Me + Chemical Plant = Good?

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by JDUtah, Aug 18, 2008.

  1. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Posts: 2,636

    I know it's the organic forum but I was wondering what you easterners might have to say...

    I might work to get a job with a chemical company in Baltimore, MD. Now before you jump the gun on 'chemicals', it is a sustainable resource company that takes byproducts from metal manufacturing and turns them into usable chemicals; water treatment chemicals, and yes even agricultural iron products. So it might be chemicals, but it totally follows the ideal of turning a waste stream into a product. I think I would like the job.

    Now this is where I would like the input..

    I love growing things too much to walk away from landscape maintenance. Utah is offering a good chance for me to make a difference because the lack of organic practices out here AND the very poor soil (1% SOM for example). I think Utah would be a pretty good market once I got my niche going...

    But, I was wondering how you think an organic program would fair in Baltimore compared to Utah. The soil might not need as much help out there? (might not be a good thing) An easier 'organic' market though? I don't know... Anyone familiar with the Baltimore area and willing to share some insight?

    Thanks!
     
  2. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,576

    JD,
    You'll suffer more from culture shock than from "organic" shock. :)
     
  3. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Posts: 2,636

    Haha, Thanks for the heads up Phasthound.
     
  4. LawnTamer

    LawnTamer LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,988

    I would jump on it. Seriously. I only know of a few who have tried marketing organic programs here, and they haven't had a big response. The typical homeowner here has 2 objectives from their lawn care provider;
    1. Make my lawn look as good as/better than the neighbors.

    2. For as little $ as possible.

    In 16 years of doing lawn apps here, I have had exactly 1 request for an organic program. I gave them a price that was about $7 more per app than a synthetic program, and they said, "Oh, never mind, I'll just do the normal program."

    I'm not saying it couldn't be done, but with the instability in the economy, I would opt for a guaranteed paycheck.
     
  5. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Posts: 2,636

    Hmmmm, good info from a local experienced friend... advice deeply noted. Thanks LawnTamer.
     
  6. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    Organic programs should not cost more. If they do, your not doing it right.
     
  7. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,911

    I thought I was the only one saying that, hurry and duck for cover.:laugh:
     
  8. Prolawnservice

    Prolawnservice LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 612

    I know with TG's program that is the case, however what she does is beyond what most do. Several professional organic providers have told me, it costs more. From my own experience it costs more, and has a lower profit margin. Could you expand on the above thought a little?
     
  9. growingdeeprootsorganicly

    growingdeeprootsorganicly LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 766

    with poor soils from the get go especially!
    kiril please explain how to do this if you would?
     
  10. DeepGreenLawn

    DeepGreenLawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,372

    I checked my prices with my local synthetic fert supplier and then compared them to prices of my organic fert provider and found that the organic ferts were cheaper by about 20 cents I believe.

    I was comparing a 4-3-2 organic fert I believe to a 32-0-4 synthetic? So they aren't identical but it seems that they are the "typical" generic everyday ferts for both companies. Plus... the 4-3-2 is a better choice with the stresses we have going on right now anyways due to droughts and heat and all. I know there are other synthetic ferts with lower/different numbers and properties but the organic fert is also 50% OM and that makes me happy anyways.

    I went and put out a bid today... haven't officialy changed my prices yet but it was a "minimum" yard, I raised my synthetic price and kept the organic price about the same. I have an added charge for organics due to the extra time and effort and "know how"(?) that goes into it. Not really a throw and go type deal, a lot more involved it seems.

    I am actually thinking about having everyone go organic and just keep one process down rather than offering a synthetic and organic program.
     

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