Top Dressing Prices

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by PlantscapeSolutions, Sep 15, 2011.

  1. PlantscapeSolutions

    PlantscapeSolutions LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,979

    I already own a 20' dump trailer and am pondering buying a top dresser. I wanted to hear what range of prices people are charging for top dressing. I tested the waters with my customers and it seems like $65 - $75 per 1000 sq ft should be an easy sell. My plan is to make this an off season application to create more work but keep my costs down.
     
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    Topdressing, by machine, seems to be a very slow process in my estimation... My biggest concern besides running the machine back and forth to the truck so much, would be the time it takes to do a yd. of post ...
    wheel barrows move much quicker...
     
  3. NattyLawn

    NattyLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,643

    Actually, spreading by machine is very quick. Yes you may be able to move the 'barrow from Point A to point B faster, but you make the time up by not having to spread the compost. The major obstacle with the machine and spreading by hand is how quickly you can load the spreader as Axe mentioned. There was a thread a little bit ago where this was discussed. I thought some guys rigged up a conveyor loading system. You may want to do a search.

    As far as what to charge goes, only you know if you can make money on it.
     
  4. PlantscapeSolutions

    PlantscapeSolutions LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,979

    Agreed! I've done a few yards with a wheel barrow over the years and it's very back breaking work. Plus your consistency slinging a shovel can't come close to what a machine can do.

    I may even be able to use my friends Toro Dingo to load the top dresser which will speed things up and really cut down on the manual labor. If I were big into top dressing I would buy a Dingo. With a Dingo you could do top dressing solo and really keep your expenses down.

    Hopefully some folks who have one of the two top dressing machines on the market will chime in about what they are able to charge. I've tried to get Turf Tech in San Angelo to give me some feedback but he has not responded. I'm only a few hours from San Angelo so Turf Techs would likely have some knowledgeable feedback. Hopefully the drought hasn't run him off.
     
  5. fl-landscapes

    fl-landscapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,542

    Do you not have to run your wheel barrow back and forth to your truck? I have a earth and turf sp and love how evenly it spreads and how quick it spreads. Problem is filling it but that would be the case with a wheel barrow as well. I am looking into auger type material movers to put in my dump truck to make unloading a snap, no more shovel.
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  6. fl-landscapes

    fl-landscapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,542

    I actually have a boxer mini 425 diesel but it's a lot of equipment to move around so that's why I am looking into the auger type unloaders. The conveyor system was pretty cool that guy from Canada built. Got his arm chewed up when he got it sucked into the gears though.
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  7. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,869

    You talking about Ecolawn? Really, didn't hear about this...did the guy make it?
     
  8. PlantscapeSolutions

    PlantscapeSolutions LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,979

    My dump trailer is 8x20 so I have lots of space to play with. I had six yards of soil, two pallets of mulch, as well as plants and tools for a landscape job recently. The trailer was about 22,000 lbs. loaded.

    The max weight rating is 25K. The dry weight is about 9K which gives me 16K to play with.

    I should be able to handle 8-10 yard of top dressing with an Ecolawn top dresser and a mini loader. If I have to go to a hilly area the load will need to be dialed back by two yards.
     
  9. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    I never use a shovel to sling compost... never use a rake to distribute piles of compost, evenly across the lawn... The only reason it is backbreaking work, becuz it is being done the hard way...

    I was just on a lawn, that I did last week and impressed myself with how great it looked, but no machine could get back there due to the hardscape and shifting sands on the ground...

    The important question is though: How many wheelbarrow loads, can you fit into the Hopper of some of those machines??? :)
     
  10. fl-landscapes

    fl-landscapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,542

    Sound good. The truck in the avatar is the one I use. It's 33k gvw and 14k empty so we are close in hauling capacity. That's a roll off, I have a 500 gal hydroseeder set up in another container so I just roll one off and switch whenever need be. Small axe. The earth and turf sp is ten cubic foot capacity so depending on how big your wheel barrow is you can do the math. Phasthound built up the sides to be able to almost doublem his capacity. No shovel? How do you fill your wheel barrow. And I never said top dressing was back breaking work. I have an employee in the truck filling and me running the machine, which is absolutely effortless.
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