Hydroseeder.......Pointers For A Start-up

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by ed2hess, Jan 9, 2013.

  1. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,588

    In Texas we have had a lot of damage to turf because of the drought. We deal with HOAs and Condo. Putting down sod by the pallet is running about 40cents per sq.ft. We lose about 90% of the business to guys that do no soil prep, fert, etc.

    What is the cost of the materials for hydroseeding in south per sq. ft.
    We are thinking about getting a 100 gal unit to learn the process. Most of the jobs would be small but do have one now for 100K. We have a 500 gal
    water tank with pump that could be used as filler.

    All advise welcome. We mainly only do lawn maintenance and irrigation repairs. Seems like a lot of expertise on this forum.
  2. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,810

    Move fast--I am thinking a lot of hydroseeders went belly-up in the last two years due to slow building and the poor ecomomy. There should be used equipment on the market at bargain prices--even if it is bigger than you really need. The need for burn out repair will be much higher this year than ever before.

    And learn to do sod cheaper--if you are competing on price and the customer wants to cut corners. If he wants to skip soil prep and fert...so be it...charge for each item separately so you can remove the extras and compete with whomever you must compete with.
  3. KrayzKajun

    KrayzKajun LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,737

    ive actually been really looking into a hydro seeder to go along with my flood control company to market as flood restoration and repair. also with erosion repair. alot of units out there. i just dont know how big of a unit i want.
  4. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,588

    We are a maintenance company so don't do a lot of sod. I just don't want to lay pallets of sod for $30. Every guy with pick up got a trailer last year due to a huge market for sod replacement and zero scape installs. I don't see any seeders running around.

    You want to give me a hint where I can find some of these units:laugh: Well after you get yours you can tell me.
  5. Turboguy

    Turboguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,972

    I would say your cost of materials will run between 2 and 3 cents a foot. My material cost is 2.13 cents a sq. ft. but I am in the north.

    If you go with the 100 gallon unit to start most of the guys with smaller units us a product called Jet Spray which is made by Profile since the tank opening is a little smaller on the 100 gallon units than on bigger units and jet spray is basically flakes that you can just poor in quickly. It does take just a little longer to mix than paper mulch which would be your other alternative. One bag of Jet Spray is about perfect for a 100 gallon unit and that should run you $ 13.00-15.00 a bag. A 100 gallon unit covers 1350 sq. ft so you would have about one cent in mulch per square foot. Seed costs are going to depend on the type of seed you are using. With Bermuda you would seed at about 2 pounds per 1000 so about 2 1/2 pounds per tank, fescue about 10 pounds per tank, Rye about the same. Bahia a little less. You can check seed priced in your area and figure the cost for that. Fertilizer is not all that expensive nor is tackifer which are the two other things you would need to add. I have heard the cost per square foot from a lot of people in a lot of places and what I quoted should be close. The highest I have heard was 4 cents a foot but those were guys adding a lot of stuff most don't add like organic biostimulants etc.

    A nurse tank is a good way to go. It will let you do the jobs you are going to get pretty quick. I can recall talking to one guy who had a 150 gallon unit with a 150 gallon nurse tank and he told me that he could seed faster than his competitor with a high priced 500 gallon unit but no nurse tank.

    I have seen a number of guys start in with 100 gallon units and do just fine. Usually after they see how much hydroseeding business is really out there they end up trading it in for a bigger machine but it isn't a bad way to start. One that I know of who did that is a lawnsite member MarksTLC. He started with a 100 ran it two years, traded that for a 300 ran that for two years and last year traded for a 500.

    Getting back to mulch again, Paper mulch is another way to go. It is just a bit harder to add but cheaper and mixes better and covers better with less material. One good mulch is Central fiber which is what I use and they have three plants one of which is in Tyler Texas. They should have a dealer close to you. Paper mulch should run about $ 9-10 bucks a bale and you might only need about 3/4 of a bale per load. so you would have a mulch cost of around a half cent a sq. ft. You should be able to do the math with what I told you to figure your own cost per sq. ft.

    One thing you might want to do also if you get into hydroseeding is to join the International Association of Hydroseeding Professionals (IAHP), It is only $ 100 bucks and they list you on a "find a hydroseeder" web site that gets a lot of action. One good job would pay for your membership many times over and I have seen guys who get as many as 75 jobs a year from that listing. Some get less but it is a really cheap investment in your business. I get 3-4 calls per day myself from my listing and probably got 40-50 jobs from it.
  6. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,588

    Thanks for responding I am in the process of reading as many thread as I can find on this part of lawnsite. I ran into a lot of stuff you had posted back in 2009 so I was hoping you would still be around. The local JD guy said our materials cost would be .15cents/sq ft. so I am going back up and have a sit down to see if I didn't understand. Any recommendation on brand of 100 gallon hydro seeder?
  7. Turboguy

    Turboguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,972

    Thanks for the nice comment. Sometimes the guys at places like JD Landscapes deal with a lot of different things and know more about some than others. He is way off on the 15 cents a foot. Back when I started the cost was about a cent and a half a sq. ft. but inflation has taken it's toll. Perhaps he meant 1.5 cents a foot which could be done using a cheap seed, paper mulch and no or little tack or fertilizer.

    As far as brand pretty much all the hydroseeding units on the market now are good. They have all been at it a while and make decent units. Its more a case of finding one that fits, you, your budget and the jobs you do and for residential work any unit is fine. The only unit on the market today that I am not much of a fan of is one that is made up in Quebec and you are not likely to run into it.
  8. fl-landscapes

    fl-landscapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,542

    Did you know turboguy manufactures hydroseedeers? He is to humble to mention it I guess. But I bought a unit off him, had it shipped to Florida and would highly recommend working with him as he is about as good as it gets with customer service as well as building a machine. By the way Ray can you make a hose 150 foot length? I would rather that than a 100' plus a 50'. Not a whole lot of hydroseeding going on here these days but I do need a hose.
  9. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,588

    Real glad you responded since our climates are kindy similar. I am concerned about seeds for shady areas. Fortunately most of our yards are irrigated. In the sun bermuda seed with some other seeds would be used.
  10. fl-landscapes

    fl-landscapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,542

    Shady area = floratam sod, if its too shady for that then its a landscape bed. Don't try and force grass to grow under conditions it isn't meant to grow (that goes for all plants) Bermuda is great for hydroseeding in the south, Bahia sux and zoysia...forget about it, takes way to long to germinate. If its not erosion control, and it's going to be a residential....use straight Bermuda and no nurse grass. I've had much better luck with a mono stand of Bermuda from the get go.

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