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Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by cgreen454, Mar 12, 2005.

  1. cgreen454

    cgreen454 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 17

    So, I have gone back and forth on this one for a while now. My initial goal was to offer Lawn maintenance and Seasonal cleanups. For the lawns, I'd prefer to stick with mowing and edging. My concern is that as part of a lawn maintenance program, customers are going to want a fertilization schedule as well. One company doing all lawn related things.

    My question to the veterans is a recommendation for how to respond to a customer's request for fertilization. Clearly I don't want to be losing mowing contracts because potential customers are looking for fertilization too. So, in your experience, do most customers expect the mower to fertilize as well? Thanks in advance.

  2. Bull

    Bull LawnSite Senior Member
    from NC
    Messages: 308

    454, this is really a point that you have to resolve before you move forward with your business. First and foremost do not even consider applying anything as a commercial applicator without being liscensed in your state. This will continually haunt you as you work if you are not properly certified. Second, by not doing the applications you have automatically limited yourself as to different means of generating revenue. Third, I do not care for another person in the green industry coming onto one of my properties. This just creates an awkward situation and a chance to lose a customer especially if the other person is a lowballer or account thief. Now, at this point you really have three options. 1)You can refuse to do the applications until you get liscensed (but you have to explain this to the customer) or 2)you can find someone that you can hopefully trust to come in and do your applications for you until you get liscensed. Usually you can find those who only do applications and this would be best for you since they are not interested in the aspect of mowing or 3) you can continue to use the person in option two on a permanent basis. There are several pros and cons to either way you decide to go. If you apply, more money generated, become better educated, one stop shop, etc. On the other hand it may create more work than you want, you have to deal with chemicals, recertification classes and so on. Let us know which way you decide to go and good luck.
  3. the ace

    the ace LawnSite Member
    from usa
    Messages: 147

    what steps do you take to become certified?
  4. bigviclbi

    bigviclbi LawnSite Senior Member
    from nj
    Messages: 900

    Ace call your local state epa or dep. Usually you can put down fertilizers without certification but you can't put down pre and post emergents.
  5. Pro-lawns

    Pro-lawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 58

    try to set up a deal with like green thumb or lawn dr
    i did this year and they charge you half the price becuse you are lawn business You ,
    can charge there full price that they would normaly charge
    keep in mind
    that i do the areating and Power Raking
    so it would be just for applying fertilzers
    we will see how this works payup
  6. cgreen454

    cgreen454 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 17

    Great points Bull and Pro-Lawns. I'll find my local GreenThumb guy and see if I can work my way into something like this. I think using a third party makes the most sense right now to start out. I'd like to focus on building a customer base first, even if it means sacrificing some of the initial income to a 3rd party fertilizer. As Bull mentioned, this way, if I decide to add fertilization to my skill set later, I can drop the 3rd party, while the whole time not worrying about losing the mowing contract. I think this approach makes the most sense in the beginning. Great advice guys, thanks again.

  7. tjgray

    tjgray LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 294

    Good evening all,

    I think it is a good idea to not lose customers just because you are not licensed to spray chemicals by subbing out those services to someone who is BUT I absolutely would not sub out to Chem Lawn, Green Thumb, or Lawn Dr. I am not saying that the bigger companies would not do a good job but in our experience they, don't nor will they spend the time needed for good customer service. If you are going to entrust services for your customers to someone other than yourself it is far better in my opinion to find someone who has the time to treat your customers like you would. The bigger companies won't.

    We are a small company on our second year and we do alot of sub-contract work. We have an indoor pesticide company that we sub-contract for. We refer all indoor pesticide needs to them and they refer all outdoor pesticide needs to us. It is a win/win situation. We also sub-contract for a couple of landscape companies. Same situation. We refer all mowing, spring clean-up, etc. to them and the send the chemical apps our way. A big company is not going to care about sending you referrals or if even your company stays in business or not.

    A better solution in my experience is to gain a relationship with someone who is still growing their company as well and learn from each other. A smaller company still growing will appreciate your referrals and have the time to take care of your customers like you would.

    Really I am not trying to knock the big guys but I can honestly tell you that my husband worked for Chem Lawn for five years and knows first hand how very little time they have for actual customer service. We get alot of our customers because they are simply un-happy with the way the big guys are in and out in a flash with no time to assist them with their questions or concerns.

    Just something to think about......

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