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subbing out applications?

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by matt spinniken, Feb 28, 2007.

  1. matt spinniken

    matt spinniken LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 337

    My business isnt licensed to apply pesticides. Most of my customers use weedman or chemlawn. I feel like im leaving money on the table, I have been doing alot of marketing and im putting up my website soon. Im thinking about subbing the work out to one company that only does chem apps and fert and hopefully they will refer people to me. What would you recommend? What has your experience been?
  2. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,723

    Good plan, but you will have to wait until snow melts. Try to find a small, experienced, very reliable company.
    Maybe you can get a peice of the action. Let the customers pay you, take a percentage as agreed with your subcontractor, then pay the subcontractor. After all, you have done the marketing--which would otherwise be a big cost to them to acquire new customers. And you have done his work because you collected the money and probably paid them (at times) even when the customer had not paid you.
    If you can, ask for a non-compete agreement so they will not solicit the business direct from your customers.

    If you can, get an agreement that if you should become liscensed, you can take over the spraying within a few months notice.
  3. MnLefty

    MnLefty LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 367

    It depends on a few different things like the size of your business, your future goals and such, but partnerships like that certainly can work. Some things I'd consider first...

    Are you prepared to sign off on and put your name on the line for somebody elses work? Blaming a sub-contractor doesn't get you very far with a customer complaint.

    Do you have any interest in learning that portion of the business and doing the fert and chem apps yourself?

    Could you hire on an experienced applicator to handle that part of the business?

    Would you be willing to take on a partner or merge with another company that offers what you do not?

    I'm sure you will be able to find plenty of people willing to do the work for you. Many would rather do a large number of accounts for 1 person, rather than have to go out and get those accounts on their own and deal with the homeowners and property managers themselves. Just be sure that's the way you want to go before you get into it.
  4. Mr. Vern

    Mr. Vern LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 632

    That is precisely how I would handle it if you think you are leaving a lot of money on the table. I have a close friend who does only spraying so we just refer business back and forth, I don't mark his up and he doesn't mark mine up, but if he weren't a good friend, I would do exactly what you suggest. Do take MnLefty's advice and ensure the guy is reputable and insured because it will be your name that gets dragged through the mud. Also, try to work the pricing such that the customer is paying the same price by using you as he would if he used the sub directly. This will help you to get referrals from customers and protect you from being undercut.

    If you try to do it yourself, you will likely distract yourself from your core business and end up making less money, not more. What you might consider doing is to outsource until you have enough clients lined up to justify bringing the service in-house. Just like you would do with rental equipment. Rent until you need it often enough to justify the purchase.
  5. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    We work with many lco's and trade work. we give them excellent grass to cut, which helps make them look good, and in turn, we refer mowing and other jobs to them. The thing about subbing, is that you have to be careful. you can not advertise yourself as providing the applications,..nor can you bill for them. This HAS to be done through the lawn care co..
  6. matt spinniken

    matt spinniken LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 337

    Im impressed with the replies, some good information.

    I like the no-compete clause(didnt think about that)

    Also, how can I get my business licensed without working for someone else, going back to school, etc?? Im assuming I would need to have a liscensed applicator on the payroll. What should I look for and how much could I expect to pay this person?
  7. DaughtryLC

    DaughtryLC LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 739

    Get your LICENSE!! The time & $ spent WILL be worth it!!
  8. ThreeWide

    ThreeWide LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,116

    You should also ask that your spraying subcontractors provide you a discount on the services.

    The rates I give to maintenance contractors are discounted a few points which enables them make a few bucks as well. You will find that referrals will start going both ways for you and your subs. Everyone wins.
  9. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,723

    The experience requirement is very tough for a new guy to break into. But call the Dept Agriculture--in Grand Rapids. Talk to someone like Jeff Zimmer; sometimes they can be flexible. Have you ever sprayed your own lawn? That is experience. Your mother's lawn? Can you work part time for another company--and still do your own work for a few months?
  10. garydale

    garydale LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 813

    That 40& of my business.

    We do appliations for lawn,tree/shrub and Industial weed for a dozen different mow guys.

    They get special pricing so they can mark up our cost 20% and provide their customer complete landscape care.

    They get professional service, free service calls and free consultation on problems. I get large block of work,quick payment and a lot of referrals.

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