What is it that separates you from everyone else? How are you expressing this to the potential customers who do get to talk too?
IMHO experience the L & O business side of things you have two kinds of customers. Those that trust and believe the true brown salesman and all his magic potions and those that have went that route and had bad experiences such as replacing major areas of their lawn and have switched to some one in the community that has a excellent reputation and will not switch because of price.
There are most likely little niche markets here and there too that I do not know about but the above is what I have experienced in my travels.
Smart or not I do not know but what a lot of the start ups have did here is start out slightly above the TG prices and try to do quality work for those prices. Some make it and start doing a little big better each year until they end up truly getting prices that they can really address all issues that they need. We have several that have made there place in the market in recent couple of years.
In the end I think it will come down to sales man ship if you are trying to get decent prices.
If you used to mow why not mow and spray until you are up and going strong? You should be able to pick up quality customers that are looking for someone that can handle and be responsible for everything.
Having total control of the lawns care should allow you lawns to stand out if you are good at both aspects of the business I would guess. This lawns should stand out to the neighbors and you should be a able to pick up a few accounts here and there in those neighborhoods and you can make them stand out too.
Don't know for sure as I am just a lawn turd throwing some suggestions out there.
10% of your customers are 90% of the problem.
You may think the grass is GREENER on the other side, but if you take the time to water your own grass it would be just as GREEN.