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Fertilizer Routes - Bigger & Better

Discussion in 'Fertilizer Application' started by PB34, Feb 2, 2006.

  1. PB34

    PB34 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 36

    I am interested in really expanding my fertilizer side of the business. I currently have about 200 lawn cutting accounts. Of those accounts, we handle about 75 were we also do the fertilizer.

    Number 1: I am really starting to realize that the fertilizer business is much, much more profitable. For example (ballpark numbers): I can charge a "normal" residential customer $30 for a lawn cut. I can charge that same customer $40 for a fertilizer application. Doing the lawn cutting takes many more man hours per day versus fertilizing, probably triple, yet the fertilizer net revenue is probably better. Additionaly, the capital investment involved for lawn cutting is probably double that of a fertilizer operation.

    I am really starting to think, why am I doing lawn cutting at all? Am I missing anything here? I am really thinking of just focusing on the fertilizer side of the business and eventually dropping the cutting side.

    Number 2 - for those of you with good size fertilizer operations, how did you expand? I am trying to determine the best marketing approach. Flyers, telemarketing, etc.

    Thanks for any input.
  2. Trinity Lawn Care  LLC

    Trinity Lawn Care LLC LawnSite Senior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 946

    PB34, I think many folks keep their cutting if for nothing else it is for cashflow purposes. It is a more constant and consistent source of income. Yes, the expenses are greater, but the cutting accounts can also generate more work in other areas. IMO keep the accounts. As far as increasing your app. biz have you offered it to all over your current customer base? Have you advertised specifically for app accounts? How did you generate your current customer base for app.?
  3. joe7588

    joe7588 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 44

    Tell your current lawn customers you will only service them if they sign up for both lawn and fert. program. I did this 2yrs ago, best move I ever made.
  4. The Ranger

    The Ranger LawnSite Member
    from NE Ohio
    Messages: 208

    I would start with what Joe7588 says...that alone will more than double your fert business.
  5. mikesturf

    mikesturf LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 797

    "Number 2 - for those of you with good size fertilizer operations, how did you expand? I am trying to determine the best marketing approach. Flyers, telemarketing, etc." Go to your current base of customers and ASK them for referrals. After they give you some names, give them 5 or 10 information packets, etc. about your service so they can hand them out to people that may not have told you about, etc. Word of mouth is many, many times more powerful than advertising.
  6. MStine315

    MStine315 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 789

    For what it's worth, I'm trying a little bit of everything this year. I have always done this as a sideline and am going full time this year. My customers have always been good about refferals without a reward, but this year I am going to give them something "free" like a winterizer or maybe 1/2 off a aeration, etc... as a reward and see if it results in more refferals. I'm also going to leave a doorhanger at surrounding homes as I do each round. I think Turfscape's idea of mailing prices out in a handwritten envelope using whitepages.com's reverse lookup idea is pretty awesome, too. It's a little more legwork, but I think there's a lot of potential there becuase like he said, the potential customer has the price in their hand, they don't have to call to get one. If nothing else, do a search, too, and just spend time on this site. I've learned more off this site in a year than all my years out in the field. Good luck!!-Marc
    P.S. I just realized you're in MI. Hope I'm not giving you TOO much help!!

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