hydroseeding

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by crownls, Nov 19, 2004.

  1. crownls

    crownls LawnSite Member
    Posts: 54

    anyone out there offering this service? thinking of adding it to the list of services we/i do. Any info would be appreciated.

    estimating/cost of material/etc.

    thx
     
  2. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Posts: 8,745

  3. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,342

    When you say adding to your list of services. What are your other services. Hydroseeding can be profitable if done correctly it can also be a stand alone business. Hydroseeding is all I do, I grow and they mow. Learning the correct procedures for hydroseeding will prevent a lot of lawns "that dont come in". Its not as simple as mix water and seed and spray. Different conditions require different methods to insure success. For more info about hydroseeding I suggest that you check out www.hydroseeding.org. There is a forum there that is dedicated to hydroseeding and a lot of good information can be had for someone just starting out.
     
  4. EmeraldHills03

    EmeraldHills03 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 20

    Muddstopper,

    How do you price out Hydroseeding? By s/f? Please give me a good example as in... The cost for a client to have 5000s/f of there lawn done. Thanks...
     
  5. crownls

    crownls LawnSite Member
    Posts: 54

    thanks mudd, great info on that website. Right know we offer lawn maintenance/fall cleanups/pruning/etc. i was considering maybe dropping these and jumping into the hydro as a solo operator or keeping a crew doing maintenance while i do hydro. couple more questions.

    1. are you required to obtain an applicators license?
    2. are most of your accounts with home builders? and how did you approach them?
    3. how do price a job? do you add all cost of materials + mark up + labor
    4. how long does it take to hydro 1/2 acre lot?

    Sorry for all the questions, any/all info much appreciated.
     
  6. lafrance4078

    lafrance4078 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 246

    I would love to get into Hydroseeding. But here we go with the chem contractors liscense. I understand that in TN it requires a 4 year degree in a related field or 2 years working under a chem contractor. Oh well. I have a full time job that I can not work with to go to school.
     
  7. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,342

    Emeral,
    I usually base my prices by the sqft. This price can vary according to the type of seed used and conditions that I have to work in. In my area, I amnot able to command the prices that some other seem to claim they get persqft. I have a minimum price per tank load I would use on a 5000sqft lawn. I would use my 500gal machine and would get $300 per tank. I have a $6000 sqft capacity with the 500 gal machine. That works out to .05 cent per sqft. This is the lowest price I will give to any customer requardless of the area to be seeded or the type of seed used. More expensive seed would demand a higer price. Mutlpy tank loads to complete a job are priced at 5 cent per sqft also. For areas that are over 10,000 sq ft I will use my larger 1000 gal machine. Minimum price per tank is $500 and will cover about 11,000 sqft. Again prices can vary according to seed type and materials used. For jobs that require more than the one tank load in the 1000gal machine I have to use some judgement as to just how many tankloads it will take . Several acre jobs will require a reduced priceing schedule. My competition charges $1150 per acre. I just wont go that low. I am in the business to make money and there just isnt that much money to be made at $1150 per acre prices. Good money can be made at the 5cent per sqft price if you schedule your jobs so as to always be seeding on the days you seed. 5cent wont pay for the machine if you dont keep it busy. Scheduleing several smaller jobs on the same day will improve your per sqft price because you charge the minimum for each job and use the unused contents on the next job site. This might sound a little like price gougeing but you will find that the extra fuel and time it takes to drive from job to job cost you more money as well. I always schedule the fartherest job first and then work the rest on my return trip. That way when I get done I am close to my house and my pond so I can clean out my tank. Plus if I need extra materials I am closer to where they are stored. On bigger jobs I will load my 16ft trailer with all the supplies I need and pull it to the closest water source and unhook from it there and then fillup and then do the hydroseeding.

    Crownls,
    1. are you required to obtain an applicators license?

    Depends on your state laws. Some states do require a landscaper license some dont. Have to check your loacl laws to be sure.

    2. are most of your accounts with home builders? and how did you approach them?

    I went to the local building inspectors office and obtained a list of all building contractor and sent them all a brochure I made describing my services and also got a list of all area realators and sent them the same brochure and business card. Be sure to include the business card. The brocures have a tendency to end up in the trash but the cards go in their roledexs. This got me started the first year. Since then it has been word of mouth advertiseing only.

    3. how do price a job? do you add all cost of materials + mark up + labor

    Priceing took me a while to figure out. Material cost are pretty much fixed, except for the occasional price increased for seed, fertilizer, and mulch. They dont vary much but seed can fluctuate a good deal during the season. Sometimes up and sometimes down. Figure in the price of materials, labor, fuel, trucks, tags, insurance, projected repairs, ect, and then decide what profit level you need to achieve and price accordingly. If your market will bear a higher price then charge the higher price. Its easier to reduce prices than it is to go up on them.

    4. how long does it take to hydro 1/2 acre lot?

    Depends on the size of your equipment. A good estimate is that 100 gal water capacity will cover approx 1000sqft. This can vary according to mixing abilities and mulch requirements for your area. More mulch needed= less coverage area reguardless of machine type and vise versa
    You will find skimping on materials will cost you more in the long run so use appropriate amounts. With my 500 gal machine and a mulch rate of 1500lbs per acre I can cover about 6000sqft per tank. 1/2 acre=21780 sqft so it would take almost 4 tank loads to do a half acre. I adverage about 1 load per hr due to water availiablilty. so it would take me about 4 hours to do 1/2 acre. With a nurse tank for extra water I could cut that time in about half. I should note it also adverages about 1hr per tank in my bigger 1000 gal machine and would only take 2 hrs to do the same area. With nurse tanks I have done as much as 2 acres in 4 hours. Available water is the determining factor. If you have to travel to get it it is going to take you longer. I can fill my 500 gal machine in 6 min and the 1000 gal machine in 12 min and be ready to spray. If I am at my water source. Sometimes it takes me 30 min travel time round trip to and from the water source. A nurse tank cuts out the travel time.
     
  8. crownls

    crownls LawnSite Member
    Posts: 54

    mudd,
    thanks for the info. contacted local agri-dept. it looks like i don't need an applicators license as long as its just seed/fert/mulch thats being sprayed. A few more questions for you. i apologize in advance if i'm getting too personal.

    1. how many accounts do you average per week/season
    2. do you have contracts with residential/commercial
    3. i've never dealt with commercial accounts is there any advise you can pass on?

    Thanks again
     
  9. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,342

    I have a real job so I only seed two days a week. Sometimes it is just one or two jobs per day and sometimes it one big job that takes two days. I havent done the math this year yet but I have seeded several hundred customers and several million sqft.

    I dont use contracts but probably should. Especally on larger jobs such as commercial. They seem to be the slowest paying. Most jobs I get paid at the completion of the job, some I bill. In three years I have only had trouble with two customers about paying. The last one was a bad check deal but they finally got it straghten out and I did get paid.

    Commercial accounts are sometimes slow paying. They send their payments out one time a month. If you seed for them after they sent out payments you will have to wait until the next month to get paid. This can mean having a lot of money tied up for longer than you would like. Especially if you do several commercial accounts and are having to wait for payment. Commercial jobs also dont usually bring the same profit margin that you can get doing private lawns. Competition means lower prices. Dont ever take a commercial job for a low price thinking you are getting your foot in the door. They award bids according to price not quality. Learn your cost, figure your profit margin and stick withit. Your competitors will see how much money they are leaving on the table and will soon raise their prices. If you work for nothing you will go broke. If your competition doesnt raise their price they will soon go broke. Stick to your pricing. I always say it is eaisier for me to lay on the couch than it is to work for nothing. The money in my pocket is the same either way.
     
  10. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,342

    One thing I want to add. I have found that a lot of people are willing to pay my price if I can doit "now". I have found also that if I give them time to think about it they can and do sometime change their minds. For this reason I always have one truck loaded with materials ready to go. Having three hydroseeders helps me a lot with the bigger jobs where they just have to have it right now. A lot of time I get the jobs even tho I am higher in price than my major competitior. I get them because I can do the job when they want it done without waiting for my competitior to get to them. I am not saying you need three hydroseeders to be competitive. You just need to be prepared to take advantage of your cheaper competitors busy time schedule. He's cheap so he busy. Having materials on hand when the customer calls insures that you can get to their jobs in a timely manner. I always keep enough mulch on hand to do 2 acres. I have a good supplier that will deliver lots of times on the days I call. Hes not the cheapest supplier I can use but, just like my customers, I am willing to pay a premium for his fast services. I try to buy in truck loads and sometimes take a load a week. This saves him money and quarantees he is willing to jump when I call. Saving him money also saves me money. I dont use the same materials that my competitiors use and he is willing to stock these materials and deliver the quanities I need when I need them. I cant ask for more than that.
     

Share This Page