What is a Florida L&O Certification Worth???

Discussion in 'Florida Lawn Care Forum' started by Ric, Jul 2, 2011.

  1. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    I was at my Mechanic's yesterday when the subject came up. He has known me a very long time and said I had paid dearly for mine. Besides hiring a CPO and starting by own Pesticide company, I kept them long after I went back to college to get a Degree and the Education to pass the Test.

    In Florida even if you have a PhD in Entomology you must work under a CPO for one year to qualify to sit for the test. From scratch you must have 3 years working under a CPO.

    The Local Rent A License company has fought all the legal battles and uses all the Loop holes. But it is a $ 2500 Buy in and over a Hundred dollars for a monthly Fee to cover office expenses. Then all work must be billed so payment goes to them and their Percentage for each job is taken right off the top. In addition each Tech must take a training class on Thursday each and every week. There are 3 Rent A License companies in the state that I know of that are Legal or using the Loopholes correctly to stay under the wire for now. I know there are countless Rent A Licenses that are totally illegal.

    As a General rule a CPO who might just work in the office or train Techs etc is worth $ 50K plus benefits to start. As a one man part time band I make $ 50K. With good marketing and a few techs, the sky is the limit.

    SO WHAT IS A PESTICIDE CERTIFICATION WORTH TO YOU???? How much would you willing to do or pay to be able to sit and past the CPO test??

    BTW I would like feed back from CPO as well as non-CPO. I was a grass cutter the day I got my Pesticide License. As soon as I started offering insect and weed control my business doubled in size over night and kept on growing until Hurricane Charlie liked it better than I did.
  2. zturncutter

    zturncutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,308

    A Non-CPO isn't going to know and a CPO does not want to say :)
  3. ProMo

    ProMo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,468

    I put in my 3 years with a member on this site that Ric referred me to. I worked one day a week from sunrise to sunset pulling hose uphill both ways for below minimum wage pay actually i liked it so much I worked for free . It took me years looking for this opportunity and has so far been rewarding.
  4. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    Most CPO have enough competition that they don't want to create more by training a competitor. Google the phone directory of a larger county than Desoto. You will find a ton on pesticide companies.

    I think you might be right about the average lawn cutter not realizing how valuable a Pesticide Certification is in Florida. The income potential is HUGE. I could have an infinite number of spray techs working under my license. My average NET profit is just over 60% of gross sales on L & O. Straight Insecticide treatments I spend more on Gasoline getting there than on Chemicals used, for a 85% net Profit.

    But after all the Travel to attend classes, all the sweat & money spend on college tuition and hiring a CPO, I am still ahead.

    But my question still is WHAT DID YOU OR WOULD YOU DO OR SPEND TO GET A CPO????


    Let's give Tim Smith Credit where Credit is due for giving you a wonderful opportunity. I might of set up the deal and referred you, But you didn't let me down and you and Tim are still good friends. BTW You Got a 98% on the hardest pesticide test in the nation???? UMM looks like I know how to pick them.
  5. I would love to get an L&O. I only need 1 year under a co. as I have a Hort. degree. How much is it worth to me, i don't know. I can tell you that I wouldn't want to just do L&O as I enjoy doing LS design, installs, and maintenance on nice homes.....
  6. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    You are Too far out of my area as was ProMo, and I am not really looking at starting a Rent A License. But would you do like ProMo and work one day a week for a Pesticide company?? ProMo did it for 3 years. Or would you pay $ 2500 up front plus all the Fees to be a legal employee of a Rent A License company??

    Everyone Has a different out look on what it is worth. In your case Design and Install is where the Big Money is. It is also Feast and Famin in the fact you always have to be selling new jobs.

    The real value in a L&O is high margin reoccurring income from maintenance work. Having a L&O sets you apart from the average Lawn boy. Add a irrigation license and you are competing with Valley Crest.
  7. Ric I would def be willing to do that. I also want to get my irrigation license and I will be studying for the ISA exam this winter when things slow down. I agree that design and install work is feast/ famine. That is why I do maintenance. The margins on maintenance are the lowest, but keep in mind we have a lot of estate homes here that easily fetch 1k-2k+/mo. just on maintenance which is great $$. Doing 100/mo. Accounts is not what I want or plan on doing forever.
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  8. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    This opens the door to a new thread about What are the Most Profitable Green Industry services both in terms of Margin and Volume.

    Of course everyone is different and have different abilities. Therefore they are only willing to pay a certain amount for certain licenses or education on what interests them. Of course in Yankee States where Pesticide Licenses are Prizes in Crack Jack boxes everyone one has a license

    IMHO here in Florida of the Reoccurring Revenue maintenance services, Chemical Lawn Care has the highest margin and volume of all other services. This might explain why there are more Big Pesticide companies here in Florida than Big Mowing companies. Sure a Irrigation call can net you a Higher margin but not on a consistent basics like scheduled Fert & Squirt. Equipment maintenance is a lot less than keeping up mowers and weed eaters etc. My gold package is $ 1050 a year for 14 visits per year on a 5K or less turf plus Shrub beds. Before I pay myself, my margin is just over 60%.

    BTW Structural Pest Control has an even higher margin but not the volume or Demand of L&O. Also I find the Granola Nuts are Super willing to have Chlordane and DDT sprayed in their house if the see a Palmetto bug. I would trade 2 L&O accounts for one Structural account for less stress and BS.
  9. Rick I agree with you 100%. I also enjoy landscaping as well. My goal is to get 25-30 accounts that are 1k+/mo on maintenance alone and do installs, irrigation, tree work, and chems. I will eventually get all licensing needed. This biz isn't all about money for me, I enjoy working in it as well.
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  10. bugsNbows

    bugsNbows LawnSite Member
    Messages: 170

    Agree also. GHP is where the $ is in relation to headaches. I just like L&O so that's where our majority lies. Once you get certified, all you need is a PU, B&G and a bag of granules. LOL, you're in business now!

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