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Fert programs 4 app or 5 app

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by BeautifulBlooms, Mar 21, 2008.

  1. BeautifulBlooms

    BeautifulBlooms LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 613

    I am curious to those int he northern climates how many of you offer 4 app programs? how many offer 5 app programs? How many of you offer both 4 or 5 apps???

    I have stated this year I will only be offering 5 app programs. I onyl have about 25 customers and dont want to go out on a seperate day to do the one or two people who would want a 4 app program and I am just curious how you all handle that.
  2. mikesturf

    mikesturf LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 795

    I fertilize 5 times per year; April, June, late Aug, late Sept and Nov, with a spot spraying visit in May. I don't bother with people who want 4 visits per year, too much hassle. They are only looking for the cheapest service.
  3. Grassmechanic

    Grassmechanic LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,697

    I do 5 apps, but there are others around here that do 6. It all depends on how much N per round you want to apply (and total for the season) that will determine how many apps you do. Also a factor is if you do all liquid apps, all granular, or a combo of both.
  4. BeautifulBlooms

    BeautifulBlooms LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 613

    I do all granular, one with crabgrass, 3 with spot sprays for broadleaves and a winterizer.

    I was doing .75-1 LB N per app for a total of 4.5 LB N. Now this year I am dropping that rate down signifcantly to 3.5 LB N per season ( unsure of rates right now) while I informed my customers why i am doing that (specfically in relation to leaving clippings ont he lawn can account for 1LB N per season).
  5. pinto n mwr

    pinto n mwr LawnSite Senior Member
    from gr8, mn
    Posts: 422

    try to only do 4 apps, do have a handful of five apps though. Suppose I could try and do five apps but since i do most of my work for other lco's in town here doing five apps is sometimes not possible or economical
  6. humble1

    humble1 LawnSite Silver Member
    from MA
    Posts: 2,499

    5 plus 6th lime
  7. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,496

    I do a 6 application program, but let's face it,...for those places that aren't irrigated, they won't take 6 applications. I am NOT going to go out and throw fert. on dry ground, when it is 95 degrees, and no rain in sight for 3 weeks. Oh, I could....I COULD do like the big green companies do, and set my spreader to 3, throw out a few prills, and give the customer some crock about "this application is to help your lawn bounce back from drought stress". Now,...I don't LIKE to only do 4 or 5 apps, because it digs into MY bttom line. My insurance stays the same, my licensing stays te same, my equipment is worth the same amount, and othe fixed costs are there. The difference with doing ore apps., is that the margin for each ap. goes up. Thee are a number of applications that cost more than others. Your Pre-emergent, your spring weed control, and your fall weed control. So, there are 3 costlier ones, and 3 that are higher margin. So, when you average these out, and take away some of your aps, obviously, you are not going to take away crabgrass control...we need that. you aren't going o take away weed control, we need that....So the aps that go, are the ones that don't cost us as much to do. Therefore, our overall margin goes down. THIS is why I hate to ever do away with our in between aps.
    I have before, when people have asked me if I can cut back to a fewer amount of applications, told them. "Sure. Do you want crabgrass?" they say no. "Do you want weeds?" They say no. "Do you want weeds in the fall and then bgger weeds next spring?" They say. "Well,.... no..."
    I say. "Well,....it will have to be ONE of those that we do away with, so which one would you rather put up with?"
    They get the picture. I again reiterate to them that I will look out for the well being of their lawn, and it may very well not take 6 aps. They are usually reassured at that point.
    On the other hand, I am somewhat straight up when I do my sale, and people usually like that afterward. I tell them that I am NOT there to tell them whatever I think they want to hear. I tell them as a matter of fact, Im not here for what YOU want for your lawn. And I don't always do what I want to do for the lawn...that may be easier. I am here to do and give your LAWN what IT needs. For some reason,...people like this approach...It is not a buttered up - sugar coated approach.
  8. tlg

    tlg LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 645

    Blooms, If your selling a 5 application program. That is your base program. If a customer elects to "skip" an application you simply don't service that customer while you are servicing the neighboring lawns. Just make sure your customer understands their may been a gap in their service.... even several weeks in between. With fuel cost the way they are you want to be as profitable as possible. With a five application program you generally would service your customers about every 5 to 6 weeks. While the majority of our customers are on a 5 application program, we also do 1, 2, 3, and 4 app programs. If you plan well and route accordingly there really is no issue with reduced programs. You are basically just going to route them in when your other customers become due for service. Keep in mind however, any customer that receives less than 4 applications per year is subject to a markup in price. You must recover your overhead. Try to avoid reduced programs if you can. Explain the importance of all your applications .
  9. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,583

    Good approach Runner! There is no better way to run a business than to be upfront with people. After all, you don't want to just make a sale, you want a long term relationship built on trust.

    Have you considered a summer application that is high in organic matter and low on material cost?
    An application like this really will help a lawn rebound from summer stress & will cause no harm because of the slow release of nutrients.
  10. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Posts: 5,859

    We "offer" a max of five feedings per year. Our program was put together by our state's land-grant university's head turf dude back in 1990. He said "if you can't do it in four or five apps, there's a problem". We always use slow-release fert that lasts at least two months under average conditions. For broad leaf weeds, we usually spot spray, but new accounts that are weedy....we pull out the hose (boils down to two treatments, but only paying for one), cuz we want those new lawns to catch up fast. This gets us happy customers who "refer friends". It also makes future apps easier on us.

    Other local outfits have recently begun selling six feedings, and one (Nationally known company) tries to sell seven feedings..........their early spring app = 0.5 lbs of quick-release UREA.:confused:

    It is up to our customers' discretion to pick how many treatments they want. We never call back estimates, and we never try to upsell anybody....cuz they usually know what THEY want. We are not a sales company, and we HATE to make phone calls anyways.

    We advertise in only two ways: 1) Yellow Page, 2) TV ads. That's it. We still maintain over 3000 accounts year after year. Plus, we seem to have the best reputation in this area (according to many residential & commercial properties --- whether they use us or not.

    Bottom line............we offer up to five, but some take four, and some take 3 or 2, and a few take one. This works well for us as well as the consumer, and we sleep well at night --knowing we don't rip off "friends" (customers). Our two cents worth.:usflag:

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