Professionals applying homeowner pesticides?

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by PHS, Jul 29, 2008.

  1. PHS

    PHS LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 724

    This question was posed to me yesterday and when I started thinking about it I didn't exactly have a clear answer. Is it ok for professionals to apply "homeowner" materials like you can buy at Home Depot? Unless it's an RUP or there's something specific on the label forbidding it, homeowners can pretty much buy whatever we use if they wanted to. After looking at some labels of products online they don't say anything about not being used by professionals. I've never seen a list anywhere of products that can't be used by professionals. Is there a technicality that I'm missing? The only difference I could see in the labels is the WPS requirements but that wouldn't apply to me anyway.
  2. bugpage

    bugpage LawnSite Member
    Messages: 63

    Usually consumer labeled insecticides are just lower percentage of active ingredient and more expensive, kind of like herbicides. Licensed applicators usually have the ability to purchase higher percentage active ingredient products, but many times they are the same or similar ingredient.
  3. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,448

    It's "OK", but not so "OK". Here in NY, we have to have a contract before applying any pesticides, and portions of each control material's label must be attached to that contract for the customer's signature.

    If I am using a readilly available retail product, the customer might think "Hey, I could do this myself and save some money." So, for that fact alone, I avoid using any retail products, although I got some Ortho 3 way very cheaply this year and used that, but spiked it with Quicksilver. At least that way I sort of covered my bases by using a "professional" product in the tank mix.

    Scotts has some decent "pro products" available wholesale, but for the same reason, I avoid using any Scotts' stuff. I use mostly Bayer, Anderson's and Lebanon products. Stuff like Sedge Hammer is retail, but not easy to find. Few people even know that nut sedge is treatable, and even a lot of LCO's don't seem to know about it, or at least they aren't selling it as an extra app. I made some sales this year just by dropping a "nut sedge" sales flyer off at properties that had bad nut sedge problems. Why their LCO wasn't selling or treating for it mystifies me.

    But, back on topic, ther is no law in NY that says I can't use retail controls.
  4. bugpage

    bugpage LawnSite Member
    Messages: 63

    NY is a different animal anyway. There are many insecticides that are not available for sale in NY.

    I guess the simple fact that consumer products need no licensing leaves the door open that anyone can purchase and use them. It only makes sense.

    We mainly offer MGK Co products. They have a good line.
  5. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,720

    This is true...

    But on the opposite side of the spectrum, homeowners, legally, have every right in the world to go into places like JDL / Lesco, and buy anything that's on the shelf, so long that it's not a RUP in that given state, or something that needs prequalification user-training from the seller to buy it, such as termiticides like Termidor.

    Homeowners can buy 41% Roundup Pro, Momentum products, Q4, Sedgehammer, Merit & Mach II, Talstar, or whatever, so long as they're not RUP.

    State pesticide licenses are enforced by pesticide agents at the point of application, not at the point of vendor's sale. That's why non-RUP can be bought easily on the internet, etc.
    RUP sale of pesticides are recorded at the point of sale, for later reporting to the specific state it's sold in.

    Anyone can apply for a RUP license. Even a homeowner, that has a peach orchard, for example. You don't have to be running a business.

    Of course, the vendor like JDL / Lesco who normally caters to businesses, reserves the right to charge extremely high 'retail' tiers of pricing to homeowners. But in the real world, this isn't always done the way upper mgmt likes to see it, mainly because 'higher volume' residential customers, with huge properties and their own tractors & booms etc, will balk at the exorbitant prices given to them at the counter, and quite often seek out other competitors who will gladly work with them.
  6. bugpage

    bugpage LawnSite Member
    Messages: 63

    Yes, my comparison was more on the lines that consumers usually dont know where to look other than Lowes and Home Depot or want to spend the time to look, which gives licensed applicators more of a selection of higher percentage active ingredient products. I think it is fair to say that the licensed applicator would mostly shop a Lesco over a Lowes or Home Depot, just from a price point.
  7. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,720

    I don't know about you, but I constantly get bombarded with inquiries by people, mainly neighbors and friends of my customers, wanting to know where I buy my materials... wholesale.

    There are tons of younger do-it-yourselfers around here that are smart enough to know that Lowe's and HD are ripping them off on price.

    And you can usually see a lineup of retail people at any wholesale supplier on a Friday afternoon and Saturday...if they 'allow' retail sales.
    And, of course everybody here knows, the possibility of 'allowing' retail sales at a given wholesale vendor, quite often, is simply all about knowing... or talking to the right person, in the right way.
    Homeowners can play politics, too.
  8. teeca

    teeca LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,202

    ok to use, just make sure you have the proper lable (which is on the container anyway) and the MSDS info (the selling store should have it, but since the homeowner could careless about it, the store might have trouble finding it)
  9. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,448

    Marcos, dude, you drinking today? First you say using ornamental grasses in plantings is a scam, now you say that HD and Lowes are ripping people off on price?

    HD and Lowes operate on very small markups, and make it up in volume. That is why they don't carry the slower moving products, they need stock turnover and volume. The smaller independent nurseries and garden centers don't carry the high volume stuff... or don't sell much of it because they get grossly undercut on price by the nationals. They instead carry the more specialized products, things they can get a 30% markup on. Messenger, Sedge Hammer, etc, etc. Not enough volume for the nationals with those products with such low margins.

    If retail products at HD and Lowes are priced too high, it's the manufacturer making all the money.
  10. bugpage

    bugpage LawnSite Member
    Messages: 63

    In most major metro areas there are only 1 or 2 large wholesalers. If the saving is there some consumers will drive the distance. With gas prices less are interested in making an extra trip.

    Of course the consumers that do make the trip are those that have larger yards or acreages. The average 1/2 acres yard owner seems to be satisfied with a home depot product. Thats what we see anyway.

    The topic was can a professional apply a homeowner pesticide. My answer is why would you want to? Funny, professional is looking at consumer products and the consumer is looking at professional products.

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