1. Ask the Expert: Fertilization Strategies for Success: Dec. 12, 2017
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Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Vandora Lawn & Landscape, May 10, 2001.

  1. Vandora Lawn & Landscape

    Vandora Lawn & Landscape LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 386

    I'm going to be subcontracting my fert and pesticide work. Should I negotiate with the company for "wholesale" prices? Is that a common practice? Also, what kind of markup is appropriate on those services?
  2. HOMER

    HOMER LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,183

    Oh Lord!

    I hope Stone doesn't see this one!
  3. John Allin

    John Allin LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,488

    Ehhh... Stone'll get over it....

    We sub our fertilization. We get a 15% discount off the company's published pricing, and we mark up their published pricing 15% to our customers. Now... we only do this on those customers that require us to do their fertilization and weed control as part of the total landscape maintenance program. We don't go out and solicit 'only' fertilization programs from customers.

    Works for us.
  4. kris

    kris LawnSite Bronze Member
    from nowhere
    Messages: 1,578

    same as John here
  5. TLS

    TLS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,943

    I have a local friend that sprays for me. He does an excellent job. Don't know about the exact %, but I make a few bucks over his price, everyones happy. He only does 10 of mine, and I don't solicit any unless they ask me. I have been contemplating making the jump into spraying, etc. but am afraid the overhead and licenses and insurance will eat up all of my profit.

    Right now, we just need RAIN!!!
  6. Fantasy Lawns

    Fantasy Lawns LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,912

    we follow John's advice here also
  7. jaclawn

    jaclawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 490

    I do fert and squirt for a few other comapnies. I price it as follows.

    1. If the other contractor wants to "make the sale", measure the property, and bill the individual customer, handle the "customer relations" end of things, I will discount the service to him. He in turn, will add his markup to the service, putting a little coin in his pocket. I will send him one invoice, listing each property, and the treatments, and he will send me one check.

    2. If the other contractor wants me to "make the sale", measure the property, and bill the customer, handle PR... I will charge what I would normally charge. Sometimes, customers just want their regular maintenance guy to "handle" it, they don't care about specifics, about who is actually doing it.

    I think that situation 1 is fair to all involved. We don't have to spend the time selling the job, dealling with the customer, and can send only one invoice for mutiple properties. It is less work, so the price should reflect that.
  8. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    I guess I don't see why anyone would want to subcontract something like fertilizing.
    We do it all ourselves. It took me a while to figure out which kind of granular fertilizers produces the same results as the liquid ones ChemLawn and Prograss use but I found some. And ever since, we've been doing the fertilizing for years. It's just part of our service. I bet I spend less than $2 on fertilizer at most of our houses each month and they all look lush and green.

    So again, I can't figure out why someone would want to pay someone else to do it.
  9. TLS

    TLS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,943


    I have the "know-how". Give me my buddies spray rig for the day, and the results would be nearly the same. My problem is with a couple thousand dollars a year more for liability insurance, test and licensing fees, and the $3000 for the spray rig, not to mention the installation and removal of the tank. All this for $2500 worth of spraying a year? It just doesn't make sense for me.

    I had fertilized, Pre-M'ed, and weed and feeded granular for years until I was pulled aside by "someone in the know" and told that I must be licensed and insured for pesticide application in the state of PA in order to do any of these things for profit! There is rumors of a $10,000 fine for those who are caught. NO WARNINGS!

    YET, any JOE BLOW homeowner can run to HOME CHEAPO and dump whatever they want on their lawn without the DEP even lifting an eyebrow! :angry:
  10. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    Ok. Well that makes a little more sense. '

    I was surprised to hear that you needed a license to apply fertilizers in your state because where we live we can apply fertilizers and herbicides without any license as long as it's incidental to our lawn care business (that is, applying these is not our primary business). \

    I called the department in PA who handles the licensing just to get some more info. (Dave Scott, Dept. of Ag. 717-772-5214 handles this stuff). Turns out you can apply just fertilizer alone without any license. But if you apply anything that has an herbicide (e.g. weed and feed) then all of a sudden you need insurance, license, etc.... Which really sucks. Damn government regulation. Vote Republican or Libertarian next time.....

    So if I were you I'd definitely continue doing the fertilizer yourself. That you can do.

    As for controlling weeds (if you wanted to do this via fertilzer), I personally would do this; I'd find a weed and feed product that looked VERY similar to a good fertilizer. Then I'd put the weed and feed in 5 gallon paint buckets (which is how we carry all of our fertilizers) and then place the empty FERTILIZER ONLY bag inside at the top of each buckets. And if I ever got inspected I'd say, "This is the stuff we're using." and point to the bag on top of the bucket. Chances are very good that they'll have no way of knowing the difference. I sincerely doubt there going to do a chemical anaysis on it.

    That's how I'd get around it.

    I think it's ludicrous that you need all of this crap just to apply some weed and feed. And I don't feel guitly at all finding ways around ludicrous laws. Especially when it's going to save me a lot of time, money and headache.

    So I guess that means you can't apply round-up, etc. either, huh? Man, that sucks. You need to move to a state with more freedom :)

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