Website Review:

Two events in the news are making for an interesting convergence. On Tuesday, we witnessed the twenty-fifth anniversary of the first dot-com, when a computer company called Symbolics became the initial corporate presence on the Internet to be represented by the now-ubiquitous postscript. Then tomorrow, it’s the first day of spring, a return to warm weather and all the outdoor labor that entails for those of us living in the American suburbs.

For me, the convergence also means that my yard guy now has a website.

Well, he’s not my yard guy yet, but he’s trying hard to be. In a decidedly old-media marketing move, Eddie blanketed my subdivision with flyers stuffed into mailboxes advertising his landscaping business. (About the only way he could go older media than that would be to stand at the exit from the neighborhood, shouting at cars and pounding on their windshields).

His introductory letter is printed on a nice glossy stock using surprisingly well-punctuated language, and it promotes an “attentive customer service and quality workmanship” that will make Cutting Edge Lawn and Landscaping an “excellent candidate for developing a business relationship with you and your family.” Yard guys have come a long way since the days they’d bang at your front door, offer their best toothless smile and ask “cut your grass?” (and the implied follow-up: “if not, can I invade your home and murder your family?”)

To honor Eddie’s initiative without actually contracting for his services, I decided I’d take a look at his internet presence with this week’s Website Review.

The awkwardly named is a fairly professional though simple domain. It exhibits a clean design pleasantly free of the mud and manure you might expect to find on such a site. The home page displays a pastoral photograph of four sprinklers spouting water onto a grassy expanse with a couple of tree trunks looming in the background. All very green, very healthy, very much unlike my tree-covered lot where the sun don’t shine enough for me to cultivate anything more verdant than moss and mold.

“Customer satisfaction is the #1 priority” at Cutting Edge, as we’re constantly reminded reading through the promotional copy. “We go the extra mile, one yard at a time.” We’re invited to look around the site, which won’t take long considering it’s only four pages, and “find us to be your one-stop shop for all your landscaping needs.”

Services include a number of dirt-related operations, as well as a few I wouldn’t expect from a guy with a trailer full of weed-whackers and edgers. I know what mowing, shrub care and gutter cleaning are, but I’m a little in the dark about subjects as esoteric as core aeration, overseeding, and mulch installation. The only core in my possession that I know of, aside this apple I just finished eating, is the one in the center of my body that my doctor says needs to be not too hot during my summertime jogs. If running me over with a device that fills my torso with tiny holes which allow cooling air into my trunk is what I need, I think I’d rather give up running. Overseeding I think I can handle quite well myself, as the unused bags of grass kernels in my shed will attest. As for the fertilization treatments, I think at age 57 my child-bearing years are over, but maybe I should double-check with my wife.

If you do become a client of Cutting Edge, you’re encouraged to tell your friends about your experience, because they have a “very exciting referral incentive program.” I would’ve guessed there some kind of discount involved if they get new customers through you, though I hardly consider this “exciting.” Perhaps Eddie has access to wood nymphs — that would definitely get my interest up.

If you want to contact Eddie for a free estimate, you can either give him a phone call or, for the more internet-savvy, you can enter your information into a long list of fields and press “send,” something that I, as a relative computer newbie, am reluctant to try.

In the “About Us” section, we learn that the proprietor takes great pride in the work that his company performs and, in case we forgot since reading the home page a few minutes ago, “the customer is of the utmost importance to me and I’m not satisfied unless my customer is satisfied.” Eddie has been in the lawn care business for ten years, and incorporates the knowledge and professionalism that he gained from his previous job of almost 15 years spent as a sales and customer service representative for a “large manufacturing incorporation.” I’m not exactly sure how customer service experience translates into yard work, though I’d imagine you should expect to be put on hold if you try to ask him any questions about the mulch.

There’s a “Special Offers” page that tells how new customers can get their first cut free when they sign on for a year-round full maintenance contract. You may also qualify for 10-percent off on a one-time mow, or discounted rates for a service called “pine needle installation.” My pines seem to do just fine growing their own, and I can’t see the necessity of sending poor Eddie 30 feet into the air to glue needles back onto branches that have shed them.

Finally, there’s a “Gallery” section that appears to still be under construction. During the 2010 season ahead, Cutting Edge will be posting pictures of some of their best work here. “We are very proud of our work and strive for nothing but perfection,” we’re reminded again, and are encouraged to check back later in the year for photographs of the most sparkling clean gutters you ever conjured in your wildest imagination.

For a website promoting a lawn-care business, I’d give pretty high marks. There’s no unnecessary virtual raking games or attempts to entertain the kids with interactive pruning of Mr. Bush, Ms. Shrub and all the little Hedges. There are no links to give Twitter updates (“Look — a bee!”), no Facebook status updates (“Just cut off my foot”) and no YouTube videos of Eddie gassing up his leaf blower. Such high-tech embellishments would merely distract from the basic work of tending God’s green earth.

So while this website might be cutting edge in name only, I’d say that’s good enough.


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3 Responses to “Website Review:”

  1. izziedarling Says:

    My, you put much into what appears to be a simple activity. Bravo. What can you do for

  2. S Fox Says:

    Has it really only been 25 years since the first dotcom? Has my life really become so empty that after reaing your piece I actually visited this site myself to enjoy the virtual lawn care facilities at first and, face to screen? I don’t even have a lawn; not so much as a wondow box even!

  3. thekingoftexas Says:

    Because of this posting, I will never view my yardman in the same light. Actually, I view him while I’m shaving, while combing what’s left of my hair and while brushing what’s left of my teeth, so obviously I’ll never view myself in the same light.

    Yours is a good analysis of the yardman’s website–were it not for the extreme distances between South Carolina and South Texas, I would hire him based on nothing more than the website and your coverage. However, the cost of the yard work combined with reimbursement for round trip travel expenses, although profitable for him, would bankrupt me.

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