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Suggestions for pricing a seasonal fert program for a client

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by rkbrown, Dec 20, 2002.

  1. rkbrown

    rkbrown LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 533

    I am currently studying for the pesticide exam for the state of Texas, but will take the exam in March (I have the irrigation exam in January). I got a call from a potential client about a fert program. They want a bid. I went and took measurements today. They have 4500 sq ft of turf and 1500 sq ft of beds...mostly shrubs with liriope outlining the beds.

    I went to Lesco to talk to them about it. The following is the program they outlined:

    Turf - 4 apps:

    Feb. 16-4-8 3% Iron
    Apr. 24-5-11
    Jun./Jul 24-5-11
    Nov. 5-10-31 10% Iron winterizer

    Beds - 5 apps:

    Feb. 14-14-14 Granular
    Apr. mixture of 28-7-4 and 20-20-20 liquid
    May 14-14-14 Granular
    July mixture of 28-7-4 and 20-20-20 liquid
    Sept/Oct 14-14-14 Granular

    I plan on charging about $50 per application for the turf. What should I charge for the beds ? The Feb and Apr turf and bed applications can be done at the same time.

    I guess I am asking, 1) does this program seem reasonable and 2) What to charge for bed applications. I realize this is not a complete program. I hope to implement a complete program after I pass the applicators exam in Feb or March. Any input on this would be appreciated.
  2. Tony Harrell

    Tony Harrell LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 739

    I just passed my exam and was wondering how to price accounts also. I'd think you'd have to have a "cost of goods" chart to know what it costs to actually do the service. Prices will change of course, but not usually dramatically. I'd think part of the equation would include the square feet and application rate. As far as shrubs go, if you're going with soil injection wouldn't you figure out cost of goods X number of shrubs? For example; on turf you'd find out the square foot cost of an application and multiply it by your total footage. On shrubs find out the cost per gallon of finished product and multiply by either number of shrubs or number of gallons actually used. Of course, this is just materials cost and is just a starting point. I hope some other people weigh in on this thread
  3. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Messages: 2,585

    Last year I chose to only do chem apps for small number of existing customers. While apps are very profitable, I dont care for the call-backs that come with this line of work. I was not staffed for it. That being said, I've already had at least a half dozen new people indicate they want chem service in 2003....so I'm going to get into this more than I had planned.
    I too am not confident I have the price structure nailed down where it needs to be.
    Any general guidelines for the Mid Atlantic area would be appreciated or if there is a thread already out there that covers the cost/price points of view that wouild be helpful. No I did not do a search....guilty as charged. thanks
  4. Wasuellc

    Wasuellc LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 51

    2 steps for coming up with a fair price. Know your cos, product, labor, insurance, etc. Add a profit Then call some local lawn care co. and get estimates to make sure your in the ball park. Don,t worry about being the cheapest. Just do good work and you will get customers.
  5. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,969

    Simple formula: cost of materials plus markup, plus time to apply times hourly application rate. For lawns and shrubs, size does not always directly convert to time involved. I have some lawns that are the same size, but open areas go a lot quicker than small, broken up lawns.

    I take the total cost of materials for the year (with markup = usually double cost) and the total labor time, then divide by the number of applications for the year to get price for each appl.

    Here, in my experience, fertilization of shrubs just causes excess growth and more weeds. So I will only fertilize new plants and plants in some stress condition. Of course, we have fairly good soils, so ornamental care in other areas could be different. Would price those applications in the same manner.
  6. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969

    I am Opening Mouth and inserting Foot. I do not know your soil, but Your Fertilizer program seem high in nitrogen. Also most of the nitrogen comes from urea. Urea is the cheapest form of nitrogen for chemical companies to buy.

    I get a kick out of homeowners who buy ScottÂ’s Bonus S 29-2-3 in 30 lb bags for $24.00. The truth be known, the ink on the bag cost more than the fertilizer in it.

    IGROTURF LawnSite Member
    from CHAR NC
    Messages: 34




  8. xpnd

    xpnd LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 378

    At over $11.00 per square foot for only a fert program--Good Luck. Now there are some stupid Yanks down here trying to grow azaleas in our caliche but buying into a program at this cost with no weed control would put them into the group of having to think to exhale. Fertilize ~2KSFT of turf and your material and overhead cost should be covered for the job and the rest is profit. I no longer use the 24-5-11 formulation however what I remember from when I did, is that @ 1lb of N/1KSFT/application a bag should cover 12KSFT and I think the cost should be around about $12.00 also. Home Depot sells this same formulation for under $13.00. Your cost per application is then $1.00/KSFT or for a 4.5KSFT lawn, less than 5 dollars. I realize that some property owners are totally oblivious to money, profit margins and have money to throw at us, but they are rare. You are asking a homeowner to spend $150.00 (3 applications) with you for what they can do with one bag of fertilizer and a $19.99 spreader 3 times during the summer in ten minutes per application. (Cost of service exceeds the assigned value the target customer places on their time) I suggest as has already been indicated, you need to go back to the Big Chief tablet and #2 lead and get your costs per KSFT treated nailed down and establish a reasonable profit margin.
  9. KerryB

    KerryB LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 661

    I have a problem with the bed fert program. Is this for shrubs and trees ?
    Is this for perr. and annual flowers?
    If it for shrubs and trees, most need only a 14-14-14 feeding in the spring, some in the spring and mid-summer, others nothing at all. If you have Azaleas and Camellias for instance they need specialty ferts.
    I think this program may be over kill and will keep you very busy cutting excess growth.
  10. Hodge

    Hodge LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 261


    How is it you are reviewing for the exam... are you just going over what they provided and the sample test questions. Have you known anybody else who has taken the test and do they have any recommendations?

    I should be taking the test in Feb, in Dallas, but I am not sure if there will be any tricks (thrown or to be learned).....:dizzy:

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