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View Full Version : By Hand or Blown Mulch Yardage Cutoff


sgoalie23
08-06-2004, 08:05 PM
Gentlemen,
I took a look at past posts and found a discussion on blown mulch and how much mulch was laid. We are in the process of finishing 280 yards, 3" thick at my father's house. Needless to say that his idea of payment is "So you want to live in the house another day? Get back to work!" My question is at what amount of mulch should blowing be considered? If blowing is the way to go, what should the split be between myself and the mulch blowing contractor? I understand that prices vary through out the country, therefore a percentage would be helpful. Thank you.

By the way, I will be glad to pass on any comments you may have for my father. :laugh:

gogetter
08-06-2004, 08:15 PM
.

dvmcmrhp52
08-06-2004, 08:50 PM
280 yds?????????????????????
If this is not a typo it would have been blown in.
We've done 100 at one site,but 280?
That's more than the average bear has.................

sgoalie23
08-06-2004, 09:21 PM
Not a typo. My father brought in 12 yards at a time with the dump. What should the split be between the blower and me be?
Thanks.

gogetter
08-06-2004, 10:55 PM
I'm not sure I understand the question, that's why I removed my original response.

Are you talking about for this job at your fathers, or are you talking about for future reference at other jobs of your own?

gvandora
08-07-2004, 09:48 AM
You need to look at how much time you have to work. I would say 1 cu. yd. per man hour. For me 280 works out to 280 man hours maybe more if its a long way from the pile to where you want to spread it. If you've got infinite time, go ahead and do it by hand. However, if you consider that even at minimum wage, 280 hours is $1,442.00 worth of work, I would suggest you blow that much. For me, I would blow most jobs over 20 yards.

DUSTYCEDAR
08-07-2004, 09:54 AM
over 5 gets blown not worth the time to waste doing it by hand as for cost all depends on the contractor
my guy gets it in bulk and is happy to blow for $

jkelton
08-08-2004, 11:12 AM
I'll tell you what I see in my business (I operate a blowing company):

For most jobs over 10 yards, look at getting a blowing company to do the job. Many landscapers think that every job over 5 yards should be blown in, but in truth (at least in my area), jobs under 10 yards are not profitable for the blowing company. A lot depends on how the job is laid out (big mulch beds much better than a bunch of tree rings for the blower).

As far as a markup the landscaper charges, I find that most of my clients have in the neighborhood of 20~30% markup from what I charge. Some of this markup is taken up by prep work the landscaper does before the mulch is laid (i.e., trenching, cleaning up debris, etc.). But, take into account that we can generally do the same job at 10~15% less mulch than you can do by hand - again, a lot of this depends on how the job is laid out and how well it has been prepped out.

I try to explain to my landscaper clients that they should view us as another tool to use, not a complete replacement of their existing methods (i.e., by hand). I like to use analogies to further explain this concept: When a painter buys an air gun to speed up time to paint a house, you do not expect them to throw away all of their paint brushes. Some areas are best done by the air gun, some with paint brushes. The same concept is directly related to blowing mulch. A lot of jobs are best done by the blower company, but there are some jobs that are best done (both aesthetically and financially) done by hand. Small, intricate beds with a lot of annuals and tree rings are two examples of jobs that are best done by hand.

I hope I explained this well to everyone.

Groundcover Solutions
08-08-2004, 03:15 PM
Jkelton is right on.
I also own a blower company.
We will not do anything under 10 yards, like Jkelton said, It is just not profitable for us to do so. Also on jobs that do not have large beds and are mainly tree rings we tend to charge per tree ring. This is because tree rings for a blower truck take small amounts of mulch but more time. they are tipicaly place a decient distance apart so it is eather alot of hose draging or movment of the truck. Every time we have to shut down the truck to move or add or subtract hose it eats up time. Time in our business is key, more time less mulch = less money. So i would say anything over 10 yards of mulch and not compleatly covered in tree rings or small beds that are cut up around the property should be done by a blower truck. It will save you time and money. 280 yards would be a good amount of mulch for one location we have done larger amounts than that but not typicaly at a residential location, but i must say we have done a few larger amounts than that at residentails but they are typicaly large estates. just my 2 cents

dlandscaping
08-09-2004, 11:36 PM
Do you have any pics of what you are going to mulch, havent seen a job over 20yards here in the city.

packmate81
08-17-2004, 10:20 PM
the companies we blow bark in for has us do all yards from 1 yard on up.....we just schedual small jobs on the same day with same mulch...

For companies we just do it "as needed" we use a 10 yard min.

or average hardwood price installed is 28.50/yard

Groundcover Solutions
08-18-2004, 08:35 PM
erik what are you getting your mulch at? that seems very low, pluse what type of unit do you have.... Finn or eb?

Groundcover Solutions
08-18-2004, 08:36 PM
dlandscaping,
I will try and get a pic of one of our larger accounts and put it up.

packmate81
08-21-2004, 01:25 AM
matt,

most come driect from saw mill up north in MI, pay around $6/yd by the time its at the shop to be loaded, this year when they ran out we bought direct drom kamps in GR....i think you know this place...lol...I found i have too hard of time getting more$ on hardwood...so make some instead on none and run more product, first year we still did just short of 9,00yards

Also did some work for Titus this past some when his truck was down....hopefully more next year

not to poke at you, but didnt know you were an owner??:angel:

firststarkid
08-31-2004, 06:14 PM
Around in my general area there is only one blowing company. They will not do anything under 25 yards. which is all fine and dandy but they are the most reliable people in the world. You have to basiclly babysit them. Which sucks. So i am kind of biast when i say i will hand spread and mulch anything i get,.

firststarkid
08-31-2004, 09:57 PM
but they are not the most reliable people in the world. You have to basiclly babysit them. That is what was supposed to be said

Groundcover Solutions
09-02-2004, 07:00 PM
Yes, I am a part owner in the detroit co. thus the two company names. Other wise he would have kept both companies superior, I would assume.

Groundcover Solutions
09-02-2004, 07:04 PM
What is the name of the co. in virginia? I know a co. down there they just started up this year. I know there are only like 3 co. in the state that run the eb machines.

firststarkid
09-05-2004, 08:59 PM
The only company around in my area is Waltrip Mulch. If You know of another company around the Hampton Roads area of Va please let me know

Groundcover Solutions
09-06-2004, 03:55 PM
I am not sure if they are in your area but I know the co. that was over in oregan when i was there getting my truck, was Warpdrive. Not sure what there address or exact location but they were getting two trucks and said they were from VA. I will see if I can find out where they are located. I know this is there first year and they may not have too much info about themselfs out yet. It takes time for word of mouth and advertising to start spreading around.

firststarkid
09-06-2004, 07:36 PM
I am about 30 minutes from Va Beach and about a hour from Richmond if that helps any

Groundcover Solutions
09-06-2004, 11:47 PM
I will see if I can't get a hold of my contact with the company to see where exactly they are located and how far they would travel.

Lanelle
09-07-2004, 12:17 AM
There are two or three blower mulch companies here in No. VA. I know that at least two of them run EB units. Another company across the line into MD also does this although I'm not sure how they are doing now. They lost a guy IN the blower earlier this season. They had a hard time finding him........

As far as aesthetics, I think that the experience/skill of the operators can make a difference between a nice looking project and one that is barely acceptable.

gvandora
09-07-2004, 08:41 AM
There are two or three blower mulch companies here in No. VA. I know that at least two of them run EB units. Another company across the line into MD also does this although I'm not sure how they are doing now. They lost a guy IN the blower earlier this season. They had a hard time finding him........

As far as aesthetics, I think that the experience/skill of the operators can make a difference between a nice looking project and one that is barely acceptable.
I would hate to FIND him in my planting beds. EEEK!

Groundcover Solutions
09-09-2004, 01:07 AM
There are two or three blower mulch companies here in No. VA. I know that at least two of them run EB units. Another company across the line into MD also does this although I'm not sure how they are doing now. They lost a guy IN the blower earlier this season. They had a hard time finding him........

We get all kinds of warnings and letters from EB stating how dangers it is to get into or ontop of the truck while it is running.... I can see how it could mess you up if you ever got cought in the back of the auggers and then even in the feeder!!! I am sure the feeder would stop and cause a system auto shut down if a person were to get a part of his body into the feeder. We occasionaly have large peaces of wood IE; 2x4 and such get loged in the feeder which senses back pressure and causes the feeder to reverse a few times and then shuts the truck down to prevent further damage to the unit. but if the blades were sharp enfough I am sure some could get through. Just makes me sick just to think about it.

jkelton
09-09-2004, 05:59 PM
but if the blades were sharp enfough I am sure some could get through. Just makes me sick just to think about it.

I agree totally. I am strongly looking at changing what material I run accross the board to prevent such an accident. Unfortunately, it only takes one slip and I cannot afford that on my conscious anymore.

Groundcover Solutions
09-10-2004, 08:08 PM
I agree totally. I am strongly looking at changing what material I run accross the board to prevent such an accident. Unfortunately, it only takes one slip and I cannot afford that on my conscious anymore.

What exactly are you looking at doing? Just curious.

jkelton
09-10-2004, 10:27 PM
I have found out that in most cases that a recycled, dyed material runs better than the traditional hardwood bark. The recycled material seems to flow better than a bark material - it does not clump and bind together nearly as much. I don't know about you and your materials, but if I put over 45 yards in my truck (I have the same size as you), the bark material will bind in the top portion of the back door and on the sides (above the paddles on the auger shaft - around the auger mower mount) and I have to clear it our periodically. A lot depends on the condition of the material - the bark material changes season to season and load to load, but the recycled material stays the same no matter the weather conditions. What types of materials do you run?

Groundcover Solutions
09-11-2004, 09:41 AM
We run several different types of material. Our playground stuff is of course our favorite that stuff just flows out of the machine typically not binding up and such. We also have the dyed stuff which is the recycled material, granted it dose not bind up as much in the back of the truck but we tend to get more clogs at the reducer and sometimes in the hose. With the larger pieces turning sideways and blocking the flow. But during the spring we use the good old standard double shredded bark. That bark changes every time we load up, from weather and also when it is dropped at the yard sometimes it is just not good bark. Are material also changes alot depending on what area of the state we are working in. depending on where we are working we go to different yards and they all make there material differently and some use different material. I find that the hardwood binds up the most in the truck, especially if you are starting and stopping alot. We will typically have to "fork the load" every now and then when we are doing that. If it is a large area we can usually just let the truck do the work, and just keep an eye on it.

jkelton
09-12-2004, 10:42 AM
I see the same thing on our hardwood bark. I also agree on the recycled material - but, I did find a supplier that makes the dyed product a finer grind (plus better coloring) that flows through the truck much better with very little binding in the hose connectors or reducer. That made all the difference in the world. But, I did see that I had to run the blower quite a bit higher if I use that material.

Playground is definitely the material we like to run (for the obvious reasons). It's so much easier to run that material, plus you're not moving around nearly as much, if any. We can run all day and not break a sweat.

Groundcover Solutions
09-12-2004, 02:41 PM
Yeah Playground is great.
This was our first year full time in the Detroit area so we were working with a new supplier but now that the season is winding down they are working with us more on our material and they have been doing a great job lately. Now that they know we are going to be pulling large amounts of material from them. They have been grinding up our own pile of playground material. Ever since we pulled a load of playground out and drove an hour away to work on a job, when we get there we get started and right off the bat we get a plug. So I was over by the end of the hose and my guy was clearing out the reducer. So he calls me over and shows me a shovel full nails and other pieces of metal. Needless to say i was not very happy, we drove all the way back and they had to grind up fresh material and take back the full load of material we had on our truck. So ever since then they have been helping us out with good material. Plus we have reached a point that we have pulled quite a lot of material out so they are also helping us out there.

mdmowerman
12-28-2004, 03:56 PM
There are two or three blower mulch companies here in No. VA. I know that at least two of them run EB units. Another company across the line into MD also does this although I'm not sure how they are doing now. They lost a guy IN the blower earlier this season. They had a hard time finding him........

dont know if it is the same company, but there is a company here in maryland, wouldnt surprise me if they had a shop in VA and ran across the line called "TOP MULCH".


around ehre theres a few companies that have these trucks, starting price $40 hardwood shredded.... sounds liek it could get costly

wojo23323
12-30-2004, 06:12 PM
Where does everyone get their mulch in large quantities? Truckload size.

bubenberg
01-07-2005, 10:26 AM
We are in the beginning stages of developing a mulcher similar to a manure spreader. We have done some testing (applied some mulch to residential properties)and the results are positive with some minor snags.

Please give me some ideas for a piece of equipment that could accelerate the mulching process.
We are looking to build an inexpensive piece of equipment for the up to 40 cubic yard a day contractor.

Negative responses are very welcome, but remember but good suggestions would be preferred
:
-saying it has already been done
-it won't work

and for us grasscutters the machete (still used as major agricultural tool in many countries were the hispanic help comes from) would still be our zero turn mower :)

Groundcover Solutions
01-09-2005, 01:33 AM
If you are looking at mulcing tipical mulch beds it would be hard to manuver around plants with out covering them up. also you are now putting a pice of heavy equipment on the lawn. Also how do you get the back side of the bed or raised beds. I am not too shure how this application works, but can you easly control depth, speed, quantity. How about delaquit plants is this a problem. Are you able to keep most of the mulch in the bed or are you spelling alot out require significat clean up. What about tight areas can the equipment get into them such as gates and or small side yards. Are you focusing manly on the residental side of the market or commercial? Sounds like a decent Idea a little more info and I am sure i could come up with more questions and or suggestions. Sounds interesting!

bubenberg
01-09-2005, 05:18 AM
Some brilliant observations. Thank you! We definitely will take your concerns, excellent suggestions and heads-up into consideration.

Just with an orchard row mulcher things are easier for us, but we spill still too much mulch right at the edge of the beds. and we are looking for an inexpensive method (not the 35K blower way) to render the mulch as close and in the appropriate amount to where it is needed.

Here is what i posted on a small tractor forum site which will give you an idea what we think and ask for. I agree with you this is not the best solution but beats the wheelborrow, fork and shovel method. Some manual mowing around will be necessary.

Please see what the home owners and small landscapers came up with so far:

Tractor by Net (http://www.tractorbynet.com/forums/showflat.php/Cat/0/Board/implement/Number/560339/page/0/view/collapsed/sb/5/o/all/fpart/1/vc/1)

Some of us Power Trac owners are looking to make our life a little bit easier by creating a mulch attachment. But we thought that many of you have wished you would have such an ability too..

What are your thoughts on such an attachment?

Here are some of a Power Trac, a John Deer front mower owner and my own requirements:
Your ideal attachment would be a scoop?
Your ideal attachment would be a trailer?
What kind of obstacles do you encounter on your property which will dictate the dimensions of this attachment?
How long would it be?
How tall would it be?
How wide would it be?
How much mulch would you like to carry?
How would you like to power this attachment?
How would pull, push, carry this attachment?
What type of tractor would you use?
How would you load the material?
Does the attachment have to be self-loading?
How would you want to control the amount of mulch dropped on the bed?
What other uses could this attachment be used for?
What would you be willing to pay for such an attachment?

In my case I have a 425 Power Trac which gives me a great advantage as far as loading, moving and powering of the attachment go. I am not so sure yet of how to get the mulch to a very specific location in a bed.

Many of you will point out that there are blowers out there (costing $35k and better). In my case that is not a solution and the two other users mentioned before just have large properties were such an expense is frivolous.

What are your thoughts? Negative answers are very welcome! :)

bubenberg
01-14-2005, 06:18 AM
We have taken the small manure spreader approach and now have to solve the actual precision targeting around the bed problem/solution.

We will keep you guys posted! :)