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Niche Markets in light of Increasing Fert $$

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by Ric, Jul 13, 2008.

  1. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,956

    In light of ever increasing Fertilizer Prices, How many have thought about other NICHE Markets and what are they?????????

    Fire Ant control is one market that has a huge need and big demand, But also a lot of competition. I can control an acre of Fire Ants for $ 10.00 chemical cost and NO FERTILIZER EXPENSE.

    What other NICHE MARKETS have little or no fertilizer required and Have Both a NEED and Demand that we can supply. I can think of a few.

    Aquatic Weed control, But here again there are a few Big Boys that have most of the DEMAND sowed up by long time marketing. However this is still a open market. Other states or areas might have a even bigger Market just waiting to be supplied.

    Industrial area Weed control, But here is where we have to define NEED Vs DEMAND. Any one driving past a Industrial site can see the 3 ft tall weeds. But the Desire or demand to control them is not always there. The NEED for non-select weed control is Huge and there is DEMAND.

    Mosquito control was recently brought up here on the forum. I ask a few of my friends about their desire to have such a service. They all said the State takes care of Mosquitoes and there is no need for any extra service. However once again other states and areas have NEED & DEMAND for such services.

    Chemical Mowing with PGR is an other Niche Market but mostly being used by Governorment on Road and Right away. I see a Niche Market in large estates that want to cut maintenance cost. The NEED is there but the DEMAND must be created by informing the public of such abilities.

    WHAT ARE SOME OTHER IDEAS ON OTHER NICHE MARKETS OR EXPAND ON THE ONES ALREADY LISTED????????? I am asking for Brain Storming and any Idea is not bad or wrong. What one sees as stupid in Brain storming an other might run with and come up with a winner.
  2. rcreech

    rcreech Sponsor
    Male, from OHIO
    Posts: 6,059


    These are bland, but they go over great in my area especially since I don't have hardly any competition in my area doing them.

    1) Mole Control - Good money and gets me in the door to many people that are not doing any lawncare. That is a great time to sell them and the importance of it. Nobody in my area offers mole control in my area that I am aware of. There are two other LCO's (actually good friends) in my area and I sub under them on their customers as they don't want to mess with it!

    2) Seeding - Most chem and fert guys don't seed. I am not sure why as this is a big $$$$$ for me! I would rather seed then do anything. Good money, great work and also can get you in the door to new customers. I would say that over 50% of the seeding I do is on "new customers".

    Those are the two that I see most in my area anyway.

    If I could get enough mole work and seeding, I would actually "sell off" the chem and fert portion of my business as Moles and Seeding are my favorite thing to do.

    I love the fert and chem side...but I don't like the overhead, liability and input costs side of the business! I know its part of it, but the two above are cheap to do with the greatest margins!
  3. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,956


    I think we are on the same page.

    Yep that is what I am talking about. Markets that are not only High Margin and low expense but IN DEMAND or at least have a NEED. Seed is not a item I can market in my area But PLUGS are and therefore I just brain stormed off your Idea and added another Niche Market to my List.

    Moles? I will throw back Armados and even Squirrels and Rabbits by application of repellants. But Once again I have gained several Ideas from your Brain storm and will Add SNAKE AWAY applications.
  4. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,115

    What about organic or organic based sports turf maintenance?? It seems to me a simple message to county boards would be less toxic ways to keep the schools and sports turf maintained. I would think you could get their ear pretty quick, great competetive edge.

    If you want to see a site shine when overseeding try pregermination with an inoculum. You can store the pre germ seed in the refrigereator for at least a week. This is especially great for KBG which take 15 to 30 days to germinate, instant KBG in just a couple of days. It really gets established quickly and its long term health is excellent.

    Shrub and Tree maintenance, you probably have lots of customers that need help with shrubs and trees. deep soil root injection around the drip line is an excellent way to help with the long term health of the trees and shrubs.

    thats all I can think of right now but I'll be back
  5. whoopassonthebluegrass

    whoopassonthebluegrass LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,214

    While not a new concept, how productive would tree injection be? I'm looking at it here, simply b/c only one person in my area has the capacity. Seems simple enough, and trees are a big, albeit unrecognized value/investment...

    I'll think on this query and come back for more. :laugh:
  6. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,956

    Please Do, every Idea is valuable.


    OK my not so nice 2 cent. I believe I stated in my first post that Fertilizer use was NOT the Idea for starting this thread. In fact it is about NOT using Fertilizer. As much as I would love to tell you what to do with your Organic Cow Chit that also contaminate our environment, I do see a Niche Market or two. Our yard waste recycle center does have a tub grinder with 1/4" screen. They charge $ 8.00 a yard and I can see a very large NEED for Soil Organic Matter in our sandy soil. Clay soil can also benefit. A Reoccurring service to Aerate and Top Dress Yards would be a nice addition to any business. I believe because of the need for large dump trucks and Top Dressing Equipment Etc, This service could be sold as a sub service to large Pesticide Companies who would market it at a percentage. With ever increasing Fertilizer Laws and Costs, the need to reduce Fertilizer usage is needed. Tub Grinding are cheap and work as good if not better than Snake Oils sold by most companies. BTW 3/4" Tub Grinding make an excellent mulch for planter beds. However I believe Top Dressing to be more a seasonal job and I think we are all looking for Reoccurring income year round.

    While all these Ideas are great. I personally am looking for that NICHE MARKET that requires limited Inventory of products, Minimal Equipment, Limited Entry by very hard certification requirements and a HUGE DEMAND. Reoccurring contracts for a stead cash flow is also on my wish list. I might be looking for that ONE Niche Market, when in fact several different Niche Markets may work well together. I do see Non select Weed Control in Industrial areas and Aquatic Weed Control running together nicely. I also see Chemical Mowing and Industrial Weed Control with Fire Ant Control working well together. But in order to sell Chemical mowing, Regular mowing must be performed maybe 4 times a year. At my age and station in life I look at these markets more for mental exercise than ambition to pursue them.


    Been there on the Tree Injection. As a one time certified Arborist I can tell you it is a nice margin but must be tied in with a Tree company that offers multiply services in order to market. What worked for me was the Networking with Tree Companies as a Certified Arborist taking a Percentage for consulting on certain jobs. I dropped the Certification now and must retest to get it back. But about a Month ago I put the same bids in for County work with 3 tree companies for Herbicide application. The Bid went to a real low baller who we all believe will lose money. Herbicide application is being done by County employees. Of course that is an other High Margin Niche Market of subbing you abilities to those who don't have the required License.
  7. heritage

    heritage LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,268


    All that comes to mind at the moment is the "Chemical Mowing".

    Will input more after Pondering Thought.

  8. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,956


    I might of knocked Bill more than I should of and Feel bad now that I did. But I believe each one of these Ideas can end up being a separate thread that can be discussed in greater detail. Chemical Mowing is something I have only played with on a few properties and today I have been playing trying to better calibrate my boom sprayer which is for Chemical mowing. I believe it is a coming market.
  9. heritage

    heritage LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,268

    I think Bill has pretty thick skin Ric :)

    Organic and Chemical IS the best approach for our Future, applied with Care and Knowledge.

  10. ted putnam

    ted putnam LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,539

    Like Ric said, seeding is not something that would do well here. We are a predominately bermuda area. All I need is a minimal amount of bermuda in a yard,get the weeds under control, push it with fert and I'll have a full lawn of nothing but bermuda by mid summer. Aeration is something that needs to be done on almost every lawn and if promoted properly and priced right could be a real money maker. The snake away apps intrigued me. We have 4 poisonous snake varieties here. Cottonmouth,Copperhead, Timber Rattler and Pygmy rattler. In fact , over the 4th I was at a gathering where a 10 yr old boy was bitten by a copperhead that evening and rushed to Childrens Hospital 2 hours away. Many people have a fear of snakes and so I feel, at least here, the market could exist.
    Ric, we have a continually worsening problem with Fire Ants here. I have tried to push it,however, the product I use is excellent, but pricey. Bayer Top Choice. Material cost alone for me is $186 for about 25k. People just about choke when I price it. If you don't mind telling me. What product do you use and how effective is it that you are able to perform Fire Ant control for $10 per acre? I'd sure like to offer effective Fire ant control without a case of sticker shock to go with it.

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