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New to this side of business, help?

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by davis45, Dec 17, 2007.

  1. davis45

    davis45 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 985

    Will be taking my General Standards and Right of Way test here in a couple weeks. I am also doing alot of reading on the business rather than just jumping in and adding it to my list of services. I would love to stick with grainular rather than chem apps. I was looking for a good program/product to run, I have been told that Scotts stuff is overrated. I am open to suggestions and anything else you pro's have to tell me, I still have alot to learn before I start offering this service. Thanks for any help or advice.

    EDIT: Size of lawns are all around 1/4 acre, if there is any more info you need and i did not tell you just let me know.
  2. Shades of Green LService

    Shades of Green LService LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,011

    Some people on here would say to go work for a local fert company for a few years, which is sound advise. However, if you have your own full time business already, thats probably out of the question. My advise to you would be to go down to your local fert supplier and talk to them in detail in the off season. Ask a lot of questions on this site and take it slow.

    Another good thing to do would be to start treating your house, relatives..etc to start to get a feel for the equipment used in this side of the business.Also, when you do start to get into this and have a good idea what your doing, Granular fert and liquid weed control is the best option. If you have any more questions feel free to PM me. Good Luck!
  3. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Messages: 5,944

    Ditto. Shades of Green is a trusted source on this site, and he knows his stuff. I have a master's degree in hort, but that doesn't mean squat, as experience counts for so much more. So we stay in touch with our land-grant university, but the most up-to-date info comes from our suppliers. LESCO has been our best source regarding the newest & most effective products. UAP has done us well too. My advice = ask LESCO. MY two cents worth:usflag:.

  4. lawnservice

    lawnservice LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 589

    i wasnt going to say anything, but now feel the need to chime in.

    personally, and this is my opinion that i am free to express, i think, if one needs to go to lesco or anyother vendor for advice on how to get into lawn applications something is seriously wrong.

    I have like 7 lesco service centers within 1 hours drive of me. Only one has a qualified individual behind the counter. Oh, they are all good guys, friendly, try to help...but not all that knowledgable (I know this because several of them call us when they need). I'm sure lesco offers a good training system. But training and hands on are two different things as already mentioned.

    We just purchased most of next seasons product. Some from lesco and some from two other vendors. Every one of them is a good ole boy. Every one of them talks about their experience in agronomics. Two of them have many years experience selling products to guys like us. NONE of them have ever applied a product comercially. I'm sure they treat their own yards and maybe even the turf around their supply house....hardly what I would call experience.

    If you have a question concerning a new product they are the people to call. If you need help/advice on starting a lawncare division in your exsisting landscape company here is my suggestion:
    Hire someone with experience and learn from them. (working for a reputable company would be a better way, but obviously out of the question if you have a business to run. Hire someone who has worked for a reputable business and learn from them (respect their non-compete agreement...that doesnt mean you cant hire them to work for you and develope a lawncare division...just ask for a copy and respect its terms)

    good luck
  5. LawnTamer

    LawnTamer LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,986

    I don't know if your Lesco experience is the exception, or the rule. I can only share my experience. There are 2 Lesco locations within driving distance from me, one has 2 reps, they both have more than 10 years actual experience in the field, one ran a successful fert and squirt business, sold it off, but wasn't ready to sit around the house. The other store also has experienced people.

    I think the advice so far has been pretty good. May I add just a little.
    If granular is what you are comfy with, feel free to stick with it, (for the most part) for a while. I started out granular, but I still spot treated weeds and certain insect problems using liquid apps. To begin, if you are small you don't need that much equipment. Your local suppliers may try to tell you that you need a big spray rig... You don't. I knew a guy with 20 small residential accounts, he got sold on a 300 gallon skid sprayer which he couldn't use well and couldn't pay for.
    Here is what you will need:
    1. A good spreader, most guys like push, for 1/4 acre props I like the Spyker chest spreader, nothing is faster/easier.
    2. 2 good hand held 2 gallon sprayers, these come in handy, if you have 2 you can always keep and empty one to mix and treat anything you come across, the other you can use as a devoted glyphosate (Round Up) sprayer.
    3. A good backpack sprayer.
    4. A mix/nurse tank, very inexpensive, easy to use and mount, 50 gal. would do. This allows you to mix out of your truck without using client's hoses and risking contamination of their hose/water.

    You could get all this for $500 to $800 and it would get you started. I used this set up till I reached about 300 clients.

    A few other tips.
    Find/build a secure place to store your chemicals. Sam's club sells locking steel cabinets for $100-200.

    Get copies of the labeling and MSDS for all your chemicals, keep them in a folder in your truck and a copy where you store them.

    Buy a 5 gal bucket and build yourself a spill kit.
    A few lbs of Absorball or kitty litter
    dustpan and hand sweep
    gloves, apron, goggles
    detergent and scrubby sponge
    attach the phone # for Chemtrec to the bottom of the lid.

    Use your PPE

    If you ever get pulled over by a state inspector and you have your license, PPE, spill kit, MSDS, Labels and records, the inspector will give you a pat on the back and send you on your way.

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