Lawn care, really a career?

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by Robert James Fischer, May 25, 2004.

  1. Robert James Fischer

    Robert James Fischer LawnSite Member
    from ma/nh
    Messages: 5

    Hi, there, folks. I've been considering getting into this business by going to work for a spray co. I like the idea of having greater independence, working outside( well, most of the time!) and find it gratifying to work with lawns, trees, shrubs and the like.

    At any rate

    - What are the real dangers of handling pesticides over long periods of time? Be honest. I'm a big boy.

    - What sort of work schedule do most spray techs follow? 9-5 M-F? Or is there any degree of flexibility in what days and hours employees are allowed to work?

    - Why such a high turn over rate?

    - How much would an average tech make the 1st year? 2nd, and so on?

    - Are there really advancement oppurtunities in this field, and if so what are they?

    Thanks, in advance
  2. lawnservice

    lawnservice LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 589

    first let me say you got a good plan by starting out working for a spray company first. get onboard with a reputabale company that takes training very seriuosly, you will learn a lot. I'd also say that you will need 5 years before you can strt to consider yourself experienced.

    dangers of handling pesticides...not a problem if you respect them. follow label recommendations, this goes for personal protection equipment/clothing

    work schedule 9-5....ummm no! more like 7-6 (at least in new england where it is a seasonal business, I assume your on the MA/NH line?

    High aint as easy as it may look...lots of stress. folks can be very anal about their lawns, not to mention weather conditions and schedules to keep.

    First year tech...figure around 30-40grand. depending on how much you are willing to do. most companies will have insentives in place where you can add to your weekly salary...if your willing that is.

    Advancement betcha....but again only for those willing to sacrifice. If you want a 9-5 work schedule, forget about lawncare! If you are willing to go the extra mile (or put in an extra hour) you will succeed, just like anyother business.

    Once you know your agronomics pretty well and get a good handle on how to market, you'll be starting your own business where the sky is the limit. I've been in the industry for over 20 years, have owned my own business for about 10. I am at a point whre i come and go as I please (got a good group of guys working here so I dont sweat not being here) and my salary...well i dont give that info but it has at least 5 zeros in it. And it is a seasonal business, my wife and I are now doing lots of traveling in the off season (our kids are now old enough where we can leave and not worry)

    Lawncare has been very good to me
  3. Tscape

    Tscape LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,370

    30-40K in your first year? I would be skeptical about that. Its seasonal. You'll get laid off. Factor $10 an hour x 60 hours a week for 30 weeks. I get 21,000 with overtime. After a season expect a big raise to $12-$13 an hour. After 5 seasons you might have a position of responsibility and MAYBE earn $40k.
  4. lawnservice

    lawnservice LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 589

    Turfscape, we pay a year round salary of $30k for a qualified beginner. Quailified means someone we feel is 'teachable', has a positive attitude, freindly personality and a 'caring heart'. Tough to determine these things during an interview (we do interview 3 times before hiring anyone) but within the first 30 days of employment the persons true colors will surface. At that point we either keep them or drop them. We do not layoff in winter. We have plenty of things that need doing. Trucks are maintained (our trucks look in showroom like condition at the beginning of every season) we also keep in phone contact with every customer plus we do our in house telemarketing/direct mailing...these things all require a full time effort.
    Salary will vary from market to market. Some areas of the country I'm sure pay less, we have a pretty high cost of living here.
  5. hickory

    hickory LawnSite Member
    Messages: 63

    How much do owners of landscape companies make?
  6. Garden Panzer

    Garden Panzer Banned
    from Seattle
    Messages: 313

    Lawn Care can be lucrative! I do about 80k after 10 years in biz, not bad for a HS drop-out! Where I live though, wages like that barely will get you a house.
  7. James Cormier

    James Cormier LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Ma
    Messages: 1,217

    Lawnservice, that was a great post, sounds like your a class act.

    I got a question for you, would you rather hire someone that seems like a great person, great track record with other jobs and perfect refferalls but no green back ground,


    someone with many years of green back ground but with less glowing refferalls?

    As far as salaries go , in the 80’s I was middle management making mid 40’s, as a spray tech I was in mid 30’s, As a owner yeh I doing much better, My Dad who worked all his life for 1 company and grew up during the 30'-40's is amazed at how much a "lawn guy " makes in a year.

    Currently budgeting for employees for next seasons growth and I am budgeting for mid 30’s for spray techs but I would like to offer better benefits with company vehicle’s to keep salaries down for the first few years
  8. lawnservice

    lawnservice LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 589

    Thanks for the compliment, but I aint all that special :eek:

    No doubt I'd rather hire the great referrals, great track record guy over the experienced 'know it all'!

    We have hired experienced guys before...none last. They ALL bring baggage from their fomer employer. They all think the way they used to do things is best. Even when we have tryed to retrain them to do things our way we find them going back to their old way we no one is looking!

    WE have our system of getting things done, much easier to train the inexperienced guy this system, then try to break old habits with the experienced guys.
  9. Robert James Fischer

    Robert James Fischer LawnSite Member
    from ma/nh
    Messages: 5

    Who do you work for? Most of the big companies around here (Trugreen etc..) claim their spray techs work full time, year yound.

    Anybody know what these guys are doing in the middle of winter, without a lawn in sight?
  10. Robert James Fischer

    Robert James Fischer LawnSite Member
    from ma/nh
    Messages: 5

    80k gross, or net?

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