Do you guys offer Scott's Turf Builder?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by howardsells2000, Mar 31, 2006.

  1. howardsells2000

    howardsells2000 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 355

    I'm new to the business but I have had several customers ask me to treat their lawn. I told them I don't offer that service. Then one asked if I would buy some Scott's Turf Builder at Home Depot and spread it on her lawn. I did and she paid me. Then another customer asked and I applied the left over on his lawn and made some extra cash. Is this a good idea or a bad idea.
  2. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    In close to 5 years I never did quite figure this one out, that is to say I get these requests from time to time but I have mixed feelings about it all. On the one hand it shouldn't matter, but in some ways I take it kinda personal, almost like an insult.

    To me, the whole bit with lime and fertilizer and seed and what have you is a lot like cooking. As for how much to use, what setting to leave the spreader on, how heavy to put it down, and how many pounds of this and that and the other is all down with me and it's my little recipe and I like to use it. Since it is my recipe, obviously I like using my own ingredients and concocting the brew myself because I'm good at it, and I'm just not particularly fond of cooking someone else's steak with their salt and pepper and on their grille, so to speak. It's just not the same thing, it doesn't feel like it's mine anymore, it's almost like someone walking into McDonald's and throwing a hamburger patty on the counter and asking them if they would use their meat to cook the cheeseburger they're going to order.
    I mean... Don't get up all the stuff to make a meal and then call me to come cook it, you know?
    Of course, I have the spreader but then why buy the stuff if you can't spread it?

    Another way to say it is I've done it before, and I've politely beat-around-the-bush until I got out of doing it as well.
    Just depends on the customer, I guess...
  3. howardsells2000

    howardsells2000 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 355

    Any more suggestions?
  4. beautifullawns

    beautifullawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 313

    Wait till you get caught doing it with out a license. Then you have to pay a fine. I sub it out, and think its the best way to do it.
  5. Gatewayuser

    Gatewayuser LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,765

    Hi howardsells2000, what you should do is 1st read up on fertilizing because its like science. 2nd take soil samples before you apply anything to a lawn, that way your only giving the lawn what it truly needs. 3rd get a pesticide applicators license that way you will be legal when you put down chems. 4th get insured if your not already that way say you burn a lawn and it will cost $3000 to fix then your covered. 5th go out and get a good commercial fert spreader, I like the 80 lb lesco with the edge guard and edge shut off it will run you about $400-500 depending on what options you get. 6th set up a whole sale account with lesco or other that way you get a better fertilizer for your customers and at half the price for you then you can mark it up to what it would cost them.
    Good Luck and I hope I helped!:waving:
  6. northernsvc's

    northernsvc's LawnSite Member
    Messages: 65

    i use a sub also, the only way to go until you get bigger, you got enough to worry about with just running the company, find a reputible co. in your are NOT TRUGREEN, that also does not do landscaping only fert, and ask them for a quote, usually they will aslo give discounts or cut of profit for work you give them.
  7. Gatewayuser

    Gatewayuser LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,765

    In my state you can fert just not use any chems but every state is different and I wanted to offer chem appls so I got a ton of lics.
  8. Gatewayuser

    Gatewayuser LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,765

    Its not that much hassle you just got to do it, I'm glad I did.
  9. beautifullawns

    beautifullawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 313

    Ditto on trugreen. I wish they would fall off the face of the earth. I talk all of my customers out of trugreen. Its true in my state you can put down a straight fert but nothing with chemicals to take care of crabgrass or grubs for example. You just have to build trust up with the guy doing it. My fert guy (met him on here SODKING) has a full service landscape company, but I trust him that he won't try to go behind my back and take my customers. Just talk to other LCO's in your area and find out which fert company has a good rep and you can build trust with.
  10. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,943

    I too do not want to deal with fert/spirt matters, I am solo and a small operator. In this area, I have talked with small operators who got their license, worked the fert/spirt (had to buy a sprayer too for weed control; granulated material was not useful) for one year, and got out. The call-back rate was just too demanding. When anybody saw a weed or some other small thing they questioned, the call came. Yes, the time to put down the material was small, and the $/hr was good, but the call-back rate was a killer (and at no charge). When I just mow, and get questions, I can easy stay out of the fray, "... just call the person who did the application."

    One other point that I believe is at work. When you are a small operator, and you do the apps, I think the customer expects much more personal service. The customer will be much more likely to call you about one weed growing in the yard, than they are to call a TRU-GREEN company, for example. I believe the call-back rates for the large applicators is very small. The customer never believes they will be able to get to somebody who will listen and respond. But, for a solo operator, they know they can get direct access, therefore will believe they will get a response (and expect one).

    I know there is much anomosity toward TRU-GREEN on LS. I used to feel that way, but I befriended the applicator that works my properties. I talk to him every chance I get, and we discuss our common properties. Several years ago, I had some face-to-face discussions when I thought he was overusing N, "... remember, we are not making forage crops here, we are doing residential lawns." He changed his ways, at least for my properties, and the past couple of years, he has been great to work with. I have never seen him "brown out" a lawn, as I have heard on LS. This man has worked with the same company for 28 years, and has cared for the same properties for many, many years. Rarely do I see a customer drop TG after they start -- I know of only one instance, and I thought the customer was wrong in his assessment. He changed applicators to another company I recommended, and have common properties, and I don't see any difference in result.

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