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View Full Version : Pricing Fertilizer Treatment


element009
05-02-2011, 11:08 AM
Hey guys. I have a few clients that want me to fertilize their lawns throughout the season. However, I'm not sure how to price this service? Do you price it on a per 1000 sq ft basis? How much do you usually charge?

What about for spot treating the lawn with weed killer as needed?

I also have a few clients with nice lawns, but they still have some weeds here and there. They are interested in getting their lawns in perfect condition. So how much time would one have to spend to get from a good lawn to a great lawn?

I don't have much experience in this. I was just licensed a few weeks ago to apply pesticides so the pricing is confusing me.

I'm in NJ, by the way.

hawthornelawncare
05-02-2011, 02:00 PM
Hey guys. I have a few clients that want me to fertilize their lawns throughout the season. However, I'm not sure how to price this service? Do you price it on a per 1000 sq ft basis? How much do you usually charge?

What about for spot treating the lawn with weed killer as needed?

I also have a few clients with nice lawns, but they still have some weeds here and there. They are interested in getting their lawns in perfect condition. So how much time would one have to spend to get from a good lawn to a great lawn?

I don't have much experience in this. I was just licensed a few weeks ago to apply pesticides so the pricing is confusing me.

I'm in NJ, by the way.



Hey there i havent done much fertilization but i can say just figure the square foot of the property and charge by the square footage. or if you want call a few main companys there and see what they would charge for such service. if you live in a house have them come out and give you a quote. might be able to base it off of that

Steve
05-04-2011, 05:20 PM
Have you checked out your competitors websites? You might get an idea of the going price range of your area by doing so.

Keep us posted on what you find.

element009
05-06-2011, 11:47 PM
I went to the office of Jonathan Green, which is a pretty big turf grass company in the area. I figured out a basic program, and worked out the prices per square footage. Now I have to figure out what to charge. I was thinking maybe a 10% markup on the product, plus 1 man hour of labor charged per application...which is $30 for me. I can't imagine charging any less than that. There would be no point to provide the service. What do you guys think? Say it costs me 50 bucks to get a fertilizer for 15,000 sq ft. I charge them 85....50 w/ 10% markup plus 30 for the work to put the stuff down. Is this too low, too high? i'm lost.

LawnMoore
05-07-2011, 03:33 AM
howe you applying it?

doing a 4 application contract?

give me more info ill get you closer to a formula.

Steve
05-07-2011, 01:52 PM
Is this too low, too high? i'm lost.

Have you checked around with your competitors websites to see what they are charging? That would give you an idea of what the going rate is. Then you could adjust your prices accordingly.

MountainViewGreenskeeper
05-07-2011, 05:58 PM
I went to the office of Jonathan Green, which is a pretty big turf grass company in the area. I figured out a basic program, and worked out the prices per square footage. Now I have to figure out what to charge. I was thinking maybe a 10% markup on the product, plus 1 man hour of labor charged per application...which is $30 for me. I can't imagine charging any less than that. There would be no point to provide the service. What do you guys think? Say it costs me 50 bucks to get a fertilizer for 15,000 sq ft. I charge them 85....50 w/ 10% markup plus 30 for the work to put the stuff down. Is this too low, too high? i'm lost.

That is pretty close to what we do. Charge a minimum and that covers up to ... sq ft and charge per K sq ft after that is what we do.

If you dont have a minimum your only screwing yourself.

dclawnfl
10-12-2011, 07:28 PM
Hey guys. I have a few clients that want me to fertilize their lawns throughout the season. However, I'm not sure how to price this service? Do you price it on a per 1000 sq ft basis? How much do you usually charge?

What about for spot treating the lawn with weed killer as needed?

I also have a few clients with nice lawns, but they still have some weeds here and there. They are interested in getting their lawns in perfect condition. So how much time would one have to spend to get from a good lawn to a great lawn?

I don't have much experience in this. I was just licensed a few weeks ago to apply pesticides so the pricing is confusing me.

I'm in NJ, by the way.

easy,do this, have them come to you and bid your yard then tell them thank you.done,done and done.

mark123
10-12-2011, 07:59 PM
My first question is always "are you licensed to apply these products to your customer's lawns?". Depending on your state you could be looking at big fines if you are not licensed.

There is only one real good way that I've found to be consistent and fair and that's to charge a certain amount per square foot plus a stop charge. The stop charge sets your minimum and keeps the cost fair regardless of the size.

If you do something like a straight charge per square foot then the bigger the lawn gets the more uncompetitive your prices get. If you do it without a stop charge then the smaller the lawn is the more you're giving away for free.

jymie
10-12-2011, 10:33 PM
My first question is always "are you licensed to apply these products to your customer's lawns?". Depending on your state you could be looking at big fines if you are not licensed.

There is only one real good way that I've found to be consistent and fair and that's to charge a certain amount per square foot plus a stop charge. The stop charge sets your minimum and keeps the cost fair regardless of the size.

If you do something like a straight charge per square foot then the bigger the lawn gets the more uncompetitive your prices get. If you do it without a stop charge then the smaller the lawn is the more you're giving away for free.

In the first post he mentioned that he just got his license to apply pesticides. I agree that having someone come out and price your property will give you a ball park figure to go by.

cruzgardening
10-12-2011, 11:11 PM
in my area scotts lawn care service charge about $140 for a a regular size lawn, back and front, i live in southern California. that is about $30 more then all the other guys but they do what they promise.

also it depends on what type of fertilizer you are using and how you are applying it, scotts only apply liquid fertilizer, which is fast release, we do organic fertilizing, compost, which is a bit more expensive about $160 front and back, this fertilizer is slow release and only needs 2 application a year instead of 4-6 with the other companies.

so it depends i hope u look at scotts prices, if you have them in your area. good luck!

mark123
10-12-2011, 11:54 PM
In the first post he mentioned that he just got his license to apply pesticides. I agree that having someone come out and price your property will give you a ball park figure to go by.

Ah, sorry. I missed that. I'm so used to fielding these questions from unlicensed that I guess I just assumed. The warning still stands for anyone else reading though.

Please don't waste someone's time by pretending to want an estimate though. I'd rather give you my pricing formula than to see you do something unethical like that.

The reason I never post my pricing formulas is that I don't want to give the information to those without licensing or insurance.

element009
10-13-2011, 10:20 AM
There is only one real good way that I've found to be consistent and fair and that's to charge a certain amount per square foot plus a stop charge. The stop charge sets your minimum and keeps the cost fair regardless of the size.

If you do something like a straight charge per square foot then the bigger the lawn gets the more uncompetitive your prices get. If you do it without a stop charge then the smaller the lawn is the more you're giving away for free.


Hey mark, by stop charge do you mean always charge 'x' amount for an application regardless of square footage? and then charge them a per sq ft rate on top of it?

That sounds pretty good but I just want you to clarify i'm understanding it correctly

element009
10-13-2011, 10:45 AM
howe you applying it?

doing a 4 application contract?

give me more info ill get you closer to a formula.

wow 5 months later, here is my response (sorry):o

1. Right now I am using a broadcast spreader to apply everything (scratching bare spots when applying seed. Looking into a slit seeding device for the future.

2. Here's the 5 application program I'm attempting to sell: Jonathan Green's Basic Program
March/April: -MAG-I-CAL (soluble calcium - - substitute for lime)
-Spring Fert 19-0-5 w/ Dimension(for crab grass)

May: -Weed & Feed 15-0-5

July: -Summer Fert + Insecticide 18-0-3

Sept: -Fall Fert 25-6-8
-Overseeding

Nov: -Winter Fert 10-18-20
-MAG-I-CAL

-I also offer an optional monthly broadleaf weed spraying treatment at extra charge.

Right now I've seen some good results using this program. The problem is, I have customers who ask me to start a program in May or June, and it's too late for weed/feed and it screws the whole thing up. Or worse, I have clients asking me to only do certain apps and skip others. I tell them it will not be as effective, but some people care more about their lawn than others.

So, should I offer the program as a whole and decline those who ask for partial service? or should I keep the partials as well? w/ the caveat that they won't see the best results of course.

mark123
10-13-2011, 12:16 PM
Hey mark, by stop charge do you mean always charge 'x' amount for an application regardless of square footage? and then charge them a per sq ft rate on top of it?

That sounds pretty good but I just want you to clarify i'm understanding it correctly
Yes, that's correct. The stop charge is how much you want to step onto the property (or drop your trailer gate for mowing).

boats47
11-04-2011, 11:30 AM
product costs plus time to apply per thousand/feet and of course issuance, other costs you may have. Everyone ask this question and you are the only one who can answer that as every lawn company is different. What I can do for $10 per thousand you need to get $12 per thousand. Not mention the geographics of it all, one area of your state you may be able to more then say if you work in the ghetto. Commercial is and can be differnt than residencial, so there are alot of factors that you can only you can answer.

mark123
11-04-2011, 07:31 PM
product costs plus time to apply per thousand/feet and of course issuance, other costs you may have. ...

Time to apply doesn't work for fertilizing applications. There are too many variables. If the lawn is too high it'll slow you down or if you have to move toys or have the owner unlock a gate or put the dog in. Every time you go the time will be different so time doesn't (or shouldn't) enter into the equation.

dclawnfl
11-05-2011, 09:58 AM
for anyone to try and hide there cost means that they have something to hide,my cost of services is almost double of all my comp,i give them my cost and they get pissed because they cant get the price.but we have been around since the late 70's,we started by working for a friend and then the service was givin to my father then i took it over.and as for lic on spraying use all natual products you will put that chen guy in the dirt trust me nobody wants that crap in there yard with there pets or kids,and yes thats my sales pitch to our customers.it works every time.

mark123
11-05-2011, 10:02 AM
I'm trying to decipher that last post. Who is hiding costs? I don't get it.

dclawnfl
11-06-2011, 09:32 AM
if you feel that it's wrong to call a service out and ask them how much,so you can break down there estm.see here where i live there are over 200 lawn services in our area,we know each other and its normal to ask your fellow lawn man his rate,why would you tell him,so we can keep the cost of service where it should be.no low ballers in our area.we all must work together to keep the green industry running to where we all can make a good living.

mark123
11-06-2011, 07:46 PM
if you feel that it's wrong to call a service out and ask them how much,so you can break down there estm. ...
Yes, I agree with that. It's just not ethical to use someone's time to pilfer information.

boats47
11-07-2011, 11:10 AM
Time to apply doesn't work for fertilizing applications. There are too many variables. If the lawn is too high it'll slow you down or if you have to move toys or have the owner unlock a gate or put the dog in. Every time you go the time will be different so time doesn't (or shouldn't) enter into the equation.

I would have to say we will probably agree to disagree then. You have to know your average time to apply product per, in the case of my formula, 1000ft2. Maybe time is so much of factor on properties that are small say less than 20,000ft2, but when you get into properties that in excess of 100,000ft2 it plays a major factor. The formula that I created is based on time and material cost with a percentage cost factored in for spot spraying weeds on three of my applications. You are right that there are factors that play into this if kids leave toys out or if there gates, but all of those are dealt with an email to customer saying that we will be there on a certain day, please pick up all your crap as I am not your mother (of course I don’t word it as such). The other factor too is if you have multiple properties in one neighborhood verses if you are driving 30 min for just one property, you have to be able to recover that time in some shape or form. In general what I have found is that in this business the law of averages plays a major role, what you take a hit on with one property (unforeseen issues) you make up with another property (issue free).
One last note, to the guy who shares his costs with the other 200 lawn care companies, you are nuts to so. I really cannot see how you can compare you cost to someone else for the simple fact that you have different overhead expenses and accrued costs. For example, my average expense with Lesco is over $100,000 a season and I get really good price structure due to my volume. Now “you” only do a third of that and I can bet that your price structure is quite different to say the least. So, if I am paying $8.25 for a bag of Dimension you are paying $16.25 you by default have to charge more or you lose money and I can charge less thus beating you out for the property. It is not about the Green Industry sticking together by sharing price structure, it is about sticking together to educate the public about what we doing to help improve the environment. It is about joining Green organizations and becoming educated on better ways to improve a lawn or landscape without damaging our environment and yet still give someone a weed free green lawn.

mark123
11-07-2011, 04:23 PM
I would have to say we will probably agree to disagree then. ...
I suppose. :)

How do your customers take it when you charge them different prices each time you service the property?

boats47
11-08-2011, 07:00 AM
I suppose. :)

How do your customers take it when you charge them different prices each time you service the property?

They get a bill for each time I am at the property and because we do differnt things e.g. pre-emergent, grub control they get a bill based on that $. I could make it the same payment throughout the season, but why, what is the difference? To each his own, whether I bill the average of all five steps or bill each individulaly it has never been a concern.

mark123
11-08-2011, 07:31 AM
They get a bill for each time I am at the property and because we do differnt things e.g. pre-emergent, grub control they get a bill based on that $. I could make it the same payment throughout the season, but why, what is the difference? To each his own, whether I bill the average of all five steps or bill each individulaly it has never been a concern.

I understand charging different prices for different services but not for time spent. I guess I just can't figure out a correct way to make it work. It just makes more sense to me to charge by the property size and not the time. The amount of product applied is the constant concerning mowing and fertilizing.

For things like leaf removal and landscaping I use time and material because property size isn't a part of the equation.

How do you figure the final price using time to apply in the formula?

boats47
11-09-2011, 08:07 AM
I understand charging different prices for different services but not for time spent. I guess I just can't figure out a correct way to make it work. It just makes more sense to me to charge by the property size and not the time. The amount of product applied is the constant concerning mowing and fertilizing.

For things like leaf removal and landscaping I use time and material because property size isn't a part of the equation.

How do you figure the final price using time to apply in the formula?

Mark all time really is in any formula is a base line, instead of starting with "X" as zero you use say $16.25 for properties that take 15 min or less, that is if you get $65/hr for a pesticide applicator. So, for a property that is 10,000 and uses one bag of fert @ $15.00 (mark up your fert cost to whatever your multiple is) and lets say I use a multiple of 3.5, now that bag of fert is $52.50. That multiple you use for your bag of fert is the real cost of that bag, shipping, you handling it from pallett to truck, tax, fuel. Now all you do is take the 16.25 (your hour rate for 15 min) add that to the fert cost and you get $68.75. That number would be your cost to fertilize any lawn 10,000ft2 and below. Of course you adjust for little postage stamp properties, but I am sure you get the point. It is alot easier than it looks and once you input everything into excel, it is fast and consistant.