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Hydroseeding Profit

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

  1. Turboguy

    Turboguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,972

    Well, I guess I will jump in here. First thanks to Muddstopper, Lawntec and the others for the nice comments.

    Going on the Rick’s comments. I think you are very dedicated to your profession and try hard to do a great job. I am sure you are an expert in your area. We had a nice talk at the HTPA convention and a shorter one at I believe the IECA show. You are a very knowledgeable and dedicated individual.

    The first time I ever heard a mention of your business was probably 4 years ago, I got a call from a guy in Phoenix. He said that he was interested in buying a machine and going into the hydro seeding business. He went on to say that he had put in a new lawn and that there was only one person in Phoenix who did hydro seeding (you). You had told him that you were really backed up and that it would be 6 weeks before you could do a quote and 3 months before you could do the job. That gave him the idea that it would be a good business to be in. I do not know if that is what you told him or not. It is what he told me. I think you have had a hand in creating your own competitors. You might think they are not doing well at growing grass in that climate, but when I have talked to them they are quite happy with their results. You have been blasting us ever since on whatever soap box you can find, pages and pages and pages of the same stuff.

    I think Muddstopper hit the nail on the head when he said you are upset because you are getting new competitors. You claim it is not so much that you have competitors but because they are buying our Turbo Turf machines and to quote you we are “Sleazing up the industry” with our $ 3995.00 machines that they can buy for $ 198.00 down and $ 99.00 a month. There are a lot of people who want to get into the hydro seeding business and don’t want to invest $ 20,000 or more to enter a business that is new to them. They think it is a lot smarter to gamble $ 4,000.00 than $ 20,000.00 The truth of it is that if we were not there with our $ 3995.00 unit for $ 198.00 down and $ 99.00 a month they would by EasyLawns unit for $ 3995.00 with $ 198.00 down and $ 99.00 a month, or they would buy Hydra Terra’s $ 3995.00 machine or MS’s $ 3995.00 machine or even worse they would buy Ketchems unit on sale for less than that, of course getting it might be another story. Frankly the other machines they could buy won’t do a thing our won’t and in some cases may do a lot less. Most of the guys I talk to think it is the best $ 4000.00 they ever spent.

    You claim we are terrible because for a couple of hundred dollars we deliver our machines all the way across the country using our own people and show our customers how to run their units. We however do not train them on the in’s and out’s of seeds and mulch varieties and types and the changes that temperatures and climates can make on germination etc, etc. So if we threw them on a freight truck and shipped them motor freight like everyone else and let them figure out how to run their machine from the owners manual, we would be good guys?

    You state that we “probably” did not tell your competitor with the 150 gallon unit that he could not spray 70/30 mulch. You are totally right. We did not tell him he could do that. If the subject came up we told him he could NOT do that. The 50 gallon, 100 gallon and 150 gallon machines with the 2” pump are paper mulch or Jet Spray only. With the 300 gallon units and larger we prefer people to use jet spray or paper mulch, but they will work pretty well with mixes you just need to be a little more careful and know a little about what you are doing. With paper mulch you can do about anything and not have a problem.

    We try very hard to not OVERSELL our units. You were complaining about the mulch rates on our website. Becky was also complaining about the same thing on the HTPA site. You are right here too Rick. They are light. We do that on purpose. There are lots of people making exaggerated claims about their machines. You can find jet machine web sites that say their units will handle more mulch than any other machine jet or mechanical. It is total BS. You mention James Lincoln, who is also a very experienced guy. I can show you in his advertising print where he claims his 425 gallon mechanical system can seed faster than a 3000 gallon Finn. Sure James. I love to place a bet on that one.

    We make our mulch requirements light for a couple of reasons. First I was always a believer that you never make a promise that you can’t keep and you always try to deliver a little more than you promise. If I tell someone they can use 70 pounds of mulch in their machine and they find when they get the machine that they can easily do 100 pounds or more they love their machine. If I told them they could use 100 and they found they could only use 90 they would be upset. One of the other main reasons we do it is that if they make the first few loads light on mulch they don’t have a problem. They will figure out quickly that they can handle more mulch and cover more ground quickly. If they try to put in every ounce of mulch the machine can possibly handle before they really understand the machine they can have problems. Our owner’s rarely have problems and we like to keep it that way.

    On the subject of not overselling our machines, for years if we had calls from someone who wanted to spray Soil Guard, or who wanted to apply 2500 or 3000 pounds of virgin wood fiber to the acre day in and day out we told them our machines were not for them and suggested they call Finn, Bowie, Aqua Mulcher or Kincade. We have always been very open and honest about what our units would and would not do. We tell everyone that out 300 gallon and above units will handle jet spray and paper mulch well, paper/wood mixes well also but you need to be a little more careful and wood mulches if need occasionally but not well enough to be efficient if that is all you want to do. As Muddstopper mentioned we began this year selling what we call our Blue Series which is Kincade’s units with our decal on them. We want people having a machine that is right for them. If we had to send them to Finn for that to happen we had no problem with that, of couse if we can keep some of that business we also are happy with that. Perhaps some day we will come with our own mechanical unit. There are people who need a mechanically agitated unit and we are well aware of that. There are also many people for whom a Turbo Turf is ideal.

    Rick, you claim that our machines can not apply mulch at 1500 pounds per acre. Any machine can apply mulch at any rate. It is all in how fast you move. If walking 4 miles an hour gives you 1000 pounds per acre, walking 2 miles an hour will give you 2000 pounds per acre and walking 1 mile per hour will give you 4000 pounds per acre. Stand still long enough and you can make a mountain of mulch. Regardless of the numbers the concept is the same.

    Something has been really bothering me Rick, and now I have just the expert to ask. I have been very worried about a couple of business people down that way. You say that you absolutely can not grow grass in the climate you have in Arizona and Texas using paper mulch. That you must have 2500 – 3500 pounds to the acre of virgin wood fiber or at least a 70/30 mix. My question is since there are a number of people down that way making paper mulch, for example Southwest environmental, and since they seem to be producing a lot of product and don’t ship it north. What in the world are they doing with all that mulch if you can’t grow grass with it?

    We would be happy to have you participate at www.i-hydroseeding.com (If anyone tried to follow the link posted earlier in this thread and problems, the (i-) was accidentally left off.) We are there to help anyone and about the only rule is we try to be helpful and nice. We don’t bash anyone. Feel free to visit us there.

    The experience you have had with our units is watching someone mix up a load from a distance. Based on that, you have posted enough things enough places that put together it would have more words than the novel “War and Peace” which is pretty thick.

    How about this Rick. Why don’t we give you some real ammunition. When I drive cross country to the Golf Course show in San Diego in February, I could throw and extra machine on and we could go shoot a load or two together. If they are as bad as you think you could have some real ammunition to blast us with. We have sold about 3000 machines. If they were not really good machines that would not have happened.

    Well, I think I have gone on long enough.
  2. Planet Landscaping

    Planet Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 607

    Guys, can I overspray a patchy lawn with success? Lighter mix?
  3. Turboguy

    Turboguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,972

    Since you are in Conneticut, I would say yes. It is better to do overseeding and repairs in the spring and fall. I do a lot of it and have good results. Some other guys seem to have trouble doing that type of work.

    Basically I thin down my mix a little and go up on seed a little. I have pretty good control with my unit so I will go a nice application of mulch on the bare spots and just overspray the thin spots. I do probably 30 to 40 jobs of that type a year. Since you are not seeding a lot of area the material cost is not bad and it will be almost pure profit. It is also fast and easy.
  4. Planet Landscaping

    Planet Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 607

    Thanks turbo, Should i use paper,wood or 70/30 mulch for overseed?
  5. Turboguy

    Turboguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,972

    Hi Jammer,

    I use 100% paper. Actually a mulch made not, too too far from you. You can use any of them and get good results though. It should not make a bit of difference.
  6. Planet Landscaping

    Planet Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 607

  7. WhySod

    WhySod LawnSite Member
    Messages: 13

    Turboguy, I just got in from another one hundred and something degree day, and read your post.

    Yeah, you're right about an awful lot of what you say, but not quite everything. I've talked to you in person. And personally I found you to be quite likable. After reading your post I believe you are sincere in everything you said.

    But I also think you are WAY overstating several things. And I know I've been a thorn in your side for at least 4 years. And believe me, every bit of it has been on purpose.

    But know what? It goes both ways. A lot of what your company has done has been exactly what I've been accusing you of, even if it wasn't your intention.

    Having said that, I truly don't want to turn this into a series of personal insults. Since I started this whole thing in a place that's "not "my club," I may as well take some personal responsibility and try to finish it here too...

    I was blasted by Lawntec, Muddstopper and some others for things I said about your company. And I was sincere when I apologised to them. I've been thinking about this for an awfully long time - way before I found this forum. And I've truly come to believe that a lot of my anger against Turbo Turf has been mis-directed. But not quite all of it...

    I was perfectly ready to tone down the rhetoric against Turbo Turf by at least 90%. Then your post stirred it up again. So meybe it's finally time to clear the air.

    I've been down on Turbo Turf since 1999. I've said some very insulting things about your company over the years. (And I still believe I have some valid reasons for doing that.) I would have expected you to have lashed out against me a long time ago. By not doing so, you actually started gaining my respect.

    On the other hand, I've heard about some very nasty, insulting things about me your salesmen have said to potential customers in "my neck of the woods." So don't try to act so damned innocent or insulted.

    Truth is, I'm getting very tired of typing long, drawn-out novels in discussion forums on the internet about Turbo Turf. I guess I'm going to have to another one tomorrow to try to clear the air...

    Most of what I say will be apoloigetic. Some of I'm going to say will bite a little. But since we're doing this in public, meybe when we're all done we can stop being enemies. Meybe we can find some common ground. Meybe we can agree to disagree. Meybe we'll each keep some personal integrity intact when this is done...

    But I'm way too tired tonight to deal with this. And my wife is really pissed off at me for not being in the house spending some time with her. Thankfuly, I only have one 3600 s/f job scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. Expect a reply by then. Rick
  8. Turboguy

    Turboguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,972

    Hi Rick,

    I am sorry if I upset you Rick. I have just reread my post two times and I can not find a single thing I said that qualifies as a personal insult. I would not even think about insulting you. I respect you and your knowlege of hydroseeding. I don't think Muddstopper and Lawntec blasted you either Rick. Lawntec just said I was a nice guy and very helpful. Muddstoper just said there was a place for all types of machines and he thought that heavy mulch applications were a little over rated.

    I feel really bad that you took my comments as a personal insult. I think perhaps it has just been a long hard day for you and when you are rested and fresh, please look closely at my letter and let me know exactly what I said that was a personal insult. If I was wanting to insult you why would I have asked you to go hydro seeding with me?

    When you say that our salesmen have said nasty things to your customers. First Rick your customers would be home owners and the like and our salespeople would not have an occassion to talk to them at all. Second we have not done that. We are in an industry that has a lot of our competitors who do a lot of "badmouthing" and invent some of the biggest exagerations (that is lies in plain English) anyone could think of. We don't even hint at negative things about our competitors. We sell our strengths and not their weeknesses. Yes, we point out the advantages we have, but we always do it in a postive way. We have never said anything bad about Finn, Bowie, Kincade, Easy Lawn, Kincade, Aqua mulcher or Rick Hardy.

    Well, get a good nights sleep and answer me when you can. I may not be on a lot tomorrow I have to seed about 20,000 sq ft with no water at the job site.
  9. The Good Earth

    The Good Earth LawnSite Member
    Messages: 171

    Rick, you should really write a book on how to make friends and influence people. You had me on the HTPA thing until you had to add the "shut the hell up" finale. Not the best way to swing favor in your direction.

    It was funny that you said that we seemed to care about what we are doing. Not an exact quote, but ballpark. I hate to bust your bubble but, for most of us, this isn't our first county fair. We have been at this for quite some time. A good understanding of turfgrass is a must. You obviously have it, at least you lead one to believe that. Many of us have at least an equal knowledge. You might want to consider that before you go waxing philosophical on Turgeon and Emmons.

    Ray, when you get done stating the merits of your machines why don't you take a little time and break down the ice control sprayers. I am certain that I am not the only one interested in that. Just an idea.
  10. Turboguy

    Turboguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,972

    Hi Jay,
    Thanks for the nice comments. I am just ready to head out the door to do some hydroseeding, but I will start a new thread about ice control sprayers probably tonight and try to help anyone who has questions.


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