I need a license for this?

Licenses are created to regulate industries, to train and educated people to operate under the current legal guidelines, and to raise revenue for the state. Regulating too much can lead to over-regulation. When that happens, people either decide not to t comply with the laws or they just avoid getting into industries that they feel are over regulated. In this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum we hear from one entrepreneur that learns he needs license to perform the jobs he is already selling and that forces him to reconsider what he is doing.

One lawn care business owner wrote “I was told last week that legally I am not to repair sprinklers, or even fertilize lawns in my state without having a license. I find it odd that a simple repair, or putting down fertilizer would need a license.

I have a bunch of property maintenance contracts with apartments and for them, it is so much easier for me to fix a stuck irrigation head, than for the manager to go find someone else.  I set up a meeting with a code enforcement the other day to find out more and was told it was true. The officer stated that they know a lot of folks are doing such services without licenses and it is very hard to manage it all but they do so on a case by case basis.

According to the law the only services I can perform without a license is mow and trim lawns! I think it is wrong that if all one wants to do is repair, meaning replace or adjust a sprinkler head, that it should not require a license and a full blown test. That just seems like way too much over kill! Most of my income is from commercial customers, who require such services. I do not mind the training but I am sure it will take me a while to be licensed!”

A second lawn care business owner said “in my state, and I’m sure all states, it is illegal to apply fertilizers or chemicals without a state certification. It’s even written on our states website that I can’t even spot treat an area with Round Up even if the customer handed it to me and I did it for free. This could result in a $5,000 fine and an 11 month 29 day prison sentence.

Over the years, I have found the more legit you are, the harder and more expensive it gets to stay that way. If I had no license, insurance, or taxes to pay, I could operate for less, make more money and maybe even get away with a small warning when caught as the authorities might feel that I was just too ignorant to know better or to even seek out the knowledge I need to be in compliance.

When I first got my $200 landscaper certificate, it was required to be able to buy from the local  legitimate nurseries. Even those nurseries aren’t immune from all this over-regulation. Those that are over 600 square feet have to pay the state a fee of $200, even the hobbyist nursery (one under 600 square feet) have to pay the state $100 and account for every plant they grow, sell, trade.

To use agricultural chemicals there are several licenses to choose from and you may need several licenses depending on where and what you’re doing. They cost $200 each and have prerequisites that seem to cost $200 each as well. You also need some type of license to work on sprinkler systems. There are 3 different types of licenses for those depending on what you want to do.

The laws make it hard to run a legit company, maybe that is why so many people do not even try.”

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