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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm in East Tn and most of my business is on the residential side.However, this year I targeted several condo and apt. complexes..I sent letters to 20 different complexes and have received 2 call backs for estimates..One of the complexes has 22 buildings and they just want mowing, leaf removal, and gutter cleaning..No Big Deal...The other complex wants the whole works...Mowing, bed maintenance(round-up, surflan), seeding, fertilizing, weed&feed, aerating, edging, pruning, and mulching..Just one hitch: I need to be licensed to apply the weed & bug killers..Should I just sub this work out or try to get my license.???Does anybody know what I would have to do to get an applicators license in Tn..??I thought I saw somewhere were you had to have a 4 yr. degree..I really don't want to lose this commercial property...The last company that mowed it was licensed but did a very, very poor job..I know I would please the customer because I do great work but the whole licensing thing is holding me back..Also, they want me to have $2,000,000.00 in liability ins..Does this sound like a high amount???Thanks for any and all comments...Clean-Cut
 

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Contact your State Dept. of Agriculture to find out the steps needed to get your license. I paid $21.00 for all of my study material, just need to take the test.

$2,000,000.00 does seem pretty high, I got a bid with $300,000.00 for an apt. complex.

Be wary of property managers, they are looking for the low bidders ONLY! I don't fool with them anymore because the money just isn't there.
 

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I agree with homer completely. Many complexes are looking for low budget labor, not quality.

If you are unable to get your license in time for spring from your local co-op, definitely make sure that you are able to work with your fert applicator in a coordinated effort so one does not override the other. Be CAUTIOUS!!

Kris.
 

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Keep your guard up!! HOAs are like vampires when they see a up and coming LCO.

IMHO I would just try to build density near the homesites you currently service. Go to the courthouse and pull names and street addys off the deed books and sent out postcards when spring breaks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I feel like I have enough residential accounts (around 90). Everybody tells me to lean more towards the commercial end..I have some small commercial properties but nothing in the range of the apt. complex..The only reason that I'm considering acquiring more comm. accts is because it would be yearround income..Most of my residentials do not want contracts..I'm still kinda torn though..The commercial complexes would generate more money but also a lot more hassles..This one complex would take about a full day to mow and another day every other week to weed and spray the beds...I just don't know if I have that much time to spend on one account..But I do want to get my applicators license..I'm also a little leary about the $2,000,000.00 liability ins..Maybe I should focus on smaller comm. accts such as businesses or shopping centers instead of large complexes..thanks....Clean-Cut
 

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Cleancut -- first you need an Applicator's license, $15.

Then you need the Pesticide and Herbicide license, $150 for exam, and I think $300 for the license.

Call the Tennessee Dept. of Agriculture, Regulatory Services at: (615) 837-5148 and ask for Gary Mires. He can set you up with the next test date and location.

To qualify for a Pesticide and Herbicide license you will need to have either a 4 year degree or 2 years of experience working under a licensed guy. I don't have either, so I'm gonna make an appeal before the Pesticide Board in April. Tennessee makes it hard to get a license, and you need one even if you just spray Round-Up.

Hope you make it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
What exactly is the Applicator's license good for.??That 4 yr. degree stuff is a bunch of b/s..That's a lot of trouble to go through just to spray a little weed killer...I can point and pull a trigger just as good as a college grad..It's all just another way to get money out of us..I guess I'll just skip this complex and go on to the next one..I should call some of my friends in the biz and see if they're licensed and if I get really desperate use them as subs..On jobs like this would the sub get the full amount of the spraying bid or should I keep a percentage????Clean-Cut
 

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Definetely sub out weed killing,or anything else pesticide related,you do not want to get caught spraying without being certified,itll cost you a ton of money then.All it takes is one poor application in a little to much wind or at the wrong time of bloom and the neighbor's flowers are wiped out,DEC gets called,you get hung.
 

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I used subs for my pesticide work for two years on commercials before I got my license. When figuring the bids, I had the sub give me a price, then I added like 5 dollars for the billing of each application. If I was really trying to get the account, I would skip the $5 and look at it as making my money on the other items and using the sub to just fullfill the bid to get at that mowing money.

A lot of guys around here still do not have the proper license. One dandilion can cost you about $1,500 if you get caught by a state inspector around here. Plus they can go back and get your books, and fine you for any account and occurance that you showed a charge of an application.

It takes a few years in most cases to get it all done, but boy what a relief to know that you can do it without worrying about getting caught.

If you start now, the time goes by so quickly, you'll have them before you know it.

Good Luck!
 

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Cleancut here is a link to the Tennessee Ag. Depts. website http://www.state.tn.us/agriculture/regulate/regulat6.html . It explains the ways to qualify for certification, there are 3 ways:

Applicants, with the exception of the AGE category, must qualify for the examination by one of three ways:

1. have two years verifiable experience working under a licensee in that category, or
2. have a four-year college degree with major studies in a related field, or
3. hold a similar license in another state.

Hopes this helps, I think they offer the test more often in Knoxville than at the other locations here in the state. This site also tells you what the insurance requirements are as well for applying pesticdes. But until you get certifiied I'd sub out the pesticide services. Just get a quote and add some to it too cover the cost of handling it this way.
 

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Cleancut-

You sound very simular to me. I'm 22 with 85 accounts everyone says go to appt. complexes. Its nice if you have a crew to keep busy, but don't spread youself thin.
Everyone undercuts- I could have 10 contracts this year and next year Joe Blow comes in and under bids me.
Its nice to have some big accounts, but I am now starting to appreciate my residental accounts in the long run.

As far as the applicators lic.- I just signed up for the test in March.
Is it worth it- Yes, Being a young business man, I try to learn every aspect of lawncare. All you lic. and degrees look pretty good next to your name and even business cards.

It also lets potential clients know your not just the nieghborhood boy cutting lawns fot $10 a pop.

Best of luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for all the replies..Everybody that's requested a copy of the letter I'll get it to you asap...I actually sent out 50 letters but several of them were to real estate companies..I'm in the process of getting 20 more ready for mailing and I've got 4 big proposal to prepare so it's kinda busy right now....Thanks again..Clean-Cut
 
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