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Feed and Feed, how to market to LCO'?

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by toxic man, Oct 24, 2004.

  1. toxic man

    toxic man LawnSite Member
    Posts: 90

    I am in a State which does not allow LCO's to apply anything without a license. I am only interested in chemical applications and not in expanding into LCO opperation; I have seen many awesome companies which have done this.

    My questions are these:

    How do I market my services to an LCO and, do this without having him feel like I am a threat (some of these guys are applying illegally)?

    How do I explain the benefits to the LCO as they pertain to their customers needs, like having them promote for the both of us?

    What kind of materials do you hand out to the LCO's? I was thinking of making a trifold handout with business cards in it and the benefits of my services both to their customers and to the LCO, such as applying growth regulators and fertilizing without the threat of taking their customers?

    Thank you,

  2. James Cormier

    James Cormier LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Ma
    Posts: 1,218

    Knowledge of the business is the easiest way to market your services to any company.

    Let me step back and ask, do you mean you want to find landscaping companies to sub you out to do the fert & squirt work? thats how I read it.

    As a fert & squirt guy that has done this type of work for the past 19 years and self employeed for the last 10, doing sub work is not all its cracked up to be. Most landscpaers want discounts, same day service, expect you to work around there schedule, and pay very slow.

    I dont go after them, I let them come to me. Once I asked for credit references that usually weeds out the problem ones. For ones I do I offer 10% off my prices and my program ( some how these prices seem to be about the same as my regular prices :) ) as long as they pay within 30 days, once they go over 30 days they loose the discount.

    Also you must be carefull with putting all your eggs in one basket, several years ago, i was subbed out by a large landscaper, so I didnt do any advertizing that spring because there customer base was huge. Well by mid rd 3 I relized I may not be getting paid for the work, I canceled the contract and it took me awhile to get paid for what i have done, but by then selling season was over and I struggled all that season to make up the work.

    So becareful

  3. toxic man

    toxic man LawnSite Member
    Posts: 90

    I don't think I want to get into the Sub end of the business, more so to have and build a relationship with the legal LCO's who do not apply. Trying to get them to mention my services to their customers when the customer would ask," do you know anyone who would fertilize my lawn", or " what can I do about the weeds in my lawn", kinda thing. Also, I was thinking of approaching the guys with tractors and farm them for work as they clear the yards, I would spray them with Pre-emergents?

    Is there any benefit to approaching the building, apartment managment companies and what else is there to market to?

  4. kickin sum grass

    kickin sum grass LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 628

    What you are asking to do is possible as 1/2 my business is generated this way. First you must have a relationship with the lco. Once trust and confidence is built the rest will fall in place. He/she will mention your name and advertise for you.

    I spend 0 dollars on advertisement each year. WHY? Because I have other people do it for me and on the flip side I do it for them. If someone asks me who mows in there area I will pull out my list and give them a fews names to check out.

    The other 1/2 of my business is from referrals from current customers. Again 0 dollars to market to these people. I have more business than I can do and I think that is a good thing cept for working 7 days a week.

    Must run as I have more jobs to get done this fine Sunday.
  5. jajwrigh

    jajwrigh LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from Martinsville, IN
    Posts: 1,405


    I am doing a similar thing to you next season. I am good friends with two different LCO owners who mow and do maintenance work. I am giving my current mowing accounts to them and they are referring all interested fert/spray customers to me. When I get customers who are in need of mowing, depending on the location, I will refer them to one of the two LCOs. They are going to do the same for me for my area of "expertise." This will help all of us grow and we all have a direct relationship with the customer so there is no subbing out of any kind. I hope this helps...
  6. TSM

    TSM LawnSite Senior Member
    from MA
    Posts: 707

    something we have done with some pretty good success in forming networks is a seminar. we had a client who owned a catering business and had a really nice rental hall. We'd invite all landscapers we could through a mailing (helps to start this early, every time you see a scaper stop and ask him for his business card, this will slow you up during your production season but can pay off big) I'd follow up with a phone call about 7-10 days before.
    Seems as though every one likes a free meal, so we'd feed them and train them in proper lawncare...which can be a risk, but our experience is that most guys will soon see that it takes more than just buying a lesco spreader to perform in our end of the business.
    This seminar was nothing fancy, basic info...proper mowing heights, proper watering, some weed ID and insect ID. We'd try to 'intertain' them with our knowledge for a couple of hours, then allow for 2 hours of questions or just to socialize with them.
    We did a trade off for the use of the hall and for the catered meal (again nothing fancy but a bit more than pizza and beer) so the event wasnt very costly for us.
    These days we have a pretty good reputation amoung these guys, we dont do this seminar anymore. we do go out to some larger firms and kinda give them an inhouse mini seminar that helps their employees and keeps us on their mind when their customers need help with the health of their landscape.
  7. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    years ago i wanted to sub my chemical clients to xxx fert company. i wanted them to bill me, and i would bill the client. they said THEY DO NOT WORK FOR LAWNBOYS. why? his answer was: lawnboys don't get paid on time, they have to constantly chase thier money, therefor, they can't pay us on time, so we have to constantly chase our money. i wouldn't target lawn boys as clients
  8. scweedman

    scweedman LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 500

    I sub from about seven diffrent LCOs and hav'nt had a problem in two years. I try
    to get a contract with the home owner if i can. If they decide to switch LCO you
    are still in. The problem that I do sometimes worry about is the bill sometimes gets
    pretty high but i have always gotten payed. If you make them look good with the home
    owner they stay happy. They usally do want you to have a quick service because
    they like to ignore problems. I would also tell LCO to call you with problems that
    they can't solve this will get them use to working with you and trusting you.
  9. Tscape

    Tscape LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,370

    I must say that out of the 3 companies that subcontract me for services, 2 are a real pain in the ass as far as paying on time. But they do all pay eventually. I'm with Jim, let them come to you. 95% of my homeowner accounts are paid within a week. I'd rather actively seek that type of clientele.
  10. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,956


    Darn you finally made a post I can agree with. :D yep Lawnboy can be bad pay of no pay. That is why I only network with them and bill the customer direct. BTW lawnboys have over a 70% failture rate the first year. Only about 10% stay in business for the long run.

    I am in a state with similar laws and it is extremely hard to get licensed.

    What the average Lawnboy can't get through his thick skull is the advantage of full service by networking with a Pest Control guys or other companies in the green industry. They are in business for themselves and They are control freaks. They want to do it all. They have no idea of how specialization and networking can really increase their business. Further more they look at the bottom line if they do sub or network, they go with the cheapest guy and get the cheapest service.

    Now I network with several LCO as well as sod guys and tree trimmers. However what I have found is most of those who are not only willing to network but seek specialized green industry people to net work with are real BUSINESSMEN. These are the 10% that make it over the long hual. They are generally a little older and have been around the block at least once before.

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