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Newbie Questions

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by Lawn_Enforcement, Jul 8, 2008.

  1. Lawn_Enforcement

    Lawn_Enforcement LawnSite Member
    Messages: 65

    Some newbie questions.....
    first off I am in Ky, I have had several clients I mow for have said Tru Green is starting to tell them that they need 8 fert and weed apps. I just received my license to apply pesticides. Now is that normal to do 8 apps?

    With the regular 4 apps when should you do them as faras what months and things and what as far as one fert only or 3 fert and one weed, etc?

    Is it better for granular or liquid?

    Also is there a website that I can look this stuff up on?

    thanks for your help
  2. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,448

    Wheew, there is a lot of info you asked for in that post!

    I do 5 fert apps, a pre-emergent, 3 ferts with iron, (I like Lebanon Mesa), the third app is very light.... in July.... all granular, then I do a winterizer fert plus broadleaf control (spray) in the late spring and another in the early fall, and a RoundUp app in July. That's 8, and it doesn't include fungicide or grub/insect controls.

    Customers can customize this schedule if they want. I also offer 4 fert apps, but not one customer asked for it this year. I usually end up applying fungicides to half of my accounts, and insecticides to about 1/4th. I only use these controls when I diagnose a problem, never as a p[reventative unless the lawn has a history of a problem.

    My accounts are small.... apps at an aveage of 36 bucks means I can mow and blow at these crazy low prices, but get the profits from apps.... and if I didn't mow and blow, I'd lose half these apps from my billings. It helps to be on the property every week as well for scouting purposes.

    I use granaulars as much as possible, given my small property sizes, but for weed controls, other than the spring crabbgrass Pre-M, I use spray. Granulars, like weed and feeds just don't work as well. Aside from that, it's an ecomomics issue based on your company, equipment and the size of your maintained properties.

    I am sure Kentucky has a university based cooperative you can also get very valuable info from. Might want to join your local landscaper's assocoation, as they can be a great resource for info and even things like group health insurance. Most send out newletters as well, keeping you up to date on local issues that can impact your biz.
  3. whoopassonthebluegrass

    whoopassonthebluegrass LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,305

    Read through this website for all the information you could possibly want.

    # of applications is a gimmick. They count fertilization and weed control as separate applications, while some of us do not. I have "6 treatments", but by Chemlawn standards I do "13 applications"...
  4. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,448

    LOL..... yup, and I agree. Am I being honest when I split apps and charge 36 to 45 bucks every time I do one? Well, it isn't dishonest, but with mowing prices here at about 22 to 23 bucks a lawn, it's how I make my profits. Most customers end up with about 10 apps a year. Some get more, but each time I treat, they think they paid for a service, which they did.

    Is it a gimmick? I would say it is. I might also call it salesmanship. I could combine apps and save the customer money, while hurting my profit margin.... but since I practically mow for free, I can rationalize it easilly.

    If people were willing to pay a fair price for mowing and apps, a results based relationship, with an up front bottom line price quote, none of this salesmanship stuff would be necessary. It just doesnt work that way here. People would choke on a quote that high.

    Get the customer with a very competitive price, get results, and when I say they need something more, my results buy me the credibiity I need to get other apps and additional higher profit margin work. That is not to say I apply for no good reason... as I always test for pH before recommending a lime app for instance.

    The Chem Lawns and Tru Greens have this angle figured out, and since that is who I compete against, I say fight fire with fire. It's owrked so far for me.....
  5. whoopassonthebluegrass

    whoopassonthebluegrass LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,305

    Absolutely! I'm not berating that approach at all! If I could soften my price that way, I would.

    I'm just indicating that # of apps is arbitrary and doesn't really give you the real picture. Apples to oranges...
  6. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,448

    I agree... we agree.... I remember an old thread here where a Lesco rep recommended something like a 13 app schedule. Yer never gonna get customers to agree to that. You might end up doing 13 apps.... but not as part of an up front service agreement.

    I tried to do a weed control/fert sell at first, a results oriented schedule that actually increased my potential cost risk, but it just did'nt work. I found a baseline 5 fert, 2 BL and a RoundUp spraying was much more palatable to my new customers. If I had a fungus or insect breakout, I'd diagnose and get another app. I may try to add a preventative fungicide app for those customers who had fungi problems this year. That is solid turf management strategy and an easy sell.

    So.... I agree, # of apps means little, but it means a lot in how profitable my operation is as an LCO. Splitting apps makes me more money, and since I make none on mowing.... but don't get me started on the illegals.... if it weren't for them. Mows would be $30+ here.... not under $25. More people would mow their own lawns, but the number of LCO's would be cut in half.

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