When is the app. business profitable

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by Shady Brook, Sep 20, 2002.

  1. Shady Brook

    Shady Brook LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 1,517

    I have been looking into learning more about Fertilizing, and pest and weed control of late. There are opportunities to learn during the winter while things are slow. I can apply Fertilizer, but not any of the other stuff currently. I do not want to do my potential customers a disservice in only offering part of what they need, but have consider doing fert only for a select few but informing them of the possible limitations.

    My question is somewhat involved. First any general thoughts are appreciated.

    What kind of fees should I expect if I become liciensed to apply herbicides and pesticides, and what kind of reporting garbage will I face. I assume the fees and hastle add up to a certain degree. At what point is it worth it? I mean, how many residencial customers would one have to service to break even with all financial add ons? I know that is pretty broad, but would it be worth it for 50 customers? I am not looking to apply as a sole business, but to help those who have no alternatives but the big companies, and the trash they peddle. I would hope to derives some benifits in more mowing visits due to better lawn health and growth. I don't want to loose money, and I don't want to loose my mind dealing with government regulations in the process.

    Any thoughts to my convaluted questions. :D

  2. f350

    f350 Banned
    from mi
    Messages: 424

    why does everyone say things like " the trash they peddle "
    it's the same material everyone else puts down.
    as far as fee's and repoting issues, contact your states doa
  3. Shady Brook

    Shady Brook LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 1,517

    I'll grant you that I am ignorant about what the big companies spread. From what I have read, it seems that the concensus is that it is a quick release nitrogen that promotes lots of top growth, and may be lacking in other areas that promote grass health. I have also worked with an applier who worked for one of the big companies for years, and told me that they water down their fert, and in general do not give the customers a good product. That was his experience, and one particular company. Maybe I am wrong, if I am, maybe I should just refer all my customers to the big guys and save myself and my customers the trouible.

  4. f350

    f350 Banned
    from mi
    Messages: 424

    no, no ,no get educated.. but most importaintly dont slam your competition.. thats bad business. the reason the product is watered down is (a) avoiding applicator error (b) recycling, not only to save money but for a healtier enviroment.. study, study study... you will learn the most from trial and error, not from a pc.
    if you never have burnt a lawn than you are not a true chemical applicator. as far as the " junk " product, dry fert is dry fert...
    pscu or scu, the only differance is dust.
  5. Randy Scott

    Randy Scott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,915

    Personally, dollar for dollar, I make alot more doing my applications than I do mowing. I think, and I said think, anyone here who gave or will give both a honest chance, will tell you applications are more profitable. There is definately alot more things to cover with apps. than with mowing. Your licensing, your business licensing, customer notification, different insurance listing and coverage, the state (WI) has a huge book with registered people that you need to check to make sure they are notified if applying in their neighborhood, and more. That's just the legal stuff. The real work is knowing what the h e double L your doing and doing it correct. Diagnosing problems before they occur, knowing lifecycles of insects and signs to watch for, degree day calculations, to watch and monitor for these situations. Application rates and sprayer/spreader calculations. All kinds of fun stuff. Once you get some of that out of the way then your rolling along. There is alot to learn and earn. I've talked to a few guys that used to do it and said it was too much hassle. Well, yeah, compared to sitting on a mower all day, it is more complicated, but you will only be as good as the effort put forth and the desire to learn and perhaps be better than every average Joe cuttin' grass.
    For me, mowing is there to open the door for all of my other services I can make money on. It's steady monthly money but it just involves too much time for the revenue it generates. Again, that's my situation and opinion. Knowing better profit can be made down other avenues keeps me chasing down those roads.
  6. Shady Brook

    Shady Brook LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 1,517

    Thanks Randy, that was a super post. Yeah, I have been doing some thinking and have been coming up with alot of ideas.

    Profit is important, but does not really mean alot if you do not love what your doing. I think opening up my business to the fert/pest side of things would offer many rewards, and probably many more that I have not even considered yet.

    Looks like I need to take F350's advice, and study.

  7. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Messages: 2,585

    While I am licensed to do apps I choose not to...reason?
    I am a small operation and I dont have the time to run around looking at a weed that popped up in grandmas lawn...plus all the other reasons the customers call. I have a friend who does only fert apps...he has many employees, lives in a BIG house...but he tells me all he does is drive around and respond to phone calls.After 20 years he's considering selling the biz. Also, while mowing and landscape installs is not rocket science, it does allow those of us to shine who do high quality work...but with chemicals, and now with the price pressure and marketing campaigns of Trugreen and Scotts, I think its a tough nut to crack. I do apps for good customers but only when they insist on it...but first I tell them to not expect perfection...its profitable for sure but also full of call back headaches...good luck
  8. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,712

    Once you get the technical and legal ends nailed down, the reality is this is only 2-3 days work for 50 jobs, times how ever many apps you do. For those with big spray rigs, Perma Green machine or equivilent, thats all there is to it.

    For you, if you don't have the above equipment, then it is separate trips and most likely visits for each product you put down. You might have to make 8 applications trips for what some of us do in 5.

    So the decision might be to grow enough to make it a viable operation taking more time and justify equipment investment or can it be fit in as part of your regular work schedule and rolling routine with out being a nuisance. To have to interupt other more regular activities every few weeks for 2-3 days work and to gear up to do them is it a a manegerial fit?
  9. KLR

    KLR LawnSite Member
    from Zone 6
    Messages: 171

    all we do is lawn care applications. as far as I am concerned it is the most profitable green industry area.

    no slow downs due to drought/heat. Insects and weeds do well in drought conditions so we still need to be there.

    Average lawn takes 10 minutes to treat. one man can do 20 lawns per day no problem= less employees

    Workers Comp rates are generally lower than a mowing company.

    Product cost generally run around 15-18%, plus any other overhead cost. I think you will find this to be much higher percentage of money going into your pocket.

    Do customers call with complaints? sure, but don't they always compain regardless of what your service is??

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