Need help in getting started.

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by zeroturnman, Feb 14, 2005.

  1. zeroturnman

    zeroturnman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 16

    I am just going to get started in the spraying and fertilizing this year. I am in the process of getting my license and insurance. Could you please help me on what to charge and what kind of equipment you would recommend.
  2. aceofblades

    aceofblades LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1

    Hi Dennis. My suggesting for pricing sounds simple, but it's not. First you need to do some research. What is your break even point going to be. I don't recommend charging less than that, obviously. Next, what is your competition charging. When we started our company, we made the decision to come in at a lower price than the competition. Many people will want to choose someone with a recognizable name and reputation, but you might be able to sway them based on price. You can always raise your price later on. Price too high and you attract fewer customers with a higher profit per customer. Price lower and you atract more customers at a lower profit. Offer them fantastic service and you have a great customer base to work from each year. Return customers are almost pure profit. Cover your costs and focus on building your business. With any luck you will have some money left over for yourself. Your not going to make much money for yourself in the beginning, so don't try and price it thinking you will. As far as equipment goes, don't cheap out. If you want to provide good service, you need good, reliable equipment. Get whatever is going to work for you.
  3. heritage

    heritage LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,351

    You are just getting started in the lawn care business......Great! I assume you do not have any existing buiz exp. so I will give you some advise, and I am sure others here will chime in with their experience as well. You will need to figure out what your operating costs are and aproxx. how many billable hours you will do your first season. Example: equipment, insurance, fuel, supplies, Overhead. Divide this number into how many billable hours you estimate will have. This is your operating cost or your break even point.

    An Accountant is a MUST to help you look at the numbers to find out what your HOURLY RATE should be as a Minimum standard. He/she will ask you how much you want to make per Hour and this will be factored into the overhead # to determine what your hourly rate will be.

    Then you need to figure out what your production would be. Example: How many Sq. Feet will you do Per Hour average. Now you know how many Sq. Ft. per hour you can average, You can factor in your Hourly rate into your production per hour to come up with an amount you would charge per 1000 Sq. Feet. You would add the price of materials cost + 20% to come up with a price per 1000 Sq.Feet Charge and add a Stop Fee to this number (example one dollar a mile or $35 Min. to pay for windshield time).

    You should NOT try to compete with the large companies as far as pricing because you will not be able to compete with them. Sell high quality results and great personalized service. Your clients will respect you more, and these are clients that you could have and keep until they move, and they are loyal and will refer there friends and family to you. If you start out with low pricing, you have set the bar very LOW and it is VERY HARD to raise prices after starting out low , and you will not be able to do quality because you will be too tired from the volume of work you have, and may very well find yourself cutting corners on product like some big companies do, and you will have a low Quality and low/no profit quantity company. I like the QUALITY/ Higher Profit approach myself. Quality or can't have both. IMO The Big companies CAN make a Good profit using the quantity approach.......I do not believe the small company can profit well, consistently day after day using the quantity approach.

    Your first season you will need 2 good 3-4 gallon backpack sprayers, a good Back pack Blower, and a reliable PROFESSIONAL GRADE spreader. Don't use homeowner products....won't hold up and will not look professional. If you plan on larger accounts you may want to look into a ride-on spreader by lesco. Only spreads granular product, but not too pricey) I think under $3,000) and self propelled. This is a must if you are doing lots larger than 15,000 Sq. Feet for production reasons. This is some basic advise that will hopefully help you avoid waisting the first years for your lawn care business and helping you to get a good start. Any other advise for this guy?
    Good Luck!

    Pete D.
  4. marko

    marko LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 963

    If you are just getting started and only spraying/spreading, I would also go with the 4 gal backpack and a 25 gallon nurse (water supply) tank to refill from, lesco spreader, marking flags.
    Some things to think about for the future: Where are you going to fill up a 200 gallon spray tank, usually you need back flow preventers, containment areas, etc. You might have this all planned out but just food for thought. You might want to pick up some mowing accounts to take up the slow days and help with $$$ at first. Good luck and keep us posted.
    If you need a good contact for liability insurance, let me know. I had a good company when I was in Iowa (Burlington) that was reasonable.
  5. westwind

    westwind LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 444

    Heritage said it all, legwork now will prevent future problems. good luck.
  6. zeroturnman

    zeroturnman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 16

    Yes, I could use the name for a good commercial liability company for spraying. I should have been more specific in my original question. I have been mowing, trimming. leaf removal part-time for the last 8 years. Have about 30 accounts at present.

    I am going into it full-time now as the company, I used to work for closed our location.
    It was getting to the point where I couldn't work both jobs.

    I have had many people ask me about doing spraying, but told them I couldn't do them as I was not licensed. I am trying to find reasonable liablilty insurance.
  7. cemars

    cemars LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 387


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