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View Full Version : Lawn maintenance or fert and squirt


FERT-TEK
10-16-2004, 11:56 AM
For the guys that do weekly lawn maintenance I have a question for you. If you had to do it over again and you could only choose one or the other which would you choose, fert and squirt or maintenance. It seems to me that if it were done right fert and squirt might be more lucrative and require fewer employees, equipment and storage space. I am not talking about a big operation like the evil empire TGCL.
Right now, I only fertilize for about 15 customers and am considering expanding that part of my business next year. If it matters I am the owner and operator of a small LCO and run my business out of my house. I have no employees and plan to keep it that way. Regarding fertilizers and chemicals, my supplier is literally 15 minutes away and I can let them store my supplies until they are needed for pickup the day they are applied. I realize I am oversimplifying this and that there is more to it than I have mentioned. It is just something I have thought about for a while and want your opinions on it.

rookiemower
10-16-2004, 12:08 PM
Hey Dave, who is the supplier around here? Is there a Lesco dealer? I live in Carol Stream. Your idea seems to be a good one just look at some of the smaller guys that are gwowing big in fert. (small compared to TGCL) Masters Green (which i know is a branch office from the michigan company) and Spring Green

out4now
10-16-2004, 12:58 PM
There was an LCO here that did just that. First he was mowing then mowing operation got bigger and bigger then he got into fertilization adn added tree trimming, Now all he does is deep root fertilizing of trees.

LwnmwrMan22
10-16-2004, 01:34 PM
FLC Dave -

I personally would head into the fertilizing / spraying biz. At least you have to be licensed there, and the overhead is lower. Just look at having a PG or ZSpray, and the small trailer you need there, compared to where I'm at to make my money I do, I've got 2 trailers that are 24'+, 2 trucks, etc.

I'd switch, but I just don't know if I want to go through all the headache again of trying to create a new list of clients.

I've thought about expanding the fertilizing that I do now, along with the weed control, but I think now that I've paid off the equipment that I have, I'm just going to maintain for a couple of years again, "fert/squirt" the properties that I already have, and go at it that way.

The only thing about fertilizing, you MAY have to take a little longer to get a large enough list of clients. Although, I'm sure that if you're in a residential area, or close to them, that it might not take as long.

I say that, only because the commercial stuff is sometimes either taken care of by the guy already doing the maintenance, or the company has many locations and someone like TG/CL can take care of them all, therefore less vendors for that company to deal with.

However, if you worked with a maintenance company that already sub'd the spraying work out, that would be a way to pick up a decent amount of contracts, as long as they paid what you'd like to get for them.

FERT-TEK
10-16-2004, 02:21 PM
Rookie, I live in Bartlett but am a full time firefighter in Wheeling. Wheeling has a full service fert company called Arthur Clesens company that has every lawn tree and shrub chemical you will ever need. They also have two sales personnel that are experts in the field for when I have problems or questions. That is where I get my supplies. I am going to a wedding tonight PM me if you have any questions and I will reply tomorrow when I am at the firehouse.

Lawn-Scapes
10-16-2004, 02:39 PM
It's really a no-brainer.. Lawn apps is the way to go if you get enough clients. Lower overhead.. easier work.. much better money!

FERT-TEK
10-16-2004, 10:54 PM
:drinkup: :drinkup: :drinkup: :drinkup: :drinkup: :drinkup: :drinkup:
I just got back from this wedding that started at 2 this afternoon and I am hammmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmred. My wife just dragged me out of there. I just wrote this first sentence three times to cut out the typos. Fat fingers or somthing. I am really interested in what you guys have to say. Please keep the posts coming and I will reply as I can.



THis is really funny readi8ng what I wrote before spell checking or checking it for errors.. You should have seen ho many errors I corrected before I checked it. I AM AN IDIOT!!!!!!!!!!! I AMUSE MYSELF!!!!!!!!! TIME TO PASS OUT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GOTTA GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! good night!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :drinkup: :drinkup: :drinkup: :sleeping: :sleeping:

FERT-TEK
10-16-2004, 10:55 PM
:drinkup: :drinkup: :drinkup: :drinkup: :drinkup: :drinkup: :drinkup:
I just got back from this wedding that started at 2 this afternoon and I am hammmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmred. My wife just dragged me out of there. I just wrote this first sentence three times to cut out the typos. Fat fingers or somthing. I am really interested in what you guys have to say. Please keep the posts coming and I will reply as I can.



THis is really funny readi8ng what I wrote before spell checking or checking it for errors.. You should have seen ho many errors I corrected before I checked it. I AM AN IDIOT!!!!!!!!!!! I AMUSE MYSELF!!!!!!!!! TIME TO PASS OUT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GOTTA GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! good night!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
:drinkup: :drinkup: :drinkup: :sleeping: :sleeping: :sleeping: :sleeping:

David Haggerty
10-17-2004, 07:27 AM
If you're going to offer decent maintenance, you have to do both.
Mowing only gets you so far, and then a little weed control, core aeration etc . takes the lawn to the next level.

And you CAN'T trust someone else to do the job right.

They'll take short cuts, and leave you holding the bag. Like they'll install mulch, and when it becomes evident they didn't use any pre-emergence, they're long gone and you have to try to keep the beds clean with pulling & Roundup. I had one guy who used soil sterilant in mulch beds around trees. So he wouldn't have to respray later that season. It took 5 years for the sterilant to reach the root zone, and when it did it killed most of the trees.

Or if they're doing a decent job, they charge ten times what the job's worth. Then mid season the customer's asking you to "scale back" on the mowing, because the maintenance budget is about exhausted.
They'll "bundle" weed control with 4 other applications, and apply them whether the lawn needs it or not. Nitrogen in the spring and other stupid stuff. It makes it really hard to keep up with growth.

I've had it! If somebody's on one of MY lawns, they'd better be out there enjoying the turf.

So! in a calmer voice I'd like to promote comprehensive lawn care. One source for all your lawn needs. Plus those add on services are pretty profitable. Even when priced reasonably.

Dave

ThreeWide
10-17-2004, 09:07 AM
I'm also solo.

My profit margin on mowing is around 30% at best, while fertilization is 50% for easier work. I would also consider switching to an application only business. However you need an enoromous list of clients to make it work.

When you have both for any given client, you have a nice package with advantages over other competitors. Since you mow routinely, your fert program will be much more effective as you see the turf every week. Problems can be addressed before the client calls you to complain. Also, you have no travel cost since you covered that in your mowing charges.

But if I had a choice right now, I'd love to drop mowing and do only fertilization. The results you provide from the challenge of applying your knowledge to a client's turf is are very rewarding.