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The all important question

Discussion in 'Fertilizer Application' started by davidris, Dec 21, 2009.

  1. davidris

    davidris LawnSite Member
    Posts: 20

    We are adding fertilizer service this coming year. Currently enrolled for my turfgrass degree with 17 years workin lawns already. Yes, got licensed. Using lesco got some good prices from what I can tell. We are in upscale area of metro detroit.

    I do not want to price this service to low. I do not want to be the cheap guy. I will be offering to clients we have had almost 10 years.

    Someone please give me prices on a an average 5 step for 7000 and 10,000 square. I would like to start out right, starting low is bad for everyone in my opinion.

    Also at what time does tru-green and others pushing marketing. I figured I would do a mass email and mailing to customers in mid Feb.

    Thanks everyone. :usflag:
  2. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,216

    Drive out to the biggest company in town--about 2 am and dive into their dumpster, for a little industrial espionage. That is how a big company I know used to spy on Chemlawn.
    However...it is better to do your own homework. Walk around your neighborhood and try to sell your neighbors--and don't forget to ask how much they paid last year.
  3. tlg

    tlg LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 645

    The all important question is answered by knowing all your cost. What the other guys are doing price wise is great knowledge to have as far as a marketing strategy goes. That being said, it really can't determine what you should charge. Every companies business model is different. In reality your competitors in your area will have cost that could be close to yours. You can't base your pricing on unknown factors though. For example: We service three counties NE of metro Detroit. We compete with hundreds of other companies. Getting a handle on their pricing is never going to happen. We have gone up against TGCL for years. We can't beat there pricing. We compete and gain market share by doing a better job AND CHARGING MORE. The only way you will succeed is to forget about price equality, focus on quality work and outstanding customer service.
  4. grassman177

    grassman177 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,795

    costs, the most important factor, but if you must know we are around the mid $40s for a 7000 sqft lawn
  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    We are working on a new campaign that steps outside the box of the 4-6 step program. We all know that what is going on in the industry is selling way too many things to dump on the lawn and most of it is a useless waste. My idea is a slow steady process of educating customers into feeling comortable with spending less money.

    The "squirt n fert only" guys need to continue this process to survive, but if you are looking to become the "full service" guy, this will build Loyal Clients for the long term. They will see that - now - you're the only one doing it, and -tomorrow - you will be the best at doing it. That is if you learn how it is best done. :)
  6. rcreech

    rcreech Sponsor
    Male, from OHIO
    Posts: 6,059

    I think you are right on! I am a "squirt and fert only" guy, but still want to offer a great service and take care of my customers.

    When I looked into starting in this industry I knew from a feeding and science standpoint that too many apps were being applied...or guys were just applying very little and screwing the customer.

    In my area I am the only company that pushes 4 apps. I cost a little more then everyone else...but use better product and promote less apps.

    I think you will be very successful!

    Just push quality of product, timing and University data.

    OSU and Purdue only recommend 4 applications for the state of OH and since you are North I am sure it will work well for you also.
  7. tlg

    tlg LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 645

    our standard program is a five applications. We will also offer less applications to fit our customers needs. We all know of companies that do six, seven or even eight applications ( fertilizer ) if a customer will buy into it. How they justify the need is beyond me. The need to visit a customers property several times through the season IMO is imperative. Not necessarily from a fertilizing standpoint but from a IPM or scouting perspective. I feel we need to be out there on the lawn at least every six weeks just to look for problems and offer solutions. Selling additional services when needed is very important to our bottom line and maintaining a level of quality care that our customers expect. I don't feel the need or want to have my customers spend " less money ". It 's up to them to decide what they want or need. Our job is to help them make a good choice.

    DUSTYCEDAR LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Posts: 5,137

    i like a lot of applications with a smaller amount of fert than a few with lots of fert.
    spoon feed the lawn avoid the surge growth
  9. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    Wouldn't a slow-release fert accomplish the 'surge growth' problem? :)
  10. mcw615

    mcw615 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 473

    I charge $25.00 to show, $3.00 per 1,000 sq. ft. - that is TruGreen's formula, I adopted it to save the hassle of trying to figure it all out, it has seemed to work pretty well, that is basically who I am trying to compete against. Pretty much everyone here who does their own lawn work but wants a professional to fert/squirt their lawn they call TruGreen, most landscape firms and lawn care companies here offer fertilizing but mostly just tell their customers about it. I am working on establishing our name to be also known for excellent customized fertility programs, TruGreen here will only use liquid apps which they water down, the granulate is so much better. Another reason for trying to expand fertilizing outside of our property maintenance customers is to gain a larger network and relations with more customers, good word of mouth advertising which can bring more maintenance customers, irrigation, landscape/hardscape installs plus the revenue of the fertilizing.
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