Hydroseeding Profit

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by RwADesigner, Jan 19, 2003.

  1. RwADesigner

    RwADesigner LawnSite Member
    Messages: 107

    Any of you guys that do hydroseeding or any of you that have picked up a hydroseeder, are you seeing a good profit come in?

    I am in the south and every commercial job that bids has hydroseeding on it. And it seems like a logical/cheaper way to give a yard some lawn besides sod. Do you guys stay busy with your hydroseeders?

    Which series do you recommend?
  2. DaddyRabbit

    DaddyRabbit LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 937

    I am in the South as well and 97% of all jobs that I do only require seed, wheat straw and tack. The thing w/Hydroseeding is if you get a cheap one you will rue the day so to speak,(the agitating kind). Most of the Big Dogs I know all have the one's w/the paddle design but the cost is astronomical. This put's you at an disadvantage because you have to keep this Hydroseeder busy to pay for it's self and if you buy cheap then it just keep's you busy....working on it. Make sure you have enough work to facilitate owning one.
  3. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    We like to sub it out to someone that only does hyroseeding. It is so cheap to get it sprayed on, and we make the money in the prep work. No storage, no maintenance, no down time, and they are very experienced.
    We pay .08 SF. That means $ 800 for a 10,000 SF seed job. That includes seed, mulch, fert, labor, and all. How many times do you have to do 10k SF to pay for the equipment? More times than we will do it. You would have to run this thing almost daily in the season to break even.
  4. RwADesigner

    RwADesigner LawnSite Member
    Messages: 107

    I am very seriously looking into purchasing a hydroseeder.
    Alot of the commercial jobs we bid have seeding listed.
    Plus it is half the cost of sodding a job, so im sure some of these contractors or home builders would like that.

    I still have a lot of research to do though. I see how a nice profit can be made. But i need more input and info.

    Right now we sub it out for .07 cents/sf

    The company we use charges us .06 to do it, so we just add a little penny to it. That doesnt include the dirt work though.
  5. SCL

    SCL LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 543

    You're subbing at .06 a foot and you're gonna buy one? Don't be fooled by all the hype the jet blowers give you about paying for your machine in 10 acres or whatever. When's the last time you seeded 10 acres in a year? You;ll need a paddle machine to spread at most rates that LA's or gov's spec out and you'll blow alot of green water with the jets. They're cheap enough but they'll leave you wanting more. The jets tell you that cost to spray is .02 a foot, but they don't add tack or hormones or prem. seed rates and they don't take into account the loading time or mixing time etc... Keep subbing and you won't have the extra maintenance, licensing of a trailer, blah blah blah.
  6. RwADesigner

    RwADesigner LawnSite Member
    Messages: 107


    Very nice point!

    Do you have any websites with hydroseeding information?
  7. SCL

    SCL LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 543

    Try some of the malor mfg's. Finn, Bowie, Kincaid. Also, you can get a video from easyyawn :D and turbo turf that have some info, but if you've been around it before you already know as much as the vidoes can show you.
  8. boohoo

    boohoo Banned
    from USA
    Messages: 77

    The subcontractor is in my opinion the absolute most important part of this industry. I pay like some guys $0.08/Sq Ft for hydroseeding. I also pay a guy $400 - $500 a day for skid steer work ie rockhounding/harley raking etc. They own machine so if it breaks it isnt my problem.

    10000 SQ Ft lawn
    $800 Hydroseeding
    $250 Bobact 1/2 Day
    $250 Soil
    $1300 Total.

    Say you charge Mrs. Jones $2100 you still made 33% gross profit ie $700. All you need to do is concentrate on the selling. Obviously you make lower margins but you dont have to factor in repairs, labor or the initial cost of the machine. I can only do one job at a time but 10 subcontractors can do 10 jobs.
    The more subs you need the more money you make.
    Sometimes I think that $35000 Finn or $20000 Bobcat would look nice parked out back but every minute it isnt being used it is costing me money.
  9. turfquip

    turfquip LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 860

    Great post Boohoo...that is the way to make serious money in this business!

    Simply put, a jet machine is sufficient if you want to enter the game at around $4000. You can get a pretty decent 300 gallon unit for this. A new Finn T-60 will retail for around $20,000 this season...taxes, title and delivery.

    But like someone earlier said, the jet will leave you wanting more once you understand that the name of the $$ game in hydroseeding is "efficiency".

    I call it cycle time....the cumulative amount of time it takes to fill...mix...and shoot a load of mulch. Cycle times vary from job to job 'cause the availability of water is going to be different on each job.

    Cycle times vary from machine to machine 'cause of their ability to mix. If you are going to buy a jet, get one with plenty of engine and at least a 3 X 3 pump.

    If and when you do begin the search process for a jet machine, don't be fooled by phoney baloney manufacturer's claims about how 'theirs' is more productive. Product 'names' that sound powerful and suggest better mixing capabilities are just that...words. I won't mention any here ;-).

    We sell one at turfquip, and I'm not trying to turn this into a commercial, that I know for a fact will mix and shoot mat blend 50/50. It's good to be able to offer your customers wood :D
  10. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,646

    we bought a used bowie victor 800, which has paddles, 950 gallons,wisconsin 38 hp engine, bowie 2500 pump. we paid a grand for it, had to rebuild the pump, $300 fix the engine $400- but mostly labor on tuneup and timing, and I laid a 1/4 diamont plate top ove the old, as it had some foot sized rust hole- $150. He gave us about 800 lbs of mulch with it, and we've shot about 6 jobs in 4 months. we've got two more to do, and I am developing relationships with civil engineers who do retension ponds and big storm drains w/ the city, as thier specs call for hydro seeding. the first job we did has enough profit to purchase the machine, and the next was able to pay enough profit to get it in good running condition.

    my next step is putting a 1/4 layer of rhino lining in the tank, and then along the fenders and body.

    I love the machine, and going used on a mechanical is the way to go if you don't do this full time. the real money is in multiple tanks near a good water source such as a hydrant ( you can get a 2" portable meter from your water authority for a deposit ) or a pond if you have a suction option on your pump. fill time is critical. with two guys and a quick water source, You could do 8 tanks of mine in an 8 hour day no problem. I shoot for 10000 sq. feet per load, with 350 lbs of paper/wood blend, fescue /rye/and winter wheat blend on the seed in winter, bermuda/rye in spring and summer. home lawns get straight fescue blend.

    I charge 1000 first tankload, 700 next, 600, and so on down to 400 for really large jobs. your mulch is the cost animal, watch the specs for highway as they sometime require 1 ton per acre, or 500 lbs per tank for me.

    normal winter costs, per tank-
    water, free
    winter wheat- 120 lbs, 12.00
    rye 50 lbs -20.00
    fescue 50 lbs 35.00
    fertilizer 50 lbs 19-19-19 7.00
    slicky sticky- tack- 8 oz- 5.00
    mulch- 350 lbs- 64.00
    total-143.00/1000 sq. ft or $.0143 per sq. ft. -1.4 cents.

    big jobs like an acre in a day- at an average of 6 cents times 40000 squre feet- 2400 dollars minus 1.4 times 40000 =$560
    1840 per day gross ain't bad, and you literally could double that in a longer day, but water supply is critical.

    Dave g

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