Wow! I am sorry I have missed out on this chatter for the past 6 months. I just got back from GIE in Columbus, OH. At the mud bog, which was officially referred to as the outside demo day, we had a Mete-R-Matic top dresser demo. The response was excellent. We have been building machines to spread organic material for over 40 years. So I think I can provide some insight into features to be aware of when purchasing a spreader. I see that price and features are a big concern for all of you, which they should be. Something to remember is the more features you request the higher the price. Capacity, motorized drive, ability to spread a wide range of materials all add to the price, but are all very important features. Of all the features you should look for, the ability to spread wet material is the most important. Because if it doesn't come out of the machine no matter how much or little you paid for the machine no longer matters. Any heavy organic material will contain some level of moisture. Moisture is the enemy of spreaders because it causes material to stick to the sides which can cause a "bridge". This occurs when the material sticks to the sides of the hopper and stops flowing creating a cavity below the material. This is more of an issue with gravity type spreaders. The reason this occurs with gravity fed machines is that they need angled sides to gain capacity. Material tends to stick to the angled sides causing the "bridge". Belt type spreaders move wet material better but there are even differences in their performance with wet material. A smooth belt tends to slide under wet material and give an inconsistent spread. Patterned belts give the best performance in spreading compost type material. I highly recommend that you purchase a machine that is self propelled. Push spreaders are inexpensive but that comes at the cost of lost productivity and lack of capacity. When it comes to capacity remember that the larger the machine the less amount of places you can access. In a home lawn that could mean not getting in the back yard or top dressing a slope. On the other side of the coin if the machine doesn't have adequate capacity you lose productivity. I think all of you are on the right track considering top dressing as part of your services offered. Agronomically it is great for lawns, financially it is great for you. I hope this helps. Best of luck! Tim Gray Turfco, Mfg.