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jeffclc
01-13-2000, 04:23 PM
I have put together a program to market to customers offering fertlizing and control. I have staged three levels of service, Bronze, Silver, and Gold.<p>The silver program consists of the following:<br>#1 fertlizer plus pre emergent crabgrass<br>#2 Weed and Feed<br>#3 Fertlizer<br>#4 Fertlizer plus weed control if needed<br>#5 fertlizer<p>The Silver program is the same but includes the grub dontrol with the #3 application.<p>The Gold program is the same as the silver, but also includes areation, liming if needed, and a soil test.<p>All programs include spot spraying for weeds as needed.<p>According to what U have heard, possibly here, materials should be about 20-30% of your cost. <p>I got prices of the materials that I would need to do the above work, and came up with the following figures:<br>For 10,000 square feet of turf:<br>Bronze-$61.77 x 5 apps=$308.85/year<br>Silver-$79.28 x 5 apps=$396.40/year<br>Gold-$97.28 x 5 apps=$486.40/year<p>I got the numbers by figuring out my yearly material costs, then mutiplying by 4 (this gives me material costs at 25%, right in the middle of the scale). I then calculated a yearly cost for the entire program, then divided by 5 applications.<p>Do these prices sound too high, too low, right in the ballpark? What about the programs that I have outlined? I am going to explain them a little further in detail in my marketing materials to customers.<p>Are you guys charging the same amount for each app, or having varied prices for each app, depending on the cost of the material? Seems like it can be much simpler to charge the same for each app, then you don't have a customer wanting to drop an app because of a high price.<p>So lets hear it, am I in line with what others are charging? <p>PS I know that the correct way to figure your prices based on material and time, and figure your hourly rate according to your individual expenses, but I would like to get an idea if I am in the ball park.

Kenr427
01-13-2000, 04:46 PM
Your not far off, but I would figure your costs by each 1000 square feet then have a min price.(what does it cost you to just go to the house), I charge a 25.00 stop charge which covers insurance, fuel, etc...<p>Also, aeration should be priced seperate, with a min. charge of 75.00 for 3000 to 4000 square feet. It takes you longer to aerate than to do the apps, so you need to make the same amount of money, plus there is the possibilty of damaging sprinkler heads, I also make it clear that I am not responsible for broken lines as they should be buried deep enough anyway.<p>Good luck

Lazer
01-13-2000, 06:05 PM
Your system is good. Two things:<p>1.) In my experience, keep it simple. I might consider having 2 basic plans and adding services as needed. I also don't know if it's wise to have the grub control automatically included. Why? 1. Who knows if you'll need it? You don't want to apply a pesticide just to charge for it. 2. It's generally more expensive of a product that is SO EASY to add on by simply showing the homeowner the grubs in your hand. They'll pay anything to get rid of them. You can charge more and be environmentally sound at the same time.<p>2.) As far as your pricing, it's good for a mowing contractor. Generally customers would prefer to have 1 contractor do it all and mowing contractors can charge more for fertilizing than fertilizer only clients. IF you are going to compete with TruGreen and others by doing treatments only, those prices aren't going to be competitive. In my market, for example, TruGreen gets $34.00 for a 7,000 sq. ft. lawn. $41.00 for a 10,000 sq. ft. lawn, etc.<p>Just my $0.02

DBALLARD
01-14-2000, 03:17 AM
jeffclc<br>If you are doing 5 apps, when are you doing them? What months? I'm just starting out and need any help I can get.<br>

tim
01-14-2000, 02:44 PM
D Ballard, It depends on the type of grass. I see you are in NC. I am in SC. So you deal with both warm and cool season grasses. We are fortunate because the fertilizing business is a year around opportunity in the Carolinas. I just finished another round on my fescue lawns last week.

Kenr427
01-14-2000, 03:33 PM
Lazer,<p>Your right about the grub control in most areas, but this area has a history of grub problems. Of course if your doing maintenance every week, I agree, you'll be there to see if grubs are active.<p>As far as competing with TruGreen...there is no competition, they stink and most people realize this, could explain why the stock of Service Master is dropping so much (their parent co,) They made a big mistake by putting sales in front of good service, and aquiring Lawn Care Co.'s to show big sales so they could meet the sales goal they set during the aquisition of Chemlawn. Most of the Top Managers got the big pay off from achieving this &quot;false growth&quot; and moved along with quite a few dollars I might add. It was know as the circle of 5 and was kept very secretive. Bob Wanzer, the old regional manager of New York was one of the recipients. <p>Just a little info to feed on, and do not let TruGreen keep you from getting your price, most will pay for a good job. Another little way to get TruGreen customers is to let them know you won't telephone solicite them....most of sick of the phone calls.<p>Ken

Lazer
01-14-2000, 03:50 PM
You're Right Ken,<p>but TruGreen started here. I know some of the principals who got it off the ground. I'd suspect they do a better job here than some other branches. While I do charge more than they do, it's always wise to keep mindful of what they have going on.<p>Frankly, you could have a huge business just servicing disgruntled ex-TruGreen customers.<p>Thanx for your input,<p>Carl

TheLawnRanger
01-20-2000, 11:10 AM
check out this site.Lots of good information.<p>http://cumberland.ces.state.nc.us/fertpage/fertmain.html<br>

Cannonturf
01-20-2000, 06:00 PM
A question I have is what extent do guys go through for fertilizing.Do you do a one app. fits all like tru-green, or do you do like I do? I will do a soil test to find out what is needed.The soils here differ from sand,clay,rich black dirt to God knows what.<br>It pays to put down what is needed and not what is already in abundents.I have had to have special blends made to get the ratio I needed.It's a litle extra work but your lawns will show it.

Kenr427
01-20-2000, 07:01 PM
Cannonturf,<p>I do soil testing as well for my customers. Mainly the chief concerns is soil Ph levels, since most of the soils here a generally the same profile type. Having custom blends for each customer is too cost prohibitive here. My large commercial customers, such as my soccer field complex, I do soil testing every year to monitor nutrient needs and Ph levels and apply according to the needs from the results.<p>Kenr

Cannonturf
01-20-2000, 07:14 PM
Yes let me rephrase that.If I have a few accounts in the same area I only do one test.<br>unless its a new development where they have used fill. Testing every house at $7 a shot<br>would be costly.

Cannonturf
01-20-2000, 07:16 PM
Yes let me rephrase that.If I have a few accounts in the same area I only do one test.<br>unless its a new development where they have used fill. Testing every house at $7 a shot<br>would be costly.

Retro67
01-20-2000, 07:29 PM
Go to your local pet supply store. You can buy the stuff to do aquarium ph tests with. It is intended for fish, but the stuff I use you add a teaspoon of neutral ph (7.0) water, three drops of the reagent, and a SMALL 1/4-1/2 teaspoon soil sample, you will have a much cheaper test and it is accurate. Bottled water is neutral in ph, so any difference would be accounted for by the addition of the soil. Also, let the soil settle for a minute or two before trying to take a reading. A reading is done with a color comparator. You simply match the color of the final solution with colors on a chart which will correspond to a specific ph. A bottle costs around $3 and you can get 200 or so tests (can't remember exacly, but the brand you find may be slighly different anyway). Try it, and a $7 test both and see if you don't get similar results. Good luck, I hope I made things a litle easier for someone.<p>John <br>

accuratelawn
01-20-2000, 07:41 PM
Thanks for the tip

tim
01-21-2000, 03:44 AM
I have a question about TruGreen. Do they ever soil test and lime if needed? I have picked up several of their customers. Most recently I got one of theirs whose lawn was not doing well. They had been using TruGreen for several years. I did a soil test and the ph was 5.0. It didn't take a genious to see why all of their great fertilizers were doing no good.

CLM1
01-21-2000, 04:28 AM
O.K. people listen up as this is going to make you some $$$. I do my soil samples in Jan.. All customers, take your samples and you have several choices, I use my local Lesco supplier, Lesco, your state AG. Dept., Some State colleges, and CLC Labs and also Spectrum Analytic Inc. (both of which are located in Ohio) These are all pretty quick turn-around however you will find that the state offices and colleges slower than the others. Anyway the results are excellent and when you explain to your customers that the results will tell what is or is not needed and they do not pay for something they &quot;don't&quot; need they usually do not paying for the &quot;soil analysis&quot;. Now the good part...cost of test, between $00.00-$10.00 depending on who you use. Cost to customer...$35.00. You are on the property right? It takes all of ten minutes to take a sample. Now get out there and get those &quot;soil analysis&quot;!!!!<p>

CLM1
01-21-2000, 04:31 AM
O.K. people listen up as this is going to make you some $$$. I do my soil samples in Jan.. All customers, take your samples and you have several choices, I use my local Lesco supplier, Lesco, your state AG. Dept., Some State colleges, and CLC Labs and also Spectrum Analytic Inc. (both of which are located in Ohio) These are all pretty quick turn-around however you will find that the state offices and colleges slower than the others. Anyway the results are excellent and when you explain to your customers that the results will tell what is or is not needed and they do not pay for something they &quot;don't&quot; need they usually do not have a problem paying for the &quot;soil analysis&quot;. Now the good part...cost of test, between $00.00-$10.00 depending on who you use. Cost to customer...$35.00. You are on the property right? It takes all of ten minutes to take a sample. Now get out there and get those &quot;soil analysis&quot;!!!!

Retro67
01-21-2000, 07:58 AM
I'd rather do the tests myself. These are more for my knowledge than profit. My profit comes in not applying unnecessary nutes, or pouring them on when they can't be absorbed because of less than optimum ph. Not that it's a bad idea to add profit, but this is one service that I provide for free. <p>I might get more mileage if I put a free soil analysis on their bill. It may not matter to some, but everyone likes something for free. If I paid someone for the analysis, that would be a different story.<p>John<p>

Cannonturf
01-21-2000, 08:38 AM
Doing a striaght ph test doesnt tell me what i need to know.Yes that is a very important part but the ph's around are fairly neutral.<br>It also doesnt tell me what nuts are already there and or in abundents. And which are avalable to the plant.And I need to know the ablility of the soil to hold the nutes.If the soil is bad I have to adjust my percentages of slow release.<br>The other thing is a lab will give you the ratio that is needed for that lawn.(example 32-0-10,14-14-14)but is will show something like 3-1-2 or 1-1-1.Buying a test from the pet store doesnt tell me this!<br>I'm not saying what your doing is wrong.If you want just a ph test.Hell $3 for 200 test is the way to go.<br>just my .02

Retro67
01-21-2000, 04:01 PM
Cannonturf<p>Your PH is the factor which will determine whether nutrients are available to the plant. There is no other reason than this to check PH.<p>Texture will determine how much slow release to use. Sandy soil, highest percentage of slow release, loam median amount, clay least amount. If you can get a feel for the soil's makeup, you can determine these things for yourself. A sandy loam would drain well and require a moderate amount of slow release application.<p>NPK test capsules are available which work similar to the PH tests. These three different types of capsules will measure the nutrient content in the soil for NPK and give advice as to how many lbs per acre of each is needed. <p>This will address all three issues and allow the applicator to make the decision. It's as simple as reading a good book that deals with soil. I already have a feel for these things, it just comes with experience. I understand it is more convenient to have someone else do it. I just hate to rely on anyone else if I don't have to. Maybe that's why I'm self employed.<p>John<p>

DBALLARD
01-21-2000, 06:03 PM
Where can you get the NKP test capsules?