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getting licensed to spray

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by whitefrog1, May 14, 2008.

  1. whitefrog1

    whitefrog1 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 11

    I posted this in starting a business, but I figured I might get more help in this one. I just passed the certification exam today for turf and ornamentals in TN. I'm a student and will have my A.A.S in golf course and turf management in the fall. My question is about getting licensed and bonded to spray residentials. The .gov website is kind of hard to understand. Do you have to have a 4 yr degree or 2 yrs experience to apply for the licensing exam? There are so many different options it's hard to tell what qualifies you to take it. I'm sure it varies from state to state though.

    Also if any one sprays can you weigh in on how it is going for you? What the income is like and how steady is the work? I'm considering starting a lawncare bus. next year for some extra cash through school and see what happens. I'd like to be able to spray since 98% of the people here just simply mow and that's it. I figured that may set me apart a bit and I could pick up some money without worrying so much about being undercut by some1 else on mowing prices. Any advice or suggestions would be great.
  2. teeca

    teeca LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,202

    here in indiana you need to
    1) pass your specific catagory (turf)
    2) work under a licensed appicator for 90days or go to purdue univ. and take a days traing corse
    4) get insurance that covers lawncare or whatever is your doing and make sure that it covers vehicle and chemical liability. (i had american family, found out they don't cover liquid apps, just granular)
    5) pay $45 for your catagory and another $45 for your business license
    6) start beating doors to get work

    i'm sure most states are simular, indiana just does what the EPA mandated each state must do, others have added to the requirments to make it look like there law makers are doing something.
  3. whitefrog1

    whitefrog1 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 11

    Thanks for the heads up on the granular and liquid. I hope I only have to go to a training seminar at UT. I didn't go to the one for the certification. My classes were sufficient enough to pass it. Do you get a decent amount of work? Is it worth doing? All I see arounf here is scott's and a couple of major outfits. I think there could be some business in it with the high end houses.
  4. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,448

    As far as getting legal, check the pinned thread at the top, if you haven't already done so. Yes, applications can be a profitable business, and not just the high end residentisals. i do maintenance, but that is becasue so many people want to deal with one lawn-property care outfit, not two.

    This is my first year being certified, and all the money is in apps, installs and renovations. I've already done everything from crabgrass controls to apple tree growth hormones to prevent fruiting. It's an interesting field, and if one is to be any good at it, takes some gray matter. Even treating water features is good money. (the little ponds with waterfalls, etc).

    Best of luck!
  5. jcthorne

    jcthorne LawnSite Member
    Posts: 208

    Call Mary Borthick @ 615-837-5310 with TDA. She can answer all of your questions.
  6. rachael24

    rachael24 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 35

    Anyone know about NY and how to go about this...Thanks for the help!
  7. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,448

  8. vegomatic40

    vegomatic40 LawnSite Senior Member
    from 6
    Posts: 406

    Tennessee requires working under a licensed applicator for a minimum of 2 yrs or, 4 yr. degree. I believe you can also apply for the license if you have "suitable work experience" and basically have to submit to Reg. Services for the licensing exam. Test has become pretty tough in this state as I've heard many kids coming out of UT and other colleges with a degree, only to fail in either the "core test" or the ID section. Many have complained that the test has non-applicable questions regarding their particular category (WDO questions in a HLT test) so a broad range of knowledge is suggested. At $150 a pop it pays to be prepared.
    As far as the viability of the business it varies wildly. Renovation, installation, irrigation can be very probitable with good planning and competitive bidding. Applications only has taken a beating from a margin standpoint as the price of fert. has gone through the roof. The big-boys stay somewhat competitive as they buy theirs in enormous quantities ensuring a better price. Better margins can be had (although a much smaller market)with services as Whitey suggested like Tree/Shrub insect and disease, Flea/Tick and soil conditioners. Margins on mowing alone have been narrowed due to the ridiculous fuel costs. In this field, none of it is cheap to produce if done correctly (taxes, insurance, workmans comp). If I were you I would consider doing at least part-time work at a golf course to get some real world experience and help offset the costs of startup.
  9. whitefrog1

    whitefrog1 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 11

    4yr degree. That seems a bit much to me. But I have always been irritated by 4 yr degree requirements. Just because people have a degree does not mean they are better prepared than someone who doesn't. Most kids party there way through school and squeak by to get that piece of paper and do not know jack. And that seriously annoys me. I don't plan on going to UT for a Bachelors in turf science after my A.A.S. at Walters State. I plan on getting a Bachelors in something general as a back up because I really think working at a golf course will get old. That is why I was considering the lawn care bus. Something that before, I thought I did not want to do at all. Funny how things change eh? Anyway, looks like I will have to work at a golf course for a few years before I can get liscenced since I'm not spending 4 yrs in college on a turf degree. If there are any courses around here that have "licensed Super's." I doubt it.....

    I've seen scotts offer $1000 sign on bonuses for certified people wanting to join them as a lawn tech. What do lawn techs at scott's make an hr?
  10. whitefrog1

    whitefrog1 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 11

    Also on that note.... Does anyone here have a 4 year degree in turf science? As I said I'm afraid that degree would not be applicable in any other field. I hear everyone talking about how most people see lawn care operators as uneducated people who just "mow for a living," but we all know it's way more than that. I could care less about what people think as long as they sign the checks if working for myself. I'm afraid employers would see a 4yr degree in turf as inadequate for anything else incase this isn't the career for me. Any thoughts on that?

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