View Full Version : SOIL/BARK BLOWER
08-04-2000, 07:35 PM
Looks like a good idea to me!! I've seen the bark/mulch blowers before made by Finn I believe, but until last week in a magazine, I've never seen a soil blower. Does anyone have one or ever seen one used?? I can't believe what they say it will do!! I'd imagine the soil condition has to be just right, etc. Someone brought this up in another post and it sounded like it was one unit that could do both?? I'd appreciate some more info on these machines. Thanks Guys!!
08-04-2000, 09:40 PM
the finn will blow a soil mix. the drier the better, a soil compost or soil peat mix works best. mulch about 12-15 yards per hr. soil mix 4-6 yards per a little slow but it beats wheel barrels. if you can,t get a loader in.
Here's my fun mulch blowing story. I have a res. customer who is in charge of a cemetary and who got me some great landscape install work there. During May he asked me if I could mulch all the beds. The last time they had it done (2 years ago) 130 yards were put down. Being a 1 - 2 man operation there was no way I could squeeze that one in. But 1 of my suppliers has 2 tractor trailer sized trucks (not Finn brand, cost $150,000 each) blowing mulch 6 days a week, so I talked to them. They came the 1 day with the truck full (60 Yards) and emptied it in 3.5 hours & it looked fantastic! Came back with another 40 yards another day to finish. They said they could also do top soil & mixes. Bottom line: I got the job done making the customer happy, charged $45.00 per yard ( a little cheaper than they paid last time, & those guys did the loader & wheelbarrow thing & spent days), paid $33.00 per yard, and only spent 2 man hours of showing them the job & inspecting it after they left.:) What a great truck. Wish I could find a lot more gravy like that!
08-06-2000, 03:50 PM
Guido - We tried out the FINN bark blower over the winter, and it blew mulch fine, in our yard, but not soil or compost as the rep claimed. So a couple of weeks ago on demo, we ran it up to a job (on research Pkwy in Wallingford) to blow mulch and try soil (by the way, in Connecticut - Jim Johnson from FINN is very helpful and available). It really works great for mulch, but not soil for the most part. I can only keep a couple hundred yards of soil dry at a time, so that might be a problem logistically - supply of a consistent product will be essential. On the other hand, it doesn't seem to mind wet mulch. We were hoping it would work with compost or soil in order to help topdress areas or mulch with compost after seeding a lawn. It doesn't really do that job yet. It did spread about 100 yards of mulch in a day between two jobs. One drawback though, I had two loaders on the first job to keep feeding the machine, then followed it to another with a loader. This isn't a problem for us at this point, because we have machines at work, but it seemed that we needed a hundred thousand dollars worth of equipment to do a simple job. Even if we had a bigger blower, we would have been leaving the jobsite to go re-load.
I have reviewed the costs and income potential for the machines, but can't rationalize the purchase just yet. I suppose a couple of subcontractors will start to rise up and offer the service, but I am wary of them as well, because they will most likely be the same ones who lowball other services (i.e. hydroseed for cheap with crappy seed and light coverage). There are a lot of cheap mulches available that I suspect these guys will blow for a seemingly inexpensive price (especially if they have a deal with the producer to obtain cheap product). Be cautious to know what material is being used so you don't get conned by a seemingly cheap price. Also, I have heard of one guy who can supposedly load and shoot between 40-50 yards of mulch on a tri-axle. This seems suspect because of Gross vehicle weight an axle weight restrictions in our area. In otherwords, how will you know how many yards a guy shoots if you don't load him (unless he is a trustworthy supplier). I know of a contractor who claimed to spread 120 yards of mulch on a job every year for $35.00 per yard. This is material that most companies would spread for between $50-75.00 per yard depending upon the site. He actually only spread about 60-70 yards (I know this because the next guy-not me, had to truck the other 50 yards off the site because it was too much!!). Beware of unscrupulous operators in new ventures!!!
08-06-2000, 11:58 PM
hey,sls nursery, what you don,t have a bark blower? sounds like you need one. you can still get top dollar for mulch work using premium mulch. we have a finn 302 and your right you need about 100g worth of equipment, but you have that already. we do very little sub work we use the blower on own accounts and jobs. it saves so much time. example just finishing a landscape install ar 5:00 p.m but still ahve 8 yds of mulch to install? no problem 35 min and your done. no need to come back tomorrow.if you were doing it by hand you are working much later or coming back. we bring 2 trucks one loader and the blower. for about 30 yards of mulch. if your even thinking about buying it you already should have. you can double your mulching production easy. the soil is better done with loaders but we do blow Penn mulch on some jobs, 20m in about 30 min. good luck and good growing
08-07-2000, 06:01 PM
Steven- tell me how you decided to buy the machine (Just knew you needed it, or already have the volume?). How many yards do you spread per year. We sell a couple thousand yards each of Red Cedar and regular bark. Maybe one thousand each of Hemlock and natural cedar. A lot is just delivered or picked up at our yard, but we might find ourselves in just the situation you described on more than one occasion. For now, I have the man power, and for various reasons need to put the brakes on new purchases, but maybe by next Spring I'll put one on the fleet. I recently added an Isuzu NQR to the fleet, and love it, what do you think about putting the 8 yard model on a cab-over chassis? We currently rent out (to landscapers) equipment like a T-90 hydroseeder, Brush bandit chipper, Kubota B-21. What do you think about putting the 2 yard trailer model on a rental fleet? Do you think folks would spend the money for the productivity. I'm thinking not enough guys have loaders so it might backfire. I appreciate any input you may have.
08-07-2000, 09:26 PM
sls, if you buy the 302 trailer unit the guys don't have to have a loader they can fork it in the hopper, not as easy as a loader but beats the wheel barrel. i don't know anything about the rental business, but the trailer 302 is much more versitile. you can pull it with a pick-up.
sounds like you have a plate full now. no need to go crazy with equipment. we installed 1400 yds last year, and i just could not see mulching by hand anylonger. 4g down and $800 a month its an easy payment to cover itself. do you sell scotts products, lawn care. well hope that helped good luck and good growing.
SlS, There is a rental company in Southington, CT that is currently renting the small bark blower out right now for about $365.00 per day, he has been renting it out almost every day since he got it in April, we rented it one day and had a lot of trouble with it getting clogged and the mulch we were using was not that wet. But I know a lot of people have been renting. Also a company in Cheshire just got one of the medium size ones and mounted it on there new Isuzu cabover.
08-12-2000, 09:19 AM
It's nice to hear there is demand, however the machine needs to go out more than 100 times at the full rate in order to pay for itself. I wonder if the novelty of it will wear out over time. For instance, a couple guys rented the hydroseeder from us in the summer, but were bummed out because it clogged up (lack of experience). I think I will wait until the mulch blowers run a litter more consistently before I plop down the cash. Thank you for the input. BTW, where are you in CT?
08-13-2000, 10:46 AM
good points on the rental, if the rental for the machine is $365. i'll do $500 with machine and experience operator. wiil travel, hartford, new haven, new london counties. you bring the mulch and loader , i'll bring the blower and a man. small jobs? line them up in a row. can do about 7 yds per hr in shrub,flowers beds and 12-14 yds per hr in open areas. thats an idea that might work. let me know what you think.
SLSNursery, We are located in Southington CT. I've seen your guys taking care of the Hudson Bank in town. We do most of our work in Southington, Hartford and Granby we mostly do large schools and goverment properties with very little landscaping we do mostly all maintenance. Also when we rented the bark blower from the rental company it also clogged on us a few times and I had a lot of trouble with it blowing too hard for small island beds, the rental place told me I had to fool around with the floor speed and some other adjustments to make it work but I still could'nt get it to work the way I thought it would, but for large mulch beds I could see the potential. The rental shop is in Southington and the name of it is All State Rental and supplies, Joe Cusano is the owner and they are very good people to deal with if you ever need to rent anything.
I own a finn trailer mount. I created another company name to use it as a subcontractor so my competitors wouldn't get nervous about me stealing their work. I have a loader wich is necessary. If you are unable to load directly into the hopper, you need to be able to load mulch into the tow vehicle's bed. Then it can be hand forked into the machine. We go through mulch so fast that I can't believe using the machine without a loader available. the one major problem that I have with the trailer blower is hose storage. Moving 200' of hose (if needed) requires a separate truck to carry it or it gets wrapped around the tow vehicle wich is carrying the mulch and towing the blower. This looks pretty cheesey. I usually try to drive the truck and trailer around the job and use only a 50' section of hose. Myself and one other did 1'000 + yards by ourselves this year, with a third person we did an additional 750 yards. I would barley break a sweat. I have reduced my labor and increased my profit. As for purchase with intent to rent, would not do it. Only if you supply an operator. The airlock blade is subject to damage if poor quality material is run through it,ie. shredded pallats or gravel from dirty asphalt scoops. The nails and stones will ruin any potential revenue. The blade costs several thousand $$$$. The trailer, mine is a 2000 cost $33,000. Non-negotiable....
I can't imagine spreading by hand anymore. The mulch lays just as good or even better then when worked by hand.
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