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Fertilizer Price for huge lawn

Discussion in 'Fertilizer Application' started by MikeMME11, Nov 15, 2013.

  1. MikeMME11

    MikeMME11 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    Can someone please shed some light on a formula that I could use to figure out what to charge.
    for example you could use a 120,000 square foot lawn. What would I charge per app? Thanks in advance.
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  2. vaacutabove

    vaacutabove LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,011

    an acre of grass is an acre of grass you can give a little discount because there is no driving between half acre jobs but material cost is still the same. Material plus fuel and equipment cost plus Labor and profit.
  3. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,717

    Trade secret. However...
    essentially you must figure your fertilizer cost for 120,000 sqft. Then add your labor cost for the man-hours required(wages and labor burden to cover perks, taxes associated with an employee).
    Suppose you fert cost is a dollar per thou and your labor cost is a dollar per thou--you are at $240. Add a cost per hour of your spreader and its fuel and maintenance, so that you will be able to buy a new one when this one wears out--say 25 cents. Add a profit factor per hour to reward you for the risk of tying up your money by being in business.
    Add a cost per job for travel to the jobsite and overhead to cover office, rent, heat and technology stuff, (and the risk customer will not pay--or want a redo.)

    Do not give him a quantity discount--do you get a quantity discount on your gas? I think not. Big yards and small yards are the same amount of labor and fert.The only savings are in the travel to the sites. And the billing--one stamp instead of 15.
  4. MikeMME11

    MikeMME11 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    Could you simplify a little, so I can see how you get the rate. Thanks
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  5. PenningsLandscaping

    PenningsLandscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,853

    I don't see how that could be any simpler. Figure out your costs plus profit per 1000. Then multiply by 120. You can give a slight discount if you'd like, but there isn't a magic $15 bag of fertilizer that covers this much square footage. It's going to be hundreds per app.

    Be smart, don't low ball it. Spreading $300 dollars worth of fertilizer for $350 is a waste of your time. If they really want it, they'll pay what it costs.

    No one can give you an exact number, because fert prices are all over the place. Some guys on here buy by the truckload. They're getting it cheaper than the guy who goes to the dealer and buys 10 bags at a time.
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    Last edited: Nov 16, 2013
  6. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,717

    If...you are referring to the overhead cost...take your overhead cost total last year; then divide by the number of applications for all customers you did last year.
    Suppose you paid $12,000 for all your office and overhead costs--and you did 1200 applications. Divide and you get $10 per application; you must charge this amount as part of each application.
  7. A. W. Landscapers  Inc.

    A. W. Landscapers Inc. LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,285

    You left out growth and increase in overhead. At that price you won't be able to afford to expand or pay for the increase in prices you will experience during the year…you have to factor into the equation that your overhead will most likely increase every year as your costs to run your business goes up…phone rates, energy, gas, postage, paper…just about everything you are currently paying for will be a little more expensive next year...you also have to compensate for inflation and plan for future expansion.

    Instead of $10 you will need to charge $10.50 or $11.00 or whatever. If you don't, your increased costs and any future expansion will have to come out of your profit/pocket instead of your current clients paying for it…you in essence become less profitable if you fail to factor in your your estimated increases to your overhead costs and your future growth.

    Last year you needed to charge $10 to cover overhead.

    This year you need to charge $11 just to cover the increase in overhead (if you want to expand, you should charge more than $11).

    If you use last years numbers and only charge $10, you will be $1 short multiplied by the number of times you charged $10 when you should have charged $11.

    If you did 1200 applications, you will be $1,200 short for covering your overhead because last year the overhead was $12,000 and this year your overhead is $13,200.

    RABBITMAN11 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,479

    Sounds to me like your in the wrong business, if you have no idea how to calculate your cost and what your market average is!
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  9. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Messages: 5,954

    Wuz thinking the same thing, but I figure the original poster wanted some tips.

    This late in the season in MA = winterizer fertilizer. For 120,000 s/f, I would charge approx $360. 44-0-0 25% XCU @ less than $17 per bag (truckload prices/direct shipped from EC Grow). Apply 3 lbs per 1000 s/f.

    I may be all wet here, but I hope it helps.

    CHARLES CUE LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,412

    Wouldn't 3 lbs of 44-0-0 be about 1.5 lbs of N per th that would be a little much for spring and summer apps you might want to go with some thing with a little more slow release like 50%

    Charles Cue

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