Hydroseed Question

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by NewHorizon's Land, May 21, 2007.

  1. Turboguy

    Turboguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,972

    You are welcome. I am sure whatever you do it will be a good decsion. If you get any more questions I will be happy to help any way I can.
  2. drmiller100

    drmiller100 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 562

    each their own.
    i live in a small town. i have a jet machine i ran for a year. then a local guy was doing lawns at 4 cents a foot, so i advertised at .10, and subbed to him. he has a small, antique old mixer with a couple of nurse tanks.

    now, he has raised to 8 cents a foot, and then he annoyed me, so i will be doing my own for a bit.

    the jet probably shouldn't be used on 30 degree slopes. but i don't have many lawns at 30 degrees.
    the jet is quick, it is simple, there is only the engine and a pump for moving parts, and it don't rust out.

    i figure my 750 gallon jet pump is a quarter the cost of a mechanical pump and it always seems to work.

    30 degree slopes are rare.
  3. Turboguy

    Turboguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,972

    Thanks for the comments. There are some products that will work in a jet machine just fine when someone gets steep banks. One is envirotrol BFM (Bonded Fiber Matrix) As with any hydroseeding unit using a BFM it is probably better to apply it in two layers with the seed in the first layer if possible. The other I use a lot is locking fibers which are 1/2" long kinked nylon fibers that blend evenly in the mix. I have done some very steep banks using the locking fibers and always had good results.
  4. Woodland

    Woodland LawnSite Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 207

    I'm interested in doing liquid fert and bio weed & feed (green guardian) applications starting next season so I've been looking at various tank sprayer setups. I've been toying with the idea of buying a small hydroseeding setup so I could take on some small hydroseed jobs. It seems like there might be a market for small repair type jobs that the larger operations cant do cost effectively. How well would a jet agitations system work for liquid fert. appliations.
  5. DBL

    DBL LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,219

    i think i read every word in this entire thread im going to look into hydro seeding more i sub all my stuff out to guy that does it for $.04 a square foot
  6. Turboguy

    Turboguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,972

    I think there would be two schools of thought on that Tom. One would be if you can make good money and do nothing but make a phone call there is not much wrong with that.

    I tend to subscribe to the other school that thinks if he can make good money at $ .04 you can gain both a nice increase in your profitability plus control in that you don't have to worry if he will be available when you need him you would have your machine ready to go as soon as the lawn was prepped. You would have control of materials and all aspects of the job.

    I never like to portray hydro seeding as a get rich quick scheme. It is not, but is is very profitable and you can benefit in many ways by doing your own. You can get into it without a big investment and get one of the better returns on time and capital invested. Best of luck.
  7. Mike33

    Mike33 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,649

    4 cents wont get you a cup of coffee in hydro-seeding. But well put i got in to 2 years ago just to do my own lawns i install. This spring i seeded almost twice as many for others that i did not install. No its not get rich quick but a darn good cash flow. It would actually give me a break going out seeding 2 yards for other guys in a days time from what i was doing. Its not hard work just might get a little wet or sloppy at times. There is nothing like owning your own equiptment though.
  8. Turboguy

    Turboguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,972

    I think the guy who was seeding for Tom was very fair in his pricing. When I seed for another contractor I am usually charging 5 cents but I do have some guys I seed for 4 cents for. Still I am sure Tom was charging more than the 4 cents to his customer and that will make it a nice profitable operation for him.

    I agree with you Mike, it is nice to own your own equipment. I also agree with the other things you said. It is good cash flow and to me it is fun. I always enjoyed doing it and yes, I am usually pretty green from at least the mid calf down when I am done. It is not the neatest thing in the world but I do always enjoy doing it.
  9. Harley-D

    Harley-D LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 508

    I gotta admit, here in va, if someone is going to get into hydroseeding, i steer them towards a finn. They are the best for a reason. Expensive, yes, but worth it i hear. Mechanical agitation so you never have to worry about clogging or settling in the tank. If you don't spray everything, you don't have to. Let is sit all night and run the motor a little (15min) before you spray it out the next day. Also, i've got friends that save time and money with buying mulch with tack in it. 100% paper bales. The flowable paper is nice but more expensive: but if you have jet aggitation-you may not have any choice. I've heard of the bales clogging the jet machines.

    Not bashing but just letting these guys know they better do their research before spending 5-10k and getting into a new field. I'm not in the field of h.s. but i know about three reputible co's that are and they all three have 1000gal finn's. Not sure why you would use a nurse tank unless you didn't have access to water at all. regardless, don't you need to fill and mix a tank at a time to keep your ratio's right? I don't think your spray would be right if you saw your tank was getting low and just started filling from a nurse tank to continue spraying. I understand the point but wouldn't it just be more cost and time effective to buy the bigger tank?
  10. Turboguy

    Turboguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,972

    Very interesting post Harley and you raise a lot of good points.

    First, you mention that you always try to steer people to a Finn. Let me say this Harley. Finn makes an excellent unit that works well and anyone who buys a Finn will have made a good choice. There are of course other good choices and my own personal opinion is that most all the machines made in America at this time are all excellent working machines. I can't think of any that someone would buy that would be a bad choice. I do agree that Finn is an excellent choice.

    My two cents worth on why and when a nurse tank is helpful differs a little from your thoughts on it. I guess there would be some advantage to a situation where there is no water but I find the biggest advantage to be on a bigger job when you are going to fill on site. Let’s say one or two acre jobs or more where you are a long way from a water source unless you use the customers water.

    One advantage to lets say a 300 gallon unit with a nurse tank to a 1000 gallon and no nurse tank is capital investment. You could have lets say a 300 gallon unit for $ 5,000 - $ 6500 with a nurse tank. With let’s say a 1000 gallon Finn you are looking at maybe close to 30 grand. For many guys they can just pay $ 5000 but when you are in the higher price most guys are going to have to finance it.

    Another advantage of the 300 gallon with the nurse tank over the 1000 gallon is tow vehicle. I pull mine with a 1/2 ton 4x4. With the 1000 gallon you are getting close to CDL range and need a pretty substantial tow vehicle.

    How I like to use a nurse tank is to go to the job with my unit full. While I am spraying the first load I am running his garden hose into the nurse tank. By the time I have my load sprayed there is enough water in the nurse tank that I can start mixing the next load. Usually I never have to turn off the water and never have to stop.

    With a 1000 gallon unit filling with the customer’s garden hose you would have to stop the hose while you mix and spray so on some jobs the 300 gallon unit would actually do the job faster. There is however no doubt that on a job that was one tank load for the 1000 gallon unit which is common it would do the job much faster.

    Usually you do mix a full load at a time unless you are on the last job and only need a partial load. Mixing a partial load is not much harder than a full load. You just work out the ratios. If you are mixing half a tank load you use half the mulch and half the seed, etc.

    I agree that buying mulch with tack in can be good and can save both time and money. I don't find clogging to be an issue with either jet or mechanical. Perhaps with the very small jet systems in the 100 gallon range it may occasionally happen. I have hydro seeded up to 2 million square feet a year and we have sold 6000 systems or so and the guys I talk to never clog. Personally I had a clog in 1997 and one in 2003, both times I was doing something I shouldn't have been. This is about typical of the guys I talk to in the field and I talk to a lot of people. I think clogging is overrated with any system. I will agree your comment that there will be a slight thickening in a jet machine from the start of the load to the finish but it is barely noticeable.

    Most jet machines in the 300 gallon and larger sizes can use the pourable mulch, or paper or 50-50 and can use 70-30 if they upgrade the hoses and nozzles one size. Jet machines don't work as well as mechanical units if someone is using 100% wood mulch all the time.

    Another advantage of the 1000 gallon Finn that you mentioned is that it is a nice, classy professional looking machine and does create a good image for you. Sometimes that can help get more business.

    I think you made a very good point in that someone thinking about getting into this business should do some research. Not every machine is right for anyone and even some machines might be right for someone and not so right for the same person at a different point in time. For example someone getting into the business might have different needs than someone who is established and has a ton of business lined up.

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