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Duekster on Using Primo

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by xpnd, Apr 13, 2007.

  1. xpnd

    xpnd LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 378

    I use Primo and the results are fantastic however here is the problem. It is too expensive to give away and when you charge a fair price for it, you price yourself out of the market. The majority of customers today only buy on price. They go from one lawn service to the next one that is willing to do it for 50 cents or a buck less each week. The worst thing we are the ones to fault for that problem. We have taught the customer that the next flyer they receive will be cheaper.

    To be effective, you need to figure on a minimum of 4 apps per year. If you want to do it right, 5 is better. I'm getting ready within the nest two weeks to put down my first round. But it goes on the customers who are paying for it. I am not about to drag hose and give product that cost over $400.00/gallon for free. Someone is going to pay for it.

    Yes the mowing crews get through the lawns easier and quicker and they look better. The turf overall is in better condition during the drought. The neighbors to the Primo lawns have all called for service yet only a handful have signed up. When they see the extra $200.00 or more a year cost (depending on lot size) they scurry away like mice. "I want my yard to look like that but I won't pay an extra $200.00 a year for it. If you would give it to me for free, I'll let you do my lawn" They are already spending ~$1200.00 a year for mowing, weed control and fert but they won't add another $200.00 to get a quality turf.

    When you dump a product in your tank that cost anywhere from $10.00-$15.00 a yard in addition to whatever else you are spraying, it hurts when you aren't getting paid for it. This is advanced turf management. IMO, it shouldn't be given away.
  2. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,373


    I tried a gallon of Primo on the fence lines at a school we mow. I have the okay to kill the vegetation totally on the fence lines, but to me, that looks like crap, plus you open the ground to nothing but weeds, which grow faster anyways.

    I wasn't TOTALLY satisfied with the results, but I also didn't conform strictly to the label.

    I'll admit it was something of a $400 experiment, but I got my answer too.

    I tried spraying it out of a PG Ultra, just one nozzle, so we'd have an extra wide path, in order to not have to get the WAM within 3-4" of the fence, more like 3'. Anyways, I don't think it had enough water volume to do the full effect. In some areas it was plain as day. Others... ehhh...
  3. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 7,961

    Thanks a ton for the advice. You know more about than me since I am just getting going.

    Lets see. 50% less growth means I cut a little lower and still maintain the lawns weekly and ultimately produce a better looking lawn.

    Here is how I am looking at the cost.

    Typical Chemical cost is close to $55.00 per acre
    Premo @ 12 oz per acre is an additional $46.00 acre.

    I am now at $100.00 AC or $2.30/M Most yards are between 2.5 to 5K SqFt. Average cost for a typical yard is between 7 and 10 dollars.

    I have truck cost and labor to consider but I don't see it as that great of an expense. Am I missing something.
  4. turfsolutions

    turfsolutions LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 853

    Its not that much of an extra expense when your lawns are only 2-5k. A bit different when you are dealing with larger lawns.
  5. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 7,961

    Even at that, if you charge accordingly?
  6. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,373

    Its when you're dealing with 2-3 acres of turf on properties that it can add up.
  7. xpnd

    xpnd LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 378

    You do not get a 50% growth rate reduction for the entire 4 week period. You only get that the 1st week to ten days. After that you get more and more growth until in about 4 weeks the turf releases. It is a law of dimishing returns. Figure on applying this every 4 to 5 weeks after 90% green-up. Right now we don't have a problem with over watering the lawns. It may last up to six weeks. Several years ago when we received something like 19" of rain in May, it only lasted 2 weeks before they released. Once the effects of Primo wear off and the lawn releases, the lawn will bolt like a horse going to the barn. You need to stay on top of this because highly maintained turf that bolts is an SOB to cut and it is virtually impossible to get it back down and once it is tall figure on nearly doubling you app rate. Primo is really only effective when applied to short grass and the grass is kept short.

    What you are missing is that you are giving yourself away. Why increase your expenses and work without increasing your profit? So you can be proud that you have really cool short dense lawns and they are easier to mow. Unless you are actually mowing, who gives a flip. Have the crew raise the freaking mower and move to the next job and if it is Primo have them lower it. Spec out wheel hieght on the route sheet. I do and I take a mower out periodically to check them. Because I charge for Primo under my Advanced Turf Management Program, I'm very proud when I go to the bank and make my depsits as compared to you who is considering giving it away.

    For every jug of Primo I purchase I have a profit $800. Compare that to 0 and let me know which one you prefer. Would you prefer to spend an additional $46.00 on that acre per application or would you prefer to make $92.00. It is up to you.

    Bottom line, 80% of the customers don't give a flip and won't even know the difference. This is a been there done it sort of thing for me. One year I made 3 apps to all my customers yards. I personally contacted each customer and explained why there lawn was so great. 80% were so, whatever, it looks nice but I'm not going to pay for it. 20% loved it and are paying me. Why waste a product on roughly 80% of a client base that won't see, appreciate or pay for an improvement.

    You know who wants nicer, shorter, greener and denser lawns. They are the ones that call and say "Can you cut it shorter?" Go after the 20% who are willing to pay for it. Use them as your demos to get more and eventually you will flip the percentage after about 3 years and have 80% paying for it and 20% wishing they could have it.

    I use roughly a gallon of Primo on each round. I could have $2000.00 in the minus column at the end of the year or I could have $4000.00 in the plus column. I don't know about you but man I hate the minus column.

    Minimally you should be charging for one extra mowing plus 20% for each month of Primo apps. The customer is getting the benefit of an appearnace that looks like it was almost mowed on a 5 day schedule. They should pay for it!
  8. xpnd

    xpnd LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 378

    I ran out of edit time and could not post the remainder of my thoughts.

    For the sake of argument, let's say we each have 100 lawns that we charge out at $20.00 a pop. We mow them 30 times a year and the cost for Primo is $10.00 a yard. Everything is completely identical expcept for how we approach Primo. To each yard, I make five apps of Primo a year for which I receive $20.00 per app. You give Primo away because you want to have the coolest looking lawns. At the end of year my sales are $65,000 compared to your $55,000. We both did the same amount of work, all the lawns look identical but I deposited an additional 10K that year.

    Looking at it another way I have 100 customer who do not get Primo because they won't pay for it. During that year my sales are $60,000 and your remain at $55,000. In this situation I've only made an additional $5k as compared to you but you have done a whole lot more work than I have. While you've been spraying yards, I've been sitting by my pool drinking a beer. You have had to work harder to make less.


    When more and better services are provided the customer should pay more. I could give a rat's butt less what my customer's yards look like. If I receive my money each month to simply mow weeds and the customer is happy and the check doesn't bounce, who am I to tell him he is wrong. I don't care; I don't live there and I'm not his neighbor. If a customer is paying me for a weed free turf with managed growth applications that's what the customer will get but he is not getting it for free because of my pride. I can't eat, wear, drive or spend pride. It just makes me tired at the end of the day.

    I earned the aka of The Lawn Nazi.
  9. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 7,961

    Thanks again. I heard everything you said.

    I don't intend on giving it away but I do intend on using it to add value to my services. I don't really intend to tell them what I am doing either to make it work.

    I am glad you are in McKinney and I am in Grand Prairie because we have very similar markets as well as climate. I have no intentions of mowing anything in McKinney except maybe a few commerical accounts but even then that is a 60 mile haul. Thanks for sharing.

    I suppose my concern is I want really get my lawns to pop green and I don't want excessive Growth.

    I was aware that when the plant releases from Primo is does grow like a weed.

    I was planing on doing a light N and Primo hit the last week of April then a harder hit in May and June.

    Let's face it, 75% of the clients just want us to mow the weeds and what little grass they have with no weed and fertilization program.

    Others want a nice lawn and don't care if it is cut at 2.5 inces. It looks like crap but better than most yards.

    My hope is and you are exactly right, people will pay a little more. I think I am a little higher than most mowers in my area now. I am hoping the other neighbors be willing to pay an extra 20 to 30 bucks a month for the service.

    I was not thinking of starting the Primo early in the season when we have all the rain.



    I would not mind chatting on the phone if you don't mind.
  10. xpnd

    xpnd LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 378

    I use Fridays to get ready for next week so I can piddle around. In the above, your opinions are not in bold. Your assumptions which I think are dead on are in bold. Value and quality should be defined by the customer, not us. You already understand that these two groups of people do not find the appearance of their lawn to be a high priority. Even if you make Primo apps to their lawn, they will not notice and not appreciate it. Why lose money on these lawns? The customer is happy. They will notice however when you stop. That will make them look for another lawn service to do what you are doing with the Primo but at a cost without it. Don't upset the boat with the largest chunk of customers.

    Find the third group of people that understand what a Bermuda lawn should look like, that share your defintion of value and quality and offer them Primo and charge them for it. Use this third group as your advertising. Like attracts like. People will notice when they socialize with your customers. You will get referrals. Be patient and get paid for it.

    The more the merrier. I have endured for 15 years in this business. I'm not going anywhere.

    Your efforts will be in vain. Primo requires salesmanship. Like I said when you upcharge for Primo without telling them what they are getting, you just priced yourself out of the market. If we both bid the same lawn and you're $10.00 higher what are you going to tell them if they even bother to ask before selecting me. Tell a customer they are paying you to fertilize then tell them they have to pay you to slow down the growth takes salesmanship when they ask, Why don't you just put down less fertilizer?"

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