Help a brother out

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by GrassGuzzler, Jun 4, 2005.

  1. GrassGuzzler

    GrassGuzzler LawnSite Member
    from N.E. OK
    Posts: 8

    I'm a solo operator in my 3rd year. I don't have another job - this is it. In the summer it's mowing, in the fall it's leaves, in the winter it's firewood, and anytime of year I do the occasional odd job.

    I've come to the conclusion that I'll never be able to make what I would consider a good living the way things are. So, I would like to slowly get into fertilizing and pesticides as I hear it's considerably more profitable than mowing. Unfortunately, I know very little about it so I could really use some tips and advice.

    Getting into it slowly (maybe 10-20 yards next year), what's the least amount of equipment I would need? A backpack sprayer and a push spreader?

    How can I learn about the types of grass, types of chemicals, when to apply, etc.? Is there a certain book you would recommend?

    Do I have to have a license here in Oklahoma? If so, where do I go to get one?

    What are the big mistakes I should avoid as a rookie?

    How much more profit can a guy expect to make doing this as opposed to mowing?

    Thanks everyone!
     
  2. ArizPestWeed

    ArizPestWeed LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,457

    You need to learn by the school of hard knocks , like we did .
    Every one has a different experience
     
  3. Check out the "Elements of Business" forum and the "Just Starting" forum for stories and advice.

    I also would suggest that you evaluate your present price and expense structure for your business if you feel your not getting the income for the work you're doing. Improper pricing is a fatal flaw in any business plan, and is an easy mistake to make. If you happen to be under pricing (and I am not saying you are), then your problem will not necessarily get solved by transitioning to a fert/weed control service.

    Good Luck
     
  4. PTP

    PTP LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tulsa
    Posts: 1,383

    I am not trying to be rude here but if you can't make money at what you are presently doing then you won't make it in the chem side of things either.

    Learn how to better run the business that you currently have.
     
  5. goforgreen2

    goforgreen2 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 57

    I only hope you have the same provisions on getting a certification as we do. If so, the questions you ask now you will have the answers for when you study for your test.
     
  6. Pilgrims' Pride

    Pilgrims' Pride LawnSite Senior Member
    from MA.
    Posts: 481

    Guzzler,

    Pardon our fellow "professionals". They must be going without something before they go to sleep at night.

    However, they have given you some good advice.
    Find out about licenseing in your area. Most states do require it. Find a Lesco store or contact your local extension service. They will tell you.

    As far as the what & when to apply, I'm not familiar with your area so I can't help you there.
    Again ask Lesco or your extension service. They will know.

    You can start out the way many of us did.
    A reliable push spreader and a backpack or two.

    There are many discussions already on which spreader or other backpack ti use.
    Remember there is a reason the big guys use Lesco spreaders. (I do too.)
    Solo/Lesco backpacks work well too and parts are easy to come by if you need them.

    You mentioned pricing. Maybe its time to sit down with a real accountant and discuss things.
    He will help you see through things and advise you further.

    Good luck

    Bob
     
  7. walker-talker

    walker-talker LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 4,771

    My first year I tried using a backpack sprayer. Took me 1 lawn to figure this wasnt going to work. Sure, I could of used it and just bought a cheap nurse tank for my water source, but I am in the business to stay. Went to Lesco and got a 200 gallon space saver spray tank. I think you could easily double what 1 man can make mowing and using much less equipment.
     
  8. MarcSmith

    MarcSmith LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,157

    Spraying lawns with a backpack is cruel and unusual punishment. I ened up with a 50gallon tank I was able to mount sidewasy in my mickup and not takeup too much space. keep an eye for other Pest comapnies sometimes they sell tanks and spreaders that need new pumps,/ parts ect. you can get some pretty good deals I picked up a lesco stainless for 50 bucks I needed one rim and and a gear kit.. Unless you are planning on spraying day in and day out the 200 gallon might be over kill...Buy a Garden Greene jd9 and a rebuild kit and you'll be good to go...

    Just rmeeber to get the hose real mounted on the passenger/curb side of your truck, makes it easier to reel em up...
     
  9. ant

    ant LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,442

    try getting a job with tru green/cl to learn the ropes...and do a few lawns on the side...it wont take you long to pick up the basics.
    remember one thing ....the chemical suppler you choose,make sure he know what he is talking about...and that he is willing to go onto lawns were there is a problem...

    good luck..
     
  10. teeca

    teeca LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,202

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