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View Full Version : In house fertilization vs. subbing it out


rupkin
12-07-2010, 02:17 PM
I do quite a few commercial properties and homes that are set up with fertilization/weed control in the contract. The past two year I've subcontracted it out to another company. For about the past month I've been toying with the idea of doing it in house and with the amount of business under contract it doesn't seem like a bad idea. I was just wondering how many of you sub the fertilization/weed control work out or if you keep it in house.

cgaengineer
12-07-2010, 02:28 PM
I wouldn't be subbing it out if you can handle the additional workload. I became licensed early last season and I am glad I did...I hope one day to never mow again and only do chemicals.
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lukemelo216
12-09-2010, 05:32 AM
I personally sub it out, its much easier in my mind. I have no desire to get into that aspect of the business. You need a ton of additional insurances, licensing, another truck/tank, mixing area, storage tanks, etc. Im happy with taking an hour to measure and view a 10k lawn and make $120 on the year then have to deal with all that extra stuff. Just make sure your using a good company (Not TG/Scotts). I use a local company thats been in business for 15 years, hand me a price sheet per 1k each year and tell me mark it up however you want. They handle everything else. They even will send their managers out to the property mid season, review it for me, and send me an analysis. I do my own too, but then I can compare and approach problems with two recommendations.

Thats just my opinion. If your looking to get into that business though then Id do it in house. I have no interest in that though. I would look into what kind of companies are in your area to see if its worthwhile. I wouldnt add all that cost in to just do my own accounts, if you feel you could gain a good customer base for strictly fert and squirt in addition to your weekly accounts then you should consider it more, meaning if there is only like 1 local company in your area that does that.

cgaengineer
12-09-2010, 06:13 AM
The insurance I have for my lawn business already had chemical application and one of the services that was insured...no cost increase at all. And the truck I use for pulling my mowing trailer also contains my skid sprayer and a box for my chemicals. As far as my mixing area...I use my garage. I don't own a single storage tank.
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lukemelo216
12-10-2010, 01:07 AM
yes for your business, but i know there are other insurances that your supposed to carry such as pollution etc. I forget what it is, I saw my fert companies insurance cert and they carry extra stuff because its required here, but its more than your basic workers comp, gen liability, and auto policy.

Using your truck and garage may work for you, but I dont know this guys situation. He may be swamped already just handling his weekly routes. If he were to start doing it in house he may need to add that stuff. I know I would have to if I started to mine. Like I said, I think it would be something more to consider if you had enough fert and squirt accts (current/planned) to keep 1 guy busy throughout the year. Maybe they would need to do other things too (tree fert, pest control, ect.) But I dont think I would just add all that extra stuff to do my accts myself. Thats just my personal opinion though.

LB1234
12-10-2010, 06:32 PM
You need a ton of additional insurances, licensing, another truck/tank, mixing area, storage tanks, etc.


By "ton of additional insurances" you mean a chemical application rider insurance which runs maybe 500 bucks a year? I have one truck, my mixing area is my trailer, I do not have a storage tank. IMHO you do not NEED what you claim above. Granted, I only have 12-15 accounts but that is b/c I only perform these services for existing clients that we perform other services for (i.e. lawn care).


Honestly, it can be fairly profitable if you keep it in house and realize your limitations.

cgaengineer
12-10-2010, 07:00 PM
By "ton of additional insurances" you mean a chemical application rider insurance which runs maybe 500 bucks a year? I have one truck, my mixing area is my trailer, I do not have a storage tank. IMHO you do not NEED what you claim above. Granted, I only have 12-15 accounts but that is b/c I only perform these services for existing clients that we perform other services for (i.e. lawn care).

Honestly, it can be fairly profitable if you keep it in house and realize your limitations.

I agree...


My insurance doesn't even need a rider and I am at about $550 per year total with chemical application included. I was actually quite surprised when they told me it was included. All my ins co had to do was notify the state or vice versa.
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LB1234
12-10-2010, 07:12 PM
I agree...


My insurance doesn't even need a rider and I am at about $550 per year total with chemical application included. I was actually quite surprised when they told me it was included. All my ins co had to do was notify the state or vice versa.
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now...playing devils advocate...you still have to factor in the business applicators license, the applicators license (for each category), and the required training and recertification points needed for this..or just take the test every five (???) years. So their are pros and cons. For us, the pros far outweighed the cons.

cgaengineer
12-10-2010, 07:15 PM
now...playing devils advocate...you still have to factor in the business applicators license, the applicators license (for each category), and the required training and recertification points needed for this..or just take the test every five (???) years. So their are pros and cons. For us, the pros far outweighed the cons.

And one toasted lawn from a chemical mishap and you will be wishing you never got into applying chemicals....but the same applies to one rock and the side of a 7 series BMW.
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LB1234
12-10-2010, 07:22 PM
And one toasted lawn from a chemical mishap and you will be wishing you never got into applying chemicals....but the same applies to one rock and the side of a 7 series BMW.
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agreed, but check with your insurance carrier...they may cover negligence (sp?) on your part.

cgaengineer
12-10-2010, 08:02 PM
agreed, but check with your insurance carrier...they may cover negligence (sp?) on your part.

They do...but it doesn't stop a lawsuit and an angry customer.
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lukemelo216
12-10-2010, 08:32 PM
they have that, but its something else I cant remember. And yes your talking on a small level. These guys are running 4-6 applicators during the year based on the time of the season. Were talking insurance costs close to 50k a year. if you want to just do it to do your existing mainteance clients no others thats cool. If I were to make that decision I would decide to go full boat and get as much work for it as I can, or at least for one worker full time. I wouldnt like to spend between 3-5k to get set up for spraying and fertilizer to only have a handful of accounts. I would try to add in additional services such as tree and shrub fert/pest control things like that. Try to make adding that piece of equipment as useful as possible instead of it only leaving the shop 1 time per week. Thats my personal opinion.

LB1234
12-10-2010, 08:48 PM
They do...but it doesn't stop a lawsuit and an angry customer.
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I think we can both agree the angry customer would be the least of your worries at that point.

cgaengineer
12-10-2010, 09:21 PM
I think we can both agree the angry customer would be the least of your worries at that point.

Well an angry customer tells 10 friends...a happy customer tells 1.
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LB1234
12-11-2010, 08:37 AM
Well an angry customer tells 10 friends...a happy customer tells 1.
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true dat............