Do you include weed control for "free"

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by turfsurfer, Nov 17, 2003.

  1. turfsurfer

    turfsurfer LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 364

    Next year will be my 3rd year treating lawns (11th in lawn care biz) and I'm still trying to get a handle on how to price for weed control. Seems like the bigger outfits (TGCL, Scott's) advertise 5 applications with weed control included, but sometimes the best weed control periods fall in between fert. apps.. I know these outfits aren't sending techs out for a day of no money production to do weeds. I also read that some of you guys are charging a fert. and weed control stop as 2 seperate apps. This is not going to fly when the customer hears not only am I more expensive than the lowballers but I will be charging them for twice as many apps.
    My first experiment with free weed control with a seasonal program ended the first time I made two fert applications, killed all the weeds, turned the yard completely around and the customer said "thanks, I can handle it now". I made a free visit to spray weeds and didn't get the benefit of a years worth of paid fert stops. Lately I have been including all season weed control for the price of 1 application (charged at the first spray stop), but with a whole new season around the corner I wanted to check if I'm in the right ballpark with this. FYI the Lesco rep told me when he worked for chemlawn years back weed control was thrown in because the product is cheap, but in my opinion the loss is in the value of my time.:confused: :( :confused:
  2. kootoomootoo

    kootoomootoo LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,369

    Per application price is inclusive of weed control. Trugreen have marketed it this way to be the norm. IMO most customers demand a weed free lawn whereas color of lawn ie greeness is subjective. akin to mowing guys who think customer likes stripes but they really just want grass cut...couldnt care less. Had no cancellations in 2003 but i would be pissed having treated a property for weeds and customers says thanks but no thanks.
  3. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,028

    No free applications here. They pay per application if it is granular fert or liquid weed control. I have some customers who just want me to spray for weeds. They pay a premium because they know what I do works and they don't want to mess with chemicals. Any homeowner can apply fertilizer but most don't know the first thing about killing weeds.
    I know its depeneant on the area you live in but here we charge per ap.
  4. Lawn Tek

    Lawn Tek LawnSite Senior Member
    from u s a
    Messages: 457

    Turfsurfer , Man exact same delima here , lets hear some imput on this one
  5. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,969

    My pricing is calculated for separate applications of fert and weed control products, because the optimum times for application rarely coincide. Calculations are based on time and materials, both for the quick fert and other granular apps, and for the liquid weed controls. Client is billed for granular visits, but not for liquid visits, mainly because granulars are higher product cost per area. (A pre-em visit is charged, weather it is granular or liquid.)

    Example: you are doing 5 fert apps (at $42 each), one pre-em app (at $48), and two broadleaf sprays (at $28 each). There wouild be six billings for the season (each fert and the pre-em). Total cost would be $42x5 + $48 + $28x2 = $314. And $314/6 gives you $52.33 for each of the 6 billings. While there is no separate charge for the broadleaf apps, they are not free; they are being paid for on the other billings.

    Special weed controls (tall fescue, yellow nutsedge, etc.) are billed separately as additional services.
  6. turfsurfer

    turfsurfer LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 364

    Thanks for the replies so far guys. Want to hear more input but it sounds like Groundkprs has the way it is probably marketed around me. The problem is many of the prices being quoted for everything is less than what I would charge for just fert. I'm starting to think I must be in a real cutthroat market here. Even the prices you guys quote from TGCL and Scott's in your areas are way higher than what is being charged here. Have to work double time convincing people you are worth the extra dough.
    Kootoomootoo, I think you are right. When I have heard people complain about their lawn service company, it is always about weeds, not how green their grass is.
    So in closing, Groundkprs when figuring in the 2 liquid weed apps in the overall pricing, how about the extra time spent going over the lawn again on fert visits to spot spray? This really slows down production but would really drive prices up if figured into a 5-step program. I know people don't want to pay more, but then again I could be making more if I didn't have to go over lawns the second time to spot spray (opportunity cost). Again, the product is cheap, the time is not. That Perma-Green unit is sounding better and better. Anybody have one that wants to comment on ease of spotting weeds and spot spraying on the fly while spreading?
  7. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,969

    surfer, I don't really worry about competitive pricing. My pricing on some props is more than double what TG/CL would charge, and the clients know that because they have had TG/CL in the past. But then they're not just buying a number of fert and squirt visits from me each year. They are buying my care for the lawn. What good is fert and squirt if there is a drainage problem, or a compaction problem, or irrigation system is not properly programed or managed? I have actually taught clients to read the color changes in turf to know when to water, rather than just using the irrigation clock - and proper irrigation is the most basic step in attaining a fine turf, no matter who ferts/squirts with what and how.

    I don't worry about the times/prices for anything during the season. Timing and prices are set at beginning, and programed into computer, and I forget them the rest of the year and just concentrate on getting the job done right. Then review data during the winter and make sure timing and pricing are in line for your operation on each jobsite.
  8. KirbysLawn

    KirbysLawn Millenium Member
    Messages: 3,485

    I'm simular to Jim but my customers are on 12 month contracts for 36 mowings a year. While I do not bill them for each application (5 step) it is figured in the yearly contract.

    I do bill for special apps like fungicides and such and I do have customers who mow their own lawn and I just do apps. I'm leaning more toward that end of the job.

    Just finishing up winterizing lawns, $10 for a bag for fert at Lesco covers 17K, if I get three lawns ($3 per k + $35 stop fee) I make $156 for that one $10 bag of fertilizer. I put out 10 bags Monday and will be doing another 15 or so Friday if it stops raining.

    As for the spot weeding taht is where I don't like doing the lawns people mow, I can't stay on top of it. Luckily, doing split applications of Dimension has almost stopped all weeds so it's not too bad, a little clover now and then.

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