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Say no to large properties!

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by JLC, Mar 5, 2002.

  1. JLC

    JLC LawnSite Senior Member
    from IA
    Messages: 467

    Had a quote for 129,000 sq ft. Guy wanted 4 apps. Pre emergent+fert, broadleaf+fert, broadleaf+fert, fert.

    I use good stuff and quoted a price that I thought was high, but it costs me alot to do. Mr. huge company quoted $135. Who here could possibly compete with this?

    My thought is that I will no quote anything over 100k if this is what I have to deal with. Give me the small customers and they can have all the big ones. I won't compromise and buy ag-grade 5000 gal bulk liquid fertilizer to get my prices down. I think customers want what is best for their lawn and if they are concerned with price, let the TGCL have them. I would think their margin would have to be pretty low.
  2. Scraper

    Scraper LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,656

    ~ $45/acre? :cry:
  3. I would take a hundred of those at $135/app.

    Four bags of 46-0-0 is about $25 and some spot herbicide at $5 leaves $105 gross for about 75 minutes at the job site.
  4. Scraper

    Scraper LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,656

    However, I don't believe you would do the mowing contract. :p
  5. JLC

    JLC LawnSite Senior Member
    from IA
    Messages: 467

    I'm not willing to give up quality for a buck. The quality is what will build my business getting what I wan't for the job. On this one in particular, they hadn't ever had it treated and there was a lot of ground ivy and violets. Thus a couple blanket sprays would be necessary.
  6. If it was wide open with say 20 mins of trim/edge/blow I would be happy to mow it every 10 days for $100.

    Larger properties mean less margin but more volume per customer. Less stops=less daily hassle vs. postage stamp sites.

    Remember my old 62" walkbehind goes 6 mph. Anything faster on bluegrass and you would have to double cut anyway.
  7. Scraper

    Scraper LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,656

    I hear ya on the larger properties Stone, but wouldn't that much N on a 10 day cycle require double cutting anyways?
  8. tremor

    tremor LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,476

    Hey Stone,
    If your selling bagged Urea freight paid for $6.25 per 50lb bag, then I'm buying. I'll take all you have.
    To perform commercial lawncare for $1.00 per 1000 is perhaps the most stupid & irresponsible thing I've ever heard. There is not a single person who posts here that can afford to perform this work for below material cost.
    The big box sales guy has either undermeasured the lawn to get the sale or the client is mistaken. The applicator won't have a choice but to turn the invoice into his manager or ghost 3/4 of the lawn. Either way the client isn't going to get what he thinks he's been offered.

    Bare minimum on Weed Control = $.22/M x2= $.44/M
    Urea @ 1lb/N at $6.25(< market$)=$.27/Mx3=$.81/M
    Fert+Pre Combo one time = $1.00/M
    Total as specified = $2.25/M
    Deduct cost from quoted rate of $4.00/M A material cost profit before labor & administration expenses are paid of: $1.75/M
    Net loss after paying for overhead: about $3.00/M

    There is no way to keep the lawn health doing this and absolutely no way to keep a business solvent since money will be lost on every application & the client will cancel anyway. Good luck to anyone who wants this type of work. Perhaps we'd be better off if these people just got jobs flipping burgers. They'd make even more money & would stop ruining the business for everyone else who does care.
    Any chance the potential customer is either lying or just got a quote for front & sides?

  9. One bag of 46-0-0 puts down 1 lb of N per 1k sq ft when applied at about 22k sq ft per bag. So 4 bags at 129k sq ft is a rate of
    about .68 lb of N or 2.72 lbs of N for the entire year.

    That's not a lot of fertilizer. Of course you will be cutting some top growth for the first 3 weeks or so after the applications.

    If the turf is full of nasty weeds and needs blanket herbicide apps there is no profit at all spraying 129k for a $135.
  10. Getmow

    Getmow LawnSite Senior Member
    from VA
    Messages: 445

    Just to confirm that those rates are about the same here. I met today with a cutting company who uses the big one for turf programs on some larger properties. I saw the break down on pricing per application and measured three of the 35 properties he wanted me to do. The average cost on pre-m,broadleaf and fert was $2.05/mft. The largest had 186mft of turf on a very large site. The big one charges at $1.75/mft.

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