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fert programs, need advise, please......

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by bobbygedd, Jan 26, 2001.

  1. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    hi guys, i posted this in comm lawn, and didnt get one answer. heres the deal, i currently service about 25 residentials and am trying to add about 25 more, i am a solo op and dont have time to fert etc, so ill be contracting the work out to another company that ive used before and they do a nice job. he would rather bill me, and ill bill the cust, im trying to get the customers to pay upfront for the program, and will offer them a discount if they do. i am not dealing with having to pay the fert guy, then billing my customers to be reembursed. do u think new customers will go for this? how should i present it? they will certainly get a reciept, i just dont know how they will react to the upfront thing. any advice? thanks
     
  2. BRL

    BRL LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,211

    I haven't done this myself, but I've seen plenty of other contractors do it. I don't see any reason why a new or old customer would have a problem with any discounts. The type of thing you mention is done all the time in other businesses also, however I can't think of any good examples right now. Go for it. You may not get all of the customers to do it, but you may get enough to keep your budget in line & keep up your payments to the subcontractor.
     
  3. dylan

    dylan Member
    from Ontario
    Posts: 273

    I offered my fert customers a choice of paying by the month or recieve a discount and pay upfront. They all picked to pay up front. I like getting the money first, then you don't have to worry. In your case if a customer did't pay you not only would you not recieve the money but you would have to pay the other contractor. That's money out of your pocket.
     
  4. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    thank u for your replies. i am asking around to friends and nieghbors, and most of them insist that most people will not be willing to pay upfront. this concerns me as i dont want to lose customers but i sure as sh*t am not frontring the money for them. i am a small operation and sometimes the fert guy sends me a bill for $800-900, if his bill comes on say the 5th, he wants to get paid, and i dont bill my customers till the 30th, that means i wont be paid till like the 15th or 20th, of the next month=waiting like 5 weeks to be reembursed. im not doing it. i dont make anything on these programs, but i do it because most people want a "complete" service. thanks again and any other replies are always apreciated. BOBBY
     
  5. PINEISLAND1

    PINEISLAND1 LawnSite Member
    from WEST MI
    Posts: 201

    Shoot, I pay in advance for cell phone service, cable service, insurance, even my trash man bills three months at a time, in advance. And every one of them will end service if its not paid in advance.

    Its pretty much a fact of life. I always offer my snow customers a small incentive for paying up front, and most of them go for it.
     
  6. jaclawn

    jaclawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 490

    That is one of the problems with doing a lot of sublet work, you end up being a bank. It can work, as long as you are strict about collections, and make a nice markup on the work.
     
  7. UrbanEarth

    UrbanEarth LawnSite Member
    Posts: 142

    Why don't you simply have the fert service do the billing? If your customers know that you are not doing the fert, why go through all of the pain in the butt for nothing? Unless you are marking up the fert, I would see it as a waste of your time. If you are marking up the fert, what kind of margin are you making? If you take into account your time and effort, is it worth it? Even if it only takes you an hour per month, that is one hour that you could be making money for yourself, not the fert company.

    As an aside, why don't you do the service yourself? There is very good money in fert. Plus if you visit the sites to cut them, the extra amount of time to run the spreader over their lawns once per month is not very much, and the equipment doesn't fill up much space in a truck. If you don't want the hassle of a licence, use granular fert, and sub out the occasional pesticide app as required.

    Alan
     
  8. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    the reason i feel it necesarry to provide a program for customers is: i have found over the years that when i do an estimate for someone, they r interested in full service, they dont want one guy cutting, another company fert, another company trimming bushes, etc. they want a complete service. i have lost potental customers cus i wont apply pest. so, aside from doing the applications myself, this is what ive come up with. the incentive for the customer is this: since ive been in this business, ive had the chance to try out alot of fert companies, most r not that good, i found one that is good, ive used him lat year on a few lawns=nice job, so now the customer doesnt have to do thier own research, and trials, ive already done that. #2 since ill be cutting every week, ill be able to see problems, and advise them accordingly, and also act as thier representative to the fert company. #3 a discount for prepayment. i dont apply pest because #1, they r deadly chemicals and i dont want to die, #2 i dont want the hassles of having different storage compartments, etc, and being checked up on by the d.e.p. and #3 i am solo and have a hard enough time keeping up with cutting, trimming, planting etc., and finally #4, i think paying for a permit is pure bulls**t, while my neighbors buy the stuff over the counter and apply it carelessly without a permit!so, i am in a tough spot here, it is competative here, and if the next guy can offer full service, i must also be able to offer the same, or wont get the jobs. thanks again for all yur help fellas. BOBBY
     
  9. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    AND ALSO, I HAVNT FOUND A COMPANY YET WILLING TO DO ONLY THE PESTICIDES, THEY WANT TO SELL THE WHOLE PROGRAM OR NOTHING
     
  10. UrbanEarth

    UrbanEarth LawnSite Member
    Posts: 142

    Salt is a deadly chemical. Do you have a problem keeping this 'Deadly Chemical' on your tabletop? Benzene, an essential element of gasoline is an incredibly hazardous product that nobody bats an eye about. I think that you should spend some time educating yourself about the REAL hazards of pesticides and not taking the propaganda of either the ecoterrorists or the manufacturers at face value.
    Proper and safe use of pesticides as part of an Integrated Pest Management Program is not going to kill you. One big thing to keep in mind is that the pesticide part of a fert app doesn't have to be applied with every visit. If there are no weeds, there is no need to spray. A combination of cultural practices (cutting longer, hand picking the flowers (if you reach down as you are mowing this takes no time at all), etc) and good fertilizer will make the need for pesticides drastically less.

    Will the company you are subbing to do single apps?

    You also said that you are trying to double your customer base, but that you are also having a hard time keeping up. If you add more service that YOU make good money on (not the fert company) you would not have to add more customers.

    Alan
     

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