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Need advice on sprayer application PLEASE!

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by derek_mp, Jan 1, 2009.

  1. derek_mp

    derek_mp LawnSite Member
    Posts: 35

    Hi, my name is Derek.

    i have just received my sprayers license. I was wondering if anyone would be wiling to share how they price their pre-emergent, post-emergent, & fertilization (granular)? by square foot? or what?

    Also i only have about 20 accounts for spraying at the time being. i do not need a skid set up yet and i was curious what everyone's opinion was on the best pump backpack sprayer & spreader.

    Thank you
  2. RAlmaroad

    RAlmaroad LawnSite Silver Member
    from SC
    Posts: 2,194

    Most applicator's price their work by the number of 1000 sq.ft. since many or most of the chemicals used for lawns have their instructions mixed per 1000 sq. ft. Using a back back to treat complete lawns is really time consuming except for spot spraying. A motorized Solo with a 3 nozzle boom would work well for smaller yards. However the mixes would be concentrated and must have irrigation following the concentrated application. I use all liquid except an occasional sulfur application for abnormally high pH soils. Fimco Industries makes some smaller skids that you could incorporate into your work...Check out their product line and decide or just make yourself a unit. Rittenhouse has all of the components.
  3. olive123

    olive123 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 500

    if you are treating st aug. and are doing pre and post you will be better off going granular up front. The st aug being a coarse grass, you will need to insist any sprAYing be watered in by homeowner to get it to the target zone, (you really should have a minimum of 3g per K for proper coverage thats why we need skids in the S). That coming out of a backpack at whatever product by 1000 sq ft. will have to come out as a strong mix. Preemergents are expensive and you cannot spot an entire lawn for complete control....i think you get my point.
    No for ornamental weed control in beds that is fine, but you still should coordinate watering with the homeowner...
  4. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,216

    Try using your fert and chemical cost averaged per thousand sq ft for the year. Add your labor cost per hour (convert to cost per minute to do 1000 sqft). Add a stop charge to cover overhead and the cost to drive to the location. Add profit to compensate yourself for the risk of doing business.
    A large company in our area charges 6 dollars per thousand plus a $22 stop charge. But they often discount the list price.
  5. derek_mp

    derek_mp LawnSite Member
    Posts: 35

    thanks guys i appreciate everything. this will help me a lot. any other advice on spraying for a beginner?
  6. olive123

    olive123 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 500

    you MUST know what your app rates are. Keep good records and look for patterns over time in your properties.
  7. RAlmaroad

    RAlmaroad LawnSite Silver Member
    from SC
    Posts: 2,194

    Yes, capitalize the beginning of a sentence and the personal pronoun (I). When you start to deal with a better clientele, your grammar, professional approach, correspondence and appearance will speak before you open your mouth. The first appearance is a lasting appearance (First rule of business).
    Just being honest!
  8. mikesturf

    mikesturf LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 795

    Derek, going along with the last thread (professionalism and first impressions), in Illinois the license is call Pesticide Applicator License, not spraying license. If thats what it is call in Florida, ok, but when the customer is deciding to use you or someone else, one little incorrrect thing could sway their decision. If you currently have 20 accounts, see if they would be willing to refer you to their neighbors and friends. Referrals are the easiest way to increase your business. As far a pricing, every area of the country is different. Find out what the competion charges and work from there. Do you want to be the cheapest, moderate or most expensive? Do not make the mistake of charging too little just to get business. I found out the hard way that when you do raise your prices, sometimes quite a bit, customers tend to get upset. Maybe offer a free aeration with a full year fert program.
  9. derek_mp

    derek_mp LawnSite Member
    Posts: 35

    This does make sense. I am open and appreciate any advise anyone has to offer. I am here to learn. Thank you for the correction.:)
  10. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,064

    Derek, the basis of my business was not to be cheap or like anyone else. My market is people who are want results better than what their "landscaper" can provide. I apply all liquids. That is what sets me apart from my competition. I also have two engine drive backpack sprayers and a 100 gallon skid sprayer. You should also know that I service around 25 clients on a monthly basis and landscapers often call me to do jobs they cannot do. Most of the properties serviced are under 10,000 sq ft. I beg to differ that you do not need a skid sprayer. There are two things that a client does not catch me with. One is materials they can buy themselves from HD, etc and the second is any kind of equipment common to a DIYer. This all goes back to professionalism. In my area there are a lot of total DIYers, if I did things the way a DIYer does them, I would be out of a job.

    On pricing, you were given good advice as well. I do not like to ride at the edge of break-even. Either I make a substantial profit or I do not do the job at all. This gives me a lot of cushion. When fertilizer prices went crazy this year, I was not overly concerned and there was no need for me to hit people with an increase. Of course all new clients are signed on with an increase reflective of the change in costs. What is not part of my business plan is a race to the bottom. By that, I mean having to work very hard, very fast and for cheap. I calculate my fees based on a high margin on the materials and a stop fee to cover the cost of my driving. This has worked out very well. I make a comfortable living working at a fairly relaxed pace. There is no need for me to service 500 clients. For someone who is not on my monthly management program, my fees start at $50 per 1000 and $10 for every additional 1000. This is for a one time weed treatment. I prefer to work on a monthly basis. What is covered is weed control, insect and disease control, fertilization, as well as operation of the irrigation system. That starts at $100 per 1000, with fees going up if there are areas of shrubs and ground cover on the program.

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