Top Dressing lawns on a large scale

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Five Diamond Lawns, Jan 4, 2005.

  1. Five Diamond Lawns

    Five Diamond Lawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 197

    I realize by looking through the past posts that this subject gets covered a lot in the organic gardening section, but there seem to be a lot of people pretty knowledgeable about it, so here's my question.

    I want to start offering, on a big scale, top dressing for residential lawns. I'm thinking of having my topsoil distributer mix up a special mix with topsoil, compost and seed together, then top dressing lawns with 2 - 6 yards of the mix. I will do lawns of any size but I think the 2 - 6 yards will be my bread and butter.
    What I'm looking for is your ideas and experiences on
    - the best delivery method from start to finish
    - pricing

    My thoughts so far are a small dump truck with a custom back end to dump into a motorized compost spreader ( I've found a lot of info on spreaders in past posts ). This way I'll only need one person to do the work and not much shoveling. I think he could spread 3 yards an hour on site. I am looking at $69 per yard.
  2. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,143

    Sounds good. I am still not satisfied that an affordable small topdresser has been built on the market for use on residential lawns.
  3. Cutters Lawn Care

    Cutters Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 314

    I sub out this type of work. There is a company that uses blower trucks for this type job. I don't know about the size of lawns in Olympia but here 3-6 yards won't get you far. They blow in 2 inches of topsoil and compost and charge 8 cents per sq ft. I charge customer 11 cents per sq foot. Average lawn here uses about 20 yards.
  4. shaughnessylawn

    shaughnessylawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 117

    you guys have any pics of the jobs done like this and equipment
  5. naturescaretaker

    naturescaretaker LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 854

    If any of you are near a Lesco and if they are like ours, then they may have a top dresser that you can use. Ours has one that they loan out to golf courses and we have used it a couple of times over the years. Just a thought.
  6. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,143

    I asked my lesco guy about it last year and he didn't know what I was talking about. Additionally, you can't always use one of the big top dressers that golf courses use on a residential lawn. Most of my lawns are too small and obstructed to get one of those things in it.
  7. gogetter

    gogetter Banned
    Messages: 3,256

    2" for just topdressing? Seems like a lot. My understanding was that topdressing was just a very thin layer (like in the 1/4" - 1/2" range).

    And just incase anyone was interested and hadn't seen the other thread on this, here's a new topdresser that came our recently:
  8. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,360

    Too cheap. You need a set minimum price and a pricing structure based on SF breaks. Smaller sf lawns will actually take longer due to operating in a confined space. Thus the price for smaller lawns will be higher in relation to the sf of larger lawns. Look at it this way, the larger lawns get a sf price break for volume in a way. They still pay more than small ones, but the price per sf is lower on larger areas.
  9. Five Diamond Lawns

    Five Diamond Lawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 197

    Great comments!
    I have looked into the blower idea but came up with a couple snags. First It would require 2 people on site. The only affordable one I could find is like a cement mixer and needs to be loaded by hand. Second everything I have read says you need do rake it after blowing. Third even the cheep ones ain't cheep. There too expensive to do small residential lawns.
  10. Five Diamond Lawns

    Five Diamond Lawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 197

    The motorized top dressers are from $3800 to $6000

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