View Full Version : Hydro Seeding

05-16-2002, 01:08 PM

05-16-2002, 01:19 PM
Rick, most of the Hydros I've used work well. and some don't. I would make sure there is a goog warrenty. As far as pricing normally a yard 60,000ft^2 would run about $800-900 but that's not including prep work or fertilizer. SO there is a great profit to be had. You just have to play around and do a couple of jobs to see what price is more profitible for you

05-16-2002, 01:33 PM
Sorry rick I should have let you know what type of Hydro I have it's a Turbo Turf. It works great and as far as prices and what to charge you can look at there website. Most prices are anywhere from 4 cents to as much as 30 cents per square foot to do a job. Hope this helps more.

David Gretzmier
05-17-2002, 12:04 AM
having used a turbo they are the nicest jet around. once you use a james lincoln mechanical, it'll be hard to settle for a jet. finn's are great. good luck. Dave g

05-17-2002, 12:09 PM
Great brands...all of those mentioned. For the most bang for your buck, new guys need to check out the following link, which points to a press release (at TurfQuip.com) regarding the TQ 500E hydroseeding machine.

Understand that while a mechanically agitated machine gives the owner more flexibility on the high end so to speak, lots and lots of guys make good money with jet machines.

The issue is, which machine is best? Ask any manufacturer and they'll be quick to let you know "theirs" is... human instinct I suppose but lets look at jet machines in a more practical way:

Similar or exact engines, pumps, fittings hoses and tanks across manufacturers. Small variations here and there but all strive and achieve furious and violent mixing inside the tank. That's what keeps the slurry in suspension.

Now how to decide? Price I guess ;-)

Press Release (http://www.turfquip.com/press_now.htm)

Shawn Burns
05-17-2002, 08:12 PM
Also keep in mind that a jet machine will take much longer to load 100% wood mulch, if it will do it at all. That's about all i use for residentual lawns.
The type of work you will be doing will dictate what type of machine you "need".
I have a TurfMaker. I bought it because i run wood mulch alot. A friend of mine has a Turbo turf. he likes the jet machine because it was alot cheaper and he primarily shoots paper mulch.

Sean Gassman
05-17-2002, 08:15 PM
Ok, heres is the scoop. There is not one machine fits all. For serious contractors you have Bowie and Finn, with Turfmaker and maybe Easylawn coming in behind them. At the lower levels you have the jet machines. This is not to say they are bad, any machine can perform, but it comes down to time. Time is money. If you need to meet a specification (mulch quantity per acer) and it takes you four tank loads vs. one of your competitors, then we can guess who will be the most likly to have the higher profit. On the other hand, if time is not as important, for example you will be on site performing other task, then the jet machines may be just fine.

The biggest problems with any of these machines is not with the machines at all, but the operator. Understanding how and why you mulch, at what rates, determines success or failure of the job. The problem is there are to many contractors charging $800-$900 for 60,000 sf, this price would not cover my mulch, let alone labor, gas, seed, tac., water, overhead, etc.

The number one mistake when determining price is for a contractor is to look at pricing as the determining factor. You should learn how to do the best job and determine the cost to perform it, get paid, and to profit, then you will know what to charge. This is not easy, but you may stay in business unlike the numerous contractors that have price wars to do the job at the lowest prices, doing the worst jobs, and hurting our industry as a whole.

I would suggest you check out the Hydro Turf Planters Association. We are a group of contractors with just about every machine represented, the one difference is the contractors are out to do the best job possible.

www.htpa.org;) ;) ;)

05-19-2002, 11:17 AM
Sounds like your from Tennessee just by looking at your zip code. I have been planting ky 31, but you need to remember that ky 31 is a cool season grass, you might want to think about a warm season grass or a mixture of the two. Bermuda, Rye, Ky 31 etc. Where exactly are you from.

05-19-2002, 06:07 PM
Originally posted by prairie
As far as pricing normally a yard 60,000ft^2 would run about $800-900 but that's not including prep work or fertilizer.

Please check your math on that one. $900.00 for 60Ksf is only 1.5 cents per foot. That might be your cost for materials but I that it's too low to cover them. At $.05/sf you would be talking $3,000 for that 60Ksf.

I've never sprayed for less than 4 1/2 cents and right now am at 5 or 5 1/2 depending on lot size and how much work I get from that account.

I'm using a homebuilt seeder modeled on the TurboTurf machines. I'm able to put down around 4,000 ft per hour, using paper mulch and working alone. This is just seeding, prep is extra.

Sean Gassman
05-19-2002, 07:12 PM
Hey guys, I get $.07 - $0.075 per sq. ft for residential acerage. This is for a quality job using wood at 2200 - 2500 lbs per acer. I use poly tac and lots of it. We have had three rains, 2-3 inches within 2-3 hours, starting two days after spraying and about every three days after that. I just drove by and checked them.....nothing washed ...no mulch or dirt!! The grass is sprouting and my customers and their neighbors are amazed at the results. Before hiring me, these dozen or so yards I am talking about, had heard that it would wash, was hard to water, would come in spotty. I assured them that quality was worth every penny. I recived these jobs over my competition charging as low as $0. 03 a sq. ft. As a result, I have proved that hydroseeding does work even under the worst of conditions when it is applied correctly.

When pricing your jobs you must know how to apply the product so you can determine cost, labor, overhead, etc. Only then can you understand what to charge.

The Good Earth
05-20-2002, 12:28 AM
Prairie has to mean that he is making between 800-900 bucks profit for a job this size. That is still a bit low on the profit side, but still in the ballpark, allbeit shallow left center!!

On the flip side, if you are only talking 800-900 bucks total price for the job then you have officially attained the honor of lowball scrub in the seeding business. :cool:


That .07 to .075 for 60,000 square feet, does that include prep work? The reason I ask is this. That seems like an awfully high rate for an acre and a third. If you are getting that rate for seeding only then more power to you brother!! I was just interested on a little clarification.

BTW, sure would be nice if some conversation like this went on the HTPA forum.

Sean Gassman
05-20-2002, 07:49 AM
That is just for seeding and service. One thing you guys need to understand, this is not just a product, its a service! Residential customers will need weekly inspections, weekly telephone calls, possibly weekly meetings to make them understand watering and/or explain what is going on with their property. Without this these customers will feel abandoned and that you are only out for a check, not a quality job. So, yes it is just for seeding and all the service that comes with it.

Shawn Burns
05-21-2002, 09:52 PM
I'm with Sean on this one. I'm getting about .08 for other contractors, and .10 & up for residential customers. This is using 100% wood starting at 2200 lbs. per acre, seed, and fert. ( with Tupersan this time of year). I am doing some hydro"seeding" at lesser rates, but try to sell all on hydro"mulching".
Also like mentioned, you do have to sell the service. I check on customers lawn at least once a week, and touch base with them just as much. I also offer the customer a temporary irrigation system at a weekly rental rate.
I also offer a 30 day warranty on lawns that are irrigated or have my temp. irrigation system on them, but callbacks are all but unheard of since they are watered properly.

05-22-2002, 11:52 AM
Sean or Shawn...

I understand there are instances when even guys with hydroseeders opt to apply the seed mechanically then mulch and tack over that...a two step process.

How important is it, and under what set of circumstances should one consider this option?

05-22-2002, 11:52 AM
I've been off the cumputer for too long working so here it goes. The $800-900 is cost not the price I charge customers. That would be anywhere from $2500-3875 depending on the prep work. In the last post I made I said that People charge betwen 4 cents to 30 cents depending on the job and that's what I charge. The most I've ever charged a client is 20 cents which included a prep of a nast grade I have to deal w/.

Thought I would stick up for myself a little and make sure people didn't think I was a Scrub

Sean Gassman
05-22-2002, 11:43 PM
The only reason for putting the seed down then mulching on top would be to get good soil contact. I am not sure if this is needed. I would recommend using the hose and spray down into the soil. The force at which the slurry is sprayed will mix with the top 1" or more of soil if the soil is loose. This is how we spray all our jobs. We never spray up, only straight down or a 45 degree angle downward. The only reason I can think of for seeding first would be to the cap it from the tower gun.

I was not calling you a scrub, but your statement was unclear.

05-23-2002, 08:13 AM
Thank you Sean,

Somewhere I've seen a list of basic, recommendations on correct mixing and spraying. One of these was 'trapping' the hose when there will be an interruption in the spraying for whatever reason. The theory is as I recall, to contain water within the line by closing both valves. Thus, the hose is much less likely to clog until spraying resumes.

There are other basics as well published by one of the major mfg's? Would someone kindly share these recommendations in addition to the one I mentioned above?

05-24-2002, 10:32 PM
No one?

Minds gone blank or priviledged information hehe...

Speaking of which are there certain trade 'secrets' we are better off not revealing unless paid to do so?

I'm not trying to be a smart ***, just wondering what happened to the robust discussion we had going ;-)


The Good Earth
05-25-2002, 01:56 AM

I haven't heard of any of the recommendations that you are talking about. I wouldn't mind seeing them myself. I have picked up little stuff here and there but nothing earth shattering by any means.

As far as the trade secrets, I think we should share at will. My feeling is that none of us are really competing in one anothers' backyard so why not help each other out. I think the only folks involved in any of the seeding discussions that are even remotely close to one another is you and I. And I swear to god if you start nosing around any of my work,,,, sorry man got off on a little fit!! Just kidding!! :D

05-25-2002, 07:05 AM

Jay thanks, I agree. And no need to worry about me as far as screwing with your market....I avoid Cincinnati and points North to the greatest extent possible...there seems to be unlimited expansion in the Northern Kentucky market. I'm damn lucky to be here.

Keep sharing guys!

As I recall, another one of those rules of thumb had to do with mixing.....begin at one third tank, have all ingredients in by two thirds tank while filling.

Another: Seed first, Hydro-Max or other consumables, liquid fert, mulch....I don't recall when tak is recommended but I do know these guidelines exist - these and several more.

Wish I had them handy :-)

Sean Gassman
05-25-2002, 07:42 AM
Hey guys, most of what you are talking about has more to do with what manufacturers recommend, not really rules to live by. Most contractors do not do the close the hose thing and many do not have time to wait for the 1/3 the tank deal. I think most have started this way and found out that alot of it is b.s. Most play with it until they find what works for them.

If I come up with some I will let you know

05-25-2002, 01:03 PM
Thanks Sean!

Do I have the mixing sequence right in your experience....

Shawn Burns
05-25-2002, 01:30 PM
Sorry for the lull in writing!
The only reason i know of for seeding first other than already mentioned is for wild flowers, or native grasses. With these, seed to soil contact is crucial, most of the folks that i have talked to about this drill these seeds.
I fill my tank to about 3/4 full, add mulch, add seed, add fert., add tack, add anything else i need. Maybe there's a better way, but i don't know it.
I will close nozzle when not shooting, but i don't go out of my way to close both ends of hose. I will flush hoses if it's gonna be more than an hour or two before i start spraying again.

I have a question, do ya'll use any guar tackifier when shooting hills? I have one to try on tues. the guy does not want to spend the $ for B.F.M.'s so i told him we could try the guar and see if it holds.

05-25-2002, 05:39 PM
Ok, one hint :)

Mix your seed and sticker first plus any other additives, then add your mulch.