Perception and Reality

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by cod8825, Sep 5, 2007.

  1. cod8825

    cod8825 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 501

    I want to know am I missing something because my numbers are not adding up.
    Just like everyone else I am licensed and insured but this is my first year doing this. Up until this year we have been doing granular products for fertilization weed and feeds and such. My boss wants to go liquid because he and I are convinced that it will work just as well and be more profitable but my numbers are not adding up correct me where I am wrong.

    In Kansas city where I live the going rate for lawn apps average is 125 an acre. Now we have some 8 to 10 acres lots lined up for six apps next year and we charged them 1000 to 1250 respectively. All of the information I am giving is from memory and can be wrong so don't criticize the numbers. Lesco greenflo fertilizer is 1 oz to 1000 sq ft. now there is 44500 sp ft in an acre so we will use 44 oz in an acre correct? So with a 10 acre ob we will use 440 oz roughly correct along with 200 gallons of water. OK so we can get a 2 and 1/2 gallon jug of greenflo for 60 bucks but we will need to bottles because we will use 1 and half of another bottle so about 90 for the fertilizer not bad. No we are offering pre-emergent control we thought we would use dimension. That is 300 dollars for a 2 and 1/2 gallon bottle and it is applied at 1 oz per 1000 sp ft. Again we are talking about 400 oz roughly that is like 450 dollars for pre-emergent and 90 for fertilizer for combined cost of about 550 in chemicals so we are only looking at roughly 400 dollars for profit actually 300 after labor and gas that does not seem like the profit margins I was thinking for doing squirt and fert. Please correct me where I am wrong I have got to be missing something.

    All comments welcome
  2. Rayholio

    Rayholio LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,461

    Sounds about right to me.. I have to charge $175 per acre.. my cheapest ones are $150 per acre.

    The only way to make money at the $125 price is to get a good discount on the product.. which means ordering a ton of it.

    then again.. I have some treatments that just come out as low profit.. and others (like the fert above) that really make up for it... but these are seasonal treatments...

    Seasonal treatments create a customer base for the more expensive treatments, and services that WILL put some food on your plate..
  3. DSTC

    DSTC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 130

    We use granular fert and spray for weeds. I get my fert mixed by a local ag company and it costs me about 40 bucks an acre to put out(that's per trip). Now granted, we don't put out as much as you would because we deal with about 90% centipede grass, which only needs about 1lb/M of nitrogen per year. Other grasses are a little bit more fert and less profit.

    I might suggest not using dimension though. It's a good pre-m for grassy weeds, but not all that cost effective in my opinion. We used to use Barricade, but now there are generics for barricade and it is an awesome crabgrass pre-m. I think the active in Barricade is called prodiamine, and the generic we use is called Procade. Costs me about $35 an acre to put out at 1.15 lbs per acre. It's a waster dispersable granule (WG) and comes in 5lb containers.

    In the past we had to charge extra for Barricade, but now it's just included at the same time we do spring broadleaf pre-em. Only had to make a minimal price adjustment to cover the product costs of the generic. I love it when patents run out :)

    I'd say a do a little bit more research and you'll find some things that are more costs effective. We don't have a lesco here, but I'm sure that they aren't the only game in town for you either. And like Ray said, the annual contracts open the door for more profitable, add-on treatments.

    Some treatments costs more than others, but it all comes out in the wash. I strive to be at an operating costs of 40%. If I can get to that year after year, I'm happy.
  4. cod8825

    cod8825 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 501

    Ok it is good to know that we are not scratching areselves wondering what are we doing wrong with this picture. I don't know if we can do it for 175 an acre because the going rate is 125 but that is for the larger companies that have hundreds of acres to treat. I will think of bumping are next quotes up.

    LIBERTYLANDSCAPING LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Indiana
    Posts: 1,283

    Liquid fertilizers are almost always more expensive.. When you add in a liquid pre-emergant it sky rockets your cost. Granular fert. is more cost effective, and you generally won't see as big a price jump when it is formulated as a combo product (pre-m, grub control) opposed to mixing your own in liguid form. I don't know of many in my area who still do liquid ferts, other than small areas that are haed to get a spreader on... Granular fert & liquid weed control is the way to go. Get a Z-spray!
  6. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Posts: 5,852

    Big ditto LIBERTY ...... I just ordered 4500 gallons of liquid fert at $3.31 per gallon. Early spring it was $2.65 per gallon. OUCH! Seems nitrogen just went up (again) $20 per ton last week. We try to use dry fert whenever possible, but our early fall app is liquid weed & feed.:usflag:
  7. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,229

    You guys are so right!
    Lesco Green Flo? Did you talk to you Lesco dealer about this? If so, also talk to another supplier. One ounce per thousand isn't going to put much nitrogen down. How many pounds nitrogen per acre would that Green Flo apply?

    I would say, put down a dry crabgrass contol with fertilizer --like prodiamine. In the next round apply liquid weed killer. Use a spreader or Perma Green to apply dry fert if you think you need it.

    Hope it works out OK.
  8. MStine315

    MStine315 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 789

    Ditto the last 3 posts. Also, look into Uflexx or Umaxx. They're a stabilized nitrogen source. +/-$25 a bag. 2 bags/acre gives a pound of N. Look at 0-0-64 for a source of K. Still more than granulars, but if you are in a position to do liquids only...
  9. cod8825

    cod8825 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 501

    To all who have posted you think a product like dimension or prodiamine in granular form is cheaper help me with this. Dimension is applied at a rate of 2lbs 3 ozs I believe(don't hold me to this rate) per 1000 sp ft at 60 bucks a bag is cheaper than liquids. Doing a little math one job we have is ten acres thats 445000 sq ft. at the ratio above thats 445 times 2.1875 974 pounds of product each bag is 50 lbs so I will need 20 bags thats 20 * 60 = $1200 and we are bidding it for $1250 125 an acre times 10 acres is 1250 so how am I making money on that my cost is 120 dollars an acre using dry ferts.

    DSTC had a point we have a coop grain store and they sell chemicals and granualer ferts and such all they need to know is active ingredient to mix stuff and I know they are cheaper so I think I am going to call them and see instead of just going to lesco.

    Here are our liquid numbers $90 for 445oz of lesco greenflo and $400 dollars for dimension EC for pre-emergent. that is 490 dollars in chemicals and 600 dollars in profits after gas and labor costs. I am thinking that I must be off my cester:confused: :dizzy:
  10. Rayholio

    Rayholio LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,461

    I end up paying around $14-$18 per 50 lb of prodiamine which covers 12,500 sq ft.

    Not to mention, I think the granular works a lot better than the liquid... could just be me though

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