Anyone NOT mow and do applications only?

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by lawnboy11, Feb 19, 2001.

  1. inzane

    inzane LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,478

    well, 1994 to 2004 i worked as a lawn applicator..(for a few different companies) so 10 years experience as an applicator in my area, and even though i changed jobs in 04' still kept up apps on my on 2 lawns all this time. i feel confident i have the skill to start-up, and know what this kinda work entails. not gonna sit here and say i know it all or anything like that though, just feel like im ready. i know with the economy its rough to get started, but this type of service is still in big demand around here from what i can tell.. (metro atlanta area) i always did good work when i was an applicator, the customers liked me. i listened to their concerns, always made good on my promises. I can't see going to work for somebody else doing something that i know that i could do on my own. i managed routes with large amt's of customers.. i would rather just do it on my own, not expecting it to be easy either. i did talk to trugreen last week, they offer 13 bucks an hour for a 4 day work week. non-compete agreement. hmmm. i don't think so..

    i have got another 3 weeks off of work and i'm studying up for the pesticide exam at this time. :weightlifter: i may feel things out for another year before i get out there.. but who knows.

  2. James Cormier

    James Cormier LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Ma
    Messages: 1,217

    One BIG thing your missing is this.

    How many lawns can you mow alone? Using your numbers you make 175 profit per customer..My guess is a one man show can take care of
    60-70 lawn mowing customers?

    look at it this way. You mow 70 customers $35 per mow (again using your numbers) that is a yearly gross of $87,700

    A one man fert guy should easily be able to handle 400 customers, really much more if you wanna work your tail off... but using your numbers that same guy will do $144,000 in gross sales.

    My customer base average is 535 per customer...using that 400 customer base my gross sales should be $214,000 gross sales. There is no way in hell I can mow and make that same gross number.

    Oh, and to answer the first question on the post, Ive been a fert & squirt guy since 1986. I offered mowing for the first 6 years after I started my own business in 1994, it took me a while to figure out that was not what was making my company money
  3. vaacutabove

    vaacutabove LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,011

    At what point did yall drop mowing? This is only my second year and with mulch mowing starting and spraying im way way behind. Mulching is good money for time spent on the job. Im no where big enough to drop mowing but hope next year i will not mow at all my self anyways.
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  4. HazellLawnCare

    HazellLawnCare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 832

    I have been in business before and did it all, mowing, fert and weed, snow, landscaping, the works. I am very seriously considering getting back into the lawn business but it will be fert and weed control, aeration and overseeding work ONLY. This was always my most profitable part of my business so why even bother with the other work. I have a very good full time job but I truely enjoy this business and the extra money will be for my fun stuff. With a minimal investment, skid sprayer, aerator, and over seeder I can be back in business. The worst part will be paying for the license and insurance without having a good clientel built up yet.
  5. clayslandscape

    clayslandscape LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 463

    What kind of skid sprayer do you all recommend and do any of you care to share your treatment plans?
  6. TooMuchClay

    TooMuchClay LawnSite Member
    from DE
    Messages: 80

    At Lawn Doctor where I worked, we owned 3 Franchises that operated in parts of 5 counties in 3 states, and we had about 3500 regular lawn service customers, then he bought another franchise and got another 1000 customers or so, that got 6 apps per year, plus countless extras like seeding, lime, aeration, grub control. Plus we had hundreds of tree/shrub care customers. I'd say the owner did about 1.5 - 2 million dollars in revenue annually.
  7. lawn king

    lawn king LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,413

    This is the best route for sure! Learn the lawn care trade, then start on your own. I myself, did a seven year apprenticeship, while attending an agricultural school. I started on my own in 1985 & we are still rolling!
  8. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Platinum Member
    from nc
    Messages: 4,988

    You are right James. That was just one customer and an example of the different routes to yearly profit. As I've grown I've started charging more and my profit has increased.

    While I would love to do apps only, my town just can't support that. Maybe in a few years I will have picked up enough to just do apps ans can expand to the neighboring towns or buy some accounts. At this point I need to mow to pay the bills. It is easier to get mowing accounts than app accounts. I then try to upsale. Over the last 3-4 years I've done a high end post card, have a lettered truck, and leave signs after applications(which isn't required and only i do). So far i'm not at a 100 accounts per round yet.

    With the size of my area I can do around 20-25 a day and would love to have 300 accounts. Work for 2.5-3 weeks per round and spend the rest marketing or vacationing, something I can't do with mowing. Hopeing some bids come my way and a crew can be hired.
  9. LawnoftheMonth

    LawnoftheMonth LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 356

    I don't even mow my own lawn.
  10. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378

    I’m also interested in getting my applicators license but it would be logistically impossible for me to work for another Co. to learn OJT. What is the next best way to go....?

    I never wanted to be the Mow King and I expanded into aeration in hopes that would be the bulk of my cash flow. Some of the application Co. here run $29.95 aeration specials for up to 5k so I’m assuming they do this is a loss leader to get in the door for fert or herbicides.

    I’m interested in the approach of combining minimal use of herbicides and heavy on organic based products and education on proper watering, avoid quick release fertilizers where I have to mow or there is an issue with thatch development. I want the focus to be on what is best for the lawn not necessarily what the customer thinks is best such as scalp mowing to get the putting green look, daily watering and use of high nitrogen fert and constant use of herbicides.

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