

Reviews. Look for lawn maintenance companies with good, checkable local references and unbiased online reviews on sites like Yelp! Beyond that, you might want to check with the Better Business Bureau to see whether the company is listed.

Credentials. The lawn contractor you hire should be licensed wherever required by law. In addition, look for current membership in a landscape professional association.

Insurance coverage. Anyone working on your property must be insured with up-to-date business liability/property and workers comp coverage — for your protection and theirs.

In-person bid. Look for a company that is willing to send out a rep for an in-person bid. That way, you are less likely to be faced with additional charges once the lawn care program actually gets underway. If possible, get 3 bids and compare the prices and services offered.

Knowledge. Make sure that your contractor is familiar with the particular species of grass you have planted. You might also look for knowledge of green lawn care such as drip watering systems, organic fertilizers, and xeriscaping.

Contract. Have the pro sign a contract outlining the lawn maintenance services to be provided, cost, frequency, payment details, and guarantee.

What else should I know about lawn care?

HOA specifications. Your Homeowners Association rules may well spell out exactly how often your grass should be cut (usually at least every 10 days in warm weather.) Alternatively, a maximum height for lawn vegetation (normally 6 inches or less) might be specified.

Noise bylaws. It could suit you just fine to have your lawn mowed at 6 a.m. Sunday morning … but your neighbors are likely to object. Ensure that your lawn service is available to take care of your property during the hours permitted by local noise control bylaws.

Yard waste disposal. Your lawn maintenance company may recommend leaving grass clippings on the yard as mulch. Otherwise, check that they will dispose of any yard waste according to your community regulations.

— Laura Firszt writes for networx.com.