Old 04-06-2008, 08:52 PM
andyslawncare andyslawncare is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Palmetto, GA
Posts: 812
Getting started in turf weed control and fertilization...please help!

I'm 19 and still learning this business...I currently own a lawn mainteance service and am in my 25th month of service. Business has grown very well and I'm making great profits. This winter I'm planning on adding in a full weed control and fertilization program to my contracts. I know many of you are already up and running and I'm looking for some advice. I've already figured I need 400-600 contracts to start up a truck to do just this. I have ~150 people I can get to cancel their current contract and start with me in the spring of 2009-I already have signed contracts with many many people who have this done at their property.

I'm looking to get the following questions answered...

-What kind of equipment should I purchase?
-Should I truck mount it or trailer mount?
-How can I get another 400 contracts from October-January?
-What kind of insurance or other things should I carry for my employees who will run this? (I plan on not touching these chemicals) Should I just have them sign a safty waver or something??
-What kind of program should I try to sell to my clients? (I live in the Atlanta area...my weekly and bi monthly cutting programs start in April)
-How many residential contracts do I need to keep a truck running with a full time employee? (year round??)

I have some time to get this figured out, but I want to get everything set up and ready to go for next year...including advertising space that I will purchase and will be published this year. I want to try to put this off as long as I can...but what time of year should I start??? I figured the very beginning of spring...

Thanks for your time. I hope you all can help.
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Old 04-07-2008, 12:52 AM
ted putnam's Avatar
ted putnam ted putnam is online now
LawnSite Platinum Member
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 4,454
I think in some areas you have an unrealistic view of what it will take. As far as set up, there are variables specific to your situation you will have to work out for yourself. Basic equipment: At least 200 gal skid sprayer,professional quality spreader 2-3 hand sprayers backpacks. This and a small array of chems will get you started. It will increase from there. I don't think you'll be able to take the "I'm not going to touch anything, the employee will handle everything" approach. If you do, you will probably fail. Everyone would love to be the boss and have the employee do everything. Unfortunately in the real world that doesn't seem to be the case until you are a sizeable operation. You do need at least 400 accts to keep someone busy full time. You've got a snowballs chance in hell of getting them between Oct and Jan. Not trying to burst your bubble, just giving you a reality check. 90% of your new sales will come between Jan and May every year. You'll pick up a few along the way the rest of the year, but if you don't get the majority of them in the spring you'll have missed out for the most part. Not trying to be a jerk, just don't want to sugar coat it for you!
"The Poor Fish" circa 1930's: The Poor Fish wouldn't have been caught if he'd known enough to keep his fool mouth shut.

"Opportunity is missed by most because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work"- Thomas Edison, businessman/inventor
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Old 04-07-2008, 01:49 AM
Marcos Marcos is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Cincinnati OH
Posts: 3,756

Ted's right.
You will certainly need to be a "hand's on" person, to some extent, to this extension of your existing mowing business....either that or hire a seasoned, experienced, and licensed lawn tech away from a competitor (which CAN be a little EXPENSIVE for the right person !)

I think I know where you're coming from...Delegating authority, down the road, to a person you can TRUST.... is a beautiful thing!

But in working with pesticides, especially, it would be wise that you, the business owner and the ultimate "go to" person in the event of emergencies etc, do the homework and do what you need to do to get your Georgia pesticide applicator's license in turf (or whatever)....FIRST....

Only after THEN.... you "become"...(or) you hire / steal your "lawn specialist"...
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Old 04-07-2008, 08:34 AM
PHS PHS is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Louisiana
Posts: 724
I agree with the others, you need to know the application business yourself. Hiring somebody and turning them loose on 400 customers with a tank full of herbicides and not having any idea what that employee is doing is a nightmare waiting to happen on so many levels. Get licensed, hire someone else to run the lawn mower, and do the apps yourself for couple years so you have some idea of how this business works.
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