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subcontract for someone else?

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by gardenkeeper88, Jan 29, 2005.

  1. gardenkeeper88

    gardenkeeper88 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 350

    Just recieved a call from a Landscape company in a neighboring town and they would like me to fert. & ect. for them. They lost thier applicator. I've known the owner for about 12 years. Has anyone done this and can it be profitable? How do you charge? any major problems you may have encountered. I think it can work. We are going to meet in a couple of weeks. They accually tried to hire me 4 years ago but I was in the process of getting all my ducks in a row to start my own Buisness. We are about 85% lawn / landscape maintenance & 15% landscape installation
    Would appreciate any help. Have held my license about 12 years. And have a RT with me as well.
    Thanks, Gardenkeeper88
  2. sjj14

    sjj14 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 97

    i do this on a small scale(buddy mows 30 lawns). here is how we have done it the past few years. year # 1- he payed me per app/per house and i had no real relationship with homeowner= least profitable for me and alot of phone calls because he sold them the package and I maintained them.
    Year #2 - present- I sell the package to homeowner and they pay me, I in return give him a kickback for the contact. he gains by not having to "deal" with that end of his lawns. I would hesitate taking on a large # of these accounts for "other" landscapers". This is a friend for a long time and we have been able to work out any diffferences, this may not be the case with someone who your not familiar with. I have found that simply getting to know the guys in your area who do not offer Fert and squirt and trade referalls. They recommend you and you do the same for things you do not offer.
  3. philk17088

    philk17088 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 17,386

    GET A CONTRACT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Set the price per application and a payment deadline.
    I have a few of these and they are good money makers but I had one the first year I was in Biz that almost bankrupted me due to late and non payment even though I had a contract.
  4. rkk95

    rkk95 LawnSite Member
    from west PA
    Messages: 165

    I do quite a bit of work for other landscapers/mowing companies, if fact I'm meeting a guy tomorrow to give pricing for nine different properties total square footage is around 2,000,000. Easy way to add to your income, but I have had trouble with slow payers also, I don't do much work for people that I don't know very well, or that haven't been around too long.
  5. gardenkeeper88

    gardenkeeper88 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 350

    Thanks for the input . A contract is a must with all that I do. Like I stated I have known the owner for about 12 years. we use to get together 4-6 times a year when I was in retail. How about pricing? I mean he is giving me the customer and even selling the contract with most of them. He will also be the one handeling billing and accounts recievable, But i'm sure that we are going to be the one measuring, applying, and our equipment and fuel. Say for a $50.00 Lawn app. I figure that my rough cost for materials, Employee wages / taxes, and vehicle usage to be about $28.00. This leaves about $22.00 for the profit split. Does 75 %(me) / 25 % sound about what you worked out? Its my knowledge, license, and time and fuel for any additional customer calls?
  6. tjgray

    tjgray LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 294

    To make the final leap and start our own had it not been for my husbands ex employer keeping us busy with sub-contract work. Yes we would like to be able to stay busy with our own customers but unfortunately we don't think thats gonna happen for the first three years or so.

    Yes I have had to work very closely with his office manager to make sure we keep up with all of the properties my husband did and constant communication is involved but sub-contracting has been very good to us. We eagerly are striving to take on more :)

    Our subcontractor does the exact same thing as a part of his business is a very large landscaping company. Their account alone is what kept my husband busy all last year :)

    Now we have done some sub-contracting work for another small indoor pesticide company and have not had as good of results. Only a few jobs...not near as many as we anticipated and the owner is kind of wishy washy *he will call my husband up and tell him he has some jobs coming up and then not call for a few months* We take em as they come and keep a smile upon our faces ...we are just glad to be working :)

    As for contracts we haven't really had anything official yet. Yes we did sit down and make up a business proposal of sorts with my husbands ex employer but then the original proposal ended up changing and not being as much as expected anyway....again we were just thankful of the work........and went with the flow.....really it's a working relationship thats good for us. My husband gets steady work, a chemical supplier, gas card, mentor, someone who doesn't claim it is a breech of contract to grow our own company like other companies he has tried for employment at, he gets to set his own schedule which has been great and 25% of every property he does. We made 30K this year and grew our own company to 15 monthly customers.....wasn't too bad of a first year and we anticipate doubling that this year :)

    Do we want to always be dependant to sub-contracting? Of course not but as far as I am concerned you treat it like you would any other customer, get as many as you can and when you get so much you can't handle them all....hire more people :)

    Sorry I started to ramble a bit....hope the day goes well for all :)
  7. pcs

    pcs LawnSite Member
    Messages: 198

    Make sure there's something in writing. In a way, it's good that you know the guy, but sometimes that can backfire. We got a call from a fairly big construction company back in the fall to do sodding on municpal property, which they tore up replacing water mains. We saw $$$, sodding is easy money. We're still fighting with the idiot to get paid. We had a contract, but that doesn't seem to matter to some. Why not try to do some of the sub work, and look at expanding your own?
  8. rkk95

    rkk95 LawnSite Member
    from west PA
    Messages: 165

    I would never want to rely on sub contracting alone, the people that I do work for is just to help them out and to make more money for me. If you have to rely on someone else to get your work, you could be in trouble very quickly. They may not get a big contract the following year and there goes your work that you were counting on. I have read alot about people that had gotten started very well with big commercial properties and had multi year contracts with them, and then loose the contract and not have any way to pay employees or even pay for equipment. I rely on my own customers and contracts to make money, I just take sub contract work to get more money.
  9. gardenkeeper88

    gardenkeeper88 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 350

    When I worked with him a few years back we were part of a buying group that we were able to work with truckloads of items to get better prices. He was good on paying back then. I'm hoping he still is. His garden center / landscape firm prob. grosses 1-1 1/2 million. So he is no small potatoe.

    As far as relying on him for my daily bread. Not at all. We ran our 1st. crew 6 days a week 5 mowing and light Maint. and 1 landscaping or mulchings & such.
    Our 2nd. crew ran 6 days a week landscaping or larger maint. items like mulching, prunings and such. we have 40 fert accounts and we would just be expanding upon that. I have done no advertising for my growth so far and want to be sure that we can service all accounts properly rather than how fast I can grow.

    Again thanks for all the input. :waving:

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