How many of you have reduced or moved away from the mowing drill....

Discussion in 'Fertilizer Application' started by Exact Rototilling, Feb 6, 2014.

  1. whiffyspark

    whiffyspark LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,093

    Is there anyway to do fert without offering pesticides?
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  2. Raymond S.

    Raymond S. LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 979

    Drive through a neighborhood of 100 houses. 85 of them hire a fertilizer company. 20 might hire a mowing company. 10 might hire a neighbor kid to cut the grass. You'll also find that many people will keep the lawn applications separate from mowing because they have stereotyped the mowing company as an uneducated moron that they pay pennies to cut their grass and he probably doesn't know anything about keeping their lawn green and weed free. They see a company with a guy wearing khaki pants and a nice clean polo, rarely gets dirty, spews out some big words when he talks to them about disease and weeds, now he's instantly a genius. He sprays some liquid three way and smokes every weed in the yard, then spends the next 30 weeks laying down some slow release fertilizer and their lawn has never been so green and thick.
    They tell their friends, their friends tell their friends...now you're famous
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  3. inzane

    inzane LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,356

    since i made more of an effort to look the part of a fertilzation and weed control company i noticed i'm getting more people calling about that sort of service. still, There are so many other larger companies in my area that it is gonna take me years to build up enough to were i can drop mowing. People will go with the big company before me, even if i'm cheaper. My minimum price for the small lawns is way lower than most companies around me. I can't seem to give my service away. Calls are great, closing a sale would be nice though. I do good work, but horrible at selling. :laugh:




     
  4. twomancrew

    twomancrew LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 940

    I've found over the last 2 years going to a commercial lawn service and moving away from all residential work the profits are better. By removing tilling and aeration/fert I focused in 2013 on mowing and it got better again. We just went over the last 3 years. I also feel better day to day. I used to feel like I was chasing my tail all day.

    The mowing equipment we keep is minimal and all new within the last 3 years. This year I go for the newer truck. I wanted to grow to a 5 man busdiness but I failed to sign the new work so far. Many tell me I need to diversify, but I don't think they understand when and why to do that. I have got so good at mowing these last 2 years.

    We are a service industry. Do you want to spend your time finding work for the day or work for the year?
     
  5. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,355

    Possible to a limited degree but you'll have weeds. My approach is back pack spot spray but I will only offer it for those who have me do ALL of their fert aplications and agree to a higher mowing height. At some point I may get a ride on for spray and fert but I'm clear with my clients that spot spraying benefits are less chemical load vs broadcast spraying. I'm pushing the reduced use of herbicides. Also using dry fert only is more costly for me vs an operation that mixes liquid in a tank.

    What I'm offering is in many aspects is a "Lawn Personal Trainer" program. If the client falls off the wagon and insists on watering daily and/or multiple times per day and they insist on scalp mowing....I really don't want them as clients. The back pack spraying can be very time consuming and it clearly works better if done a day or two before mowing...again tricky scheduling. Also feeding the weeds before herbicide application helps herbicide effectiveness but scheduling is tricky.


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    Last edited: Feb 8, 2014
  6. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,355

    I'm trying to set my minimums now. I'm willing to give a bit on a tiny lawn I already mow if it is tiny small as in less than 1,500 sq feet. Again it is the minimum stop fee issue.
     
  7. andersman02

    andersman02 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 503

    Our fert/weed control. aeration and overseeding is the bread an butter of our company, Its what we started doing in 1978 and continues to be the main part of our business.

    We started mowing/ plowing about 4 years ago just to keep customers in our direct service area (10 miles ish) from shopping for a "everything" company.

    Mowing makes minimal money, not near as much as Landscape install/application. We do about 2500 customers lawns for applications, 300 aerations (50% w/ seeding) and only about 60 for lawn maintenance.

    Better profit margin and less fly by night guys doing fert/WC. You actually need more then just a mower to do it.
     
  8. andersman02

    andersman02 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 503

    I wouldn't personally, People hire a lawn care company, like us or scotts or trugreen, because they want a weed free lush yard. Lots of our long time customers could go without herbicide/PRE-E without many noticable effects. But for the new customer, getting the turf thick and weed free wont be (i should say is VERY difficult) possible without WC.

    They come to you because they want a nice looking lawn. Dandelions are not nice looking.

    My bigggest pet peave is the small number of customer we have who want 1-2 applications (our minimum now is 3, most take all 5) Then get pissy when their lawn looks like poop later on and we wont come back and spray for free

    /rant
     
  9. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,355

    In your service area is there a lack of interest once Labor Day hits...?

    Cancel the lawn programs, skip fert, skip aeration, blow out sprinklers early...?
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  10. andersman02

    andersman02 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 503

    Negative, about 70% of our customers sign up for aeration in the spring/fall during jan/feb/march along with apps.

    We come out every year without notice to do the exact same # of apps as the year before. So unless you cancel, we will come out. It says this on EVERY peice of literature we give out.

    I would say there lack of interest in the idea that new customers are looking for applications this late. But not very many call to have us skip the last few apps
     

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