offset fert prices by more Apps?

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by grassguy_, Jan 6, 2008.

  1. grassguy_

    grassguy_ LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 633

    Are any of you increasing the number of applications to a customers lawn in order to recoup the increases in fertilizers and other costs? Obviously you wouldn't be making fertilization treatments with each application but having the ability to offset the increases by giving a little better overall service. may sound crazy but some BIG companies obviously are doing it. Any thoughts? How many treatments do most of you do with your normal programs? I know warm season guys here will probably make more visits but is it across the board for cool season guys as well?
  2. Victor

    Victor LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,430

    My program consists of 6 apps, not including add-on applications.
  3. humble1

    humble1 LawnSite Silver Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,519

    6 fert or 5 fert and 6th is lime?
    thanks for the pm vic- id buy you a beer and shake your hand if you lived closer.
  4. ted putnam

    ted putnam LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,746

    6 total. 6th is either Dallisgrass/Nutgrass in the summer or Lime between Thanksgiving and Christmas. We do need Lime here. I stick a PH meter in every lawn. They run between 5.6 and 6.6 on average. I've heard some of the guys scoff at Lime on here because they don't need it. but we do here.One of my biggest competitors here does not do Lime. He throws potash in the tank and sprays the lawns and calls it a "Winterizer".If his customers only knew. He says he only does Lime if they request it.
  5. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,448

    Either you have a good program or you don't. Adding an app, be it fert or whatever is not how I do things. I know guys that throw lime down every year without a pH test, just to get the billing. I treat cutomers the way I treat my own lawn and gardens. I am not about to add an app to my own lawn for no good reason. If costs have gone up, I tell my customers that. And I charge more.

    I will even absorb some increases, and tell the customers that too. I am a small operation. My customer relations are built on mutual trust.

    Ya know, at first this Neighborhood Notification Act in effect on LI seemed like a pain in the butt. There is always a silver lining. I expect some phone calls when I put these out. No one, and I mean NO ONE does it here. There is my excuse to tell people that most of the LCO's around here break the law, and operate illegally. Once they also learn that breaking the law subjects them to fines as well as the ilegal LCO.... what better advertising is there than that?
  6. turf hokie

    turf hokie LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,753

    Yup, I thought the same thing when I first started out myself.....good luck with all the headaches this method of education will bring you.

    I still hear this in my sleep "What the hell are you putting down at my neighbors house that is SO BAD you have to warn me about it. Nobody else ever did this. Why dont you use what they use, their products must be safer."
  7. rcreech

    rcreech Sponsor
    Male, from OHIO
    Messages: 6,163

  8. ted putnam

    ted putnam LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,746

  9. Harley-D

    Harley-D LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 508

    I think what grassguy is talking about is possibly splitting the application rates and doing more than one app. I can't disagree with that. Puts you on the lawn more often without using more fert. I would consider using a high slow release at the beginning of the year and then "spoon" feed after that and especially through the summer.
    If you just apply a 50% slow fert. at about 3/4 lb/N/K then do the next app about 8-12 weeks later depending on timing, you might miss something. Why not split that same app in half and do it every 5-6 weeks? Doesn't sound time reasonable though does it?
    An interesting concept but you might have to do alot of coordination...and throw in weather and equipment issues...hard to make it happen. And obviously coundn't charge the same as a normal app if your applying at half rate. You could maybe do 60% the normal charge of an application. Anybody else have any ideas on this?
  10. lawnservice

    lawnservice LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 589

    there is a company in MA that does somethin like what Harley is saying.

    Their rnd 1 is done with a standard product of fert/pre-emergents (also done with a standard push spreader, they dont spend no money on fancy equipment) The rest of their apps (except for insect controls) are done using a chest spreader (which is wicked fast) using straight urea at 1/4 to 1/2 Lbs N/1000. They sell a monthly service. Every 4 weeks back on the lawn. They also sell aerations to every lawn as part of their program and I believe vegitation control to areas like cracks in a paved driveway etc.

    Their cost per 1000 is low.
    They are on the property often to catch a problem more quickly.
    They have employees running smaller routes (customer count) because of the 4 week intervals.

    I hired someone a number of years ago that worked for that company. He had a hard time adjusting to our way (we were mostly liquid apps back then and ran an 6-8 week interval program)

    So, compared to our program of 5 ferts they do 8 ferts. Add in a grub preventative and/or lime they do 9-10 apps in 8 scheduled visits (also every guy that runs a route does his own aerating in that route)

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