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Pricing for fert & squirt

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by James Cormier, Sep 18, 2004.

  1. James Cormier

    James Cormier LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Ma
    Messages: 1,217

    It seems like alot of post on this subject and Ive gotten alot of emails on it as well ( I don't mind ) lately.

    Here is what I think alot of you should do to figure it out, this is what I did when I started and I do it each year when I do my budget.

    We all base our work on amounts per K ( thousand sq ft ) how much product goes down per K and such. I'm sure most of you figured out what your program cost you per K, I would at least hope so, That would be chemical cost per k.

    Example would be, a bag of fert & dimension cost you $11.00 and covers 12,500 sq ft so your cost per K would be $ .88 per K.

    So you can do this for all materials you would apply during the season. You should budget high on certain things, like weed control, I budget I will do 2 blanket sprays per lawn per year.

    Now your next step is to figure out your cost per K for all your expenses, like truck payment, office rent, supplies and everything your business spends money on.

    Once you do this, then you will be able to figure out what you should charge for your services, Because it doesn't matter what the guy across town charges, if your not covering your expenses, (and I mean all expenses, like winter income, retirement savings, life insurance & bad debt ) then your not going to make it very far.

    Now of course you need to know your numbers to do this, In most cases its more important to know these numbers than how to push a spreader or mow a lawn. I think this is what separates the successful companies that last a long time from the others

    Just my 2 cents.
  2. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,373

    Thanks Jim!!

    Now I'll be successful. :waving:

    Nah, seriously, you're right about the retirement, I never made enough for a LONG time, until about 5 years ago.

    Anyways, I don't worry TOO much about making enough in the summer for the winter time, cause I sell firewood and plow, and the plow is all contracted. I couldn't stand making so much in the summer that I didn't have to work in the winter, I'd go NUTS!

    Oh, by the way, I got the trailer back from being lettered, so this week I'll get pics.
  3. Talstar

    Talstar LawnSite Member
    Messages: 20

    James, I think that just cocked a lot of heads :dizzy: There are many hats to wear in business, some just dont fit too good.
  4. turf hokie

    turf hokie LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,751

    I just worry about leaving money on the table. My solution is I have raised prices all year (being my first year on my own, learning curve) for all new contracts until people began to grumble that's where I figure I should be.

    James I have all the costs figured but it is tough to figure rent, truck payment, insurance costs per thousand as they don't change as you gain more work. These remain the same whether you do 1 million sq ft or 8 million sq ft.

    By the way who did you beat up to get dimension and fert at $11 per bag?? I had to bang some heads to get there.
  5. sniggly

    sniggly LawnSite Member
    Messages: 190

    James........you hit the nail on the head with one of those statements. The one regarding the fact that it doesn't matter what the other guy makes. It really is of no significance what someone else charges. I repeat that often to my customer's............and get them to pay what I want.

    I get into discussions with local LCO's here about things from time to time.....and it always amazes me the overwhelming number that cannot tell me what driving one mile in their truck costs them. You can forget about getting into what an ounce of three way may cost them, much less using that ounce. Trip charge?........"....what's that?". "Wow....I guess I should figure out what my route distance is for each day I work."

    I practice keeping my mouth shut to most of these guys, but on very seldom occassion I run across a start up LCO that has a genuine interest in good customer service with a desire to be good at what he does. These precious few.....I buy a beer and chat with them and the local hot wings joint. Truth be told I am fostering future business relationships :drinkup:

    Good message James...

  6. trying 2b organic

    trying 2b organic LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 566

    What is dimension and fert? Im in Canada and we dont have many of the same herbicides. So if its a weed and feed thats why I dont recognize it. The reason I ask is I noticed my dealer sells weed and feed but never heard of a pro using it. Hence the "squirt" part of fert and squirt.
  7. James Cormier

    James Cormier LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Ma
    Messages: 1,217

    Dimension is a pre emergent weed/crab control thats applied in spring ( for us northerners )

    My squirt, is referring to the liquid treatments we do, from either spray tanks or ride on units

    My price for dimension was $11 this year from lesco

    You can budget things like rent, truck payments by the sqft, This is done by doing a actual budget, ( hard numbers ) and forecast for sales for the year.
    I check my numbers monthly to see how Im doing actual vs. what I have budgeted for that time period.

    I also plow, and sand in winter, however because I budget for no snow, and make sure my prices during the season allow for this, I can take all my snow money and either re invest into next years budget, or toward my retirement, paying down my mortgage or my favorite, taking the kids to Disney each November :) and with the really good winters I do all of the above.

    I also value my time off come December-march, I have 4 girls,12-3 years old and I am so glad that for the last 10 years ive spent soo much time with them during the winter and I make sure Im there when the wake up in the morning, and home when they come home from school during the season.

    My 13 year old made me so proud one day, I took her and 2 friends to the beach and I overheard one of her friends ask her what I did for a living, her response was " he's my dad"
  8. DiscoveryLawn

    DiscoveryLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 408

    "My 13 year old made me so proud one day, I took her and 2 friends to the beach and I overheard one of her friends ask her what I did for a living, her response was " he's my dad"

    Wow James ... That is awesome!!!
    ... I need to re-think my priorities (6 children)


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