SyngentaOne LCO relies on his expertise and client relationships to convert customers to a disease-prevention program.

For Rick Ritenour, selling premium lawn care services begins with trust. He owns and operates Ritenour Custom Lawn Care in Butler, Pa., with his brother, Robb Ritenour.

Rick Ritenour

Rick Ritenour

The company was founded by their late parents in the 1960s when the lawn care industry was in its infancy.

“We’re still very hands on,” Ritenour says of himself and his brother. The family-operated nature of the company instills confidence among clients, he says.

“We still go out and service the customers every day,” he says. “In some cases, we’ve personally been doing these lawns for 30 years. I think the customers like that, which in turn is why we can sell extra services when they’re needed—because customers trust us.”

Ritenour’s approach to selling any service is straightforward: “Just show them the results, and it should sell itself.”

LCOs looking to sell premium fungicide services can download free marketing materials and learn from Ritenour’s three main sales lessons:

Preventive program

Disease control is one premium service Ritenour Custom Lawn Care offers its clients. Red thread, brown patch, dollar spot and leaf spot are four turf diseases the company may encounter on its clients’ lawns, which are primarily bluegrass or a mix of bluegrass, fescue and ryegrass. Similar to other lawn care firms in its area, the company offers a six-step lawn treatment program.

“For discriminating customers who want that super nice lawn, we recommend we apply a fungicide as a preventive,” Ritenour says.

Many of the company’s clients are on the preventive fungicide program, which starts in May and includes one treatment every 30 days for three months

For the past four years, Ritenour has been using Syngenta’s Headway fungicide with the active ingredients azoxystrobin and propiconazole—with good results. It’s effective and it outlasts competitive products, he says.

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Brown Patch Headway

Photo: Syngenta

Left: Untreated check succumbs to brown patch.
Right: Same lawn treated with Headway fungicide on a 28 day interval.

Soft sell

If the technicians identify a disease problem on clients’ lawns, they’ll recommend a curative fungicide application.

The technician starts by leaving behind a note about any concerns he identified along with an informational flier about the specific disease, plus an offer to do a curative fungicide application.

“We don’t go into super detail because most people don’t care what causes the disease, they just want it controlled,” Ritenour says.

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Results matter

“Normally, after they see how good the fungicide works, it’s easy to convince them to sign up for the three preventive sprays the next season,” Ritenour says.

This is the most common way clients end up on the preventive program. He estimates that three-quarters of clients who are approached in this manner go for it.

Word-of-mouth is another way clients upgrade to Ritenour’s preventive fungicide program.

“If one person sees their neighbor’s lawn, and they start talking about it, they’ll call and say we want the same program as the neighbor,” he says. “As long as you can show them the benefits and the results for the treatment, it’s not too hard to sell it to them.”

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Marketing help

Mentioning disease concerns and control recommendations in technicians’ notes and leave-behind fliers has been the most powerful way to promote the service.

The fliers Ritenour uses are homeowner marketing materials developed by Syngenta, which are free for LCOs to use in their sales and marketing efforts.

Visit GrowWithSyngenta.com to access them or to learn more.


Lawn Selling TipsWant to share your selling tips with other LCOs? Join the conversation on social media with the hashtag #LawnSellingTips.

To learn more about Syngenta, visit www.greencastonline.com. For additional resources to help your business grow, complete the form below.


This page was produced by North Coast Media’s content marketing staff in collaboration with Syngenta. NCM Content Marketing connects marketers to audiences and delivers industry trends, business tips and product information. The Landscape Management editorial staff did not create this content.

Photos: Mary Ann Hansen, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Bugwood.org; Ward Upham, Kansas State University, Bugwood.org