View Full Version : Subbing fertilizer and weed control
01-10-2012, 12:32 AM
I have a commercial residential lawn cutting / landscape maintenance business. The demand for fertilizer and weed control programs from my current accounts is growing rapidly. I am not ready to start offering those services as I am currently still building my maintenance clientel. Rather than reffering that work out I have been thinking about subbing it to a local company so I can still be in control of the account. I'm sure others have ran into this dilemma, just wanting some feedback, good or bad
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01-10-2012, 12:55 AM
I don't do maintenance. About 60% of our fertilizing/chemical controls are done as a subcontractor for LCO's. They like it because they get a dedicated person who knows turf, we do all of the work and they make a little profit for doing very little themselves. For our sub work we bill the LCO each round for the applications we did and they bill the property owner and add in their markup for doing the billing. This works but I prefer for us to be refured to cut out the middleman. The problem with us being subbed is the response to communication. If I see a problem starting up such as disease/fungus/insect outbrake, I often have to notify the LCO who notifies the HO to get approval to treat. By the time I finally get the authorization for the additionally charged work the problem has spread acreoos the property. The way this works best is we work out an agreement where are alowed to contact the HO directly for notifications, if an additional service is needed we contact and bill the HO directly and then issue a credit to the LCO for their percentage.
Just alittle input from the applicators point of view
01-10-2012, 01:16 AM
Another problem is scheduling. You may always mow a neighborhood on Tuesdays, knowing that, I might schedule each rounds' application for Thursdays. You get put behind a few days and need to mow that neighborhood on Thursday throwing me off. I can't adjust my schedule at the drop of a dime because your work is scheduled along with a dozen other LCO's I am subbed by plus my own customers. Some LCO's expect me to do the work as if I am employed by them, on their schedule doing all of their properties within a couple of days to make billing easier for them. The reason companies usually sub it out is because it is cost effective for them to do so, but if I'm expected to be on their schedule that kills my scheduling, and if I can't plan an efficient route then I'm killing my bottom line. When my truck goes out in the morning their may be 30 apps in the stack, 20 of them might be for 6 different LCO's and the other 10 might be mine, but because of that amount of work I can schedule tight routes.
01-10-2012, 01:52 AM
i would never fool around with subbing. i would just say i'm not into that aspect of the business and tell or refer them to call someone else to do that part of it. it just keeps it simple. not sure what you mean about being in control of an account. you are never in control of an account. they can drop you at any time and hire someone else. that's just how it is. just do a good job at what you do and dont' worry about the rest. if they want one company that does every single aspect of this business then drop them and move on. it's up to you to decide what you wanna do and what you don't wanna do. if they can't accept it as a customer then you don't want them as a customer.
01-10-2012, 10:05 AM
Well I have to do something here. I have one commercial property who has been after me to include these services the last 2 years and I told them I'll figure it up and see about including it in the contract this year, thinking I may buy all equipment needed and do so. But I have not bought the equipment as of now. I would really love do just develope a relationship and work closer with a chem company that's in my area and sub the work to him. They take good care of other properties I mow, and do very well at what they do. Its easy just to refer and forget about it, but why would I want to do that when I can just use them as a sub and make a small mark-up profit ? It's a lost easier to sell my services to commercial properties when I say I can handle everything and just use them for the chem apps. Anyway, long story short, I just didn't know how chem app companies felt about being used as subs.
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01-10-2012, 11:11 AM
Well I have to do something here. I have one commercial property who has been after me to include these services the last 2 years and I told them I'll figure it up and see about including it in the contract this year, thinking I may buy all equipment needed and do so. But I have not bought the equipment as of now. I would really love do just develop a relationship and work closer with a chem company that's in my area and sub the work to him. They take good care of other properties I mow, and do very well at what they do. Its easy just to refer and forget about it, but why would I want to do that when I can just use them as a sub and make a small mark-up profit ? It's a lost easier to sell my services to commercial properties when I say I can handle everything and just use them for the chem apps. Anyway, long story short, I just didn't know how chem app companies felt about being used as subs.
Posted via Mobile Device
I wouldn't sub it out. Just use a reputable company that you trust and have them bill the client. All my customers know I do not have a license to apply chemicals but they all know I have a network of companies that I'm very familiar with and trust that can do most any type of job out there from plumbing to electrical. The headache from subbing work out is just a pain in my eyes. I give and get referrals all the time for other work and stick with what I know best.
01-10-2012, 04:17 PM
I prefer to sub it out. Here are my reasons. First customers like and want to deal with as few contractors as they can, same principle behind hiring a general contractor to build your home. They want to know there is one person overseeing their property and thus they have one person to contact. Two, the more people that are in communication with your client the more chance there is that you lose out to another bidder. If you let the client fin for themselves so to speak then who is to say that XYZ company doesnt come in and say hey client, we can spray your yard and cut it to and save you money. Ok third, by me handeling it, I know what is being done and when it is being done. I have developed a wonderful relationship with my local Scotts Service. He is also a local LCO as well. We have spoke and I know without a doubt he isnt coming after my clients. He appreciates my loyalty to him and he shows me the same respect on LC side. I have built a good maintenance business and at this point dont want to handle Chemicals. It adds more headache and at this point I am happy with subbing to scotts and me making a small fee off of it. Our relationship has gotten so well that when I call to add a new property, they will ask what I think it is worth. In the past I would tell him what I guessed it at and I was usually pretty close, usually higher than what it actually was. I do prefer to only do this on Monthly Contracts that way the cost for apps are built in. I would definitely recommend Subbing if you are a smaller outfit starting out. You should focus on building a reputable name with what you do best.
01-10-2012, 04:53 PM
Greenguys that is exactly the answer i was hoping I would get. Spot on to what I would like to do. The kicker is the app company I want to use has a good working relationship with another lco, my direct competition who is a larger operation than I am. That is why I would only use him as a sub and not refer him to be in direct contact with the account holder. I gues you never know what kind of working relationship you can have until you try it. All I know is if I can make this work by using him as a sub, i can go after just about any commercial account in my area and should be able to pull off some outstanding growth in a few years.
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01-10-2012, 05:02 PM
One thing I have as a sub is a contract stating that we will not market their customers for any additional services without going through the account holder. As far as referals, we have a contracts stating which serices we will not market for.
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