Ok, this is a problem I have been running into for almost the whole ten years I have been in business. I found this article, please read and comment. I think this says what I would say to some of my recent customers...
Question: Why does my lawn care service cost so much?
Answer: Lawn care service companies are faced with ever increasing costs just to keep their business going. Licenses, fuel, labor, materials, and tools all cost money. These costs keep going up every year with many of then being directly related to the cost of oil. A top quality lawn care company is not going to come cheap.
A lawn care company is often doing more work to your lawn than you ever could. They have licensed professionals applying commercial grade products, safely and effectively. They use machinery that is newer, larger or more complex than regular homeowner equipment. Lawn care companies are also able to perform yearly tasks like aerating, dethatching, over seeding and fertilizing, so you don't have to own or rent all that extra equipment.
Cheaper lawn care companies often cut corners on jobs, looking for any opportunity to trim costs. Many companies take on more work than they can handle, hire undocumented workers, rush their work or skip important procedures. A budget lawn care company may not have licensed applicators or anyone with formal education. Be skeptical of cheap prices that seem too good to be true.