After yesterday’s blog posting on new lawn care business owners’ need to carefully consider applicator’s licenses before applying chemicals to their customers’ lawns, we received several emails from large national lawn care companies.
At first, we thought the emails were going to complain that we were overly cautious in telling new lawn care businesses to be cautious about risking stepping afoul of applicator’s guidelines. To the contrary, the overwhelming majority applauded the fact that we told new companies of the risks they take when applying chemicals without proper permits. In fact, a few emailers said we didn’t go far enough in warning of the perils of operating an illegitimate chemical application business. They wanted us to mention a few additional regulations. We will mention them below.
Before you think we’re siding with the large lawn care companies, we’re not. This blog is dedicated to the small-time lawn care operator. We are all for the guys who are starting small and trying to grow their businesses customer-by-customer. It’s a tough business but it you do it right you can make a lot of money cutting grass and doing small landscaping job. We have to give the big guys credit though. When it comes to chemical application, regulations are designed to protect the environment, your customers, and yourselves from improper use of lawn care chemicals.
In the process of obtaining your applicator’s license you will learn a tremendous amount about proper mixture, storage, transportation, and application of chemicals. You will learn to protect yourself and your customers (and their children and pets) from dangerous chemicals. Not-the-least you will learn proper application techniques.
Anyone reading this who does not have an applicator’s license should make a goal of speaking to their local county extension office and making plans to start their course work.
Before I end this blog, I wanted to share a couple ancillary items lawn care companies must consider when handling chemicals. Though I was aware of these items, a couple readers wanted me to point them out specifically.
1) Many states (Illinois included) have containment regulations. “These regulations are designed to prevent environmental contamination from pesticides and/or fertilizers. Illinois law mandates that a containment area must be used for the loading of lawn-care products for distribution to a customer. The purpose of the containment area is to intercept, retain, recover, and reuse pesticide spills, wash water, and rinse water from application equipment or other items used for the storage, handling, preparation for use, transport, or application of pesticides to turf areas. Any application or handling of fertilizers only, application to trees and shrubs only, land areas located within a public or private rights-of-way, or land areas utilized for turf research or commercial turf production are exempt from these regulations.” http://web.extension.illinois.edu/ipr/i4147_829.html
2) Do you know (quite honestly we were not aware of this) that in many states (Massachusetts included) it is against the law for a homeowner to hire an unlicensed applicator “even if it is a well known over-the-counter product that anyone can purchase?” In states where this statute exists not only will you get in trouble but the homeowner who hires you will get in trouble too. That can’t be good for public relations and word-of-mouth advertising. http://www.malcp.org/faqs.htm
Okay guys; take care of yourselves and make sure you are properly licensed. We’ve upset a good many people who thought they weren’t doing anything wrong applying Monsanto’s Round-Up to their customers’ lawns.
This blog has taken a serious turn the last few days. We’ve got some fun stuff coming up for you later this week so be sure to subscribe and check back with us.