View Full Version : Fertilizing pricing

Sir mowsalot
06-07-2004, 04:16 PM
Ok, i went to lesco today, and i learned heaps about fertilzing. The salesman in there made it so simple to understand.
I know what and how to charge for overseeding, aerating. What about fertilizing? Is it charged by the s.f. and if so how much ?
One more thing. How long after fertilizing, should you wait to mow?

James Cormier
06-07-2004, 04:33 PM
Did he just talk about fert, or did he go into weed, grub and other insect controls?

Sir mowsalot
06-07-2004, 04:55 PM
Yes, weed and feed, broadleaf control, summer stress, winterizer. those would be the four applicatioins i will be performing.
My question is how to charge. each one cost a different price to buy, so it stands to reason that each application will be charged a different price. How does everyone figure how to charge?

James Cormier
06-07-2004, 09:45 PM
You need to know all you costs, direct and in-direct before you can answer that question.

I assume your licenced and hold the proper insurance for these treatments, did the lesco rep ask you if you are licenced?

Sir mowsalot
06-07-2004, 09:50 PM
No i am not and i explained that to the lesco rep. I will be getting licensed very soon though. I am just trying to get everything worked out first. I dont want to get a license and then learn about this end of it.

James Cormier
06-07-2004, 10:35 PM
In the process of getting licensed you will learn about this business, as far as applying materials, control pests and other lawn and environmental issues. So I think you maybe going about it in the wrong way.

IF you don't know your costs how in the world would you be able to figure how much to charge?

A little story for you,

I walked into lesco once and there was a young guy talking with the lesco manager, Joes Lawnmowing was the name of his company, he was asking questions about grub control.

The phone rang and the lesco manager left the 2 of us there while he talked on the phone. Joe turned to me and said hey you fertilize lawns?, yeh i said, He's like what do you charge for grub control? and what do you charge for treating lawns?, mean while the lesco guy comes back,

I ask Joe, are you licensed and hold the proper insurance, No Im just getting started and collecting unemployment so I don't want to invest too much money and time right now. I said well you need to hold a pesticide license to apply or to even drive away from this store with material in your truck. He kinda gave me a dirty look and said, You wanna give me a price for treating my lawns for me, but I want a discount so I can make some money or Ill just do it myself and take the chance.

My response was, Ive been licensed and doing lawncare since 1986, I started out measuring lawns working my way up from lawn tech to assist branch manager before starting my own company 10 years ago. It took me 2 years of saving every dime I made to start my company and on top of it I borrowed 30k to invest in adv and operation expenses, I hired a account and lawyer to make sure everything I did was legal and busted my buns for years building my business, every employee was on the books with Workman's comp insurance, and you want me to

"tell you what I charge for grub control, or better yet you want me to treat your lawns so you can make some money"

He just kinda laughed and turned to the lesco guy and said, give me a pallet of that merit, after the lesco guy loaded his truck I said " does lesco need money that bad that your willing to sell to someone like that, that will just hurt this industry" He just said, doesn't matter to me what he does with it once he leaves here.

Sorry for such the long post but reading your post just reminded me about that day. I just wish the lesco guy would have told you to go get licensed and learn about the industry before he told you how much a bag of weed and feed will cost you.

Sir mowsalot
06-07-2004, 11:16 PM
Wow, that was a little more than i needed to know. I on the other hand am a legit lawn service, that has simply seen an oppurtunity to add to my business by offering a fertilizing program to my customers. I just simply am trying to find out alot of info. first to see if it is definatley something i want to do. I think that it is not backwards at all. Thanks anyways

06-07-2004, 11:36 PM
I hear ya James, I started working for a fertilization company in 1989 and prior to that I worked at a nursery/garden center. recieved exceptional training and worked into management after a couple of years. Three years later I went into business for myself and still felt as though my knowlege was inadequate. 2 years of self employment I went back to manage at another company until I had the experience as well as the technical knowlege I needed to go back into business for myself with the background I needed to offer my clients a truly professional service.

Back then it seemed as though only former techs from other companies were starting pesticide businesses. Now-a-days anyone with a pick-up and a LESCO near by jumps into this and pays no dues. I am all for LCO's going out on their own as long as they are knowlegable, professional and legal.

Sirmowsalot, have you thought about working for another company for awhile? I know it is hard to work for someone else when you have an entrepreneurial spirit but it is worth the wait to go into this business with a firm foundation and reduce the risk of harming your customers lawn or their pocket book let alone the environment and/or your reputation.

Good luck to you.


Sir mowsalot
06-07-2004, 11:53 PM
David, the possibility of working for someone else is out of the question for several reasons. First, i have my 5th child on the way, and i would not make enough money working for someone else. Secondly, if i beleived i couldnt give the best results to someone, i wouldnt do it. This is not something im diving into. Honestly, i dont know where you guys got that impression. Im on this site to learn, and gain valuable knowlegde so that i infact do not harm, anyone, anything. Also, i go to lesco, i talk to sales reps, im getting information on licenses etc. etc. I dont intend on fertilizing a lawn for quite a long time from now. This is the second business ive had now. Im not new to running a business by any stretch. My first business was concrete in which i built from the ground up. I just got sick of all the crap involved with it. I needed a new thing to do, and i absolutly love what i do now

06-08-2004, 08:22 AM
mowsalot - Everyone is getting the "beginner" impression based on the questions you are asking. As has been said before, pricing of services will depend on your costs. If you don't know your costs of insurance, for example, how will you know if your pricing is going to cover it? Insurance, licensing, certifiying costs vary from state to state. You'll also have application equipment, PPE, chemical storage, rinse pads, spill containment, and other costs. On top of all that, your local gov't. may not even allow a pest application business in their jurisdiction. James and Discovery are giving you good advice. Listen to them and save yourself a lot of headaches later on.

Good luck!

06-08-2004, 07:33 PM
sir mows...sorry, but I'm siding with these others. Your probably a swell guy and very business savvy and I hope you do well.

getting back to lesco, my experience that many lesco reps are folks who did have or did manage a LCO. They end up at lesco because they failed. But, because they work for this large outfit folks walk in there and think these guys really know there stuff. Not a problem to ask them...but when they tell you how to charge for any particular service..... no thanks

get involved with your states association or with the national association (PLCAA) and ask, you'll get a much more educated answer.

good luck

Sir mowsalot
06-08-2004, 08:18 PM
I appreciate the responses, i really do.

I never considered the fertilizing end of the business until this year. Alot of why im inquiring is because since i have been building my business , each year i get better lawns and better customers. As they are added i remove the "not so good" lawns and customers. What is happening now is, these better customers are wanting someone to do everything. Ive lost some accounts because of this. If i want to keep growing and getting better accounts, i got to do something about this.
Perhaps the best idea, is to possibly sub contract the fert until i get a good solid feel of what im doing.

06-08-2004, 08:57 PM
Now your talking. Nothing wrong with subbing out the fertilizing and pest control to someone that knows what they are doing. That will also free up your time to get the study guides and prepare yourself for getting your license. I went to UGA to set in on one of their seminars about pest control. I had zero exposure to the pestcontrol industry, we didnt even have the study guides, but thought it might be something I might try. Going to the seminar I got to sit and listen to several different instructors as they went over the material for the tests. When I went I had no intentions of even taking the test, I just wanted to learn a litttle about pestcontrol. After 8 hours of lectures they got ready to give the test. My wife and I where getting up to leave when the person next to us asked about paying for the exam. Seems that if you fail the test they refund your money. Well, I though, why not take the test and see whats on it, never even thought about passing it. Well my wife and I both passed and got our license. But that not the end of this story, even tho we sat thru an 8 hr lecture and where able to pass the test, neither of us felt like we knew enough to start doing pesticide applications. Still dont, so we dont do them. If I need weeds killed or grubs treated we still get someone else to do it for us. One day we might start doing the applications ourselfs but It wont be until we feel that we can do it safely and correctly.

06-09-2004, 12:42 PM
When I looked into it for Indiana, I thought it said you have to work for someone else for 1 year before you can become certified, is my understanding incorrect? I decided to sub it out because of that. I mean how many lco's are going to hire you if they know you are only there to get the experience then will be competing with them.

Green Dreams
06-09-2004, 05:09 PM
Two words wild man.... tru green. Down here they'd hire osama himself if he could push a spreader...

06-12-2004, 01:19 AM
Sir mowsalot interesting name! any who good luck with the fert idea. i think you are on the right path... i would sub out fert but advertise for it. you can run all the billing through your biz name. i might explain to a applicator that you are thinking about servicing your customers in the future just to give them a heads up. i just got started last year in the fert end of things i found that some local company's aren't very friendly and don't share any info... but i did find some guys are willing to share knowledge and tips... how you use it is up to you. good luck.

06-12-2004, 04:22 PM
First I double the cost of the fertilizer because I have to go get it and deliver it. Then I add an Application Fee (minimum $25).

In Tennessee there is no requirement to be licensed to apply fertilizer, only weed control products.

06-12-2004, 05:09 PM
Actually, in Indiana, you either have to work under someone for 90 days, but you have to have your RT. Or, you can take a 2 day traing program at Purdue or hold a license other than your 3b for 1 year or complete a 2 year horticulture program. I just got my license in the mail today. Took the 2 day traing last month, my core and 3b exam 3 weeks ago and am now certified. Hoped this helped Wildman.