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jajwrigh
08-18-2004, 12:49 AM
Here is the scenario...you have $4000 cash to start a pesticide business next season and you have a back pack sprayer and nothing else. What do you spend your money on? Explain your answers...

B&B
08-18-2004, 06:59 AM
Dinette--- Harley----Dinette----Harley??? I think i would go with the killer Dinette!!

LwnmwrMan22
08-18-2004, 07:15 AM
Personally.... I know this will not jive with quite a few, but I'd buy a ride on spreader.

At $4000, you're close to having enough for a PG, or wait one more year where you'd have enough for a Z-Spray, but it'll save you so much effort and time, not to mention that you can spray and spread in one unit.

But then again, you could buy a skid sprayer for $2000 or so, if you found one like mine that's 2 years old and just sits in the shed, and buy a powered spreader from Lesco for $500 or so, and you'd have the $1500 for ads or your pocket or a casino, or whatever.

Hmmm....

Personally I'd spend it on a ride-on unit, but I like having the "new" equipment available.

MrBarefoot
08-18-2004, 08:09 AM
Originally posted by jajwrigh
Here is the scenario...you have $4000 cash to start a pesticide business next season and you have a back pack sprayer and nothing else. What do you spend your money on? Explain your answers...

Do you have a vehicle of any kind?

If you do, what do you have? Pick-up truck, Van, what size is the vehicle?

Are you willing to push a spreader and backpack spray lawns, or do you have your heart set on getting a ride on spreader?

Do you have people who you can make into clients right away? If so how many?

Do you have any accounting or book-keeping skill?

Have you ever managed a business operation before?

Do you know how to write a business plan or a marketing plan?

And most important, do you have all necessary licenses and credentials to apply pesticide commercially?

When you answer these questions for me, I will be able to answer yours.

2 man crew
08-18-2004, 09:47 AM
Youv'e allready blown your budget on Insurance and Advertizing.

James Cormier
08-18-2004, 04:01 PM
i would take the 4k and bank it, use it as working capital,

then go to a bank that does SBA loans with my business plan, explaining exactly what equipment I need, with the cost, explain my marketing Ideas and what they cost and borrow as much money I can to get the ball rolling.

jajwrigh
08-18-2004, 06:54 PM
Originally posted by MrBarefoot
Do you have a vehicle of any kind?

If you do, what do you have? Pick-up truck, Van, what size is the vehicle?

Van

Are you willing to push a spreader and backpack spray lawns, or do you have your heart set on getting a ride on spreader?

willing to push

Do you have people who you can make into clients right away? If so how many?

yes, 30 or so...(part time, I work full time already!)

Do you have any accounting or book-keeping skill?

yes, been mowing/landscaping for 2 years

Have you ever managed a business operation before?

yes

Do you know how to write a business plan or a marketing plan?

business plan - yes...marketing plan - dont need it!

And most important, do you have all necessary licenses and credentials to apply pesticide commercially?

yes

When you answer these questions for me, I will be able to answer yours.

MrBarefoot
08-18-2004, 07:46 PM
OK, I think with your $4,000 you can give it a shot, but it won't be easy.

Since you have a handle on the basic's of business operations (including business plan). All you need to do is develop a seasonal program, and a pest control strategy. That sounds easy, but it is harder then it sounds. You will need to decide what you want to apply, when and what pests you want to try to control (and how much to charge for you service). Your local Lesco can help you build a plan and give you some idea of the costs involved.

There is some good advice in the previous posts about insurance. You will need to check into this and find a policy that works for you. This will be a significant expense so shop around.

I don't know how you can solve the "refilling the backpack" issue, I have a tank mounted right inside my van and I use a perma green so its real easy for me. You may need to buy a tank and mount it in your van, but if you do that, then you might as well spray from your tank.

You will need to buy a spreader, (about $300.00), and some fert and weed control product (scaled to your demand) and you will be "in business".

I suggest that you also buy a spill containment kit from your local Lesco, and make sure you know how to use it. Keep a broom and dustpan in your van. If you have a fert spill you can use empty fert bags to hold what you sweep up, if you can't put it into a spreader.

If you already have a system to track your customers and invoice them for your work, handle receivables, payables, billings, deposits and all the clerical work then that is one more thing you don't need to invent. You should check with your state Dept of Ag. to make sure that your application records are in compliance with their regulations.

Some graphics for your vehicle will help promote your business.

If you have more questions feel free to email me Dan-at-properlawn-dot-com (sorry spammers).

turf hokie
08-18-2004, 09:08 PM
I just started my business this year. 1500 cash......already had my pesticide license.. insurance paid quarterly. business license paid up front.. bought a spreader 300 --financed a 50 gallon sprayer...got a no interest credit card thru next year and a line of credit at lesco. paying for things as I go. just bought a box truck 4 grand. advertising was word of mouth (free) getting incorporated on Sept 1 and hired and accountant


the secret this year was keeping my full time job and servicing 100 accounts on the side next year I go for broke and quit my full time job.

bottom line is your 4 grand will go pretty far if you do things the right way.


being your own boss.........priceless

ArizPestWeed
08-18-2004, 09:14 PM
Send me the money and I'lll tell ya

jajwrigh
08-18-2004, 10:45 PM
I have already priced insurance for this business. No problem. I am already set up as a type S corp....I have billing and scheduling software...I am asking about purely equipment! Would you guys buys a skid or a pg with that money?! No offense to anyone but I am not ignorant about the strings that come attached to running a business, but I was merely seeking opinions on equipment options...no big deal...just a question...

ArizPestWeed
08-18-2004, 11:41 PM
Send the money and I'll msend ya 4 pounds of pot
More $ in the pot business.
Seriously , though


50 gal. tank
300 feet hose on real
Another SP back pack
cheap duster
1 gal B&G
Honda motor and pump .
Yhat's what I started with

MrBarefoot
08-19-2004, 06:59 AM
Originally posted by jajwrigh
I... No offense to anyone but I am not ignorant about the strings that come attached to running a business, but I was merely seeking opinions on equipment options...no big deal...just a question...

Sorry about the mis-understanding. When I read your first post I thought you where starting from scratch, with literally nothing but a backpack sprayer.

You can also consider not using granular fert and try an all liquid program. Several other people on this forum do that.

Good Luck.

jajwrigh
08-19-2004, 06:36 PM
Thanks for the thoughtful responses guys.....I will keep you posted in the coming weeks about any new equipment or ideas...

trying 2b organic
08-19-2004, 08:36 PM
turf how the heck did you get 100 accts without advertising? I would think you need 3 grand towards advertising of the 4 you have. Selling fert and squirt is a lot different then selling maintenance. It takes good marketing and ad copy and that takes money. Am I wrong? ;)

DUSTYCEDAR
08-19-2004, 08:55 PM
well i have all of the above tank, pg, back pacs, spreaders
and i use all of them
but if i had to start new i could get by with a spreader and a backpac and a few hand sprayers it aint easy but u can do it
i like the tank for versitilty

Russ
08-19-2004, 09:51 PM
Start with a Lesco spreader and a SP BP. Learn em and love em these are the basics . Second, talk to your current customers about your new services and ask if they know someone who may be interested. Word of mouth from a friend is much better than any advertising. Your first purchase should be a 50/100 Gal used tank for herb. apps., that can later be used for I.D. after you get your 3A. Do a great job on your first accounts and you will not need to advertise, there neighbors and friends will find you. Buy the Z when you think you need a 200 tank and a condo in Florida for your down time.

Avery
08-19-2004, 10:01 PM
Not to sound like a smartass or anything, but if I did not know anything about the business or what I needed to start I would not get into it at all....JMO.

greenerpastures
08-19-2004, 10:21 PM
"turf how the heck did you get 100 accts without advertising?"

I've never spent any advertising $$$. Currently, I have ample accounts and have been able to be selective of my clients. How?? I like to think it is mostly becauseI give my customers quality service at a fair value. My only "advertising" is referrals of customers. But ahuge reason is down south in areas of DFW, Austin,San Antonio,Phoenix,Atlanta.... there is simply a shortage of licensed, QUALIFIED applicators because of the unbelievable building growth...especially in the rural suburbs. (intended emphasis of "qualified" over "licensed").

To specifically address the question----if you are going after larger properties, definitely plan on a pg or zspray ---not only for profits, but for your health. If you are servicing mainly 5K lots or less, go with a hose reel system and spreader.lol. Eventually,if you like the business you will probably own all of the equipment mentioned.

jajwrigh
08-19-2004, 11:16 PM
Originally posted by Avery
Not to sound like a smartass or anything, but if I did not know anything about the business or what I needed to start I would not get into it at all....JMO.

Good thing I am not you then...

KenH
08-20-2004, 03:30 PM
How big will the average account be??? I think this will determine push/pull or ride.

jajwrigh
08-20-2004, 07:53 PM
This is just a guess....maybe 5 to 10k square feet....

Enviro Green
08-21-2004, 11:03 AM
5-10?

Chest Spreader and Skid sprayer and backpack

That's it.

turf hokie
08-21-2004, 03:19 PM
I used to work at LESCO and 80% of the landscapers know me and trust me. That is first....some don't do apps and recommend me...got a few accounts that way...I bought a few accounts for .25 on the $1..high end stuff 2-3 million dollar homes--the guy got scared about not having a license for his NY accounts and he was willing to hold note, it was a perfect situation and he even introduced me to all his customers before I agreed to the deal. I gave him 40% on round 3 and will give him the rest in the spring(no interest) I also have a couple of small landscapers using me for apps since they don't have a license.

All in all 30 accounts recommended to me
30 accounts purchased
40 accounts sub-contracted (3 commercial)
Basically I have stepped in poop a couple of times this year. I got a steal on the accounts I bought. A great price on box truck. And a lot of the landscapers pushed me to start my own business when I left LESCO but I was nervous and finally decided it was the right time this year(My wife and kids may disagree though)

I have learned--always treat everyone the same--no matter what a pain in the --- they are--it is coming back to me right now 10 fold with the good reputation I have in the area...

As far as the original question I would get a PG, I desperately want one. One season of pushing and pulling is enough for me. Great results but I feel that I am spending way too much time on some of my lawns especially the 30k lawns and the commercial sites that my hose doesn't reach.

specialtylc
08-21-2004, 03:22 PM
Originally posted by jajwrigh
This is just a guess....maybe 5 to 10k square feet....
If you are not doing anything over 10k ft I would buy a skid sprayer and pull hose. You can treat a 5000 ft yard in less than 10 minutes. Its way more versitile than any other system out there. You can do tree& shrub treatments and deeproot feedings with one also. And buy a really good push spreader for fert. Like a 100 lb scotts stainless unit.
I have a ride on spreader/spray rig that I only use on large pieces over 10k ft and use the skid unit on all the small stuff and tree / shrub spraying.

turf hokie
08-21-2004, 03:31 PM
Specialty--you don't get nervous spraying selectives on a lawn and then spraying ornamentals??? I just picked up a 50 gal to use exclusively for ornamentals

DUSTYCEDAR
08-21-2004, 03:41 PM
man i would have 2 sprayers if i did both u could roast some bushes