I guess I am really lucky. My brother is a landscaper so I get a lot of my knowledge for free. The stuff that I end up paying for is when I make a mistake.
Then it costs me.
But for today's question the answer is no. You are paying for their experience, their guarantee, and the cost of not doing it yourself.
Let's start off with:
- consider getting your supplies from Lesco/John deere. It is what most professionals will use if there is one in the area.
- part of what you get with a lawn service is their guarantee, most will come out and retreat weeds till the problem is corrected and you are satisfied. It may take a few calls.
- most everything is negotiable. Most lawncare services are competing for business. Price a couple out. I had it to the point where the lawn service cost was about what I was paying for Lesco products... Then it just comes down to preference.
While there are pesticides that you need to be licensed to apply, they are called "Restricted use pesticide" or you may hear them called RUP. They're generally much stronger than what you can buy or will ever need. And if you did need them you would want somebody who knows what they are doing to actually apply them.
By all means, learn what you are doing. Even with the over the counter products you can buy you are exposing yourself to potentially health harming subtances!
My brother just suggested that I use the Scott's 4 step annual program. I was going try out the 4 step annual program at my local Home Depot, it is much like the one from Menards.
Where it also comes down to, is for costs. Application equipment (proper, not a cheap-o spreader) and Herbicides is where the consumer loses.
But when I look out and see our yard there is the sense of pride and accomplishment. I don't mind the extra cost and the effort. Plus if I make a mess my big brother will always be willing to put it right.