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View Full Version : I don't do fert but customers demand it


Expert Lawns
02-25-2004, 07:23 PM
I don't do fert, but a few of my customers that have called back on my advertisments have asked about it. My question is this: Do any of you that dont' do ferts sub it out to fert companies? If so, what steps do you take? Do you trade work, ask for a percentage, or just have an agreement with them? I have called a few fert companies in the area and left messeges. I would like to know how to handle their call backs. Thanks

Aleman
02-25-2004, 07:40 PM
Im just curious why you dont do fert??

turf9
02-25-2004, 07:51 PM
Originally posted by Aleman
Im just curious why you dont do fert??
North of HockeyTown whay would you not fert,you have to go there anyways ( to cut that is) It's a real money maker get involved keep others off your turf. ;)

specialtylc
02-25-2004, 07:52 PM
In my state you need to be a Licensed Pesticde applicator to do even fertilizing on a customer lawn. Tell the other company ( make sure they dont do mowing services ) what the deal is. Im sure you can find someone to do it. You may even be able to make 10 or 20 % on their work.

Expert Lawns
02-25-2004, 07:58 PM
I don't have a license to fert, and can't take the time to work under someone for the 2 years that is required by law. I"m too busy with lawn care and college. It is easier for me to find someone to do it. In the past I have been recommending companies to my customers. I want to it to be controlled this year. I have a company around here that does fert and mowing, but they only do commercial mowing. A friend of mine used to work for them and said they constantly get calls for residential mowing. If I can get them to refer those call to me, then i could give them my fert jobs.
It will get tricky though. I could get screwed hard if all of the referrals are out of my area, or just tiny $15 lawns, or penny pinching customers. I would have to state to them what I want in return. Any other suggestions?

lawnman_scott
02-25-2004, 08:28 PM
Originally posted by Expert Lawns
I don't have a license to fert, and can't take the time to work under someone for the 2 years that is required by law. I"m too busy with lawn care and college. It is easier for me to find someone to do it. In the past I have been recommending companies to my customers. I want to it to be controlled this year. I have a company around here that does fert and mowing, but they only do commercial mowing. A friend of mine used to work for them and said they constantly get calls for residential mowing. If I can get them to refer those call to me, then i could give them my fert jobs.
It will get tricky though. I could get screwed hard if all of the referrals are out of my area, or just tiny $15 lawns, or penny pinching customers. I would have to state to them what I want in return. Any other suggestions?

Thats exactly what I do. Evan if you only get a few customers, its not like you gave up anything for it if they are doing all the fert work.

amw
02-25-2004, 08:32 PM
hey i had the same prob.

But what you CAN do WITHOUT a cert. is fertilizing ..yes you CAN...
Sraight fert ONLY you can not use a crabgrass, or "weed n feed"
i have spoke to the MDA and as long as its only fertilizer your fine..

I went as far as taking the classes and passing them before i found this out.
i also dont have anyone with 2y exp. and long story short
they refunded the cost of the classes (for 2 people) and still let me keep the cert.
they did this because i found out AFTER the class was ending that you dont need this for straight fert,
so i would talk to the customer and see if that would be ok..
also their are a few "loop holes" in the mich laws
but im not going to get in to that...
you still have to keep a record of the aps.

i found that most people where fine with this and for the ones who werent thier are the "loop holes"....let me know if you need more info

Expert Lawns
02-25-2004, 09:01 PM
Good point Lawnman Scott. You're right, I'm not losing anything on the deal. Just as long as they only do fert. I dont' need anyone else on my "turf" trying to sell my customers some lawn care.

Interesting Tony. But I think I would rather leave it up to the professionals. I don't want to tell them I'll fert, then do a few apps, and have them be disapointed. I would rather they get their money's worth. It also will help me out since the grass will be growing better. I have very little experience doing apps. I'd rather just concentrate on my weekly mowings.

lawnman_scott
02-25-2004, 09:06 PM
With that company, it sounds like you would be ok, if they dont do residential. It does work for me, I have 2 people that i reccomend depending on the area, and a guy that does major tree work i dont do. They get me enough customers to keep me happy. And your right, this way its done right. Its 3 years here that you have to work under someone who is licensed.

MacLawnCo
02-25-2004, 09:18 PM
See if you can work it so you can get him to drop his stop fee... then charge your clients full price and you make aprox $30 per house per round just to bill your clients.

As far as referals, anything you get is gravy.

Expert Lawns
02-25-2004, 10:11 PM
Stop Fee, Mac? elaborate

JimLewis
02-25-2004, 11:49 PM
You gotta be kidding me! The fact that your state requires a license for applying fert. is a little rediculous, IMO.

But you have to work for a licensed applicator for 2 years just to take the freakin' test!!! Where the heck is this "North of Hockey Town" place? Russia??? Cuba???

GrassBustersLawn
02-26-2004, 12:47 AM
Likely you need to be LICENSED to apply COMMERCIALLY, as is the rule in Indiana. Not worth it for 5 or 10 clients. Cost of getting the CERTIFICATION (classes & tests) and BUSINESS LICENSE (requires proof of insurance) and the EXTRA $$$ for Pesticide Coverage on your Liability insurance... WILL EASILIY cost you more than $1000 before you start buying equipment and product. Network with an applicator in your region. Send him business and maybe get a cut from him, or have him send you business. Helps both of you out.

MIKE

Soupy
02-26-2004, 01:09 AM
Originally posted by JimLewis
You gotta be kidding me! The fact that your state requires a license for applying fert. is a little rediculous, IMO.

But you have to work for a licensed applicator for 2 years just to take the freakin' test!!! Where the heck is this "North of Hockey Town" place? Russia??? Cuba???

Jim, a lot of states are like this. I'm not sure if you have to work under someone to take the test, but you do to get the license.

mtdman
02-26-2004, 01:12 AM
Expert, I am hooking up with another lawn site member to subcontract out my fertilizing this year. I don't do ferts or applications either, and I'm quite frankly not interested. Subbin'g them out is a much better arrangement for me. Although, I've worked for people for years that have other companies do their applications and didn't have that many problems. But it is nice to get everything under one company, preferrably yours.

To apply just fertilizer, no weed and feed or pesticide, you do not need a license in MI. To do herbicide and pesticide you do. Anyone can go and take the test and get the license. In order to operate a business that does lawn applications you have to have at least one full time person working for you with 2 years of experience, or a turf degree from MSU. The one year my partner and I did ferts and applications the state stopped us because neither of us had two years experience. And I hated it.

However, any homeowner can go and buy a bag of weed and feed and proceed to dump it all over their lawn with no need of a license. ;)

stevo22
02-26-2004, 01:20 AM
i work 3rd shift and mow during the day...this will be my third yr...i have an ee that works for me at night that owns a spray/fert co...he had 70 accounts last yr and this yr he is starting w/ 220...i advertise with him and vise versa...we refer work back and forth to each other...each customer i send him he makes alittle, each customer he sends my way i make out really well...ie, $30 yd = 900+ $50 yd = 1500+...i say (+) becaouse i usually get extras such as hedges, leaf removal etc...it has worked out really well for us last yr...this yr i expect it will be great..last yr he referred about $8500 towards me...i got him about 8 of my current customers to swap from tgcl to him...we are advertising pretty haevy this yr so i hope all turns out well...i suggest finding someone small that does great work and gives that (customer touch)...alot of the big companies do not have the time to speak to the customer...that is we do...worked out last yr great...

brucec32
03-08-2004, 03:07 AM
I'd suggest a "referral" to a company to fertilize/weed/pest control the property rather than subcontracting it. Everybody wants to take a "cut" of the revenue so they try to sub it. But I don't think it's worth it.

The difference is liability. Sub'd work could leave YOU on the hook for problems. And you'd still have to have additional coverage for pesticide damage. But since you aren't running it through your business, the customer may not hold you as responsible if they're dissatisfied with them. And really, on the volume level many of us are at, the markup probably isn't that much anyway. Certainly not worth the added insurance costs, customer callbacks to handle, and just plain having to worry about the condition of the lawn as much.

Just promise the person you refer to free referrals in exchange for doing the job right. And none if he screws up. And if it's a quality relationship, you'd more than make up the revenue loss in cross-referrals from the applicator. They have a lot more customers than you do, many of whom may get tired of mowing their own lawns and trimming their own shrubs.

brucec32
03-08-2004, 03:18 AM
I believe you can do damage with just fertilizer too. I've seen and read reports of lakes full of algae from fertilizer getting washed into it, and even deaths of wildlife from that. So I suppose they want to prevent that too. Of course it's mostly for show.

Big M LawnnSnow
03-08-2004, 06:33 AM
Hmmmm Sounds like maybe we could use a "NETWORK" thread here, From our locations..States to Counties on Lawnsite members who have a fertilizing/pesticde license and who would trade services or sub out fertilizing work between ourselves right here for our members.
Whats Your thoughts?

MJ

brian mon
03-08-2004, 08:10 AM
I gave up all my fert. accounts this year....will be doing the referal thing.

I want to just concentrate on maintenance......and all they do is fert.

picked up two nice townhouse contracts so far......seems ok to me.

trying to remain solo, and w/fert. it just got to busy......I know its nice to be the only one on property.....but what was happening was I was getting fert. only and didn't feel I had good enough control only being there 4 times per season. And hated the call's about weeds, or bugs, or everything else that goes along with the fert. game.

Now with all my accounts if theres a problem I make the call before theres a problem.....

hope it works out......I feel real good about it

dishboy
03-08-2004, 10:10 AM
Fertilizing is a big PITA when you have a problem, and a lot are customer induced by irrigation practices. If you do not have years of experience I would deligate the work [as well as all the profit] to a company that will work with you on N rates and is quick to respond and correct any customers complaints. Also a company that will work with your schedule so you don't show up to a lawn just treated with something you do not want to handle or inhale .