we bought a used bowie victor 800, which has paddles, 950 gallons,wisconsin 38 hp engine, bowie 2500 pump. we paid a grand for it, had to rebuild the pump, $300 fix the engine $400- but mostly labor on tuneup and timing, and I laid a 1/4 diamont plate top ove the old, as it had some foot sized rust hole- $150. He gave us about 800 lbs of mulch with it, and we've shot about 6 jobs in 4 months. we've got two more to do, and I am developing relationships with civil engineers who do retension ponds and big storm drains w/ the city, as thier specs call for hydro seeding. the first job we did has enough profit to purchase the machine, and the next was able to pay enough profit to get it in good running condition.
my next step is putting a 1/4 layer of rhino lining in the tank, and then along the fenders and body.
I love the machine, and going used on a mechanical is the way to go if you don't do this full time. the real money is in multiple tanks near a good water source such as a hydrant ( you can get a 2" portable meter from your water authority for a deposit ) or a pond if you have a suction option on your pump. fill time is critical. with two guys and a quick water source, You could do 8 tanks of mine in an 8 hour day no problem. I shoot for 10000 sq. feet per load, with 350 lbs of paper/wood blend, fescue /rye/and winter wheat blend on the seed in winter, bermuda/rye in spring and summer. home lawns get straight fescue blend.
I charge 1000 first tankload, 700 next, 600, and so on down to 400 for really large jobs. your mulch is the cost animal, watch the specs for highway as they sometime require 1 ton per acre, or 500 lbs per tank for me.
normal winter costs, per tank-
winter wheat- 120 lbs, 12.00
rye 50 lbs -20.00
fescue 50 lbs 35.00
fertilizer 50 lbs 19-19-19 7.00
slicky sticky- tack- 8 oz- 5.00
mulch- 350 lbs- 64.00
total-143.00/1000 sq. ft or $.0143 per sq. ft. -1.4 cents.
big jobs like an acre in a day- at an average of 6 cents times 40000 squre feet- 2400 dollars minus 1.4 times 40000 =$560
1840 per day gross ain't bad, and you literally could double that in a longer day, but water supply is critical.