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View Full Version : Hydroseeder.......Pointers For A Start-up


ed2hess
01-09-2013, 06:53 PM
In Texas we have had a lot of damage to turf because of the drought. We deal with HOAs and Condo. Putting down sod by the pallet is running about 40cents per sq.ft. We lose about 90% of the business to guys that do no soil prep, fert, etc.

What is the cost of the materials for hydroseeding in south per sq. ft.
We are thinking about getting a 100 gal unit to learn the process. Most of the jobs would be small but do have one now for 100K. We have a 500 gal
water tank with pump that could be used as filler.

All advise welcome. We mainly only do lawn maintenance and irrigation repairs. Seems like a lot of expertise on this forum.

RigglePLC
01-09-2013, 10:50 PM
Move fast--I am thinking a lot of hydroseeders went belly-up in the last two years due to slow building and the poor ecomomy. There should be used equipment on the market at bargain prices--even if it is bigger than you really need. The need for burn out repair will be much higher this year than ever before.

And learn to do sod cheaper--if you are competing on price and the customer wants to cut corners. If he wants to skip soil prep and fert...so be it...charge for each item separately so you can remove the extras and compete with whomever you must compete with.

KrayzKajun
01-09-2013, 11:24 PM
ive actually been really looking into a hydro seeder to go along with my flood control company to market as flood restoration and repair. also with erosion repair. alot of units out there. i just dont know how big of a unit i want.

ed2hess
01-10-2013, 07:51 PM
Move fast--I am thinking a lot of hydroseeders went belly-up in the last two years due to slow building and the poor ecomomy. There should be used equipment on the market at bargain prices--even if it is bigger than you really need. The need for burn out repair will be much higher this year than ever before.

And learn to do sod cheaper--if you are competing on price and the customer wants to cut corners. If he wants to skip soil prep and fert...so be it...charge for each item separately so you can remove the extras and compete with whomever you must compete with.
We are a maintenance company so don't do a lot of sod. I just don't want to lay pallets of sod for $30. Every guy with pick up got a trailer last year due to a huge market for sod replacement and zero scape installs. I don't see any seeders running around.

ive actually been really looking into a hydro seeder to go along with my flood control company to market as flood restoration and repair. also with erosion repair. alot of units out there. i just dont know how big of a unit i want.

You want to give me a hint where I can find some of these units:laugh: Well after you get yours you can tell me.

Turboguy
01-11-2013, 12:41 AM
I would say your cost of materials will run between 2 and 3 cents a foot. My material cost is 2.13 cents a sq. ft. but I am in the north.

If you go with the 100 gallon unit to start most of the guys with smaller units us a product called Jet Spray which is made by Profile since the tank opening is a little smaller on the 100 gallon units than on bigger units and jet spray is basically flakes that you can just poor in quickly. It does take just a little longer to mix than paper mulch which would be your other alternative. One bag of Jet Spray is about perfect for a 100 gallon unit and that should run you $ 13.00-15.00 a bag. A 100 gallon unit covers 1350 sq. ft so you would have about one cent in mulch per square foot. Seed costs are going to depend on the type of seed you are using. With Bermuda you would seed at about 2 pounds per 1000 so about 2 1/2 pounds per tank, fescue about 10 pounds per tank, Rye about the same. Bahia a little less. You can check seed priced in your area and figure the cost for that. Fertilizer is not all that expensive nor is tackifer which are the two other things you would need to add. I have heard the cost per square foot from a lot of people in a lot of places and what I quoted should be close. The highest I have heard was 4 cents a foot but those were guys adding a lot of stuff most don't add like organic biostimulants etc.

A nurse tank is a good way to go. It will let you do the jobs you are going to get pretty quick. I can recall talking to one guy who had a 150 gallon unit with a 150 gallon nurse tank and he told me that he could seed faster than his competitor with a high priced 500 gallon unit but no nurse tank.

I have seen a number of guys start in with 100 gallon units and do just fine. Usually after they see how much hydroseeding business is really out there they end up trading it in for a bigger machine but it isn't a bad way to start. One that I know of who did that is a lawnsite member MarksTLC. He started with a 100 ran it two years, traded that for a 300 ran that for two years and last year traded for a 500.

Getting back to mulch again, Paper mulch is another way to go. It is just a bit harder to add but cheaper and mixes better and covers better with less material. One good mulch is Central fiber which is what I use and they have three plants one of which is in Tyler Texas. They should have a dealer close to you. Paper mulch should run about $ 9-10 bucks a bale and you might only need about 3/4 of a bale per load. so you would have a mulch cost of around a half cent a sq. ft. You should be able to do the math with what I told you to figure your own cost per sq. ft.

One thing you might want to do also if you get into hydroseeding is to join the International Association of Hydroseeding Professionals (IAHP), It is only $ 100 bucks and they list you on a "find a hydroseeder" web site that gets a lot of action. One good job would pay for your membership many times over and I have seen guys who get as many as 75 jobs a year from that listing. Some get less but it is a really cheap investment in your business. I get 3-4 calls per day myself from my listing and probably got 40-50 jobs from it.

ed2hess
01-11-2013, 07:49 PM
I would say your cost of materials will run between 2 and 3 cents a foot. My material cost is 2.13 cents a sq. ft. but I am in the north.

If you go with the 100 gallon unit to start most of the guys with smaller units us a product called Jet Spray which is made by Profile since the tank opening is a little smaller on the 100 gallon units than on bigger units and jet spray is basically flakes that you can just poor in quickly. It does take just a little longer to mix than paper mulch which would be your other alternative. One bag of Jet Spray is about perfect for a 100 gallon unit and that should run you $ 13.00-15.00 a bag. A 100 gallon unit covers 1350 sq. ft so you would have about one cent in mulch per square foot. Seed costs are going to depend on the type of seed you are using. With Bermuda you would seed at about 2 pounds per 1000 so about 2 1/2 pounds per tank, fescue about 10 pounds per tank, Rye about the same. Bahia a little less. You can check seed priced in your area and figure the cost for that. Fertilizer is not all that expensive nor is tackifer which are the two other things you would need to add. I have heard the cost per square foot from a lot of people in a lot of places and what I quoted should be close. The highest I have heard was 4 cents a foot but those were guys adding a lot of stuff most don't add like organic biostimulants etc.

A nurse tank is a good way to go. It will let you do the jobs you are going to get pretty quick. I can recall talking to one guy who had a 150 gallon unit with a 150 gallon nurse tank and he told me that he could seed faster than his competitor with a high priced 500 gallon unit but no nurse tank.

I have seen a number of guys start in with 100 gallon units and do just fine. Usually after they see how much hydroseeding business is really out there they end up trading it in for a bigger machine but it isn't a bad way to start. One that I know of who did that is a lawnsite member MarksTLC. He started with a 100 ran it two years, traded that for a 300 ran that for two years and last year traded for a 500.

Getting back to mulch again, Paper mulch is another way to go. It is just a bit harder to add but cheaper and mixes better and covers better with less material. One good mulch is Central fiber which is what I use and they have three plants one of which is in Tyler Texas. They should have a dealer close to you. Paper mulch should run about $ 9-10 bucks a bale and you might only need about 3/4 of a bale per load. so you would have a mulch cost of around a half cent a sq. ft. You should be able to do the math with what I told you to figure your own cost per sq. ft.

One thing you might want to do also if you get into hydroseeding is to join the International Association of Hydroseeding Professionals (IAHP), It is only $ 100 bucks and they list you on a "find a hydroseeder" web site that gets a lot of action. One good job would pay for your membership many times over and I have seen guys who get as many as 75 jobs a year from that listing. Some get less but it is a really cheap investment in your business. I get 3-4 calls per day myself from my listing and probably got 40-50 jobs from it.

Thanks for responding I am in the process of reading as many thread as I can find on this part of lawnsite. I ran into a lot of stuff you had posted back in 2009 so I was hoping you would still be around. The local JD guy said our materials cost would be .15cents/sq ft. so I am going back up and have a sit down to see if I didn't understand. Any recommendation on brand of 100 gallon hydro seeder?

Turboguy
01-12-2013, 11:45 AM
Thanks for the nice comment. Sometimes the guys at places like JD Landscapes deal with a lot of different things and know more about some than others. He is way off on the 15 cents a foot. Back when I started the cost was about a cent and a half a sq. ft. but inflation has taken it's toll. Perhaps he meant 1.5 cents a foot which could be done using a cheap seed, paper mulch and no or little tack or fertilizer.

As far as brand pretty much all the hydroseeding units on the market now are good. They have all been at it a while and make decent units. Its more a case of finding one that fits, you, your budget and the jobs you do and for residential work any unit is fine. The only unit on the market today that I am not much of a fan of is one that is made up in Quebec and you are not likely to run into it.

fl-landscapes
01-12-2013, 09:32 PM
Thanks for responding I am in the process of reading as many thread as I can find on this part of lawnsite. I ran into a lot of stuff you had posted back in 2009 so I was hoping you would still be around. The local JD guy said our materials cost would be .15cents/sq ft. so I am going back up and have a sit down to see if I didn't understand. Any recommendation on brand of 100 gallon hydro seeder?

Did you know turboguy manufactures hydroseedeers? He is to humble to mention it I guess. But I bought a unit off him, had it shipped to Florida and would highly recommend working with him as he is about as good as it gets with customer service as well as building a machine. By the way Ray can you make a hose 150 foot length? I would rather that than a 100' plus a 50'. Not a whole lot of hydroseeding going on here these days but I do need a hose.

ed2hess
01-12-2013, 10:27 PM
Did you know turboguy manufactures hydroseedeers? He is to humble to mention it I guess. But I bought a unit off him, had it shipped to Florida and would highly recommend working with him as he is about as good as it gets with customer service as well as building a machine. By the way Ray can you make a hose 150 foot length? I would rather that than a 100' plus a 50'. Not a whole lot of hydroseeding going on here these days but I do need a hose.
Real glad you responded since our climates are kindy similar. I am concerned about seeds for shady areas. Fortunately most of our yards are irrigated. In the sun bermuda seed with some other seeds would be used.

fl-landscapes
01-12-2013, 10:51 PM
Real glad you responded since our climates are kindy similar. I am concerned about seeds for shady areas. Fortunately most of our yards are irrigated. In the sun bermuda seed with some other seeds would be used.

Shady area = floratam sod, if its too shady for that then its a landscape bed. Don't try and force grass to grow under conditions it isn't meant to grow (that goes for all plants) Bermuda is great for hydroseeding in the south, Bahia sux and zoysia...forget about it, takes way to long to germinate. If its not erosion control, and it's going to be a residential....use straight Bermuda and no nurse grass. I've had much better luck with a mono stand of Bermuda from the get go.

Turboguy
01-13-2013, 09:31 AM
Did you know turboguy manufactures hydroseedeers? He is to humble to mention it I guess. But I bought a unit off him, had it shipped to Florida and would highly recommend working with him as he is about as good as it gets with customer service as well as building a machine. By the way Ray can you make a hose 150 foot length? I would rather that than a 100' plus a 50'. Not a whole lot of hydroseeding going on here these days but I do need a hose.

Thanks for the very nice comments. Yes, I really just try to be here to help people more than to try to sell something or promote my machines. After 22 years of building units and even though the hydroseeding part of my business is small compared to the manufacturing I do a lot of hydroseeding locally and think I have a lot of knowledge that I can share that may help people. I have also hydroseeded in a lot of different places from the Caribbean to Azerbaijan (south of Russia on the Caspean sea) so I have experienced a lot of different conditions. Actually I really enjoy the hydroseeding itself. I like being out of the office and its fun to see the new lawns come in so well. I find it sort of nice when work is fun. Of course it is also a plus that the profit is good.

The hydroseeding business has been slower since the housing crash but there has still been a lot of business out there and the new home part seems to be getting better. A lot of my hydroseeding over the past few years has been people whose lawns have burned out or who redid their lawns, put in a pool or for cities and schools who were putting in a ballfield of some sort but I have noticed this past year that the new home part of my business picked up a lot so I do think that part of the business is coming back. I do have about 3 home builders I seed for and about 6 landscapers who sub out their hydroseeding to me.

Brian, the hose only comes in to us in 100 ft lengths and we don't have an option for anything longer. I would also like it if longer lengths were available. I too am glad you posted in this thread since your weather and conditions are similar to what ed2hess would encounter. Ed might want to check out the hydroseeding photos you posted a few years ago in the photo section here. They are quite beautiful and well done.

fl-landscapes
01-13-2013, 04:05 PM
I really enjoy seeding too. Everyone I know in the landscape business who seeds seems to really enjoy that end of their business. I think it is the satisfaction of seeing the results of a properly planned seed job. The fruits of your labor aren't always so drastically visible on the maintenance side, but seeding gives you that sense of accomplishment. I just wish there was commercially available St. Augustine seed :cry:


Thanks for the very nice comments. Yes, I really just try to be here to help people more than to try to sell something or promote my machines. After 22 years of building units and even though the hydroseeding part of my business is small compared to the manufacturing I do a lot of hydroseeding locally and think I have a lot of knowledge that I can share that may help people. I have also hydroseeded in a lot of different places from the Caribbean to Azerbaijan (south of Russia on the Caspean sea) so I have experienced a lot of different conditions. Actually I really enjoy the hydroseeding itself. I like being out of the office and its fun to see the new lawns come in so well. I find it sort of nice when work is fun. Of course it is also a plus that the profit is good.

The hydroseeding business has been slower since the housing crash but there has still been a lot of business out there and the new home part seems to be getting better. A lot of my hydroseeding over the past few years has been people whose lawns have burned out or who redid their lawns, put in a pool or for cities and schools who were putting in a ballfield of some sort but I have noticed this past year that the new home part of my business picked up a lot so I do think that part of the business is coming back. I do have about 3 home builders I seed for and about 6 landscapers who sub out their hydroseeding to me.

Brian, the hose only comes in to us in 100 ft lengths and we don't have an option for anything longer. I would also like it if longer lengths were available. I too am glad you posted in this thread since your weather and conditions are similar to what ed2hess would encounter. Ed might want to check out the hydroseeding photos you posted a few years ago in the photo section here. They are quite beautiful and well done.

ed2hess
01-14-2013, 10:41 PM
Well Flordia I looked at you first job with planting zoysia, guess that is why you said there isn't any seed for shade. And the other comment you made was "people think you can throw the hydroseed out there and it will just come up". That has kinda got me thinking about Texas weather and the lack of frequent rain. We got a 100K area on an HOA that they want to get grass going on it. Now this property is almost 10 acreas but this last little part has no irrigation and they don't want to put it in. So the plan was to spread thin top soil and a moisture product and hydro seed. We will sub out the seeding. But I see in my near future a water truck making runs twice a day for several days or even weeks.

Turboguy
01-15-2013, 09:01 AM
One option for the jobs that don't get watered and for the hotter times of the year is to use a co-polymer gel in the mix. It looks about like sugar but will hold 400 times it's weight in water. They say it will cut watering requirements about 50% and it isn't expensive to use. $ 50.00 worth will do an acre. It comes in different grinds. The larger ones are used under transplanted shrubs and the finer grinds in hydroseeding. I use it some of the time and it does seem to work well and help with the water problem.

ed2hess
01-15-2013, 02:46 PM
One option for the jobs that don't get watered and for the hotter times of the year is to use a co-polymer gel in the mix. It looks about like sugar but will hold 400 times it's weight in water. They say it will cut watering requirements about 50% and it isn't expensive to use. $ 50.00 worth will do an acre. It comes in different grinds. The larger ones are used under transplanted shrubs and the finer grinds in hydroseeding. I use it some of the time and it does seem to work well and help with the water problem.

Yes we used that product under new sod jobs and put it on with compost on top of yards. The jury is still out on how much affect it made as top dressing on our test plots. This year we will be running some test plot with local nursery using their compost tea.

Turboguy
01-15-2013, 10:48 PM
Sometimes it is better to just sub something out and let someone else deal with it but that would have been a good job to help pay for a hydroseeder. When I seed 100,000 sq. ft. I usually end up with $ 5,000 - 6,000 in profit.

Weekend cut easymoney
01-15-2013, 10:55 PM
One option for the jobs that don't get watered and for the hotter times of the year is to use a co-polymer gel in the mix. It looks about like sugar but will hold 400 times it's weight in water. They say it will cut watering requirements about 50% and it isn't expensive to use. $ 50.00 worth will do an acre. It comes in different grinds. The larger ones are used under transplanted shrubs and the finer grinds in hydroseeding. I use it some of the time and it does seem to work well and help with the water problem.

You ever use readyplay? Much like the copolymer gel , but this
Product is more like sand...they use it on several ball fields...ewing carries it

Turboguy
01-16-2013, 08:45 AM
No, I haven't tried that and haven't even heard of it. I have seen the usual gels, liquid products and one that was really cool. It would pull moisture out of the air to feed the lawn. If you poured it out onto a table top it would be granular and then start getting wetter and wetter. I saw that one ages ago and haven't seen it since so I have a feeling it worked better in the demo than in real life.

I will be out at the IECA convention (International Erosion Control Assn.) in San Diego in about 3 weeks. That is probably the biggest show for that kind of thing. I will look and see if Readyplay is there and check it out if it is. Ewing is mostly in the South and South west so we don't have Ewing stores here but they will have a booth at the show so if Readyplay isn't displaying I will try and check it out with Ewing.