Got caught spraying lawn chemical without license.

Do you spray weed killers at times without having a pesticide application license? Sure some do it and some get away with it. But some get caught. In this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, we hear from one landscaper who ran into big problems from what started off as a small situation.

One lawn care business owner wrote “business has been good this past year and it has been keeping me very busy. However, I recently had a run in with the Dept of Agriculture that I felt I should share.

I was using a chemical weed killer called Glysophate purely to hit weeds growing along sidewalks or in natural areas. I had the neighbor of one of my mowing customers call the Department of Agriculture and turn me in because a plant in this neighbor’s yard died almost 6 months after I sprayed my customer’s yard to kill off Ivy. It turned into a huge situation in which my customers, my vendors, and myself were all investigated. I was threatened with a $5,000 fine if we were caught using it again without a license.

If you do not know what chemical I am talking about, it is basically Roundup. A little less watered down and you can buy in bulk. For landscapers like myself who have to mow in the southern states where it is very humid and we have a lot of rain in the summers, there is really no way to get around weeds overtaking the yards without spraying them.

To make a long story short, the D of A is now going around looking for companies who are illegally using these LEGAL chemicals. If you are profiting off of killing weeds, they expect you to have a license for it. They tell me it is the hardest test they give and basically discourage you from getting the license, while just expecting you to stop treating the weeds. I don’t have the luxury to do that as the next company will come in and do the same thing until they get fined.

When I asked why they are so strict on this now, I was basically told because they have had a lot of complaints with grass and plants accidentally being sprayed and dying. Also they need to find more ways to generate money.

With all that said, I am still running the risk of coming across the guy who says, ‘No, I caught you with it and you are getting fined.’ Ideally, I would love to be licensed. Working two full time jobs and being a husband and a son and a friend and trying to have some sort of a life is really limiting my ability to obtain a license that I will actually have to put in some time studying for.

I love the idea of all of us studying the material together but I know that it would be hard for me to find the time to study and still find the time to work with my schedule.”

A second lawn care business owner responded “what if you didn’t charge for the use of glycophosphate to kill weeds? Would the Department of Agriculture still be able to fine you then? With the cost of this weed killer being pretty cheap compared to round up, I usually offer this as a free service to my clients if they let me spray around all buildings & trees. I do this because it cuts down on my mowing time tremendously so I end up making more money by the hour. I live in south and know what you mean about keeping the weed under control.”

A third shared “In my state you have to be licensed to use any chemicals or even to trim anything taller then 16ft. I was reported for advertising the spraying service but when I was contacted I was legit. The guy investigating me said you can be fined $5,000 just for advertising fertilizing, weed treatment, pruning, etc.

I was thinking of not renewing my licenses because I don’t do enough work to justify the cost. I told the DEP people that I was going to let it expire and switch to using organic fertilizers and he acted like he would fine me for that too. That part might be a scare tactic to keep the money flowing though.”

Read more about Lawn Care Business Bidding Tips, Upsells, And Disasters To Avoid. Learn how to improve your bidding process with this lawn care business book and be prepared before hand by knowing what you should be looking out for before a problem occurs.ā€¯

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