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Witnessed competitor spraying without a Appl. Lic - what to do?

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by DA Quality Lawn & YS, Sep 6, 2009.

  1. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,218


    Moral dilemma here. If you could help out that would be great.

    I have a set of townhomes very near my own home. I have mowed these townhomes for the past two years HOWEVER I got lowballed on the job this season, and a competitor in town now mows the lawn there.

    Today, upon opening my garage door in the morning, I saw my competitor spraying the lawn with a lawn tractor/pull sprayer setup. Not sure if it was straight fert or herbicide, but most likely the latter as the lawn was getting fairly weedy and had not been touched to date. My wife and I drove out of town for some errands, and upon returning home a couple hours later, noticed my competitor was done spraying BUT the lawn had not been flagged for pest. appilcation. Big No, No.

    Since I know his name, I also looked online to see if he was licensed to apply, and I could not find a license for this guy. Since he didn't flag the lawn, I am very much thinking he has no license to apply for hire.

    I realize the right thing to do would be to call the state Dept of Ag, confirm he does/does not have a license, and turn him in. Otherwise, why do I spend money to become licensed and maintain my lic. when he cheats for nothing? My dilemma is this guy is part of a well known family in my small town - I don't want it getting around that I turned this guy in, I may lose business that way. (If I let the state know about a possible violation, does my name remain anonymous?). Please help guys, what should I do?

  2. Grandview

    Grandview LawnSite Gold Member
    from WI
    Messages: 3,251

    I would turn the guy in. Our state keeps the info confidential. I watched a guy for 3 years take customers from me. He was not certified. If you do not turn the guy in he will just keep doing it. Maybe you can do it anonymously and pretend to be one of the condo owners.
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2009
  3. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    A picture is worth a thousand words, But from past experience turning some one in especially in a small town can bite you in the Butt. Many years ago I lost about 7 customers in a row because of turning in a Invoice from Illegal operator with the treatment listed. Amazing enough he got out of it and I ate crap. Never say Never But Never again will I turn in any one for any reason.

    Now the Heck of it is. With all states hurting for Cash, Fines are now the new Tax. However State Employees are not being replaced and enforcement is short handed. Ag Inspectors have your name and address and not the time or man power to go after the Illegals. So who do you think is paying the Fines now??????? Anyone who told you life is fair, is lying.
  4. a plus bob

    a plus bob LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 1,160

    If I have to keep a license, have insurance,keep up my CCHs so should my competitors.His low ball price whould make him no money if he was legit.I call and report them even if they are mowing and spray round up so they dont have to trim,it only leads to spraying lawns.
  5. Green Thumb

    Green Thumb LawnSite Member
    Messages: 47

    I had a similar experience only I was spraying (OH) I'd been spraying for three years and was never told by anyone I needed a License. Then I meant my competitor ( Friendly meeting) and he mentioned to me if I had a license? I like doing things correctly and legal so I found out about it and within three months I passed the tests.
    My competition could have turned me in although he really helped me out. In turn I chose not to go after any of his customers unless they come to me. Mutual Respect I guess. I guess it depends on who your dealing with?
  6. FYS777

    FYS777 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,305

    that is a hard one , why don't you talk to the guy and ask him if he doe's, have one, this may be a stretch but if he is doing a good job of it, invite him to work under your license and get a percentage of what he does. that way you both win, or get creative, in this economy people will do work they are not supposed to, doesn't hurt to talk to them i wouldn't think, my 2 cent,
  7. Falcon50EX

    Falcon50EX LawnSite Senior Member
    from GA
    Messages: 994

    I hear what you are saying but I have been licensed since January and it still does not show up online. I have not had anyone ask me on a job but I do get looks and the guys from Lesco say people have asked. What is funny about the guys that asked are they two out of three are not licensed.
  8. FYS777

    FYS777 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,305

    well put, we all have to work together in this,
  9. Think Green

    Think Green LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,746

    How true you are, and I see that your butt has been bitten by the same fading organization of cost cutting bureaucrats.

    My State's Pland Board Organization doesn't keep my credentials free for the public to see on their website.............thank goodness, because my numbers will be out there for the picking. It isn't like anyone can get the information anyway.!! I don't display my class 4-5 numbers on my truck like the heat and air guys do or plumbers!! This is only asking for trouble. My State doesn't require that for reasons............I am sure!!
    Arkansas has enough trouble of keeping our flyboys, some of whom couldn't fly a cropduster straight without a pint of Tequila in them from dumping Stam or Gly out of the tanks during the evening hours over the highways. Needless to say, I and many other Licensed LCo's are encouraged to call in on illegals. Just the other day, while eating lunch, at a large local grocery store a boy and a older man came across their parking lot with one of those pull behind sprayers equipped with boom and wand. They began to spray the sign areas and cracks of the store. The duo, then went around back and sprayed the fence lines and cracks. What do you do??? They probably went and bought a gallon of Killzall and said, "We will make some money!" When I worked for Cox Communications back some years ago, these cads knew I used to spray herbicides, and paid me----on the clock to apply round-up on their overstock grounds. I didn't mind, since it was easy to do!!!! Kept me out of the mess for a while. Anyway, I was illegal in the essence of the State's requirements, but it goes on!!!!
    Now, I am back on the other side of the fence, doing this stuff legal and having to pay yearly fees, going to re-certification schools, paying for all that is worthy to pull a skid trailer around the city, and these ingrates are doing it under the blanket.
    Did this competitor have any sign postings on his vehicle? Taking a photo of the next application may prove otherwise negligence, but who are you going to prove it to!!!
    The inspector can document your findings, but this guy could have been applying fertilizer, which isn't illegal to do in Arkansas. You don't need a license to apply it--maybe they do in your state.

    Here is where it bites you in the butt here!!! After turning in a couple of LCO's a few years ago, they got a notice from the state, had to attend a hearing in Little Rock and was fined a minisule amount. The hearing board told them of who it was that turned them in. It is public record to ask this question.!!??? It is not like we are calling in for America's Most Wanted and the calls are confidential!! The state's don't have to follow a regimine of secrecy!!!

    It is great that your story turned out peacefully.
    Around here, with all of Bubba's croanies doing illegal work, most of which are meth head addicts doing the driving and spraying, confrontations aren't dealt with on the civil level.
    The owner's are somewhere else sitting in their truck, talking on the phone bringing in more business. One time was physical and the reprocussions of this type of anger isn't ratifyed by violence. It will cost you both in time, court fees, damages to equipment and vehicles...............you know what I mean??

    Now, I will let dead dogs lie, and what goes around---comes around!!!!!!!
    This is one time where you can say--in confidence that all "Dogs Will Have Their Day!!"

    Things will catch up to whomever is illegally doing something!!!!-----
  10. grassman177

    grassman177 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,795

    that is easy, turn anyone in as they most certainly are breaking a very important law, and really they could be quite dangerous about what they are doing. you do not have to tell the state so just dont tell anyone else and it will be fine

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