Lawn care companies across the Tennessee Valley are trying to keep up with the unusually high demand due to the warm winter. The grass is green, and it's growing growing fast.
The sound of lawn mowers isn't usually heard in February. But this year, companies like Joe's Lawn Services, listed by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) as one of the best in Chattanooga, had to break out their equipment several weeks ahead of schedule.
"Because of the earliness of the temperatures, the weather change, how warm it is, it's been really good for business," said owner Joe Seay.
He says his small crew was lucky to survive last year's drought. So they're happy to get a head start on 2017.
"We have people kind of waiting a little bit before we can get to them because business is picking up," adds Seay. "Everybody's calling at the same time."
The grass is just as green at Dawson Lawn Service, another BBB favorite. Long-time customer Vonya Drinnon says she and her husband have been caught off guard by the winter warmth.
"I think we only got one month off from our lawn services this time," says Drinnon. "We usually get a couple months, three months probably when we don't have to have anything done. Not this year."
The challenge has been getting her garden planted.
"I feel like I'm behind because it feels like it's April," adds Drinnon.
Dawson crew leader Laurie Thurston isn't complaining about record highs in the upper 70s.
"We were cutting grass in January. The phone is ringing, please come cut our grass because it's tall. It's 6 to 8 inches tall in some places," says Thurston.
She says they're using three times the number of workers compared to last winter. To keep up with some of the competition they'll hire several new workers through March.
"It's a competitive business," explains Thurston. "But doing good work and being reliable has been what we try to do most."
She also says she's aware of independent people getting paid under the table. But she doesn't think that will affect business at Dawson's or other BBB-accredited lawn services.