Contractor Talk - Professional Construction and Remodeling Forum banner

1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
President of the world
Joined
·
2,668 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
this sounds like a business that in theory would do well... but upon asking a hand full of builders i work with they all (all but 1) say they would never pay the extra for the foam. so my questions are...
how long have you had the rig?
how much did you pay?
how long and how many jobs before you saw that money back?
do you do any advertising? is it effective?
do you believe you could make a living by offering only this service?
have you had any problems or setbacks due to break downs/ problem getting material/ employee incompetence/ etc.
do you run into competition?
i'm sure you get calls from builders/contractors... ever a call directly from a homeowner?
what's the most common job?

i'm very interested in a spray buisness, but the start up is way too much and an idea doesn't pay the bills, so just wanted to know what it's like out there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Also interested

Being in the construction arena for 20+ yrs. I've noticed that Insulation Contractors have very little competition in my area and we often have to wait on their crews to arrive for the job to continue. Only two local outfits in a large area. Since I have an established relationship with a number of builders and already provied HVAC and Electrical for them I'm thinking this might be something I should look in to. Wondering all those same questions. More interested in the blown in mixed with glue, but whatever has the best rating and reputation. Also, is there any "Green" product on the market that anyone knows of. What would be the least expensive way to start up?
 

·
DGR,IABD
Joined
·
9,683 Posts
Also, is there any "Green" product on the market that anyone knows of.
Funny you mention that. I use a spray foam contractor fairly regularly (Weaver Insulators LLC, Woodbury PA). The foam has always been yellow in color, but on the last job it was light green. I asked the one guy if it was different stuff now. His reply, "No, same stuff. They're just making it green now. People like green". :laughing:
 

·
Sean
Joined
·
5,485 Posts
Also, is there any "Green" product on the market that anyone knows of. What would be the least expensive way to start up?
Seeing the thread is on Spray Foam - Demilic Closed Cell with Soy is about as Green as you are going to get & a good product (don't know if they have it in Open Cell)

Least expensive? You have got to be kidding - I don't think any of them will deal with you for less than 50K - generally about 100k (classes, equipment, materials, advertising)

World LLC - sorry I hire it out, but I would imagine in todays climate it will take a while to get a ROI as the cost is expensive & most people don't care about the structure & systems as much as the bling
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
916 Posts
At a recent Builders Show we saw several different types of spray foam. There seemed to be a lot of interest at each booth. There was one we visited that they trained you and sent you large propane style tanks with a two part mixture, your main expense was the hose and rig. I will look for the brochures/links after the game!
 

·
Spray Foam
Joined
·
1 Posts
spray foam business

I am a spray foam business owner and we only offer spray foam in our business and we are doing great. No it is not a cheap business to get into because a spray rig can go from 40K to a 100K depending on the purpose and how much trouble you want. If you buy too small or too cheap you will be sorry later.

We get most of our business directly from customer and some builders.

The biggest problem with spray foam is that there is a lot of mixed information about the product and the use of it so you have to do you're own research and go with the right company. We are using Bayer for product "baysystemsspray.com" but there are many companies out there that offer great products.

I would tell anyone who's interested in starting a spray foam company to do a lot of research and talk to many spray foam manufacturers and go with the one who will give the best support because a lot can go wrong if you don't have the right training and setup.

Also visit sprayfoam. com they have a lot of info about manufacturers

hopefully this will help one of you. If you have more questions you can email me.

Steve
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
Another place to check out for spray foam rigs is www.cpifoam.com. They have the largest and most professionally collection of foam rigs available in the industry. It is nice too because they have spray foam rigs from as little as $23,970.

Aside from price, choice and quality I also think it is incredibly important that where ever you get a rig from you are getting the support and training too. The spray foam industry is one that requires some training and a good partner in support and service for helping with the problems and supporting your businesses growth. Again CPi is a great place that offers the complete package when it comes to getting started in the spray foam industry.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
I agree, the biggest problem with the foam business is misinformation.

You need to be on the ball to get into this business, it's not as simple as buying a rig and getting the first job.
 

·
Windows Plus
Joined
·
245 Posts
Another place to check out for spray foam rigs is www.cpifoam.com. They have the largest and most professionally collection of foam rigs available in the industry. It is nice too because they have complete packages from as little as $23,970.

Aside from price, choice and quality I also think it is incredibly important that where ever you get a rig from you are getting the support and training too. The spray foam industry is one that requires some training and a good partner in support and service for helping with the problems and supporting your businesses growth. Again CPi is a great place that offers the complete package when it comes to getting started in the spray foam industry.
what would the normal cost per job-retail?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
I am a Spray Foam business owner in Canada. If you are looking at getting into the business, DO YOUR RESEARCH! There are many types of foam on the market and not all are equal. Make sure you establish a relationship with a good manufacturer and supplier. Make sure that you get the proper training. Check with the suppliers of the equipment and purchase or lease the equipment that best suits your purpose. Going too large is very expensive and it will take years to recover the costs. Too small and you cannot deliver cosistant results in large volumes. We use the Graco H25 proportioner with large heaters, 250 feet of hose, T2 stick pumps, Glascraft P2 Elite spray gun, 40kw generator, 40 cfm rotary screw compressor and all contained in a Graco 28 foot gooseneck trailer with all the other necessary items. Good solid reliable equipment. 2 years of running so far and no major issues. Maintenance is the key, keep up with normal service for the equipment and clean the gun regularily. This will pay big when you can do your contracts and not have setbacks due to equipment failure. Do not cheap out on good equipment.
Many contractors (builders) only look at their bottom line rather than what is the best practise but that is changing. They, like in any industry have to listen to the end user, the home owner. In this time of high energy costs, the consumer wants better value for the money. For go the granite counter top and insulate better if money is the issue. The energy savings will pay for that counter top at a later date and remember, it is easy to change that down the road. Not easy to re-insulate.
Advertising. Very expensive. We go by our signage on vehicles, Spray rig, business cards, brochures and our local contractors trade show. Most of our work is from word of mouth. Satisfied customers always talk. We set ourselves apart from our competition by setting a very high standard of quality and that pays dividends.
Rim joist cavities, Cants and bonus rooms should always be insulated with foam. This is the only way these areas can be properly sealed.
We run about 60% new construction, 40% reno. Most of our business is Residential. Canada has very strict Government regs on foam and all foam used in a residence must be a certified foam for residential use. You cannot use a general purpose foam in a residence.
We are members of CUFCA, the Canadian Urethane Foam Contractors Association and our supplier is Polyurethane Foam Systems Inc. We use only PolarFoam PF 7300-0 Soya (green as it gets) and this product is produced by Demilec, Heatloc Soya in the USA. This is a medium density, closed cell 2lb foam. Very consistant product to use and has the highest LTTR (long term thermal resistance) of any foam on the market. All around, we feel that this is the best product currently on the market.
Check out the business. In a time of a slow economy, we are realizing rapid growth. Can you make a living? Absolutely! Can you make a difference? Definitely. You provide a service where people obtain a product that saves them money and provides a heathier environment for their families.

Ed
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
Ed I like how you put a little sales speech in the end there about PFSI and Polarfoam.

Unfortunately you're not helping the discussion with your marketing of your supplier although I'm sure they appreciate it.

2 pound density foam that meets the requirements of CAN/ULC-S705.1, and is installed as per CAN/ULC-S705.2 is all good foam.

Peach color, green color, blue, or purple... Whatever brand you spray, if they meet the criteria they're all good.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
18 Posts
Just wanted to throw mention to anyone with questions about spray foam rigs, or those looking for them, my site at www.ParatusFoam.com is new and we provide all sorts of custom and quality spray foam rigs.

Also on your site you can find a little guide we have that helps to make the decision on the right type of rig a lot easier, it is called Choosing the Right Spray Foam Rig.

If anyone does have any questions about foam rigs at all, please don't hesitate to send me an email or message and I would love to help. Thanks!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
902 Posts
There is a lot of spray foam used in my small locale. Ten years ago, there were no local foamers. Builders hired subs that came in from 100 miles away or further.

The huge majority of new homes built here during the bubble were vacation homes for the wealthy, and most all of these got foamed. They all got built for clients paying on a cost-plus basis, and some of the GCs thought they could make money being foamers themselves. I saw at least three builders buy or lease gear and become foamers, themselves.

Looks easy, right? All is contained in a small trailer or truck, the gear looks like a glorified spraypainters setup, you only buy the raw materials you need when you need them, and hey, you can charge your customers up to $1.50 a board foot, installed.

I'm sure that the builders that bought the setups thought that the equipment costs could be paid off quickly. I've no idea how they made out.

Would like to hear from a pro-foamer or two as to how much sales volume it takes to get clear of your startup costs.

Here is what I know about foam. For a while, in the 90s, I did the buying and supply negotiations for a company that was using foam for the manufacture of steel and fiberglass entry doors. Usage was such that tanker truck loads came a couple times weekly each to two large door plants, and deals were made with outfits like BASF, Mobay, and others, for the supply. Costs then were about 80 cents per pound, for side A or B, and the system design was for a foam that gelled and rose to a finished density of 2.0 pcf. Isocyanurate. Rigid foam. Closed cell. Pretty similar stuff to what is sprayed into wall and roof cavities in residential work nowadays.

So, at the density of 2, a cubic foot costs $1.60 in materials, if you get your resins at the .80 I mentioned. That cubic foot will slice to 12 board feet. If you can buy your resins at the same .80, and sell your work for, say, $1.00 per b.f. installed, your installed material costs are $1.60, while your revenue amounts to $12.

Nice work if you can get it.

Now, let's say that a little insulation sub, one rig, a few employees, cannot buy nearly as well as the big door company buying resin by the tanker loads, almost one each day. He is buying small. Drums. A few each week, maybe. Maybe even less. Let's say he pays not .80 per pound, but five times that.

This puts his material cost, per c.f. of foam sprayed in place at a 2 pcf density, at 8 bucks. If he is selling for 12 (that is the $1 per board foot), he is still maybe OK. A 2500 sf house, with on average maybe 16,000 bf of foam in it, the foaming job yielding $16K in revenue against about $10.7K in material costs, might look like good business.

I see the crews looking like one guy in the trailer with the drums and the pumps, and one other guy, the sprayer, all duded out in a zoom bag looking like he is ready for a space walk. Two guys. Maybe four full days to do that 16K bf job in the 2500 sf house. Let's say that costs the owner a total of $2800, in fully-burdened labor. The owner is now looking at maybe a gross profit for the job of $2,500, or 15.6 percent of revenue.

So, let's here some detail from the foamers. What does it take to get into this, and what should be one's expectations?
 

·
Construction Connoissuer
Joined
·
2,024 Posts
I am pretty close to a foamer, he specializes in other insulation too.

Straight from the horses mouth,

"If you ever want to go bankrupt, just buy a spray foam setup."

:laughing:

There is lot more to it, than you could imagine.
(there is a lot of little problems that can come with the territory)
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
902 Posts
That's interesting, CC. Thanks.

My first experience with foam sprayed into a house job, was as an owner-builder in NE Indiana, having this outfit as my insulation sub.

They did sort of a "flash and fill" thing for my wall cavities, spraying in a thin veneer of urethane foam, which rose to a finished thickness of only about a half inch, then carefully fitted unfaced FG batts into the cavities. I was told that the mix was specially formulated for doing a "sealing veneer" such as was done.

I see from their webpage that they still do foam.
 

·
President of the world
Joined
·
2,668 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
funny this short thread should re-surface...

I have established a good relationship with a foam company to come in for me. The prices have increased a bit, with petroleum, but my clients understand the value. The rig won't leave the shop for less than 2K in work, so I can't get him out there on smaller jobs...

Actually, as soon as my framing inspection passes on my Mountain Lakes project, we will be spraying the basement walls with 2" closed cell.
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top