In house fertilization vs. subbing it out

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by rupkin, Dec 7, 2010.

  1. rupkin

    rupkin LawnSite Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 10

    I do quite a few commercial properties and homes that are set up with fertilization/weed control in the contract. The past two year I've subcontracted it out to another company. For about the past month I've been toying with the idea of doing it in house and with the amount of business under contract it doesn't seem like a bad idea. I was just wondering how many of you sub the fertilization/weed control work out or if you keep it in house.
     
  2. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 15,782

    I wouldn't be subbing it out if you can handle the additional workload. I became licensed early last season and I am glad I did...I hope one day to never mow again and only do chemicals.
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  3. lukemelo216

    lukemelo216 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from ...
    Posts: 1,267

    I personally sub it out, its much easier in my mind. I have no desire to get into that aspect of the business. You need a ton of additional insurances, licensing, another truck/tank, mixing area, storage tanks, etc. Im happy with taking an hour to measure and view a 10k lawn and make $120 on the year then have to deal with all that extra stuff. Just make sure your using a good company (Not TG/Scotts). I use a local company thats been in business for 15 years, hand me a price sheet per 1k each year and tell me mark it up however you want. They handle everything else. They even will send their managers out to the property mid season, review it for me, and send me an analysis. I do my own too, but then I can compare and approach problems with two recommendations.

    Thats just my opinion. If your looking to get into that business though then Id do it in house. I have no interest in that though. I would look into what kind of companies are in your area to see if its worthwhile. I wouldnt add all that cost in to just do my own accounts, if you feel you could gain a good customer base for strictly fert and squirt in addition to your weekly accounts then you should consider it more, meaning if there is only like 1 local company in your area that does that.
     
  4. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 15,782

    The insurance I have for my lawn business already had chemical application and one of the services that was insured...no cost increase at all. And the truck I use for pulling my mowing trailer also contains my skid sprayer and a box for my chemicals. As far as my mixing area...I use my garage. I don't own a single storage tank.
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    Last edited: Dec 9, 2010
  5. lukemelo216

    lukemelo216 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from ...
    Posts: 1,267

    yes for your business, but i know there are other insurances that your supposed to carry such as pollution etc. I forget what it is, I saw my fert companies insurance cert and they carry extra stuff because its required here, but its more than your basic workers comp, gen liability, and auto policy.

    Using your truck and garage may work for you, but I dont know this guys situation. He may be swamped already just handling his weekly routes. If he were to start doing it in house he may need to add that stuff. I know I would have to if I started to mine. Like I said, I think it would be something more to consider if you had enough fert and squirt accts (current/planned) to keep 1 guy busy throughout the year. Maybe they would need to do other things too (tree fert, pest control, ect.) But I dont think I would just add all that extra stuff to do my accts myself. Thats just my personal opinion though.
     
  6. LB1234

    LB1234 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,210


    By "ton of additional insurances" you mean a chemical application rider insurance which runs maybe 500 bucks a year? I have one truck, my mixing area is my trailer, I do not have a storage tank. IMHO you do not NEED what you claim above. Granted, I only have 12-15 accounts but that is b/c I only perform these services for existing clients that we perform other services for (i.e. lawn care).


    Honestly, it can be fairly profitable if you keep it in house and realize your limitations.
     
  7. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 15,782

    I agree...


    My insurance doesn't even need a rider and I am at about $550 per year total with chemical application included. I was actually quite surprised when they told me it was included. All my ins co had to do was notify the state or vice versa.
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  8. LB1234

    LB1234 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,210



    now...playing devils advocate...you still have to factor in the business applicators license, the applicators license (for each category), and the required training and recertification points needed for this..or just take the test every five (???) years. So their are pros and cons. For us, the pros far outweighed the cons.
     
  9. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 15,782

    And one toasted lawn from a chemical mishap and you will be wishing you never got into applying chemicals....but the same applies to one rock and the side of a 7 series BMW.
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  10. LB1234

    LB1234 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,210

    agreed, but check with your insurance carrier...they may cover negligence (sp?) on your part.
     

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