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Mowing vs. Applications

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by LDH, Jul 3, 2009.

  1. LDH

    LDH LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,262

    Which of the two brings in the most income? I know there's less overhead and maintenance with a sprayer vs. a mower, handhelds, trailer, etc. But, is it possible to make as much money doing applications only? Thanks.
  2. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,280

    Very good question. I do believe the margins are better for doing apps vs straight mow/blow. I don't necessarily agree that the overhead is less for apps, though. If you are going to do it right, it will cost you some $ and regular maint to your spray rig (whatever that may be).

    I do think that the sky is the limit for doing apps though. Especially if the density of service providers in your area is thin. Then, you are just competing against Trubrown and you will WIN OVER a LOT of customers with good, caring service. Do a market analysis and see what is the best route for you. Are you solo? If so, you may find it is VERY difficult to do both mowing and apps yourself, you just will not have the time once your customer base gets so big.
  3. LDH

    LDH LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,262

    Thanks for the input. Yes, I am solo. I ran a crew in the past when I had the contracts to justify and need it, but for the past few years i've been doing it myself. From time to time when I get behind, I may hire a guy to come help me for a day or something like that, but no regular employees. There are alot guys doing apps around here.
  4. mdlwn1

    mdlwn1 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,443

    Which brings in the most income?...whichever you do more of..................................

    Seriously though..the marigns are WAAAAAAAAYYY higher for apps. Its not even close. Think about it. Properly set up, 1 guy can go out for apps a nd gross anywhere from 600-1000 per day with a van and a spreader or tank sprayer. How much can one guy generate with a mower?
  5. LDH

    LDH LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,262

    In 2007 I had a contract with the city where I mowed a 29 acre roadway. It was a 4 lane highway. I did the median and both sides, 2 miles long. I made $650 per mowing on it. With a 72" and a 60" ZTR I was able to do it in about 9 hours. They let me spray around all the light poles, so there wasn't much trimming, other than around the culverts. I also had a 4 acre lot that I mowed on the same contract. It paid $400 per mowing and took about 45 minutes with the same 2 machines on it. The city wanted it mowed once a week. I always did the roadway, then drove straight to the lot and hit it. That was $1,050 every week that Summer for 1 day of mowing, just off those 2 accounts. That Summer I also did the library, museum, senior citizen center, associated charities building, and nutrition center for the city. It took 1 day to do the roadway and lot. Then another day to do all that little stuff downtown. I also did Sonic, Napa Auto Parts, a car dealership, and several others. I grossed an average of $2,000 a week that Summer off of my mowing. Of course I had to buy the 2 big expensive ZTRs to do it all. The bad thing with mowing like that is they put it up for bid every year, and what the last guy charged the year before is in public records. That's why the same guy never gets it 2 years in a row. That sucks when you go out and spend the money getting set up to do that kind of high acreage mowing.
  6. LDH

    LDH LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,262

    Right now i'm exploring the option of getting rid of all my mowing equipment and just doing applications. Times are getting bad and my big industrial accounts who wanted cut once a week are telling me to cut them back to once every 2 weeks. They've been laying people off in the plant and in the warehouse for awhile. I figured I would be next. I'm in a position where I could probably sell my equipment, pay off my note, and still have enough cash left over to buy a nice skid sprayer and a nice spreader. By doing this, I wouldn't have a note payment hanging over my head, nor would I have the fuel expenses of the big Grasshopper, hand helds, blades for the mower, bad fuel mileage in my truck lugging the trailer around, etc. I would simply have a sprayer and spreader, no note at the bank, and alot less headache. What are your thoughts?
  7. LDH

    LDH LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,262

    I also have a class A CDL and am thinking about going back to driving a truck and doing the applications on the side. I figure it would be alot easier to do apps on the side than it would be to mow. I could leave work, would already have the sprayer in the bed of my truck, etc. It doesn't take as long to do apps as it does mowing, plus it's alot less physical.
  8. EVM

    EVM LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 384

    You can make alot more money with the fert/pesticide but you must have a huge client base to keep you busy. Overhead with lawn maintenance equipment is a joke.

    I like doing both because I can see all of my property's and know when a problem is starting.
  9. humble1

    humble1 LawnSite Silver Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,519

    apps way more money
  10. LDH

    LDH LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,262

    What do you mean by "it's a joke"? Do you agree it's expensive, or are you implying that there's not much to it? Please clarify. Also, what are some good marketing practices to push the fert/pest on people in order to build the clientel base?

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