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View Full Version : Anyone NOT mow and do applications only?


lawnboy11
02-19-2001, 03:08 PM
How is the market for lawncare programs only, without weekly maintenance? I know true green does well enough, but it would seem difficult to get a lot of application only customers (fert, weed control, etc.). That's where the money is. I now require all maintenance clients to have at least a fertilizer program or I won't waste my time. Any comments??? Anyone just do applications and work for themselves? Thanks!

Getmow
02-19-2001, 05:28 PM
Well I am going to find out for myself this year. I just sold the maintenance portion of my business.

Forever Green Lawn
02-19-2001, 06:00 PM
That's all I do. No mowing. It really is not too hard to get fertilizer only customers. It really depends on the market by you, but overall there is a good demand for fertilizer/chemical work. Yes, you can make good money at it. Let me know how it goes!

Scott

WatkinsLawn
02-19-2001, 06:02 PM
one of these days I'll get the guts to get out of the maintenance end of this business. I definately make more money on the apps. but there is something to be said for having a consistant schedule with the mowing. I have a guy who works for me that I am considering making a partner in the maintenance work and I'll concentrate on only lawn apps. I just can't stand the thought of having someone else involved in my business but I'm really ready to stop doing the mowing myself. I have even considered just selling the equipment to him and then sub-out the mowing to him. What do you think about doing something like that?

Garry
02-19-2001, 10:32 PM
I have a spray system, a good spreader, two hand cans, a good test kit, a real nice microscope, and twenty-five years of Green industry experience. I've also found this computer to be a valuable tool.

I've spent years in the chemical aspect of this business. The only lawn I mow is my own. I'm interested in the science of this business. PROPER management ranks at the forefront of todays landscape needs.

Remember, there are plenty of companies offering the "candybar and potato chip" diet, and plenty of people willing to buy on price alone. Without sound agronomic practice, I feel I must warn you, you are in for the hassle of your life

lawnboy11
02-20-2001, 07:21 AM
Thanks for the replies guys, I am encouraged! Garry, I appreciate your concern and you are correct. I do have a solid understanding of agronomy, soil science, plant pathology, etc. and I agree that mgmt. is key.

I think that to make the transition from full maintenance to apps. only I would advertise apps. only services while still doing full maint. until I had enough apps. only clients to fill my shcedule.

David- I hear ya! This year I decided to have no employees. I am able to pick the best 75 out of 110 clients, keep them and service them by myself. I don't want to deal w/ employees this year, but I don't want to mow forever!

Rodney Anderson
02-20-2001, 10:49 AM
I've been doing lawn applications for 16 years and I love it. Been on my own for 5 and you can become a very desired person in your field. Think of how many services do not really offer that personalized service because they are in a production mode. You do not have to be a super large service to make a good living. Strive on making a customer base that will never ever will think of switching to another service because you're the man and no one else.
Use you buying tools and good turf management skills and you
will make money. And do not give your services away. You have to make living. A shopper will shop again next year.

inzane
03-14-2012, 10:06 AM
i'm thinking about starting out with applications without offering mowing. i just can't see how one can make money mowing these days. would rather spend 2k to 3k on a good aerator, rather than a mower. and i think applications could be more flexible to somebody working another job while trying to get going full-time, because your not gonna have to be out there every single week. i figure it would take longer to get to that "quit my night job" point. however, i would think that it would be easier to pick up customers that want applications rather than grass cutting. anyone else start out this way the past few years?

Ric
03-14-2012, 12:16 PM
i'm thinking about starting out with applications without offering mowing. i just can't see how one can make money mowing these days. would rather spend 2k to 3k on a good aerator, rather than a mower. and i think applications could be more flexible to somebody working another job while trying to get going full-time, because your not gonna have to be out there every single week. i figure it would take longer to get to that "quit my night job" point. however, i would think that it would be easier to pick up customers that want applications rather than grass cutting. anyone else start out this way the past few years?

Inzane

I am a Fert & Squirt only guy. My advice is to find the best Fert & Squirt Company in your area and Train under them until the Economy turns around. This is not the best time to start a business and the Training you get working for the man will make you that much more successful when you do go in Business. Un-like Mowing, Fert & Squirt is a SKILLED TRADE, treat that way by getting the proper training.


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grassmasterswilson
03-14-2012, 12:52 PM
fert and squirt would be nice to do only, but I find in my area I need mowing to keep things going.

I did some math the other day on a few accounts. I estimated that for a $60 app customer who I treat 6 times(6x$30 profit), aerate($100 profit), and seed($30 profit) that I made 160 profit(I was just figuring in my head and not exactly sure). That same customer is a $35 mow. Now if I figure $5 profit per mow(which might be low) x 35 visits I make $175 profit.

For the year my bottom line profit is better on mowing, but then you need to figure in 35 mowing visits vs 8-10 app visits.

It's all about learning and customer satisfaction. You will find that residential customers are very loyal. I'm hoping my app side takes off since there are few app companies here.

inzane
03-14-2012, 01:04 PM
well, 1994 to 2004 i worked as a lawn applicator..(for a few different companies) so 10 years experience as an applicator in my area, and even though i changed jobs in 04' still kept up apps on my on 2 lawns all this time. i feel confident i have the skill to start-up, and know what this kinda work entails. not gonna sit here and say i know it all or anything like that though, just feel like im ready. i know with the economy its rough to get started, but this type of service is still in big demand around here from what i can tell.. (metro atlanta area) i always did good work when i was an applicator, the customers liked me. i listened to their concerns, always made good on my promises. I can't see going to work for somebody else doing something that i know that i could do on my own. i managed routes with large amt's of customers.. i would rather just do it on my own, not expecting it to be easy either. i did talk to trugreen last week, they offer 13 bucks an hour for a 4 day work week. non-compete agreement. hmmm. i don't think so..

i have got another 3 weeks off of work and i'm studying up for the pesticide exam at this time. :weightlifter: i may feel things out for another year before i get out there.. but who knows.

Inzane

I am a Fert & Squirt only guy. My advice is to find the best Fert & Squirt Company in your area and Train under them until the Economy turns around. This is not the best time to start a business and the Training you get working for the man will make you that much more successful when you do go in Business. Un-like Mowing, Fert & Squirt is a SKILLED TRADE, treat that way by getting the proper training.


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James Cormier
03-16-2012, 08:54 AM
fert and squirt would be nice to do only, but I find in my area I need mowing to keep things going.

I did some math the other day on a few accounts. I estimated that for a $60 app customer who I treat 6 times(6x$30 profit), aerate($100 profit), and seed($30 profit) that I made 160 profit(I was just figuring in my head and not exactly sure). That same customer is a $35 mow. Now if I figure $5 profit per mow(which might be low) x 35 visits I make $175 profit.

For the year my bottom line profit is better on mowing, but then you need to figure in 35 mowing visits vs 8-10 app visits.

It's all about learning and customer satisfaction. You will find that residential customers are very loyal. I'm hoping my app side takes off since there are few app companies here.

One BIG thing your missing is this.

How many lawns can you mow alone? Using your numbers you make 175 profit per customer..My guess is a one man show can take care of
60-70 lawn mowing customers?

look at it this way. You mow 70 customers $35 per mow (again using your numbers) that is a yearly gross of $87,700

A one man fert guy should easily be able to handle 400 customers, really much more if you wanna work your tail off... but using your numbers that same guy will do $144,000 in gross sales.

My customer base average is 535 per customer...using that 400 customer base my gross sales should be $214,000 gross sales. There is no way in hell I can mow and make that same gross number.

Oh, and to answer the first question on the post, Ive been a fert & squirt guy since 1986. I offered mowing for the first 6 years after I started my own business in 1994, it took me a while to figure out that was not what was making my company money

vaacutabove
03-16-2012, 12:20 PM
At what point did yall drop mowing? This is only my second year and with mulch mowing starting and spraying im way way behind. Mulching is good money for time spent on the job. Im no where big enough to drop mowing but hope next year i will not mow at all my self anyways.
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HazellLawnCare
03-17-2012, 11:42 PM
I have been in business before and did it all, mowing, fert and weed, snow, landscaping, the works. I am very seriously considering getting back into the lawn business but it will be fert and weed control, aeration and overseeding work ONLY. This was always my most profitable part of my business so why even bother with the other work. I have a very good full time job but I truely enjoy this business and the extra money will be for my fun stuff. With a minimal investment, skid sprayer, aerator, and over seeder I can be back in business. The worst part will be paying for the license and insurance without having a good clientel built up yet.

clayslandscape
04-15-2012, 11:04 PM
What kind of skid sprayer do you all recommend and do any of you care to share your treatment plans?

TooMuchClay
04-16-2012, 12:43 AM
How is the market for lawncare programs only, without weekly maintenance? I know true green does well enough, but it would seem difficult to get a lot of application only customers (fert, weed control, etc.). That's where the money is. I now require all maintenance clients to have at least a fertilizer program or I won't waste my time. Any comments??? Anyone just do applications and work for themselves? Thanks!

At Lawn Doctor where I worked, we owned 3 Franchises that operated in parts of 5 counties in 3 states, and we had about 3500 regular lawn service customers, then he bought another franchise and got another 1000 customers or so, that got 6 apps per year, plus countless extras like seeding, lime, aeration, grub control. Plus we had hundreds of tree/shrub care customers. I'd say the owner did about 1.5 - 2 million dollars in revenue annually.

lawn king
04-16-2012, 06:22 AM
Inzane

I am a Fert & Squirt only guy. My advice is to find the best Fert & Squirt Company in your area and Train under them until the Economy turns around. This is not the best time to start a business and the Training you get working for the man will make you that much more successful when you do go in Business. Un-like Mowing, Fert & Squirt is a SKILLED TRADE, treat that way by getting the proper training.


.

This is the best route for sure! Learn the lawn care trade, then start on your own. I myself, did a seven year apprenticeship, while attending an agricultural school. I started on my own in 1985 & we are still rolling!

grassmasterswilson
04-16-2012, 07:54 AM
One BIG thing your missing is this.

How many lawns can you mow alone? Using your numbers you make 175 profit per customer..My guess is a one man show can take care of
60-70 lawn mowing customers?

look at it this way. You mow 70 customers $35 per mow (again using your numbers) that is a yearly gross of $87,700

A one man fert guy should easily be able to handle 400 customers, really much more if you wanna work your tail off... but using your numbers that same guy will do $144,000 in gross sales.

My customer base average is 535 per customer...using that 400 customer base my gross sales should be $214,000 gross sales. There is no way in hell I can mow and make that same gross number.

Oh, and to answer the first question on the post, Ive been a fert & squirt guy since 1986. I offered mowing for the first 6 years after I started my own business in 1994, it took me a while to figure out that was not what was making my company money

You are right James. That was just one customer and an example of the different routes to yearly profit. As I've grown I've started charging more and my profit has increased.

While I would love to do apps only, my town just can't support that. Maybe in a few years I will have picked up enough to just do apps ans can expand to the neighboring towns or buy some accounts. At this point I need to mow to pay the bills. It is easier to get mowing accounts than app accounts. I then try to upsale. Over the last 3-4 years I've done a high end post card, have a lettered truck, and leave signs after applications(which isn't required and only i do). So far i'm not at a 100 accounts per round yet.

With the size of my area I can do around 20-25 a day and would love to have 300 accounts. Work for 2.5-3 weeks per round and spend the rest marketing or vacationing, something I can't do with mowing. Hopeing some bids come my way and a crew can be hired.

LawnoftheMonth
04-18-2012, 01:46 AM
I don't even mow my own lawn.

Exact Rototilling
04-18-2012, 12:30 PM
Inzane

I am a Fert & Squirt only guy. My advice is to find the best Fert & Squirt Company in your area and Train under them until the Economy turns around. This is not the best time to start a business and the Training you get working for the man will make you that much more successful when you do go in Business. Un-like Mowing, Fert & Squirt is a SKILLED TRADE, treat that way by getting the proper training.


.

Iím also interested in getting my applicators license but it would be logistically impossible for me to work for another Co. to learn OJT. What is the next best way to go....?



I have been in business before and did it all, mowing, fert and weed, snow, landscaping, the works. I am very seriously considering getting back into the lawn business but it will be fert and weed control, aeration and overseeding work ONLY. This was always my most profitable part of my business so why even bother with the other work. I have a very good full time job but I truely enjoy this business and the extra money will be for my fun stuff. With a minimal investment, skid sprayer, aerator, and over seeder I can be back in business. The worst part will be paying for the license and insurance without having a good clientel built up yet.

I never wanted to be the Mow King and I expanded into aeration in hopes that would be the bulk of my cash flow. Some of the application Co. here run $29.95 aeration specials for up to 5k so Iím assuming they do this is a loss leader to get in the door for fert or herbicides.

Iím interested in the approach of combining minimal use of herbicides and heavy on organic based products and education on proper watering, avoid quick release fertilizers where I have to mow or there is an issue with thatch development. I want the focus to be on what is best for the lawn not necessarily what the customer thinks is best such as scalp mowing to get the putting green look, daily watering and use of high nitrogen fert and constant use of herbicides.

Ric
04-18-2012, 06:51 PM
Iím also interested in getting my applicators license but it would be logistically impossible for me to work for another Co. to learn OJT. What is the next best way to go....?


You can do it like I did. Find a college or university that offers a Turf Grass or Plant science degreed program. Sign up for as Many classes as you can handle and still keep earning a living. After a few years of taking classes you should have a starting back ground and be ready to really learn the Trade with Hands on experience.

Of Course if you only have Bluegrass or Fescue turf to deal with, you don't need an education. Any fool can make those turfs green.


.

Exact Rototilling
04-18-2012, 07:12 PM
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Exact Rototilling
04-18-2012, 07:13 PM
You can do it like I did. Find a college or university that offers a Turf Grass or Plant science degreed program. Sign up for as Many classes as you can handle and still keep earning a living. After a few years of taking classes you should have a starting back ground and be ready to really learn the Trade with Hands on experience.

Of Course if you only have Bluegrass or Fescue turf to deal with, you don't need an education. Any fool can make those turfs green.



Well it's pretty much all cool season grasses up here so yes that would be blue grass and fescue.

I called my local agricultural investigator for my region and got the low down on what I need to get licensed etcetera.

There is some slack here on unlicensed incidental use.

The bulk of my income comes from mowing and I want that to change gradually over to aplications.

I'm going to do a feel good blend of organic based products and some use of herbicides. Basically best of both world's and not offend either extreme.

:waving:


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Exact Rototilling
04-18-2012, 07:21 PM
Who knows maybe I'll go full Gonzo with it and become a crop duster pilot. That kind of flying always appealed to me except for a huge chemical tank up front. :)
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