Negotiations between an Applicator and a Grass Cutter

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by drobin, Jul 13, 2009.

  1. drobin

    drobin LawnSite Member
    Messages: 154

    This being my 1st year as an applicator I was excited to gain accounts. An aquiantance "John" of mine approached me about doing a joint venture. He basically walked into a honey deal where some guy was getting out of the mowing business all together and gave him 20 prime lawns in a expensive neighborhood for 300 dollars. 10 of the lawns needed applications, 8 good accounts 2 so so, and since he wasnt certified he brought me aboard to do the applications. In return I gave him about 6 lawns but they were not primo lawns. Also 2 other lawns that were primo. . Also I would lend him my 60 inch exmark whenever he was in a jam. He used it 3 times. Also I would treat his lawn for free, 18 thousand sq feet. 4-5 Apps. He came to me after just using my mower and says that he feels like he is getting the short end of the stick. "I gave you primo properties and you gave me @#$%. Many of my lawns he is not doing anymore. He gave me 2 more leads and says I want to borrow your mower 1 day a week for the rest of the season and then Ill feel like were square. The engine on my mower has been replaced but the mower has about 1250 hours on it. I wanted to use this mower for aerating in the fall with a tow behind. Im reluctant to say yes as one breakdown will probably cost me 500 minimum. Don't favor me because i'm an applicator but what would be a fair deal here? What do you recommend?
  2. jbturf

    jbturf LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,499

    Dave, been there
    all i can advise is part ways asap

    best case scenario when dealing with landscapers, is to refer one another
    not subcontract each other

    unless it was a good friend i knew, no way i would be lending out an expensive piece of
    equipment, especially one i rely upon and earn money with.
    sounds like the guys just trying to take advantage of you anyways
  3. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,008

    I wouldnt lend out my equipment at all. Id go work the said job for free before I let you do it with my machine. Other than that I think the problem is you guys are keeping tabs too closely. Fact is he can't applicate even if he wanted to and you dont want to mow. who's not to say that next month you turn him onto a condo or something.

    The best thing to do is just keep it at level of just referring work you dont want or cant do. I work very often with a tree company. He doesnt bring me as much as I bring him, but it benefits me more. He does an awesome job and is very thorough. The fact that I referred a top notch business at a fair price makes me look good. We had this conversation many years back and the result was that he has no interest in maintenance and you wont catch me dragging brush all day into a chipper. We dont count or exchange money and it has worked real well. I worked for a guy once that tried what you are doing by going dollar for dollar with his friend. It didnt end well, they no longer speak and both are out of business.
  4. turf hokie

    turf hokie LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,751

    Run away my friend, run away fast...

    I cut deals on a regular basis, never would I lend out equipement on a regular basis. I have lent and borrowed but only out of good faith or the goodness of my heart, not in return for anything.

    I have guys that refer fert work to me. I try to be fair and refer work in kind. But it never is a dollar for dollar trade and it is never part of the deal. We never say I'll give you x and you give me y.

    The service I provide is usually enough of a return for the landscaper. They RARELY want more in return than just to have their lawns look good. If I refer anything to them most are thankful and usually happy to have me even give them a referral, not even a guranteed sale.

    Think about it. He does not have a license, and when was the last time your heard of someone losing a customer b/c they suck at cutting grass. It is usually because the lawn has weeds or is discolored, etc. This is where YOU make HIM look good. that is enough of a ROI for him, he should be happy as a pig in sh!t that you gave him anything in return other than a great looking lawn.
  5. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,694

    That is how I work it as well. In my area, if the mowing guy does not spray weeds, the homeowner expects him to hand weed. You heard me right. The smart cookies I work with love having me on their properties because they do not have to hand weed the lawns or the ornamental beds. The grass is always green, but not growing at a ridiculous rate because of excess N. In return, I give them the people that have signed on with me who are looking for someone who will mow their lawn correctly. A 21" rotary or a Z or Dixie Chopper is not the correct mower for most of the lawns here, neither is cutting the whole thing with a string trimmer like how many of the hack outfits do in my town. I on the other hand am in no mood to also have to cross cut every lawn with a 10 blade Trucut and have to get that beast back on the truck all by myself 8 times a day. It is possible to lose an account in Hawaii because the grass is mowed the wrong way. Of course having the grass chlorotic and full of weeds does not help retain the account either.
  6. Bladecutter1

    Bladecutter1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    I think that old Johnny should have taken a look at the lawns that you were giving him ahead of time. Sounds like he came to you not the other way around. This situation probably won't get any better because he don't won't it to be even he wants it all.
  7. fl-landscapes

    fl-landscapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,542

    He wants to re-negotiate after you guys already had a deal. I would do like everyone else said and walk away from that guy A.S.A.P.!!!! You dont need him.
  8. LushGreenLawn

    LushGreenLawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,120

    I would point out that you will only get to treat those lawns 6-8 times a year, but he will get to mow them 28-30 times a year. Who's getting the short end of the deal?
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  9. drobin

    drobin LawnSite Member
    Messages: 154

    I incorporated your suggestions while talking to him and he has come to understand that just referring each other is the best option for us to help each other, your imput allowed me to bring up some strong points and he really has come to agree thanks Dave
  10. turf hokie

    turf hokie LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,751

    Glad it worked out. Good luck going forward.

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