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Start Organic Lawn Care Company in Florida

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by sancho_man_orlando, Mar 16, 2008.

  1. sancho_man_orlando

    sancho_man_orlando LawnSite Member
    Posts: 216

    I have been reading about organic lawn care for about a year now. My personal lawn is the greenest and nicest on my block. I have not put down a single chemical fertilizer since I moved in almost 2 years ago.

    I run a small "lawn & landscape maintenance" company and I was wondering how difficult it would be to sell my customers and pick up future customers by expanding my services to include "organic lawn care".

    With the big rush to go green and all the organic foods out there it makes sense that there is a huge market out there that sees the value in this servic and fortunately... this crowd seems to be find paying $8 for a gallon of organic milk versus the 3.50 regular milk... so it goes to reason that they wouldn't think twice about paying a little extra for organic lawn care as well...

    I haven't contacted my local extention office but I have read conflicting statements on this board.

    From what I understand you do NOT need an applicators license to drop feed CGM or SBM but you DO need the applicators license when you start spraying and such... is this correct?

    Are there any other guidelines restricting someone like myself from getting started? EPA restrictions or tough "organic" statement usage? Anything like that?

    Or is it for simplicity sake after gaining the knowledge as simple as advertising organic services and servicing the customers?

    Thanks in advance for any input here.
  2. Military Lawns

    Military Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 321

    I live in the Orlando area and am wondering what you do to keep your lawn so green. You can PM if you like. In fact, I too and a small LCO maybe we can talk about some things. Mainly, some sod installation jobs, etc.

  3. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    Regulations with regard to this are state controlled. You need to check with your local extension service to find out what regulations are applicable.

    That said, most of your regulations are for organic food production, not landscape management. I personally see no reason why any landscape management program needs to be OMRI "certified", except possibly in specific cases where food is also being produced on site. In that case, it might be worth looking at the organic standards for food production and see what can be reasonable applied to your site.
  4. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,911

    in fl you have to get a lic. but you can get a limited lic no problem. or just hire a lic applicator. good drivers license and a app. lic. $13 per hour. most of the guys we have hired are jumping to go organic but there old company said "organics wont work and does not fit there business model" or "it is just weeds and sh*7"

    PS there are only 3 compliance officers in the great state of Florida, and they "only handle chemicals" not "worm oil or snake tea" and "compost is dirt talk to water management or enginering" these are some of the things i have heard.

    if you are not big sugar or timber men good luck getting the state to do any thing. just look at the citrus grower in Florida what did the state do for them?

    sure you can trust the government just ask an Indian!
  5. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,911

    also it is just a word game, say nothing and it is nothing,make a claim,fed,killed,controlled,fertilizer and then you have a label and a reg. and then its on.you should see the paper work we have, I drive a used wood and metal desk with a swivel base chair now.3 tall boy file cabinets and a screaming headache. just for an experimental use permit(sec 18). just use your words in a positive way.
  6. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,115

    Sancho Man,
    Florida is one of the strictist states in the union about applying fert and pesticides.
    If you are for hire and claim to be fertilizing someones yard you must be registered and licenced in Florida. If you spray pesticides or claim to be, you must be registered and licensed as a pesticide applicator

    Also, if you claim that you are fertilizing, you must use a certified and properly licensed fertilizer. In other words, you can't go the farm store and get a bag of alfalfa meal (with no NPK statement on it) and spread it on someones lawn and say you are fertilizing. Well you can, just don't get caught

    We have a customer outside of Tampa that has "ORGANIC LAWN CARE" in huge letters on the side of his spray truck. He says that people literally chase him down the street in certain neighborhoods to get a quote.

    Does it work? YEP Is it profitable? YEP
  7. Mscottw2

    Mscottw2 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 8

    I live in Jacksonville and was told by the department of agriculture in Tallahassee that, "If you don't need a license to buy it, then you don't need a license to put it down." In other words, if you can by it at HD then no license is required (except for regulated herbicides- like atrazine and such,) but that shouldn't be an issue with an organic program.

    If you don't believe me, then give them a call: (850)-488-3022
  8. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,911

    OK then you do it your way, makes me no mind. some of us like to have the paper....good luck on ellis road.
  9. tamadrummer

    tamadrummer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,102

    Sorry for the disrespect but why would you be silly enough to listen to someone on the phone tell you crap when it is your business and livelihood at stake?

    Go read the regulation and you will see that they lied or simply do not know because it doesn't matter to them. It isn't their business or fine to pay.

    If you don't know what I am talking about, or where the regs are located, than you certainly do not belong applying chemicals.
  10. sancho_man_orlando

    sancho_man_orlando LawnSite Member
    Posts: 216

    Old post but you brought up an interesting suggestion about shouldn't be "applying chemicals".

    The origional poster was talking about spreading compost, corn meal & compost tea's...

    Nothing about chemicals.

    So with the word chemical removed from an option in your rebuttal... what is your new thought on this?

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