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View Full Version : Newbie...please be nice, question about equipment.


GravyTrain
10-29-2010, 03:11 PM
Not licensed right now. don't apply anything, no roundup, no fert, nothing. Want to get certified and am working on that now. before i cough up the money to get the license, want to figure out what kind of materials and equipment i'll be needing to get.

completely new to the game. only applied granules to my own yard a few years ago. have a cheap push spreader and a cheap backpack with the manual handle to provide pressure. I know this won't cut it.

I've got a 1500 96 gmc sierra and two trailers, both of which are used for lawn care maintenance (mowing, light landscaping). was hoping to get into the game on the low end of prices and build up over time like i did with the mowers and handhelds.

I just read that going the granular route instead of liquid is easier to start out, would most of you agree? what kind of equipment is suggested, looking for company names and even specific models if possible.

Also, I'm assuming that the stuff sold at the big box stores is not what you guys are using, so my question is where do you get your stuff.

Lastly, I know I'm new. I'm sure these questions have been asked before, i couldn't find any good threads to answer my question. I want to learn the business before I get into it and I would love to work for another company to get a better understanding, but in my area, that's not a possibility.

Any information you guys can offer would be very appreciated. Ric in another thread has provided some great resources on learning how to treat the grass without killing it...i'm working through that now.

GravyTrain
11-01-2010, 12:04 PM
Probably looking for too much information, understood. I'm just going to bump this once, if I get no responses, no worries, I'll just move on and try elsewhere.

Ric
11-01-2010, 01:13 PM
Gravy Train

I believe the reason you are not getting any response is you are asking tooooo many questions in one post.

May I suggest you contact your local County Extension Agent or Master Gardener Program. These people can be either very helpful or Fools. In my case my County Extension office is full of fools(see below). But the county South of me is extremely good with tons of helpful material. So Look around at your surrounding counties also. Bigger counties might have bigger budgets.

The thing about your County Extension office is, They make no money from selling you crap. They are tied into your Land Grant University and can recommend all kinds of study material from that university as well as other universities. The Extension agent should know the soil & pest pressure and should get you off to a good start. However it will take several years to get good.

In other threads we talked about getting Degrees & Certifications etc. But the truth is it is the education that counts not the sheep skin. Take advantage of the education your state offers for free or at very low cost to you.

cgaengineer
11-01-2010, 01:40 PM
I think you will find granular weed control products to be hit or miss, not pre-emergents, but broad leaf control. At a minimum you will need a calibrated backpack sprayer, commercial spreader with calibration capability, and a cabinet full of chemicals. I would also suggest a couple Lesco hand sprayers marked for different chemicals for spot spraying, insecticides or any other chemical.

Other useful tools:

Skid Sprayer
Ride on Sprayer/spreader
Probe Thermometer
Practice
Education, reading...reading and more reading.

GravyTrain
11-01-2010, 01:40 PM
Thanks for the reply. I figured my wide range of questions is turning people off. I'll probably start a new thread asking about equipment as that is my first concern. As you mentioned, there are several avenues for education, I'll start that route to get more information about the local environment and recommendations.
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cgaengineer
11-01-2010, 01:41 PM
Oh, and most box stores do not sell what you need. You need to find a local chemical supplier like Lesco/John Deere Landscapes.

Triple D
11-01-2010, 10:28 PM
Gravy Train,

Lets start with chemicals, you have a very good chemical supplier just north of you in Searcy. Agri Turf (Ron Fisher) sorry I don't have the phone number with me. That would be a great place to start for a supplier.

Good luck with your extension service providing any education courses. But the Arkansas Turfgrass Assoc. is having a trade show and re-certification class in Hot Springs in Jan. You will be able to pick up some idea's and education material. The Plant Board is very active in this show. Also there will be a lot of chemical suppliers and equipment suppliers there.

And if you would like to get some experience you can always come help pull a hose with my company.

But before I did anything I would get your licenses. And in Arkansas the test is not a joke.

ted putnam
11-02-2010, 12:21 PM
Gravy Train,

Lets start with chemicals, you have a very good chemical supplier just north of you in Searcy. Agri Turf (Ron Fisher) sorry I don't have the phone number with me. That would be a great place to start for a supplier.

Good luck with your extension service providing any education courses. But the Arkansas Turfgrass Assoc. is having a trade show and re-certification class in Hot Springs in Jan. You will be able to pick up some idea's and education material. The Plant Board is very active in this show. Also there will be a lot of chemical suppliers and equipment suppliers there.

And if you would like to get some experience you can always come help pull a hose with my company.

But before I did anything I would get your licenses. And in Arkansas the test is not a joke.


or Lesco is in Maumelle. The Turfgrass show will be at the Hot Springs convention center Jan 19-20. Call the State Plant Board to find out when the test is given. It used to be the first Tuesday of each month. I've had my Commercial Applicators license for about 15 yrs now so that may have changed. If you contact them, they will send you a packet of study materials alongwith a schedule of testing. Good Luck

GravyTrain
11-02-2010, 12:39 PM
I've actually already been in contact with them and have the testing materials and will be taking the test December 13th (I think that's the date, I'll have to verify that). I do have a quick question for anyone (especially Arkansas locals). I had planned on getting the "Class 5 & 9B Weed Control "for this upcoming year, getting my hand dirty and then working for the "Class 4 & 9 Ornamental Tree & Turf" next year. Here is a link to more information http://plantboard.arkansas.gov/PlantIndustry/Pages/StructuralPestControl.aspx

Not to pat myself on the back, but I was valedictorian high school class, partially completed my master's degree (computer science) with a 3.8+ GPA. I'm not new to learning. Would you suggest I just bite the bullet and get the higher certification? or do I need the higher cert for the typical fert & squirt as I've heard it referred to?

cgaengineer
11-02-2010, 12:42 PM
Get both certs. You may need to apply chems to ornamentals.

Here in GA T&O is one cert...cat 24
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GravyTrain
11-02-2010, 01:02 PM
The Ornamental includes the Weed Control class. If I get the "higher level", it includes the lower. I was considering starting low just to work my way up.

Being new to this, I'm having trouble understanding the "ornamental" portion of this. I'm assuming this is referring to applying to flower beds and the like. Is there a better differentiation between the two that I'm missing?

cgaengineer
11-02-2010, 01:04 PM
Trees and shrubs...
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HappyDaysLawnCare
11-02-2010, 02:46 PM
Definitely!! Get your license to apply, I am in FL and some areas are more lenient on this than others. If I even attempted to spray Round-Up, etc at a customer house without a license, I am looking at $5k fine, something I cannot afford to cough up. Get your occupational license, some counties require you have one in each county you provide service, others carry from county to county. Definitely get insured, due to the value of my customers properties, we have $1million liability.

Feedback on mowers, etc. Depends on what your personal preference is, we have an older model Dixie Chopper and she is MY baby! It is a side discharge mower, but reliable as they come, we use this on the roads we maintain and more for fields. We also have a brand new Exmark, which is a mulching mower used on our Floritam yards. Don't hit the big box store, really, you will be spending more on a commercial mower, but if you have a problem with your tractor, I can all but guarantee you'll get the run around. We bought ours from a commercial mower store and the level of service we get is phenomenal! More likely to get more bang for your buck. Good luck, don't underestimate your self or your pricing! We have a competitor we lost one account to, it's worth $150, my husband charged $125 per month, we lost it for $80 per month. Honestly, they can have them - they were a headache from the word go! Being a cut-throat/low-baller is not a good reputation to get from the start. I saw one of the guys offer you OJT - TAKE IT!! Really, that is hard to come by, it means he/she is very secure about their business and willing to help others.

good luck out there :)

GravyTrain
11-02-2010, 02:56 PM
Definitely!! Get your license to apply, I am in FL and some areas are more lenient on this than others. If I even attempted to spray Round-Up, etc at a customer house without a license, I am looking at $5k fine, something I cannot afford to cough up. Get your occupational license, some counties require you have one in each county you provide service, others carry from county to county. Definitely get insured, due to the value of my customers properties, we have $1million liability.

Feedback on mowers, etc. Depends on what your personal preference is, we have an older model Dixie Chopper and she is MY baby! It is a side discharge mower, but reliable as they come, we use this on the roads we maintain and more for fields. We also have a brand new Exmark, which is a mulching mower used on our Floritam yards. Don't hit the big box store, really, you will be spending more on a commercial mower, but if you have a problem with your tractor, I can all but guarantee you'll get the run around. We bought ours from a commercial mower store and the level of service we get is phenomenal! More likely to get more bang for your buck. Good luck, don't underestimate your self or your pricing! We have a competitor we lost one account to, it's worth $150, my husband charged $125 per month, we lost it for $80 per month. Honestly, they can have them - they were a headache from the word go! Being a cut-throat/low-baller is not a good reputation to get from the start. I saw one of the guys offer you OJT - TAKE IT!! Really, that is hard to come by, it means he/she is very secure about their business and willing to help others.

good luck out there :)

Greatly appreciate the input. I'm working on the licensing part right now, and the reason I'm wanting to get into the fertilizer and herbicide/pesticide side of it is because I already have a customer base of around 20+ (plan is to double for next year), and about 90% use a chemical company of some sort. By not offering that service, I'm losing money every single month.

I did start four years applying round-up until i found out that i had to be licensed to do it for hire. I stopped immediately. I've tried to do everything right, which is why I'm trying to get as much information here as possible.

Thanks again, to everyone. More feedback is always welcome.

HappyDaysLawnCare
11-04-2010, 06:17 PM
Greatly appreciate the input. I'm working on the licensing part right now, and the reason I'm wanting to get into the fertilizer and herbicide/pesticide side of it is because I already have a customer base of around 20+ (plan is to double for next year), and about 90% use a chemical company of some sort. By not offering that service, I'm losing money every single month.

I did start four years applying round-up until i found out that i had to be licensed to do it for hire. I stopped immediately. I've tried to do everything right, which is why I'm trying to get as much information here as possible.

Thanks again, to everyone. More feedback is always welcome.

you may want to check your state, FL has a "Yardman rule" if my customer supplies the handheld container and round-up/weed killer and I'm NOT doing it for hire, I can spray it. I try to avoid that, but alot of folks here use that as a work around. My husband and i are the same way, I wouldn't let him touch a yard until he had his occupational and liability! better to be safe than sorry - good luck!

Landscape Poet
11-04-2010, 06:59 PM
you may want to check your state, FL has a "Yardman rule" if my customer supplies the handheld container and round-up/weed killer and I'm NOT doing it for hire, I can spray it. I try to avoid that, but alot of folks here use that as a work around. My husband and i are the same way, I wouldn't let him touch a yard until he had his occupational and liability! better to be safe than sorry - good luck!

I think you better check the rules HappyDays - I do not think that it is correct that you can apply something if you are not licensed even if the customers does supply it. I am not positive, but I am pretty sure. Otherwise I think I wasted money on my Limited License and should of just had all my customers go by me some round up.

HappyDaysLawnCare
11-05-2010, 09:23 AM
I think you better check the rules HappyDays - I do not think that it is correct that you can apply something if you are not licensed even if the customers does supply it. I am not positive, but I am pretty sure. Otherwise I think I wasted money on my Limited License and should of just had all my customers go by me some round up.

Quoted by Licensing of Lawn & Ornamental Pesticide Applicators in Florida:

"Yardman" A yardman who applies a pesticide to the lawn or ornamental plants of an individual residential property is exempted from licensing and certification requirements if the yardman applies pesticides owned and supplied by the individual property owner. The yardman cannot advertise for or solicit pest-control business and cannot hold himself out to the public as being engaged in pest control. The yardman cannot supply his own pesticide application equipment, use pesticide-applying power equipment or use any equipment other that a handheld container when applying the pesticide."

Being most of us are in it to make money, I'm sure your efforts taking and passing the exam were not wasted. There are guys right now who are handymen or property managers, they supply their own, spray AND make a buck (with no license:hammerhead:).

Ric
11-05-2010, 04:03 PM
Quoted by Licensing of Lawn & Ornamental Pesticide Applicators in Florida:

"Yardman" A yardman who applies a pesticide to the lawn or ornamental plants of an individual residential property is exempted from licensing and certification requirements if the yardman applies pesticides owned and supplied by the individual property owner. The yardman cannot advertise for or solicit pest-control business and cannot hold himself out to the public as being engaged in pest control. The yardman cannot supply his own pesticide application equipment, use pesticide-applying power equipment or use any equipment other that a handheld container when applying the pesticide."

Being most of us are in it to make money, I'm sure your efforts taking and passing the exam were not wasted. There are guys right now who are handymen or property managers, they supply their own, spray AND make a buck (with no license:hammerhead:).

I am going to jump in and agree with Happy Days about the Florida Yard Boy rule. The theory is that the Yard Boy is the employee of the homeowner who can legally apply to his own property. Since the Homeowner Purchased the chemicals and supplied any Equipment used to apply it, His Employ (Yard Boy) can apply that product to the homeowner property. Hench the "YARD BOY EXZEMPTION" under Chapter 482 of Florida State Law.

BTW Great Job Happy Days. Yep The Yard Boy Exzemption is but one loop hole in Chapter 482. It is always good to see people who study the law and know what applies to them. I believe learning the laws that apply to you is in fact the first step in any business or even hobby.

Landscape Poet
11-06-2010, 07:00 PM
I am going to jump in and agree with Happy Days about the Florida Yard Boy rule. The theory is that the Yard Boy is the employee of the homeowner who can legally apply to his own property. Since the Homeowner Purchased the chemicals and supplied any Equipment used to apply it, His Employ (Yard Boy) can apply that product to the homeowner property. Hench the "YARD BOY EXZEMPTION" under Chapter 482 of Florida State Law.

BTW Great Job Happy Days. Yep The Yard Boy Exzemption is but one loop hole in Chapter 482. It is always good to see people who study the law and know what applies to them. I believe learning the laws that apply to you is in fact the first step in any business or even hobby.

SO let me get this right Ric, It is legal for someone to apply pesticides and herbicides to someones lawn other than their own, as long as the homeowner supplies the product?
SO what is to stop every lawn company in the world from offering this service to their customers for a premium price added to their monthly service? I still do not see how it would work for the avg lawn guy as I do not see it being worth their while vs the $ they could earn say picking up another account with the time they would spend applying the pesticides. But this is accurate, someone could actually run a full service operation, without ever having to get a license? Seems a little fishy to me.

cgaengineer
11-06-2010, 07:07 PM
I think you would get tired of telling your customers what chemicals they needed to have on hand at any given time. I have customers that would never supply me with products...why would they want to drive 20 miles and buy a $200 chemical that may sit for 5 years before being fully used.
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Ric
11-06-2010, 08:36 PM
SO let me get this right Ric, It is legal for someone to apply pesticides and herbicides to someones lawn other than their own, as long as the homeowner supplies the product?
SO what is to stop every lawn company in the world from offering this service to their customers for a premium price added to their monthly service? I still do not see how it would work for the avg lawn guy as I do not see it being worth their while vs the $ they could earn say picking up another account with the time they would spend applying the pesticides. But this is accurate, someone could actually run a full service operation, without ever having to get a license? Seems a little fishy to me.

There you go Michael, this is your Loop hole....

The Rumor behind this section of the law was a State Rep who had a Idiot yard Boy who couldn't pass the test. So he made this amendment to Chapter 482.

Don't get too excited about the yard boy clause in the Law. It is up for review and looks to be on the chopping block. But for now you could sell your self to a few customers under this section of the law. But I believe CGA kind of hit the nail on the head. Homeowner who hire full service providers don't want the hassle of buying and storing chemicals.


A better Business Plan might be to get the Limited License and the BMP Fertilizer Certification. Sub Lawn insecticide and Herbicide to a legal L & O company.

Landscape Poet
11-07-2010, 12:52 PM
There you go Michael, this is your Loop hole....

The Rumor behind this section of the law was a State Rep who had a Idiot yard Boy who couldn't pass the test. So he made this amendment to Chapter 482.

Don't get too excited about the yard boy clause in the Law. It is up for review and looks to be on the chopping block. But for now you could sell your self to a few customers under this section of the law. But I believe CGA kind of hit the nail on the head. Homeowner who hire full service providers don't want the hassle of buying and storing chemicals.


A better Business Plan might be to get the Limited License and the BMP Fertilizer Certification. Sub Lawn insecticide and Herbicide to a legal L & O company.


I don't think it would be possible to help someone in a cost effective way ( my cost on generic arena is $20 per 5K ) nor do I think it would be effective especially for myself, I have so many maint. accounts that I do not think I would have the time to do a correct review of the property every time, then go get the "secrets stash" and apply without screwing up my schedule. I prefer just calling my PCO and telling them that I spotted such and such weed, or suspect this or that and could they follow up in between properties. Keeps my life simple - No Worries;) and since my PCO's plan is all inclusive - I do not have to worry about it being a extra charge to the homeowner or waiting to get their approval. I do not think that I will be trying this loop hole.

Ric
11-07-2010, 03:51 PM
I don't think it would be possible to help someone in a cost effective way ( my cost on generic arena is $20 per 5K ) nor do I think it would be effective especially for myself, I have so many maint. accounts that I do not think I would have the time to do a correct review of the property every time, then go get the "secrets stash" and apply without screwing up my schedule. I prefer just calling my PCO and telling them that I spotted such and such weed, or suspect this or that and could they follow up in between properties. Keeps my life simple - No Worries;) and since my PCO's plan is all inclusive - I do not have to worry about it being a extra charge to the homeowner or waiting to get their approval. I do not think that I will be trying this loop hole.

Michael

The Forest is all those trees you are seeing.

fl-landscapes
11-07-2010, 07:50 PM
SO let me get this right Ric, It is legal for someone to apply pesticides and herbicides to someones lawn other than their own, as long as the homeowner supplies the product? SO what is to stop every lawn company in the world from offering this service to their customers for a premium price added to their monthly service? I still do not see how it would work for the avg lawn guy as I do not see it being worth their while vs the $ they could earn say picking up another account with the time they would spend applying the pesticides. But this is accurate, someone could actually run a full service operation, without ever having to get a license? Seems a little fishy to me.

not only the product but the homeowner or customer has to supply the equipment to apply the product as well

Landscape Poet
11-08-2010, 08:51 AM
Michael

The Forest is all those trees you are seeing.


I can see the bigger picture Ric, I can see the forest, however I also have now 90 plus accounts, I do not see it possible for me to spend any quality time on the properties looking for pest issues other than what I already try to do to inform the PCO or homeowner.

It maybe worth the hassle for others, not sure that it is for me - when I am ready to go into the full PCO - I will put in my hours and sit for the exam - as it should be. Even with that - I see lots of trees - Overhead city from what I have learned from PCO owners - Is it true that your insurance goes up greatly depending on the number of clients you have Ric? Between that Chemicals, possible fines, the large investment in Equipment - it cost a small fortune it seems to take a chance at making $. I do not know - I keep going back and forth with the thought.

Landscape Poet
11-08-2010, 08:57 AM
not only the product but the homeowner or customer has to supply the equipment to apply the product as well

I do not think this would be the issue. I have many clients try to get me to apply for them - and as I thought it was against the law - I always refused. A lot of homeowners have a spreader, a couple of sprayers already. Picking up the chemicals should not be a issue as we have a chemical supplier right in the heart of our town, most people will pass it either on their way to or from Orlando each day as they go to work.
Let me ask you guys this - If I did choose to do business this way - couldnt I essentially start up another company - essentially a delivery company - charge them for delivery of the product on this companies invoice? That way a simple lawn boy could legally become a full service provider, this other company could even charge rental fees for equipment?

In theory - this would all be legal if I would choose to due it correct?

Ric
11-08-2010, 10:15 AM
I do not think this would be the issue. I have many clients try to get me to apply for them - and as I thought it was against the law - I always refused. A lot of homeowners have a spreader, a couple of sprayers already. Picking up the chemicals should not be a issue as we have a chemical supplier right in the heart of our town, most people will pass it either on their way to or from Orlando each day as they go to work.
Let me ask you guys this - If I did choose to do business this way - couldnt I essentially start up another company - essentially a delivery company - charge them for delivery of the product on this companies invoice? That way a simple lawn boy could legally become a full service provider, this other company could even charge rental fees for equipment?

In theory - this would all be legal if I would choose to due it correct?

Michael

For a different reason I been researching opening a DIY retail pest control store. Chemical sales is regulated by Chapter 487 of Florida law. The fact is as long as you sell only GUP products you don't need any special licensing. Normal Business license and Sale Tax license is all you need to be legal just like Wally World or Home Cheapo. Delivery would be part of a normal retail sales service. So yes you can Legally do what you want including Equipment rental.

The homeowner of course would have to comply with all regulation involving employees applying pesticides, there in killing your plan. Too much Liability and regulation. I am not saying you couldn't do it, But I am saying it would be a big PITA. Why hasn't someone tried it already on a large scale????? you could get by doing it with a few customers and stay under the radar.


The Trees blocking your view of the Forest is my second plan. With a Limited License and BMP certification you treat all Shrub & Trees and Fertilize the turf. You sub out Insecticide and Weed Control of the turf only to a legal L&O company that you use as a on call service as needed. Sell full service to the customer who only wants to deal with one person with one bill.

BTW DIY Pest Control would be big if you could buy Chemicals cheap enough to make a profit. Problem is getting those kind of prices from manufactures who have regulator dealers. An other case of Wally World killing small business.

cgaengineer
11-08-2010, 12:05 PM
We have a DIY pest control company in town...never visited it, maybe I'll check it out and report back my findings.
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Ric
11-08-2010, 01:51 PM
We have a DIY pest control company in town...never visited it, maybe I'll check it out and report back my findings.
Posted via Mobile Device

CGA

Retail DIY could be very successful if you could buy inventory right. However On line DIY are competitive and low ball each other. People are going to compare prices after the first sale and buy on line. You can not sell the same products as Wally World because your sale pitch will only help Wally World sell more product. Up sell of service is an other way to turn a profit. some people are never able to follow direction and need a PC company.

Landscape Poet
11-08-2010, 10:34 PM
Michael

For a different reason I been researching opening a DIY retail pest control store. Chemical sales is regulated by Chapter 487 of Florida law. The fact is as long as you sell only GUP products you don't need any special licensing. Normal Business license and Sale Tax license is all you need to be legal just like Wally World or Home Cheapo. Delivery would be part of a normal retail sales service. So yes you can Legally do what you want including Equipment rental.

The homeowner of course would have to comply with all regulation involving employees applying pesticides, there in killing your plan. Too much Liability and regulation. I am not saying you couldn't do it, But I am saying it would be a big PITA. Why hasn't someone tried it already on a large scale????? you could get by doing it with a few customers and stay under the radar.


The Trees blocking your view of the Forest is my second plan. With a Limited License and BMP certification you treat all Shrub & Trees and Fertilize the turf. You sub out Insecticide and Weed Control of the turf only to a legal L&O company that you use as a on call service as needed. Sell full service to the customer who only wants to deal with one person with one bill.

BTW DIY Pest Control would be big if you could buy Chemicals cheap enough to make a profit. Problem is getting those kind of prices from manufactures who have regulator dealers. An other case of Wally World killing small business.

Ric,

I got a couple things to throw at you.
1. Touched base with the local extension agent that conducts most of the commercial classes here. She stated that yes indeed this indeed could be conducted essentially without breaking the law. Like I said - not sure it is something that I would be interested in taking on with 90 plus maint. accounts and being solo.

2. Two as you suggested I have tried working with different local PCO's which I have seen there work. The issue I found is that most that I have seen that do quality work in preventing weeds and other pest - are not interested in just doing the pest control, they want the whole thing or nothing. I have found a couple of really small operations that showed some interest in providing this while allowing me to take care of the beds and fert., but their prices would make the overall cost become higher than what most of the PCO's prices around here would be, so in effect making it useless to try to sell that point. Even those that did want show interest in playing ball - have no sod replacement guarantee if turf was damaged due to pest or disease, or would not offer free follow up visits. For the that reason - for right now I just refer a PCO that I feel does quality work - and only offers a all inclusive plan. This allows me to help the homeowner by calling the PCO on their behalf and them not encurring extra charges while making me more valuable than a lot of these yahoos with a mower and a trailer. I of course gain loyalty and can charge slightly more for my fee for my follow up.
I do appreciate your suggestion though - and maybe someday I will be able to find it finacially rewarding to go that route.

3. As far as your DIY pest control operation - I think it could be very sucessful. My current retailer for my fert is a DIY operation as they will have a fert blended by a local fert company for me to my specificaitons inclduing our course the N,P,K but also micro's. This allows me to find a happy medium in adding macros and micros that I find common lacking based of soil anys. from the lawns that I fert. This also of course allows me control over the % of slow release N that in the fert vs going to Lesco and choosing from what they have available.
But back to the point this DIY operation is very sucessful here - if you are interested just P.M me and I will see if the owner would be willing to discuss any questions you have about this type of operation. I am sure that she would not mind. I can tell you that a majority of her business seems now to come from lawn fert and pest control since she got into that a few years ago. Could be why she is sucessful compared to some of the DIY operations around town. But of course she is also gets business from selling products for pest inside the home too, but I think the demand for a DIY lawn care solution place brought more business than anyone would of thought. There appears to be a huge demand for it, I mean she regularly sells homeowners bottles of dismiss, celcius, manor, bags of armada and heritage - and I am sure you know what your cost on those are, so the money is there, people are willing to spend it . I am sure she will tell you that a key to her suceess is having a knowledgeable sales staff to help the homeowner along with all of their needs. Either her or her asst. store manager on duty 99% of the time - so they can correctly id issues for people.
Another hint that works well for her if you are going to get this type of business. She ask customers for their email so that she can email them a newsletter. This newsletter is essentially a reminder of what they should be doing to their lawn month by month and what products they recommend. I have learned that if she has sent out a newsletter (as I also get one) then I try to avoid going there for the first couple of days afterwards and especially the Saturday following as it is difficult for me to find parking with my trailer behind me :). I think someone with your knowledge would do outstanding at this type of venture given the proper location, employees and course customer base! Let me know if you would like for me to get you in contact with her.

Landscape Poet
11-08-2010, 10:47 PM
CGA

Retail DIY could be very successful if you could buy inventory right. However On line DIY are competitive and low ball each other. People are going to compare prices after the first sale and buy on line. You can not sell the same products as Wally World because your sale pitch will only help Wally World sell more product. Up sell of service is an other way to turn a profit. some people are never able to follow direction and need a PC company.


The DIY place down here actually picked up business this year Ric just because of the Wally World approach you are speaking of. They found out the high cost this season of paying to little. With the cinch bug resistance to Bifen this year - most large retailers had bought inventory containing it - labled as offering cinch bug protection. Homeowners thought why should I buy at DIY when I can save 30% at Lowes? Of course they found out and came back if they had left , others followed. I would venture to bet that the DIY I mentioned above will have a way better year because of sales alone - think about how much the cost of a bag of ARENA is vs last years sales of a BIFEN product! Huge difference in sales - however I am not sure her Gross MU% was as big either. But point being that her knowledge in this simple matter made her stand out as I am sure your knowledge would help set you apart.
Her way of competing with the online DIY stores - if a customer ask - if it is true or not I do not know - but I have heard her say to customers that online products could be watered down, could come from another country and not offer the same protection. When I have seen her tell this to a customer - they have always seemed to leave with the product besides the higher cost.

Ric
11-09-2010, 12:12 AM
Ric,

I got a couple things to throw at you.
1. Touched base with the local extension agent that conducts most of the commercial classes here. She stated that yes indeed this indeed could be conducted essentially without breaking the law. Like I said - not sure it is something that I would be interested in taking on with 90 plus maint. accounts and being solo.

2. Two as you suggested I have tried working with different local PCO's which I have seen there work. The issue I found is that most that I have seen that do quality work in preventing weeds and other pest - are not interested in just doing the pest control, they want the whole thing or nothing. I have found a couple of really small operations that showed some interest in providing this while allowing me to take care of the beds and fert., but their prices would make the overall cost become higher than what most of the PCO's prices around here would be, so in effect making it useless to try to sell that point. Even those that did want show interest in playing ball - have no sod replacement guarantee if turf was damaged due to pest or disease, or would not offer free follow up visits. For the that reason - for right now I just refer a PCO that I feel does quality work - and only offers a all inclusive plan. This allows me to help the homeowner by calling the PCO on their behalf and them not encurring extra charges while making me more valuable than a lot of these yahoos with a mower and a trailer. I of course gain loyalty and can charge slightly more for my fee for my follow up.
I do appreciate your suggestion though - and maybe someday I will be able to find it finacially rewarding to go that route.

3. As far as your DIY pest control operation - I think it could be very sucessful. My current retailer for my fert is a DIY operation as they will have a fert blended by a local fert company for me to my specificaitons inclduing our course the N,P,K but also micro's. This allows me to find a happy medium in adding macros and micros that I find common lacking based of soil anys. from the lawns that I fert. This also of course allows me control over the % of slow release N that in the fert vs going to Lesco and choosing from what they have available.
But back to the point this DIY operation is very sucessful here - if you are interested just P.M me and I will see if the owner would be willing to discuss any questions you have about this type of operation. I am sure that she would not mind. I can tell you that a majority of her business seems now to come from lawn fert and pest control since she got into that a few years ago. Could be why she is sucessful compared to some of the DIY operations around town. But of course she is also gets business from selling products for pest inside the home too, but I think the demand for a DIY lawn care solution place brought more business than anyone would of thought. There appears to be a huge demand for it, I mean she regularly sells homeowners bottles of dismiss, celcius, manor, bags of armada and heritage - and I am sure you know what your cost on those are, so the money is there, people are willing to spend it . I am sure she will tell you that a key to her suceess is having a knowledgeable sales staff to help the homeowner along with all of their needs. Either her or her asst. store manager on duty 99% of the time - so they can correctly id issues for people.
Another hint that works well for her if you are going to get this type of business. She ask customers for their email so that she can email them a newsletter. This newsletter is essentially a reminder of what they should be doing to their lawn month by month and what products they recommend. I have learned that if she has sent out a newsletter (as I also get one) then I try to avoid going there for the first couple of days afterwards and especially the Saturday following as it is difficult for me to find parking with my trailer behind me :). I think someone with your knowledge would do outstanding at this type of venture given the proper location, employees and course customer base! Let me know if you would like for me to get you in contact with her.


Michael

# 1 You heard it FIRST right here from no other but Me.

# 2 you have not found the right CPO. While I would not be super interested in doing homeowners that way, I do some larger common area and condos that way with my old employees who bought my landscape business. But then I suggested it to them because spreading Fertilizer on big areas was more work than my old butt wanted to do.

#3 My DIY Idea is to only have a flea market stand and not a full time business. I am not into buying several truck loads of products and then hoping I picked the right item that will sell. I am thinking more a long the lines of Structural Pest Control. At my age I am looking more for entertainment than a full time job.

#4 As for your second post about watered down pesticides from On Line Dealers. That would so illegal and easy to catch there is no way any one in their right mind would try it. However the Retire plan would mean never having to work again along with 3 hots and cote. In Fact just breaking open larger pesticide packages and sell small amounts could be very profitable and very illegal also. I can express how important it is to study the laws that apply to you and your business and even your hobbies. Knowledge is power and it is in fact the scum bag lawyer who make the most money because they know the law and how to get around it.

PS. I will leave you with one last commend. Because I have studied Florida pesticide law, I know several ways you could get around that law and apply pesticides. But trust me, I will never tell.

rcpeoples
11-11-2010, 07:01 PM
I can't get pass " YARD BOY " !! Man only in the south would this still be acceptable.
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