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Hydroseeding Need Help

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by cookslandscaping18, Apr 22, 2010.

  1. cookslandscaping18

    cookslandscaping18 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 125

    I am looking at hydroseeding a guys property and was wondering how hard it is to do. I can rent one for 200 a day but i have to find somewhere to get the water. How much does one bag of seed make and does the seed cost alot to. I need to know how much a bag will cover and will it even be worth renting one of just hire some one that charges 700 dollars for 12,000 sq ft of lawn grass app.
  2. WHIPPLE5.7

    WHIPPLE5.7 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 958

    Don't let the first time you run a hydroseeder be at a customers house, you just might make the mess of the century. Is it jet or mechanical? Its good to have someone who can open and close the valves or add to the drum while you run the hose. I would highly reccomend you put down all of your fert. with spreader before hand as well as 25% of your seed. Fill the machine with water first and then add your hydromulch and the rest of the seed. I worked at a rental store for 6 years and can tell you its tough to rent one and make cover your materials and make much profit. If its something you want to get into buy a small one. Explain to the customer that it needs lots of water for the 4-6 weeks.
  3. Turboguy

    Turboguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,972

    Hydro seeding is not real hard to do. I think if you follow the directions the rental yard gives you as far as mixing and maybe spray out a little somewhere that it doesn't matter you would be ok. I have shown guys how to run machines and hydroseed in 5 minutes or less.

    As far as it being economically practical in your situation you won't get rich on this job. You mention $ 700 for 12,000 sq. feet. If the machine rental is $ 200.00. Your materials for 12,000 sq. ft. are going to be somewhere between $ 240 and $ 350, so in a best case scenario for an extra $ 260 you can have someone supply his own labor, provide the gas for the machine and travel and have it done by someone who know how to do it.

    On the other side of the coin, hydro seeding can be pretty profitable and it would give you a chance to play around and see how you like it. Personally, I love to hydro seed. I find it fun. There is a lot of business out there and it might expand your opportunities.
  4. Turboguy

    Turboguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,972

    Sorry, I forgot to answer your question about the water. I do a ton of hydro seeding. Right at the moment I have about 24 acres or so booked or done for this year. Most always what I do is go with my first load mixed and then use the customers water to refill. I have a 300 and a 500 gallon jet unit. When I do my quote I always ask the customer about water. I tell them that I will need to spray about X tank loads and that if need be I can go back to my place to refill but I can save them money if I use their water to refill. I never have an objection.

    I just spent the last day and a half doing a two acre job with my 300 gallon unit. It was over an hour away. I asked them about refilling and they asked how much water I would be using. I said it would be 22 loads and I would be using about 6000 gallons of water. I hear a sort of gulp when I said that but the gulp was followed by a yes, that would be fine.

    I will add a little bit to my story. I am sure we all get customers who are a pain to deal with. This lady was a gem. I showed up on Wednesday morning and ran the garden hose to my machine. Even though it was city water the water was slow as molasses. My first filling took me 2 hours which should normally take 20 -25 minutes. I was using a nurse tank so the next load was a little faster. The lady checked to see how I was doing and I told her about the slow water and said it might take me three days instead of the two I expected. She called about getting me a water truck and then arranged with the next door neighbor to use his water as well so we ran a second hose. I ended up finishing the two acres in a day and a half even though it took me nearly a half day to do my first load. There are some really wonderful and helpful customers out there. I had another a week ago that helped me load and dragged my hose for me.

    Other options include pumping from ponds or streams but you need to check on the legality of that. Fire hydrants are a possibility but for a one time job that probably isn't an option. For me I cover such a large area that usually doesn't work for me. Some water companies have fill stations and they will fill you up in seconds for pennies. When I can find one of those they usually fill my machine for somewhere between 50 cents and two bucks.

    You asked about seed. You use the same seed to hydro seed that you would to seed any other way. If you need recommendations on the type of seed you should be using check with your local county ag agent or visit the hydro seeding association website at www.hydroseeding.org
  5. SeedPro

    SeedPro LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,030

    You use the customers water? lol


    You do give them a discount on the seeding, yes?
  6. Turboguy

    Turboguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,972

    Yes, seriously! No, SeedPro, I don't give them a discount. I would charge them a ton extra if they prefered I did not use their water. That two acre job I just did would have doubled in price since it was a long way away. I have done hundreds of jobs that way and the customers are thrilled to help.
  7. Quality Landscaping

    Quality Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    I am thinking about getting into this business, we have been installing lawns for about 15 years but our builder wants sod in the front and seed n straw in the back. Often the backs do not come in great due to the fact most of our clients wont keep lawn wet enough to keep seed from blowing away with the straw. I believe there is a huge market in reseeding over these backs. Im trying to get an idea on cost per x sq foot over what do you typically charge per x amount of sq footage. Most of the backs are about 100ftx100ft. Any info would be great thanks for your time.
  8. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,543

    Hydraulic seeding is not a substitute for irrigation.

    If you rent equipment and cus doesn't water and you need to go back, rent and hydroseed again--you just lost money.

    Always set up a couple timers and hoses.
    Read their water meter--no guarantee if they don't have a water bill of at least $200.
  9. Turboguy

    Turboguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,972

    For me, material costs are just a bit less than 2 cents a sq. ft. There are a lot of factors that go into pricing out a job and one is the competion you have. If a customer called me and told me he had a 100 x 100 sq. ft. back yard he wanted hydroseeded I would most likely quote him $ 895.00. There are places where they might laugh at you for that price and others that would wonder why you were so cheap. I have seen residential hydro seeding go for as cheap as 6 cents a foot and has high as 20 cents or more per foot. The last job I did was a back lawn of about 3200 sq. ft and I got $ 625.00 for doing it.
  10. Turboguy

    Turboguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,972

    I do agree with Riggle. Hydroseeding is not magic and is not a substitute for watering. I don't think irrigation is neccessary (I do agree it is desirable) but if you are seeding in the hot part of summer they will have to water to get grass. Where I am in the spring and fall watering will help but it will probably come in one way or the other.

    I also agree with Riggle about going back. When I hydroseed I try to make darn sure I do a good job. Even though I don't have the cost of renting a machine if I do have to go back I have pretty much lost my profit on that job. Maybe not with material cost but my time has value too. Fortunately I virtually never have to go back to fix a bad job but hydro seeding is not something you can cut corners on and come out ahead. You will come out behind.

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