3 & 4 app customers;/

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by Nitroman, Nov 12, 2012.

  1. Nitroman

    Nitroman LawnSite Member
    from indiana
    Messages: 217

    We have a six step turf program, most go with the standard six. Some customers want five so only one summer app instead of two, then there are customers with a taste for wine on a beer budget. They want three or four apps. That's fine save money I get it, but here is my question. Tell me if you agree.

    I couldn't figure out years ago why some companies would not give a early fall app to these customers when it's the best time for weed control. They would give a spring, summer, and winterizer. I finally got on board with the same program for these accounts because I don't feel it's fair to give them the "premium" apps i.e. blanket spray and fert when it is the most time consuming round and most expensive. It doesn't seem fair to have all the work load to hire a couple of extra guys April through May and September through October. With less work and revenue through the summer so they can save money. The way I look at it is these people don't care enough about they're turf to get the full program so give them a little weed control & rounds 1 & 6. Thoughts?
  2. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,807

    I agree--so charge extra for fewer apps. Or make the weed control or fert an optional extra in September.
    $50 for fert. $25 to add weed control. It costs you more--charge them more.

    Also you can apply herbicide as a liquid with a skid sprayer, and add a small amount of fert. If they want to pay for only one trip over the lawn--fine--but you don't spend twice as much time.

    Also consider "Lockup" a new herbicide which is applied as a granular--but it is highly effective. One trip over lawn.
  3. GreenerSolution

    GreenerSolution LawnSite Member
    from PA
    Messages: 84

    great post. I wondered the same thing with these 3,4 app ppl. RigglePLC, you are like a god on this site. so i wont argue. but i am "skeptical" :) with granular herbs and being effective. i'd have to see it to believe it.
  4. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,807

  5. GreenerSolution

    GreenerSolution LawnSite Member
    from PA
    Messages: 84

    says it controls lespedeza. interesting, as i have had much trouble with that in maryland/ va this past year, id buy a bag to test. thanks for the link
  6. rcreech

    rcreech Sponsor
    Male, from OHIO
    Messages: 6,163

    We offer a 4 step program as our standard program. We add grub control/surface insect control to customers as needed or requested.

    I guess my question is...what is wrong with a 4 step program?

    If you are using a good quality fertilizer with slow release feeding you don't need to visit the lawn 6 times per year.

    I have built a great business on 4 apps and I guess I would ask what your 6 steps are and when they are applied.

    There was NO REASON to apply anything on lawns this year in IN or OH during the summer months of June, July and August.

    Now if we have a "wet" summer I can see where you could offer customers a summer fertilization with spot weed etc.

    How did you improve your customers lawns with two summer apps during the drought this summer?

    We sell against 6 apps all the time and our cost per application is always higher but at the end of the day we save our customers money. We sell to the customer that we are giving them better product and feel we net more then our competition at the end of the day because we are slightly less for the year but don't have to make the 2 extra apps.

    Here is a real life example of what we see:

    Competitor is charging $42 per app x 6 apps =$252 per year
    We will do the same lawn for $50 per app x 4 apps = $200 per year.

    That means I am doing 2 less apps and I would have only grossed another $52 or $26 per app.

    We tell the customer that our competitors product may last half the time as our slow release will last twice as long so we don't have to come back as quickly hence saving them money.


    Your margins are better, you saved to customer money and you are doing less apps which = less work.

    Most customers that we pick up and offer 4 apps to felt like their previous company was making too many apps. We hear that it lot. I think most customers think they are being taken care of especially when dealing with the larger national companies.

    Guess you just have to do whats best for the customer both agronomically and financially.

    You also need to price your service to where you can do less apps and be profitable. I have had no problem doing it so it can be done.
  7. Efficiency

    Efficiency LawnSite Bronze Member
    from zone 6
    Messages: 1,857

    are you baiting me Rod? lol.
    lets just say this: we push 6 aps and have success with it. For me, it ultimately comes down to creating a stable working environment for my employees. Who would jump on a job where you tell them there isnt much work Jun, Jul, Aug, Dec, Jan, Feb? Ive created an environment where we are able to keep my guys on year round with a min of 40 hrs per week and OT when they want it. And, as a secondary item, we have relatively stable cash flow year round.
  8. rcreech

    rcreech Sponsor
    Male, from OHIO
    Messages: 6,163

    You just pretty much answered my question.

    So you only need to apply 6 apps to keep your guys busy and make more money?

    You didn't state one agronomic fact of why to apply 6 apps.

    I have 5 full time guys. They work year round. We offer 4 apps but we also offer many other services such as seeding and aeration etc. I also have another business where they can help when they are slow. You just have to be creative.

    Why should the customer pay for 6 apps when they only need 4 JUST to keep you guys busy?

    Maybe you just need to pick up more customers!

    How can you apply fert on a lawn in July and August when it looks like a desert and sleep at night?

    My point is...agronomically in our area no more then 4 apps are needed unless insect or grub control needs to be applied.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2012
  9. greenskeeper44

    greenskeeper44 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 433

    We offer 6 applications...I agree with the no fert in the summer however we do 2 in the summer and they are summer weed controls...spot spraying for nutsedge, crab, and other summer weeds..we are one of the few in our area that include this in our programs and our customers love it...with 4 applications we would never be able to stay on top of the weeds here...it may be different in Ohio. ...
  10. ted putnam

    ted putnam LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,748

    I agree. We do 6 here...and I've considered going to 7 the last couple of years due to a couple of factors. Weed control being at the top of that list. 4 apps here on warm season turf would produce mediocre results at best. The bermuda needs more food than that and with the heat humidity and rainfall we get(except for the last 2 years), difficult weeds abound. Especially nutsedge and buttonweed. Others such as doveweed are now showing up. IMO complete control of these weeds is never achieved. In some cases, supression is the best that can be hoped for. Bumping the timing of each of my apps up a week or so and adding one for the year is definitely something I've considered. Besides the obvious financial advantages of doing something like this, there is the aspect of offering an even more superior service by being on each lawn a little more frequently, thereby identifying and solving problems(or potential problems) that may come up.

    Like you said, conditions in Ohio and in your case, Kentucky are different than here.

    Whatever the case may be, my program has never been "set in stone". It is flexible, and ever changing.

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