How did you learn?

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by stevenf, Oct 4, 2009.

  1. stevenf

    stevenf LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,612

    The book doesnt really teach you alot about specific pest , how to take care of them, or what chemicals to apply and where.
    I would like to start offering pest control and fertilizer for 2010 but it wouldnt hurt anything if I could advertise them now. Where did you start, and how?
     
  2. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,956

    Stevenf

    It is called a LEARNING CURVE and only fools jump in the deep end of the pool. Look for Professional organization in your area and talk to you County Extension Agent about possible CEU classes. Some areas have Voc Ed for horticulture. But there is also LSU which is a land grant university and has many programs or classes in Horticulture. Education is not cheap and it takes sweat. No one can open your brain and pour in knowledge.
     
  3. A.T.A.K

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

    Posted via Mobile DeviceI would find someone in your service area to work under. Let them show you the ropes. Ask around most operators would not mind the free help. As Ric said most countys have ag extensions but I have found them to be a joke. As the old saying goes those who don't succed teach. They may have all the right book answers but it does not allways help on insects and turf who can't read lol
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2009
  4. whoopassonthebluegrass

    whoopassonthebluegrass LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,214

    Since you're already working for yourself, learning under someone else is probably not much of an option. While that IS the ideal solution, the fact of the matter is that you can begin by offering very fundamental services (like fertilization only - or maybe with weed kill). That way you can focus on limited variables.

    If you're intelligent and willing to study, you can come to know what you need. Just be honest with people and don't B.S. I did some of that early on and it backfired a time or two...
     
  5. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,956

    Tim

    First let me say you are one of the more knowledgeable CPOs here in Florida and general good old boy who doesn't mind helping anyone.

    As per our conversation on the phone last week. We are both looking to train someone one on one just to have them help us pull hose every once and a while. I know you just lost one guy when he passed the test. You are about to lose my LS buddy who has been with you for almost the 3 required years here in Florida. So we are both looking for a part time helper and willing to train them in return. Heck I am about to turn 69 years young so they had better hurry if they want to take full advantage in my case. This might be an excellent opportunity for the right person to actually end up with a premium account list as well as a Florida CPO.

    As per County Extension agents. My county is bad, but the county south of me has an excellent program and a real devoted Agent. So don't just take what is close, travel a little and take the best.
     
  6. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,869

    whoop is right, start out very basic, learn about the essential of turf fertilization, soil testing, etc and basic broadleaf weed control in turf. Then go ahead and offer your customers on a small scale. Do a great job for them, find out what really works and what doesn't work so good, then improve. You really do learn by doing, thats what I have found. For instance, I am already tweaking my program, timing the applications better so that my weed control hits the major broadleaf germination times where I live. I was a little off this season, will fix for next season.
     
  7. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,009

    You really want to know how I learned. OK, but don't hang me for it. My first commercial application went like this.

    Circa 1995-6 : I had no knowledge of chemicals, application rates, etc. My boss at the time who didn't have much more, let alone a license, loaded a pallet of weed n feed into the truck, followed by a spreader. I was handed a list and off I was sent. This happened a few more times before he stopped applications.

    Since then I developed a desire to learn what the heck I was doing, and have invested thousands of dollars in classes, training, etc. I am now licensed and provide applications in a proper manner for my clients, but it didn't happen over night. First I got the license, but even then I only took accounts that where aware that I was still learning. I made it very clear that they where only getting a basic program. As time went on I learned more about advanced weed control and acquired the equipment to treat better. I still have a problem with the fact that I was pretty much handed a license when I knew as little as I did, but at the time it didn't concern me much, but of course does now.
     
  8. gunsnroses

    gunsnroses LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 266

  9. ArTurf

    ArTurf LawnSite Gold Member
    Male, from Ark
    Posts: 3,436

    I am in south Arkansas about 80 miles from Louisiana. There are not any schools I know of so I had to obtain my info from several sources bit by bit.
    1st I obtained the study guides from the State that you must have to pass the test. It alone made little sense unless you already had some knowledge. The other sources I used were: county extension agent, golf course superintendent, Lesco dealer, internet, Lawnsite. No one had the whole answer spelled out I just had to sort out the bits & pieces. I treated my own lawn, family's & friends for a year to get practical experience. I would not advertise until you have everything in place, knowledge & equip. A $100 job gone bad can cost you $$ & damage you creditability. One thing I found out is you need to go big epuipment wise or stay home.
     
  10. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,869

    I agree with this person - treat a few lawns for relatives or friends first (be licensed properly!) before you go big. I disagree though about needing huge equipment to start. This was my first season, a dozen customers, done with an electric shurflo backpack and lesco 80 lb spreader. Treat your customers like gold is the key thing, not big equipment expense right off. If you start getting the calls then upgrade your equipment as necessary.
     

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