Requirments in Florida for turf

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by weedman_34, Apr 28, 2002.

  1. weedman_34

    weedman_34 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 4

    I am thinking about relocating to Florida in the Fort Myers area and starting a lawn care/landscaping service there. What requirements for Pesticide applications and fertilizer applications do they have? I have contacted a few agencies via internet and have had no responses. I am from Illinois now and the Dept. of Ag regulates licensing here. Thanks!
    Bill Houck
    Houck Supply Co
     
  2. smburgess

    smburgess LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 469

  3. Lawn-Scapes

    Lawn-Scapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,810

    It's extremely competitive down there. Are you ready for that type of environment? I speak from experience... I had to bust my hump all year to make what I am currently making in 8-9 months here. I don't know what the requirements are for pest control in Florida as I did not offer that service while there.

    Did you look here... http://doacs.state.fl.us/~aes-ent/pestcntrl/pcpage16.html

    Good luck in your decision... think long, hard and do lots of research.

    Is Houck Supply Co. not doing well? What do you supply?

    It's freakin' HOT down there
     
  4. weedman_34

    weedman_34 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 4

    Houck Supply is in the ag supply business here. With the farm economy and being tired of the envirment here I am looking to relocate to some inherited property there.
    I don't mind the chemical end of the business but just am looking for a change.
    I grew up around excavation here and seek to do this on a small scale again.
    When you say you had to work harder there what do you mean?
    I am assuming year around work there. What rate per hour did you average there compared to maryland?
    Anything you have to offer would be very benificial to my decision here.
    Thanks
    Bill Houck
    Houck Supply
     
  5. GrassChopper

    GrassChopper LawnSite Member
    Posts: 131

    You have to work for a pesticide application company for a year before you can get a full applicators license here. You can get a limited applicators license, which basically allows you to spray Roundup, if you have been in business for 3 years. There are different requirements if you have an Ag degree.

    I get 50.00 per hour as my rate. Scrubs abound here though.
     
  6. mowerman90

    mowerman90 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,491

    Expect a large portion of your pay to be in sunshine and not money. I am "high priced" in my area for mowing and I only charge $55 per month for 10000 sq ft lots mowed weekly Apr thru Oct then bi-weekly Nov thru Mar. I laugh when I read posts for guys up north saying they won's drop the gate for less than $35. Some scrubs (of which there are many) only charge $10 per cut down here. One guy I've seen charges $12 for half acres! I have an expression to give to people when it finally hits them that they're not gonna make a fortune down here, it's "welcome to Florida"
     
  7. mowerman90

    mowerman90 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,491

    I forgot to mention the other side of the coin. You can buy a "new" 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 2 car garage home and 10000 lot for less than $75000.00 with property taxes around 700-$800 year. Also no state income tax here.
     
  8. Turf Technologies

    Turf Technologies LawnSite Senior Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 590

    Im a county north of you mowerman90 and you couldnt of said it better.
     
  9. ADMowing

    ADMowing LawnSite Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 175

    Hello from Florida!

    We are a service in the Tampa area and we see LOTS of scrubs. We've been in business for 5 years and we make a living -- enough to be happy, have a home on 5 acres and put a little away for retirement. My husband is retired military so that helps with health insurance and income. But, it is HARD work during the summer and everyone is right about it being HOT. We usually do a normal lawn for about $50-$70/month annual service. People generally won't pay more than that. We do a couple of 3 acre Mow and Go's for $50/mow,which takes us a little over 1 hour (two mowers). We mow weekly in the summer and we show up every other week in the winter (Oct-Mar) months. We don't always mow and we do little extra trimming and clean up work for extra money. We are licensed to do tree trimming and that kind of work also so it helps us during the winter when we lose some of our summer customers. We have a lot of "snowbirds" in mobile home parks who go up north and want us to do their lawns in the summer. It is hard work, but you get a lot of income for dropping your gate in one park. We like to work things out with other services in the mobile home park so that we don't step on each others' toes. When our customers find out that we are amiable with other lawn services in the park, it actually makes them feel better about us. We don't "steal" other lawns unless the other service is clearly not doing their job and then it is up to the customer (and their right) to have a reliable lawn service. It can be very competitive in a park where management will often do the work for less (and less often too) or scrubs come in and offer service for a lot less without realizing all the overhead. Many of them don't understand the Florida heat in the summer. Many of them have quit on customers while the customer was up north and the customer comes home to find the lawn a mess and their money (that they paid up front) gone.

    Word of mouth is our best advertising. We don't even have our name on our truck or trailer. Neighbors see our work and usually want our service. Friends and family of people we mow for also call for our services. We mow for one lady who has bought several houses and has us follow her wherever she goes. Now that makes you feel good about the quality of your work!!! We advertised twice in the little local paper when we first started and that was it.

    We drink LOTS of water and relax quite a bit when we are off -- swim in the pool etc... Air conditioned house in a MUST for Florida!My Dad was in the lawn service business in Duxbury Mass. and he made LOTS more money than we do. But we're out for happiness, peace of mind, self-employment and to pay our bills and retire someday.

    But to answer your question: We don't do chemical work in our customers' yards. We refer them to local people who are in the business and who are licensed. It is a hefty $5000 fine if you are caught spraying for weeds without a license. So, my husband and I don't even bother. We put down some fertilizer for our customers, but nothing more than that. There are just the two of us and we work a lot of times for people who take very good care of their lawns on their own. They just need someone with good equipment (and crazy enough to stand the heat) to come out and mow for them.

    The competition is only in pricing usually for us. As a general rule, once our customers see us at work, we keep them. We've got customers still who we've had from the beginning. My philosophy about Florida lawns is that there are PLENTY of lawns to go around for all of us. We wave at other lawn service people out there because we are all in the same boat. No need to worry about competition if you are doing your job right. We drive around and see so many lawns not being taken care of by the homeowners. If we had the time, we could drum up more business just by stopping by or placing business cards/flyers.

    We have gotten undercut serveral times only to have our old customers call us back and ask us to return. One lady called us during a drought and said that she couldn't see paying us a measly $40/month to do her lawn because there was nothing to mow. Three days later it started to rain for the summer and grass was growing like crazy. We didn't hear from her 'cause I think she was too embarassed.

    Just some input from a Florida company.

    Hope this info helps. If you decide to start a business in Florida! Welcome!!!
     
  10. TJLC

    TJLC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,308

    We moved here about 3-4 years and have established ourselves very well. Yes it does get hot here but no hotter than when we lived in Ohio. It just lasts longer here. Florida is what you make of it. Ad mowing pretty well summed it up also. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
     

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