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Question? Is adding fert and weed control worth it?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by coolluv, Jan 17, 2007.

  1. coolluv

    coolluv LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Atlanta
    Messages: 4,440

    I was considering adding fert and weed control to my lawn maintenance service, but I don't know if it is worth the trouble. I have a friend that has been in business for about 6 years and he told me that he once offered that service but it was a pain in the a**.

    He told me that most customers have unrealistic expectations about the weed control and he would spend alot of time listening to people bit**. He even went as far as to sub it out to companies that specialize in it and he said they(the company he subbed to) got the money and I got the complaints

    I'am currently studying for the pesticide license and I'm going to get it whether I offer it or not.

    Just wanted to know of others opinions on the subject.

    Thanks Dave...
  2. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    Well, it's just like anything else.
    You gotta charge enough to make it worth your while.

    The mindset you gotta have from a business perspective is this.....

    "Why add an extra service and extra headaches for anything less than my highest service rates."

    Like if mowing or landscaping pays you the most per hour.... what's the point of adding a service that pays less to take up your time? Add it and charge what you would for your time in your other services or more.

  3. nobagger

    nobagger LawnSite Gold Member
    from Pa
    Messages: 3,065

    I looked into it for a couple of seasons but came to the conclusion its not worth it for me, we have TG do all of our fert....great relationship for the past 3 years.
  4. 1MajorTom

    1MajorTom Former Moderator
    Messages: 6,073

    yes the customers WILL have unrealistic expectations, no doubt about it. They think fertilizer is magic dust that can be sprinkled on their lawn a few times a year, and in return their lawn will be a deep green color, weedfree. These are the same customers that won't water.
    Yes we were licensed. Both Matt and I were. Getting licensed is not the problem, it's simple. But it will kill you when you drive around and see other companies that are clearly UNLICENSED applying, while you are forced to go to classes to keep up with your credits, pay the yearly updates, etc.
    Also, don't think that you will be able to compete with the big boys that fert and squirt. No way you can. They operate on volume, NOT quality. I can't tell you how many COUNTLESS times we would receive calls from tru green customers that were unhappy with the way their lawn would look. We would explain to them our program, and they immediately liked us, and were ready to sign.. UNTIL we told them the price. then it was, "well I'll have to check with my husband, and we'll get back to you."
    THEN.. there are the customers that have never had any type of treatments on their lawn. You pull up, and it is a weed field, and you explain to them that your program is not an overnight cure, and they say they understand. After one application, they are on the phone calling you, "there are still weeds in my lawn." Well duh.......
    We now work with an individual who is licensed and who we sub out some work to if we have to. Works out much better for us.
  5. meets1

    meets1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,850

    I added a couple hundred accounts 5 yrs ago. Took over a "going broke LCO' accounts and kept 85% of clients. I am not the cheapest b/c I don't operate on volume like some do. I apply a 4-5 step app but my biz direction and operation needed to expand - to keep the customers that we mow/landscape/service/snow removal for. Now we are able to offer one complete pkg deal. Not everyone goes for it but the fert/squirt program has worked out to our benefit.

    Thing that gets me is the wantabe LCO out there doing it this and going to the local farm store and purchasing a pallet of fert and charging an extra $5/ bag for him to apply the granular. That bits but then again...........

    So is it worth it to you.........Really only who'll know, want to take the next step, expand the biz but if your satisfied - don't get greedy - then other aspects of the biz will suffer.
  6. cantoo

    cantoo LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,910

    We don't do a lot but we do some. I explain up front exactly what we will do and how long it will last. We only treat problem lawns we don't treat perfect lawns. If they can be happy with a few weeds then we will do the job for them if they want every weed gone and kept gone we refer them to the local Weed Man. He does great work and charges for it. That's what he is in business for. We are grass cutters who are licenced to spray what we want. We take on a few new customers every year but also lose a few because they want to keep up with the neighbour. I refuse to "waste" chemicals on a lawn, there is nothing wrong with a few yellow dots on a lawn. We put enough fert on the lawn to try to keep it green and to hopefully make it through a short drought, I don't like cutting the same grass that much. We like full service customers but not full of complaints customers.
  7. carcrz

    carcrz LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,085

    I would much rather do do the apps than the mowing side of things. I make a whole lot more off doing apps in a smaller amount of time.

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    Of course you have to get licensed and pay for the materials and all but...still...can be high profit. I mean come on you charge say $35 to mow, maybe it's a 30 minute lawn, then you can fert it in maybe 5 minutes for $35+....you can squeeze in a lot of extra revenue without adding a ton of hours onto your schedule.

    Like Envy said...you don't take on a new service and charge LESS than what your bread and butter is...part of the high prices is to deal with the inevitable callbacks and dealing with high expectations...

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