Before you treat any lawn with a fertilization treatment, do you know what the property really needs or do you just spray and pray? As you will see here in this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, it is better to know than to guess. It will make you look much more professional as well.
I am trying to make my lawn mowing business more competitive. It seems everyone around me offers soil testing so I want to offer my customers the same as it seems to be a standard in my area. The thing is, I don’t want to pay someone else to test the soil because that would raise my prices. With that in mind, can you suggest a way to test the soil on location and be able to find out what is wrong with it to make it healthier?”
A second lawn care business owner shared “I perform soil test on every new lawn I work on. After that I will perform a soil test once per year, to make sure I am going in the right direction with my fertilization applications.
I don’t waste my time using any of those soil testers sold in stores. I send all my soil samples to the state university soil testing lab. I always tell the homeowner that the soil test is an investment because you really don’t know how much fertilizer to apply or what amendments you need/don’t need, until you accurately test the soil.
I have done a lot of research into this area of my business, after all, how can we make an informed suggestion if we do not know the exact problem. Sure the store bought soil testers can tell you the soil PH level as PH is pretty straight forward but the key is that is only a small part of the bigger puzzle.
The only soil testing kit I found that would tell me everything I needed to know was over a $1,000 and even then there were questions on how accurate it was.
Check with your local department of agriculture or universities. Most have a simply process that will allow you to take soil samples as per instructions and send it to them for testing. You can then have the results by email within three days. I am charged $10.00 per test and I charge the client $35.00. After getting the results, I know exactly what the ground needs to make the grass grow. I have yet to have a client refuse this service.
Most of the time I can tell what is wrong with the lawn without doing a soil sample but there have been a few times where the condition was beyond anything I had seen. I have also learned my clients don’t mind waiting a few days for an accurate test and they respect the fact that we are using professionals to tell us what needs to be done.
The government reports are very through and bang on accurate, as they utilize state of the art testing equipment.
The government gives me a report to show my clients that we are a professional company and we do get jobs because of it. When the trunk slammer show up with their tool box kit vs. us with a letter explaining why we have the Department of Agriculture do our test results, it has worked every time and I have feedback saying our reports were very different from the companies that tested the soil themselves and almost always they state, I am glad we called you.
I am a stickler for detail and accuracy in just about every area of my life. This is why my company does so well.”