The three of them stood looking at The Fertilizer King’s new entry into the world of corporate success. Dewey Decker, founder, shoveler, president and chairman of the board if there was a board, stood next to Emily Stickles, corporate financial vice president and girlfriend, and Windy Wilson, willing volunteer.
In front of them sat an older model riding lawn mower they borrowed from the Jenkins kid, hooked up to an old 55-gallon steel drum and a series of pipes coming out of it with spray nozzles on them they picked up cheap at the hardware store. In the drum was about 50 gallons of liquid manure, soaked in water until it was the color of iced tea, with some inexpensive acid added to make it perfect for growing plants.
Dud Campbell had done the necessary welding on the sprayer, and now all that remained was to turn it on and drive around on Bert’s lawn as an experiment.
Emily, the designated note taker, was going over things.
“Okay, Honey, I have this pretty much figured out. Five gallons of ‘cow pasture tea’ should cover 500 square feet of lawn. Not counting labor, there is 45 cents per gallon of added ingredients, and we’ll have to figure in about two dollars a barrel for the gunny sacks used for straining it.
“So if we add this, divide by five, and carry the four, this comes out to your cost of 74 cents per 100 square feet of lawn. Does it matter what kind of grass is in the lawn? No? Okay then, 74 cents. Then there are the labor costs to be added to that … shall we say five bucks per average-sized lawn? Because you have to pay Windy something to drive the lawn mower. That’s right. I know you volunteered, Windy, but your time is valuable and Dewey may need you on a non-helper day.”
Windy devotes one day each week to helping someone, for free, just because.
“Then of course, you have to figure in riding mower rental and welding charges … I know they did it for nothing, but you have to be fair and be a businessman. So you then add on research costs, long-term debt service … don’t interrupt … and it comes out to just under $10 a lawn.
“If the yard is twice as big as most yards, charge $20 for the ‘tea.’”
Windy and Dewey just looked at the smile on her face and smiled, too. Corporate progress is an amazing thing.
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