I'm not a professional landscaper, but a friend suggested that this forum would be an good place to ask this question. As a residential customer, what can I do to make myself a desireable client and get really good service from a professional landscaping company? The reason I ask is this. I'm a new homeowner, and for the last few months I've been trying to get a landscaping company to do some minor regrading in my yard, till up the yard, and plant a lawn from seed. I've found that a lot of compaines I've contacted seem to have little or no interest in doing this residential work. Most don't call back or say they're not interested. Several have come and looked at the job then "vanished." One agreed to do the work but didn't want a written contract (just a written estimate). They had agreed to start about five weeks ago but never showed up. When I call, they continually tell me some excuse and promise to start "next week". I suspect that what is going on is that they're keeping my small job on the "back-burner" for a time when they have some downtime between more lucrative commercial jobs. As an average homeowner, I can't compete with commercial maintenance contracts. Short of just throwing money away, how can I get better service than this short of attempting to do the work myself? Do people in the industry generally sign contracts and take deposits to ensure that they'll do the job? Are timeframes ever specified in a contract (i.e. work will be complete by X date unless there is more than N inches of rainfall)? Any tips would be greatly appreciated.