Top Dressing Prices

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

  1. PlantscapeSolutions

    PlantscapeSolutions LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,979

    How accurate is your top dresser? My plan was to do about 1/4" applications once a year for my customers. At a 1/4" depth application a yard should cover 1296 sq ft but to play it safe I would budget for it to cover only 1000.

    With mulch the math shows a 2 cu bag will cover 19.2 sq ft (at 1.25") but in reality it never goes that far. We probably average closer to 12 sq ft per bag. I'm trying to be safe and factor in there will be a fudge factor with top dressing as well.

    It's not like the top dresser is some scientific application machine with extreme accuracy. With fertilizer applications something as simple as high humidity can vastly effect how material is spread. It's going to be a given that the varying moisture content of the material being spread is going to effect the accuracy of the true application depth.

    What prices are you able to charge for a typical application where the material being spread is going to cost you about $30 per 1K of coverage? I'm thinking you've got to be able to charge $35-$45 per 1K coverage for labor to make it worthwhile.
     
  2. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,576

    The Earth & Turf 100sp is easy to calibrate and operate.
     
  3. fl-landscapes

    fl-landscapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,542

    Like hound says they are very easy to calibrate. Prices you will have to figure on your own as every business is different and every market is different.
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  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    Almost doubling the size of a 10 cu.ft. hopper must be about a half of a yd, load... Now you're talking... :)

    Never use a shovel to spread the 'post, nor a rake to even out piles, because there are none...
     
  5. Barefoot James

    Barefoot James LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 984

    Not true. I have an ecolawn and can avg about 4 yards of compost evenly spread over 20,000 sq ft in under 50 mins. I can do the first load out of my dump to fill it in 11 secs and 3 mins to spread. Since it is self propelled it is easy to get back to truck 10 loads do 4 yards 10-12 mins a load one man.
     
  6. fl-landscapes

    fl-landscapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,542

    How big is your wheel barrow?

    And is there anything you do that isn't in your eyes the absolute best and only way to do something?

    Funny how your wheel barrow is more efficient than an advances fairly expensive specialized piece of equipment engineered obviously to make the process more efficient. And every one who owns one can attest to how easy it is compared to the old way. Do you own or have you used a self propelled top dresser?
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  7. fl-landscapes

    fl-landscapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,542

    And you never did answer the question about running your wheel barrow back to the truck. How the heck do you fill it? If you think walking behind a self propelled is harder than physically pushing a wheel barrow you must be smoking something.
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  8. PlantscapeSolutions

    PlantscapeSolutions LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,979

    If I buy a top dresser the Ecolawn seems to be the way to go. It's almost like comparing a drop spreader to a rotary spreader. Nobody uses a drop spreader because it's more difficult to get a uniform application in areas that lack geometry. The drop spreader is going to require more effort to get the job done. Why do a 3' application width when you can do a 6' width.

    The Ecolawn seems to designed with efficiency in mind for small area usage while the SP 100 is based on a shrunken pull behind applicator. At least one person has complained on here who bought an SP 100 because it was difficult to do applications along the edges of lawns that have bends and curves.

    It's too bad top dressers are such novelty items that only two companies make decent ones. It'd be great if someone like Scag put their engineers to work building a V-Ride type top dresser. You could have a floating machine that lowers for stability but raises for ease of loading. Bullet proof hydro drives and a Kawi twin. The bad news is it would be a $10K machine
     
  9. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    I was challenging the speed of application, by a slow moving machine that carried little more that a 5 cu.ft. standard wheel barrow... Now I finally got my answer that they've engineered hoppers that hold about 1/2 yd. that's better I admit , I like that better than a wheel barrow, My way isn't better in this particular case...
    James has a large volume business in compost and a sweet setup that runs efficiently, in which a wheelbarrow would certainly fall behind in speed and efficiency... He probably does more in one day than I'll do this season, and the same is true for most LCOs getting onto the compost bandwagon...
    Paying thousands for a machine that returns hundreds at the beginning is bad business... Correct? Meanwhile there is a simple solution that doesn't require, flailing with a shovel or raking out piles that even a h.o. can deal with...

    Just becuz you failed to understand the shovel reference I'm not going to tell you how I load the wheelbarrow... :laugh:
     
  10. PlantscapeSolutions

    PlantscapeSolutions LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,979

    I think Smallaxe is really Charlie Sheen's screen name. His postings are too similar to Charlie's past lunatic antics for it to be just a coincidence. Get help my friend. :hammerhead:
     

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