How to Spot a Lawn Care Contractor Operating Without Proper Licensure

Pesticides are dangerous, especially the commercial use pesticides applied by the professionals to control unwanted pests and weeds. If not properly applied and handled, the adverse repercussions could be serious. This is why it is so important that the lawn care contractor that you're using is currently licensed. Obtaining a license or charter to apply pesticides is a rigorous process for the lawn care professional and company. So, how do you know if the company servicing your lawn or your neighbor’s property has the proper licenses in place?


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    Be aware of what is involved in the licensing process for any lawn company in the United States. The company's employees must pass an extensive set of exams, making sure that they have the knowledge base for proper application and safety; the company will also have to implement and maintain a proper level of insurance. That’s just the beginning; in most jurisdictions they will be subject to at a minimum annual inspection by the state to check record keeping, proper safety procedures, and any violations. Should the company receive too many complaints or violations, it will lose its license; this is a good function to hold service providers accountable, and make them, overall, better professionals for their customers. In addition to all this, the company and its technicians will have to undergo continuing education, and re-certification. This is all to protect the environment and the public. These checks and regulations make sure the companies and technicians applying pesticides are qualified and properly following the laws and regulations.
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    Place a call to your local governing body that handles the regulation of commercial pesticide use. Usually this is your local agriculture department. There is no national registry for licensed pesticide applicators; however, a local internet search for “licensed pesticide applicators” will steer you in the right direction. Call the extension office and check; many have published online the licensed companies in your area.
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    Check the company’s vehicle. In most areas, companies applying pesticides are required to display their company charter number or license number on both sides of the vehicle. Take the number down, and it would be a good idea to confirm it with your local regulatory body.
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    Ask the owner or representative to provide a copy of their charter or license. If you are working with a national organization, it’s highly likely they have the proper local licenses in place. However, it is strongly recommended that you ask to the see the certification for the actual applicator conducting the services at your property. Many large scale organizations have high turnover and do not keep their employees long. It is often the case that a new technician will be hired and begin training to pass the applicator test. In many cases this person will not remain with the company long enough to get the certification card he or she is required to have. The company will then hire another tech, throw him or her out in the field, and the cycle continues. This is just as critical as the company being properly licensed; as the technician at your property is actually performing the work, it is imperative that he or she has been trained on proper safety and application and that these proficiencies are verified by your state.


  • There will be several quality, licensed services providers in your area to keep your lawn and landscape in top notch shape; don’t risk your lawn or family’s safety by working with a company flying below the radar.
  • Should you find a contractor performing or soliciting lawn care services that uses chemical applications, it would be prudent to report them to your governing agency. The agency will give them an initial warning and then take action should the unlicensed contractor persist. This is necessary for public safety, and the service provider will also be better for it.

Things You'll Need

  • Contact details for your local agricultural department

Article Info

Categories: Lawn Care