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Florida Lawn and Ornamental License

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by wooley99, Jun 15, 2007.

  1. wooley99

    wooley99 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 269

    I'm considering whether it's worthwhile to get a FL lawn and ornamental license. I've been to the FL Dept of AG website and looked at the requirements. I just started a lawn business and I don't intend to branch out into pest control. I would however like to be able to spray round-up, oils and soaps, treat for fire ants, do weed pre-emergents and otherwise provide some additional services to clients. Since I don't have a spray license I've been referring people to two local full-service, squirt companies. Some think I'm nuts because I don't do fire ants or weed-and-feed. I don't like fines and I'd be the dude the State used to set an example so I pull weeds, slap ants and serve as an unpaid salesman for the bug company. What I'm hoping for is some opinions on whether or not it is worth getting a license to offer such a limited service and any practical advice on associated costs, guides or courses for the the test.

  2. cpel2004

    cpel2004 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,416

    Your local extension dept should offer the limited license. Down here it cost about $150 it may be cheaper in your area. The Squirt & Fert guys should at least give you 5-10% for the referral.
  3. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,956


    Customers want one stop shopping, Read the thread "How many of you guys left mowing for fert & squirt? "

    Florida is the hardest state to get a commercial L&O license in. Because there are so many hoops to jump the License is valuable. As a start up you may want to re-think your plan and First work for a Spray company to get your own license before going into business yourself. However the if you don't want to take the time to get your license then NETWORKING is the key word for you. Get with a smaller one man Spray company and offer his services along with yours. True he will make more money than you per time spend on that customer. However He will cause your business to grow.

    BTW also take cpel2004 advice and get your Limited License so you can spray Roundup. Weed control in beds and sidewalks is a must. You can also do IPM on shrubs, But no Fire Ants or Weed & Feed.
  4. Mjcurry3

    Mjcurry3 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 35

    Whoever said you should get 5-10% kickback from referrals obviously has the wrong frame of mind.

    I am a partner in a fertilization company, and we network with MANY different landscapers. We hand pick the people we want to send mowing account to only because, quality is the most important things for us.

    If someone like yourself sends me fertilization accounts, we go out of our war to build a relationship and send work your way in return. There is never any money that exchanges hands or a "kickback". Chances are if someone is giving you a "kickback" they are desperate for work and the probably do not do a very good job in the first place.

    What makes me sick about some landscapers is that, they don't appreciate a good fertilization company. They take us for granted. Landscapers have the mentality that fertilization is easy.... all we do is go out put some fertilizer down once a month, and make $50.00 per treatment that only takes 5-15 minutes. PLUS THAT'S THE MINIMUM CHARGE FOR OUR COMPANY.. unfortunately, this is how some landscapers think, and it ends up getting them into a world of trouble. Certain landscapers forget that the products we run are not cheap... Plus now days, many of the insecticides on the market are no good, chinch bugs have built up a resistance to most of the products. You have to know what your doing to be successful in this business. Also, some landscapers don't realize that a great fertilization company makes your lawn look 100x's better. We help each other out is the bottom line. When there is a good lawn care and lawn fertilization company on a property, they compliment each other and it shows in the finished product. I have tons of respect for the landscapers who sharpen their blades, cut their lawns at 4 1/2 to 5 inches, and take time to do a great job, and I make sure I send those guys plenty of main. accounts.

    No matter what you think, its takes a large amount of time and knowledge to keep a lawn looking good. Keeping it green and growing is easy... How about the bugs, the weeds, pre-emergents, diseases and fungus's, mixture rates, spray patterns, product placement, product rotation, and so much more. I have seen so many landscapers try to get greedy and it ends up coming back and hurting them TREMENDOUSLY in the long run.

    I have seen landscapers bid properties for mowing and chemical, and they try to do everything with a granular to make more money off the property. Even though it is illegal for a landscaper to throw fertilizer down that has a insecticide or herbicide inside they do it anyways... What they do not realize is that liquids are 100x's better, especially when your talking about insecticides. Then they wonder why they can't get the chinch bugs under control, its because there are to many variables with a granular insect control... Like watering times, its not able to get into the crowns of the grass like a liquid would, the thickness of the thatch, and much more. Then in the long run, they have to end up paying to replace all the grass that was killed by chinch bugs, brown patch, or much more. I say its best to stick to what your good at, I would never consider opening a lawn main. company and screwing all the companies that helped us get to where we are today.

    To answer your question, the only way to get a license is to have at least 3 years experience spraying, and have at least 1 year immediately prior to taking your exam. Plus, you have to have someone who is already a certified operator sign off on your exam. Some people think of yea I will just say I have 3 years experience, you cant because your experience is logged within the state's database. Each spray technician is issued an ID card they have to carry at all times, and this is how they track the amount of time you have been working in the field. Last I heard also, the passing rate on the exam is only like 10-15 percent. If it gets any higher than that, they redo the test to make it harder.

    The best way to do it, is find a good company that you can network with to trade work back and forth. Also, most good fertilization companies include fire ant control within their service of they will offer top choice for an additional charge. Also, if your working with someone and they take care of your lawns, you can call them and have them out if you ever see any concerns, this saves your butt and makes you look great to the homeowner.
    Just make sure you go get a limited license to be able to spray roundup.

    Also, the state just hired TONS of new inspectors, so dont get caught operating illegally they will fine you HARDCORE.

    Hopefully this is helpful to you, and I did not offend anyone. I know there are probably only a FEW landscapers that feel or act this way, and most of you are great. I just happen to run into some of the greedy ones.

  5. I agree with what you said, but don't kid yourself. Doing maintenance work is way more grueling that spraying chemicals or fertilizer. You do need to know what your doing, but it far less tiresome than maintenance.

    The company that sprays my lawns is very good. There are a lot of mediocre and crappy spray companies just as there are maintenance companies.
  6. A.T.A.K

    A.T.A.K LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 286

    The state of Florida hired a ton of new inspectors haha. They are so over worked it's a joke. Even the ones that are inplace only a handfull even know what to look for.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  7. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,956


    Just got home all wet and rained out of tonight's party. So I am not in the best mood. Trying to help Bryan get started now that he Passed the Commercial L&O Test, I am again mad as the devil about the poor enforcement by the Florida Bureau of Entomology and Pest Control. It is a joke and a Dam shame that so many can get away with so much.

    Let us not talk you or I because we been fighting the system for years. But Bryan has just spend a few years paying his dues and now should benefit from his hard work. But his reward is being stolen by the illegal applicators and the Bureaucratic system that allows these illegals to operate.

    It does no good to complain because the Wage Slaves of the State will only start inspecting Legal operators and fining them. After all they have our Name Address and Phone number and know exactly where to find us. God forbid they actually went looking for illegals when they have such a long list to choose from already.
  8. fl-landscapes

    fl-landscapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,542

    You still need past experience in the industry including exposure to spraying chemicals under someone else to obtain this limited lis.
  9. BocaChris

    BocaChris LawnSite Member
    Posts: 70

    Indeed they have hired new inspectors, I had one find me about a month ago. Was rather painless, as I keep a pretty tight trailer. The one in my area seems to be focusing on the nation wide commercial companies, one of which I work for and others like ValleyCrest. ValleyCrest in my area has been inspected 3 times and all times has been written up.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  10. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,956


    I don't want the hassle of termite inspection. The BEPC inspects Termite companies hard and heavy. Most of the fines are in fact Termite Companies. But once again you are telling about Legal Companies getting over inspected while the Illegals are just have a field day.

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