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rmmllc
01-18-2008, 09:35 PM
I am just getting into spraying this year- been in the cutting side for 6 years now. I was calculating the cost per 1000 sf today and came out to about $4.10. That is with pre-m, and momentum (herbicide), so less in the later apps. (that was pot ash, urea, iron, pre-m, and broad leaf herbicide) Does that sound about right? I know it is probably somewhat regional, but I was wondering what you guys figured. Then do you price the application via square footage, of coarse with a minimum price just to get there and do it?
How many use merit or something like it (a systemic) for pest control? How often is it applied?

RigglePLC
01-18-2008, 10:01 PM
Back in the 80's when I worked for Tru Green--we charged something like 16.00 base fee, plus Msqft times 2.60.

Seven thousand sqft was about 7 times 2.60 plus 16.00 or about 34.20. I think the chemicals cost about 50 cents. Crabgrass control round, about 80 cents.

I suggest you try to get your chemicals for about an average cost of about 1.85 per M. Charge about three times that per Msqft, for labor and chemicals and charge about 20 to 25 dollars for the trip and overhead cost.

PHS
01-21-2008, 10:17 PM
rm,

I'll just toss out another idea for you that may help. For the guys who are only in the lawn application business they're probably more comfortable doing everything on a price/sq ft basis and they are doing enough of it to have accurate numbers. Lawn IPM is just one service that I offer so for me it 's little easier to do my estimating based on time since my other services are based on time also.

So basically I know what my material costs are per Msqft and I decide how long it's going to take plus whatever for driving time to the property. Add the two together and I have a price. All of my overhead and profit is figured into my rate per hour already so that's why I use it. If you estimate your other work on time that might work for you.

Whitey4
01-21-2008, 11:48 PM
Other than pre-M and spot spraying for weeds, I won't schedule any insect or fungus apps unless I find a good reason to use those controls. I don't think it's a good idea to use a product like Merit unless I can first identify a grub problem, and then know what type of grub I'm after, which has something to do with when is the best time to apply.

Grubs that have overwintered are much harder to kill. The younger larvae which start feeding in August are easiest to kill. The threshold level for grub apps also depends on how healthy the turf is. In weak turf, 4 or 5 grubs is enough to warrant something like Merit. Healthy turf can be almost non-affected by 5 grubs per Sq foot. Over, mis-timed or too frequent applications can make the population more pesticide resistant. My analogy... I never (or rarely) use the "F" word. When I DO, it packs a wallop! :laugh:

I found my cost per 1k went down about 35% when I switched my supplier from Lesco to a local guy. $4/M sounds high to me. I can do a spring fert app, followed up with pendi for about $2.50 and that is with no volume discount. I plan to put my pre-m down later than my first feed.

rmmllc
01-22-2008, 12:00 AM
rm,

I'll just toss out another idea for you that may help. For the guys who are only in the lawn application business they're probably more comfortable doing everything on a price/sq ft basis and they are doing enough of it to have accurate numbers. Lawn IPM is just one service that I offer so for me it 's little easier to do my estimating based on time since my other services are based on time also.

So basically I know what my material costs are per Msqft and I decide how long it's going to take plus whatever for driving time to the property. Add the two together and I have a price. All of my overhead and profit is figured into my rate per hour already so that's why I use it. If you estimate your other work on time that might work for you.
That's a good idea and probably easier for me to figure that way too. thanks for the input

rmmllc
01-22-2008, 12:03 AM
Other than pre-M and spot spraying for weeds, I won't schedule any insect or fungus apps unless I find a good reason to use those controls. I don't think it's a good idea to use a product like Merit unless I can first identify a grub problem, and then know what type of grub I'm after, which has something to do with when is the best time to apply.

Grubs that have overwintered are much harder to kill. The younger larvae which start feeding in August are easiest to kill. The threshold level for grub apps also depends on how healthy the turf is. In weak turf, 4 or 5 grubs is enough to warrant something like Merit. Healthy turf can be almost non-affected by 5 grubs per Sq foot. Over, mis-timed or too frequent applications can make the population more pesticide resistant. My analogy... I never (or rarely) use the "F" word. When I DO, it packs a wallop! :laugh:

I found my cost per 1k went down about 35% when I switched my supplier from Lesco to a local guy. $4/M sounds high to me. I can do a spring fert app, followed up with pendi for about $2.50 and that is with no volume discount. I plan to put my pre-m down later than my first feed.
Thanks for the advice. Some clients (my dad for one) always has a grub problem in certain areas. Do you think I should come out of the gates shooting for those areas, or wait until a problem manifests itself? I can see where overuse can cause problems, so I will do as you advise. As far as a supplier, what kind of local shops carry pesticides (what should I look up in the yellow pages?) The guys at lesco are helpful, but they don't have to be my exclusive supplier.

Whitey4
01-22-2008, 12:35 AM
Thanks for the advice. Some clients (my dad for one) always has a grub problem in certain areas. Do you think I should come out of the gates shooting for those areas, or wait until a problem manifests itself? I can see where overuse can cause problems, so I will do as you advise. As far as a supplier, what kind of local shops carry pesticides (what should I look up in the yellow pages?) The guys at lesco are helpful, but they don't have to be my exclusive supplier.

Different story if you have a known problem... but still, I think it's a good idea to cut the turf on three sides, roll it up and take a count. (1 sq ft). It's a good idea to look at one of the lil buggers and figure out what type it is. Your co-op can provide pics to help identify which grub it is. Milky spore will knock the H outta Japanese beetles, but do nothing for the european chafer or oriental beetle.

The JB's around here aren't very bad. It's the EC's and to a lesser extent, the OB. Do you remember what the adults looked like? They are much easier to ID. The EC's are a uniform light brown, and love to attach to window and door screens at night, attracted to the indoor lighting. The OR has an almost black wing cover, and a striped or banded brown/black thorax. Best time to treat is when the larvae just hatches... late August, before they over winter.

Spring apps won't be as effective for long term control. These are mature larvae, and much tougher to kill.

rmmllc
01-22-2008, 01:19 AM
My dad did his own lawn last year (he likes to), so I will try to help him ID the bugs this spring. I'm just getting into spray apps and fertilizing, so all this is really good info. Thanks for sharing. I do see from what you say that you must ID the bug to know what to do to it and when to treat.

Whitey4
01-22-2008, 02:17 AM
Just another comment... the when to treat could be very different in Utah. Check out you local cooperative extension. They usually have these little inexpensive handbooks loaded with info (and pictures) that is directed at your location. The common pests in NY are going to be different than what you have out west.

PHS
01-22-2008, 10:06 AM
That's a good idea and probably easier for me to figure that way too. thanks for the input .

I'll just add one thing to that, when I do come up with a price that way I know pretty well what the regular lawn applicators would charge for a similar treatment so I'm kinda double checking it with their ballpark price to make sure I'm still competitive.

summitlawncare
01-22-2008, 12:10 PM
I used to call the big-name services out to my own yard to give estimates to see how competitive I was being....

rmmllc
01-22-2008, 01:16 PM
I'll do that, and have my mom, dad, in-laws, etc. do the same to get an idea on several lawns.

summitlawncare
01-22-2008, 01:21 PM
thats a good idea, just keeps you competitive

GravelyGuy
01-22-2008, 05:20 PM
I used to call the big-name services out to my own yard to give estimates to see how competitive I was being....

This statement annoys the hell out of me. I know for a fact I've been called out to peoples houses for this reason. I pulled to one house one time and there was a landscaping trailer in the garage, no joke honest to god. Needless to say, I just left. Don't waste other peoples time and gas. If you call most of the bigger outfits and give them your square footage they should be able to give you an idea.

summitlawncare
01-22-2008, 05:24 PM
OK, thats fine, and I have tried to do that, but they tell me that they would rather come out and look at it first. I would be willing to bet money you have done things to annoy other people yourself. So I wouldnt be to quick to judge buddy!!! To each their own.....

PHS
01-23-2008, 11:08 AM
Everyone has done things to annoy other people that's a given. But I for one don't feel comfortable going out of my way to do it. I've never called anyone to my house for an estimate and I know what everyone else charging. In the course of conversations with customers I hear about it, they show me other peoples estimates. In the long run it doesn't really matter, I keep accurate numbers on my business and know what I need to sell at to make money. In this business there is no guarantee that the other guy you're trying to undercut is making any money regardless of the kind of truck they drive. If they are selling loser jobs I don't want to chase them down the same road.

summitlawncare
01-23-2008, 11:41 AM
I understand what you are saying. Here is where I am coming from. I am a small operation. Although I am licensed, etc. etc. I run a very small company. It is just me and a good buddy of mine who run this out of our homes. We have one 300 gallon tank from lesco, and we have a couple of backpack sprayers. I have about 30 customers total. (27 residential and 3 commercial). The truck we use is older, but paid for, we have little overhead b/c we operate it out of our homes. All we have to pay for is gas, product, insurance, and very little advertising, and because we dont buy huge amounts of product, our costs are obviously higher on fert and chemicals. What I am getting is he thought you guys have is that I am trying to take business from the "big guys" by undercutting. This is not the case. I got estimates from the big guys when I first got into this side of the business b/c I had no idea how to charge customers for these services. It was the only time I did it. All I have ever done is mowing and landscaping. With no one willing to give me a outline to follow or pricing strategy, this was the best way for me to know how to charge and be competitive for the customers I was going after. I have a full time corporate job. This business is done on the side, on a part or (3/4 time in the spring and fall) basis. I hope to one day make it a full time venture, but I am not to the point where I can do that yet. I would never go out and purposley take business from someone else. B/c I have always thought, what goes around comes around. I go and try and prospect new business. All the yards I spray now are the carry-over customers from the mowing side of it. I think I have taken two or three customers from the big guys in the last couple of years. Just b/c the people liked what I did for them on the mowing side and I was a little cheaper than the big national chain they had doing it. I hope this clears things up a bit.

Frue
01-23-2008, 11:44 AM
3.40 cents per thou and a 25.00 dollar stop charge.