Newbie to Fert. Liquid or Granular???/

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by JShe8918, Mar 6, 2008.

  1. JShe8918

    JShe8918 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 946

    Hey my name is Jonathan Sheehan and this is my first year to have a fert program for some of my clients. I have been doing my yard for about 4 years but that is a bit different. The more i look into fertilizer the more i realize how much more money is to be made spraying chemicals. Yes i am working on getting my liscense for chem application. I have been looking at spreaders and boom sprayers alike. A good push stainless broadcast spreader will run almost 300 dollars. A Fimco 7 boom sprayer with 25 gallon tank is only 400 dollars. Which is the way to go. I need your opinion. I need reasons not just cause i said so stuff. Around this area people aren't afraid to spend money and there is no one in my area who offers fertilization .... Thanks in advance...
  2. rcreech

    rcreech Sponsor
    Male, from OHIO
    Messages: 6,136

    You are correct that there is some money to be made on this side...but that comes with some risk.

    Your costs will be much higher and also you had better know what you are doing.

    One little mistake can take ALOT of profit if you don't know what you are doing!

    Learn, Learn Learn before you ever start. There is alot more to it then most think!

    Good Luck!
  3. JShe8918

    JShe8918 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 946

    first u must know the type of grass, the squarefootage, and then you must calibrate your machine. Got to do it at the right time. Still there is a lot to learn about the different types of liquid fertilizer. That is why i am here
  4. hmartin

    hmartin LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 590

    You will eventually need the spreader and the sprayer. Most of your equipment buying decisions will depend on what size accounts that you are dealing with. The 7 foot boom is perfect for running across two arcres, but almost worthless on a tiny front lawn. I am assumning that you are wanting to use your four-wheeler to carry the 25 gallon sprayer.

    On bermuda and zoysia, if spray liquid pre-emerge (cheaper) and liquid broadleaf control (cheaper) in the spring, you can, for the most part, spread granular fert (cheaper) and spot spray (cheaper) selective herbicides on subsequent apps.

    Granular fert is cheaper, the application equipment cost less, and it is easier for a relatively inexperienced guy to apply.
  5. agr682

    agr682 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 51

    fertilizer isn't that bad, but when you get to the chemical aplication it is ridiculous the amount of insurance, fees, charter, employees and dealing with the regulations. Passing the test is the easy part. In order for it to justify all the bs you have to go through, you mioght as well dedicate yourself strictly to chem application and look at the home pesticide area, because you will already have the equip and linsceses except for the wdo part of your test.

    If you can't tell, I looked into it for myself, but good luck!
  6. wiseguyslawn

    wiseguyslawn LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 464

    you can get liquid fert cheaper than granular.
  7. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,448

    Mr Sheehan, (always good to see another Irishman in the biz!), good questions. Shows you care about doing it right. I started last year with some lousy call me when you need me LCO accounts last year, then decided to commit to this business. So, your situation is very similar to what my own was last year. First thing I did was create a solid business plan.

    I targeted ONLY small residentials, and based all my equipment buys on that profile. A 32" WB, only backpack sprayers and 32oz atomizers, etc.

    Then I hit the books and the net hard. Took a 30 hour course sponsored and given by my local LCO association. Took the DEC test, and got certified. $100 to join the assoc., $250 for the course, $150 for the test and cert card, and $450 to get registered as a pesticide company with the state. My liability insurance went up $150 for the year. Total cost: $1,100. The $450 is good for 3 years here.

    I still have a lot to learn, but I know I am already better than 80% of the jokers out here in my area already. I spent the entire winter doing research and reading. Posting actively here too was a great help. I also work at a very prestigous arboretum, state owned and operated. I rub elbows with PhD types all the time when I work there. I am getting to know the key players at my Cornell University cooperative extension too. Free resources, advice from experts.... can't beat that.

    I use an IPM philosophy that makes my services much easier to sell. Key part of my business plan. I perform soil pH measurements right in front of the customer, using "real" instrumentation, not the crap from RapidTest at Home Despot which does nothing more than measure the pH of the distilled water from the soil slurry. I can show the customer right there, I know what I'm doing, and no, we don't need to waste money on lime this spring (conversley, if the pH is 5.5, selling a lime app is already sold).

    I have found that being a sole source for maintenance and apps is what most people here anyways, prefer. I pick apart, but tactfully, that Scotts four step program. It's easy. Same goes for the national squirt and fert outfits.

    Doing apps has also gotten me more premuim services, like power raking zoysia, aeration, and fall over seeding, where there is much more profit. I explain why my base line program doesn't include any insecticide or fungus apps.... which makes my quote look cheaper up front, even though many customers will get those apps, as I diagnose the property over the year.

    I include 6 pages of handouts with my two page quotes which include a property survey and analysis, including the free pH test. These handouts talk about the local water supply, how I also live here, responsible use of chemicals to proper irrigtion techniques. Of the 12 customers I've quoted so far, 11 have signed up this spring so far..... my target was 20 new full service accounts. Looks like I'll meet or exceed that now.

    I guess what I'm saying is that I think you are doing the right thing... being a customer's single source for all his fauna management. Personlized attention and service. Now, the proof for me is yet to be in the pudding, but so far I am thrilled with how my business is shaping up. My accounts will bill out at $1,300 to well over $2,000 a year. This is for 4k properties! Try and do THAT with a mow and blow company!

    Yes, the time and money investment is more than substantial, but well worth it IMO. If you are motivated to learn, and want to have more fun while making more money in the process.... go for it.
  8. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,293

    Martin is right,
    you need a high-quality stainless steel spreader.

    And you need a sprayer, (plus a backpack sprayer).
    Use the spreader for high-quality fert with slow release. Use the liquid for high-quality weed control.
  9. wiseguyslawn

    wiseguyslawn LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 464

    1,300 to 2,000 for each client. Sounds like a pretty expensive fert program. Your properties must be pretty large.
  10. JShe8918

    JShe8918 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 946

    Thanks Whitney. I really want to get into this due to me moving for college next year. It would put me with the advantage over the other college students that have a similar company such as a mow and blow. This is what i want to do to make my living. I want to be a business man and own a nursery, do everything that is included with horticulture. And i am trying to keep all of this in perspective as of now. If i do a little more of something each year then that will put me that much further ahead. Thanks you guys.

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