The benefits of adding a fertilization program to your landscaping business are obvious from the client side. Greener grass, healthier plants that grow faster and an overall more luscious yard are highly valuable customer satisfaction benefits. Integrating a fertilization program into your landscaping business also has the added benefit of increasing your area of expertise and allowing you to be a one-stop solution for your clients.
Adopting a fertilization program for your business can mean increased recurring revenues and higher gross margins than landscaping alone can provide. You can generally expect about a 40 to 60 percent gross margin by integrating commercial fertilizer into your business. That’s a gross margin that can be reinvested continuously into your company.
While lawn care may seem like a small ticket item next to design and build, you can expect about five years of recurring business from your fertilizer customers, bringing you little checks that build up quickly!
Commercial Fertilizer Products that Make It Easier
- It was esigned with no belts and a durable hydrostatic drive system to increase up-time and make routine maintenance easier
- It includes an agitation system in the 20-gallon tank to keep materials in suspension and provide a consistent, smooth stream of fertilizer
- It features a simple, powerful “Lean to Steer” control system to make operation more efficient
If you’re going to invest in a fertilization program, be sure that you’re investing in the best possible equipment to keep your long-term cost efficiency high. Making application faster and easier means you’ll spend less time working and reap the benefits of a perfectly fertilized landscape, i.e. customers thrilled with their lush, green lawns and ready to renew contracts for the coming year.
When to Apply Fertilizer
Fertilizer application must be performed in a timely fashion, or the results simply won’t be what your client is looking for. Generally speaking, you can break the fertilizer schedule into six cycles:
Round One: February to March
Use a 19-0-6 fertilizer with .25 percent barricade and 25 percent sulfur-coated urea (SCU) or a 19-0-6 with .125 percent dimension and 25 percent SCU. You could also use a 0-0-7 fertilizer with .426 percent barricade along with a 16-0-8 one with Escalade W&F.
Round Two: Mid-April
Use a 13-0-5 fertilizer with .25 percent barricade and 25 percent SCU or a 13-0-5 with .125 percent dimension and 25 percent SCU.
Round Three: Late May into June
Use a 5-10-31 fertilizer with 10 percent iron or a 14-0-7 with 50 percent organic fertilize
Round Four: July to August
Use a 14-0-7 with 50 percent organic fertilizer.
Round Five: September to October
Use an 18-20-3 starter fertilizer with 25 percent xcu.
Round Six: November to December
Use a 32-0-8 fertilizer with 30 percent xcu and 3 percent iron, as well as a 32-0-6 with 30 percent mesa.
Commercial Fertilizer in Tennessee
Be aware that the Tennessee Department of Agriculture regulates commercial fertilizers. The TDA reviews and approves product labels and obtains samples from the field to ensure that label guarantees are met and customer expectations are achieved.
If your fertilizer is found to be deficient — as in it does not meet the guarantees made, etc. — you may face penalties, including, fines, revocation of registration, seizure, condemnation and sale.
Landscaping businesses must apply for registration of commercial fertilizer with the TDA. Each brand and grade of fertilizer that you register must be accompanied by an “8.5 x 11” photocopy of your product labeling. All guarantees and label claims must be clearly visible. For “Ag Use” of commercial fertilizers, you must pay an annual registration fee of $25 per brand and grade.