expanding my horizons-need advice

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by p0wd3rp1l0t, Nov 1, 2007.

  1. p0wd3rp1l0t

    p0wd3rp1l0t LawnSite Member
    Messages: 33

    i have been in business for a couple of years, i just graduated high school and now am lookin to pursue fertilizing/spraying. i am insured and in the process of getting my license to spray through the state but i see that a lot of you guys dont live close to me. i am located in northern wisconsin-approx 2 hours east of the twin cities in mn. our season is from mid april to mid november from cleanup to cleanup. i have been watching this forum consistantly for awhile and now got the nerve to ask wat do to. i am wanting to come up with a program to fertilize and control weeds for some of my clients next year. i would like a disctinct 3-4 step program involving fertilizing, weed control, and some winterizer. somethin that is cost effecient and not too particular since i dont know a whole lot bout specializing in my sprays. i guess i know u guys prolly have some secrets but if u could just give me some general info. i do have a place in town that carries fertilizer and weed controlants by bulk so i should be able to get specific "kind" of controlant. thank you so much for any info u can give me.
  2. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Get up on the top of your roof, it expands how far you can see :laugh:

    Seriously thou, first you'll need to be licensed for this, specifically.

    Then look into several handheld and a backpack sprayer for starters.
    You could, I suppose, look into a rail spray system (or boom spray), but I like to save that for later because it also requires a turf-going vehicle of some sort (and neither the system nor the vehicle are cheap). You can figure spending several hundred and up to a thousand for a smaller boom + tank system, but the vehicle is another 2+g, usually, so at least 3-4g for starters...

    There are certain devices where you can hook the rail sprayer to the truck and with a long hose treat the yard, but by that time I'm about as well off with the backpack, plus the other thing is you first need enough customers to justify mixing enough for the TANK on those systems... A backpack, in comparison, holds 4 gallons, you likely need 8-12 gallons to treat a 1/4 acre but that's a far cry from 45-60-100-120 gallon system tanks, and even one customer can justify mixing the chems with a backpack.

    Time wise the backpack isn't too bad, I'd say 30-45 minutes does 1/4 acre if it takes that long, of course mixing is extra, it's not the most efficient method for sure, but it is cost effective from the git go, until you can afford (and justify) better.

    That's all I know, for now.
  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    You could, if you already have a vehicle, get what I call a starter rail spray system (thou that's not what they're really called).
    Likely you'll look into boom sprayers that carry 20-45 maybe 60 gallons but more along the lines of 20-30 maybe 40.

    But you need a vehicle! A Ztr might work, a full size 4wd ATV probably would, I've been looking into a used golf cart thou the most compatible vehicle would likely be a tractor, even if a mini or compact.

    They do make some tow-behind systems, that would work with almost anything but the price jumps once they add this stupid little rickety POS trailer, I myself prefer the systems that ride on the back of the vehicle some kind of way, and yes most are rather permanently attached for this to work.

    Hence, backpack sprayer :)
    To carry backup chems until you have enough jobs, you could buy several colored 5-gallon fuel cans.
    They make blue, yellow, and red (I don't care for red because that's also where I put gasoline in), blue is technically keros and yellow is diesel, I use neither of those (not true I use keros in winter but it's not a problem of mixing it up).

    Oh now don't forget the push broadcast spreader, granular applications are but one step away from liquid chems, in many ways simpler, and also cost effective. Probably until you're all set up, you might use one of these 100-120 lb. spreaders most of the time, then the backpack for the liquid experience (some things the liquid either works a lot better, or it's the only thing they make for what you're trying to accomplish). But yeah, broadcast spreader.

    All of this works best on a striped yard, you just follow the pattern, it's all lined out for you where to walk along.
  4. Wells

    Wells LawnSite Member
    from SLC UT
    Messages: 0

    Building a Fert&Squirt business by itself is going to be a hugh undertaking. With fertilizing you only visit each property about every 6 weeks so your going to need a client base of 400 to 500 people just to keep yourself busy. Aquiring that kind of clientelle can take years and a hugh amount of marketing.
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

  6. p0wd3rp1l0t

    p0wd3rp1l0t LawnSite Member
    Messages: 33

    i have a mower to tow a spreader or a sprayer. i already priced out some spreaders and some sprayers. my real question is application. wat do i put down adn when do i put it down? like i said i want to stick to a 3-4 app a year for cost effeciency.
  7. p0wd3rp1l0t

    p0wd3rp1l0t LawnSite Member
    Messages: 33

    also i am setup for my mowing and cleanup accts, i just have a lot of people asking if i do any fert/weed control and i say no cuz i legally cant.

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