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View Full Version : Aeration: How many can be done in a Day?


Ant_Knee
10-25-2007, 06:46 PM
For aeration purposes the lawns we currently service are less than 12000 sf gross and most are 6000 or less net grass. Our 2 man mowing crews can service 25-30 lawns a day (to give you an idea of our schedule or daily route).

We do not currently provide aeration as a service yet and I was wondering how many could be done in a day taking into consideration our current lawn maintenance routes etc. Most likely 100% of our lawns have sprinkler systems but our crews would hopefully know where the sprinkler heads are located.

Thanks!

shovelracer
10-25-2007, 07:03 PM
It depends on the size of the machine, but most smaller rental types can do about 22K an hour. Of course this doesnt count all the turning, loading, and driving. Realistically you can expect to get 2 done an hour. Now the sprinklers are another story. You may know where a head is, but you probably dont know how deep the line is. Also include dog fencing, utilities, and lighting. All of which I have seen within 2" of the surface. Odds of hitting one may be small, but a hit head could result in you not getting paid and a bill for the repair. Good luck.

Ant_Knee
10-26-2007, 04:18 PM
Thanks for the info. How many passes show be done while aerating? Suggestions? Best Practices?

Team-Green L&L
10-26-2007, 04:42 PM
Between 1 and 50 depending on the equipment and operator, distance in travel, and access to grounds. Hope that helps???

Dhouse
10-26-2007, 04:47 PM
How fast can you run?:walking:

Ramairfreak98ss
10-26-2007, 07:33 PM
Between 1 and 50 depending on the equipment and operator, distance in travel, and access to grounds. Hope that helps???

lol, vague but true. Ive seen guys take 2hrs for one small yard say 1/4 acre size.

I do 3 acre areas in under an hour with the Landpride 60" core plug on the back of the tractor so it really depends on what equipment your using. Those tiny 20" 5hp honda ones suck for anything larger than 1/4 acre lots.

IanHanlon
10-26-2007, 08:20 PM
I'd follow the advice regarding the depth settins on the tines as you could get leaks every where. I'd probably be inclined to use hollow tines as well, they're blunter and in my opinion do a far better job. 1 Pass is all you should need.
www.ideallawns.biz

BeautifulBlooms
10-27-2007, 11:23 PM
On lots ranging from 3000 - 30000 I have averaged 10,000 - 20,000 per hour with a bluebird walk behind. Obviously the small lots are at the low end and the large lots are more efficient with less turning and less rotator cuff problems!!!!!!!! A perfect rectangle would be on the high end, and lots of little broken up areas would be on the low end, and the most efficient would be a straight line 1 mile long, if only they were all designed like that!!!

BeautifulBlooms
10-27-2007, 11:25 PM
I have wondered if people call for utilities to be marked for aeration? I have only seen cable up that high but sometimes it is just under the sod. As for dog lines, irrigation lines, heads and valve boxes, those are the customers responsibility as I may have no idea where everything is. If it isnt marked and I hit it, not my responsibility, if it is marked and I still hit it, then I will repair myself. As for doggies lines etc that is also their responsibility if they can even find it!

Gators_Aerator
10-27-2007, 11:40 PM
My Crew is two men - If we can stay in one neighborhood we can get 15 + in one day with walk behind machines.
Three questions I ask is 1)Sprinkler System 2) Dog Fence 3) Shallow cables the client placed themselves like sat systems, cable or lighting. If they say yes to any, I drop off flags and ask them to mark them. I always let them know that if I hit any other type of lines my family will be rich from the settlement, because they should be deeper than the aerator can go. I let them know that I am not liable if they mark them.

BeautifulBlooms
10-28-2007, 12:08 AM
I always let them know that if I hit any other type of lines my family will be rich from the settlement, because they should be deeper than the aerator can go. I let them know that I am not liable if they mark them.

Dont you have utility marking services? It is free to all people up here you just have to notify them 3 days ahead of service date. They told me anything where soil is disturbed. I find that hard to believe that it is necessary when going in 2-3 inches, but i have seen cable under the sod before, but that just tells me the cable installers were cheap or lazy.

Ant_Knee
10-29-2007, 10:34 AM
Thanks for all the info. The obvious next question would be what equipment to look at. What would be most efficient for the lot sizes that we service? The only equipment that I have looked at so far is Lescos aerators that they have out on the floor.

Stillwater
10-29-2007, 12:08 PM
My Crew is two men - If we can stay in one neighborhood we can get 15 + in one day with walk behind machines.
Three questions I ask is 1)Sprinkler System 2) Dog Fence 3) Shallow cables the client placed themselves like sat systems, cable or lighting. If they say yes to any, I drop off flags and ask them to mark them. I always let them know that if I hit any other type of lines my family will be rich from the settlement, because they should be deeper than the aerator can go. I let them know that I am not liable if they mark them.

Not liable if they mark them ? yes you are, in Ohio your state, the ony way you are protected is if you called OUPS, 1-800-362-2764

Ant_Knee
10-29-2007, 06:36 PM
it's an exculpatory clause. It's like reading the sign off the back of a big truck hauling gravel and debris that states its not liable for anything that comes out of this truck and hits you...yes it is, but statistically by posting that sign that company reduced the amount of claims against them because people believe that clause....everyone does it to help reduce actual claims. It may not reduce your actual liability but if your client believes the exculpatory clause then they most likely will not claim any loss or damage.....then your mind drifts back to chapter 2 of every business, accounting, and law book you may have ever read. j/k.
Actually it would be breach of their part of the agreement.

turfsolutions
10-29-2007, 07:08 PM
Don't hope to know where the sprinkler heads are, turn each zone on and mark each head with a flag. If you don't you are gaurenteed to bust some heads which will eat your profits.

Stillwater
10-29-2007, 11:20 PM
Thanks for the info. How many passes show be done while aerating? Suggestions? Best Practices?

for me the number of passes depends on the condition of the lawn a great lawn with a normal thatch a single pass is all we do. If the area has heavy thatch and is thin, 2 sometimes 3 passes with over seeding and starter fert. I have 3 classens and they generate a large income from sept-through early Nov.

americanlawn
10-30-2007, 05:39 PM
Our two-man aeration crews average 10 - 15 lawns per day. Some lawns are 3000 sq ft, and some are 2 acres or more. On each crew, we use John Deere 445's with Ryan 48" pull-behinds w/hydraulic lift, plus one or two walk-behinds. Our favorite walk-behinds are TURFCO & Ryan Lawnaire 4's. I have two aerators (with very little use) for sale.....they are a Ryan Lawnire 5 & a LESCO (same size). We knocked out close to 400 aerations recently cuz the soil was nice & soft from recent rains. We're still taking orders for aerations with the understanding they will be done in mid to late November (when we're about done with our winterizer applications).

capetan
10-30-2007, 10:27 PM
i just got done aerating today with a like 20" maybe a little bigger (ryan model) i pick it up from a rental place $95 ... it was a walk behind model......it worked really well the ground was moist, nice deep plugs, works perfect in a straight line, ........ turning it and using it on hills is a BEOTCH, WTF ..... every time you turn you gotta pick the back end up (maybe i was using it wrong) anyway 4 lawns later (2 less than 1/4, and 2 3/4 acre) i was whipped went home took some Tylenol....... knocked out 3 more small yards, with tons of turns..... i work out with weights on a regular basis and iam in excellent physical shape i run 10 miles a few times a week ....... by the time i was done every single muscle in my body was sore i took more tylenol and more today...... i pretty much felt like i got ran over by an aerator when i was done...... i cant imagine an out of shape person doing this..... i cant imagine how someone could use this everyday....... maybe i over did it but this is not an easy job, extremely difficult and taxing on your body RENT ONE BEFORE YOU BUY ONE, YOU WILL NEVER WANT TO DO THIS AGAIN ........

BeautifulBlooms
10-30-2007, 10:40 PM
I like to call a full day of aerating "Chasing around a little blue machine all day" as I rent the Bluebird from Home Depot. Anyone who has used other aerators have input about blue bird, versus classen, versus ryan, versus lesco?

BeautifulBlooms
10-30-2007, 10:57 PM
How do you guys price aerating?

I do this: $95 as a base fee to cover rental cost, pickup, cleaning, and dropoff plus $45 / 10,000 sq. ft. My rental fee is $95 per day and I can somewhere between 60,000-80,000 in an 8 hour day. 80,000 is a real buttkicker but I am a glutton for more profits. If I took it easy and did 50,000 per day I would have an extra rental fee of $95 which I save if I do 2 days at 80,000 instead of 3 days at 50,000. I have heard of people saying $15/1000 sq. ft. but that seems real high to me. A homeowner could do a 15,000 lawn for the $95 rental or maybe even a half day rental at $62 plus 2 hours of aerating. In my pricing scheme I would do it for $95 plus $45 x 1.5 (15,000 / 10,000) = $162.50. If you use the $15/1000 that wouldbe a cost of $225 which is about one and a half what I would make (which I think is a pretty good income for the day. If I did 5 of those 15,000 lawns I would bring in $812.50 for the day minus the $95 rental fee minus maybe $15 worth of fuel to get around and in the aerator which would leave me with $702.50 for about 8 hours of total labor if all the places were withing 15 minutes of each other. Thats about $85 per hour after expenses!

Anyone else have the pricing scheme?

Stillwater
10-31-2007, 12:52 AM
How do you guys price aerating?

I am a glutton for more profits

You like profits? buy a machine to hell with renting, I use classens, classen also makes the Lesco line of machines. I like them they are priced right. But I think they could have engineered the linkage set up better though.

I "No Longer" price aerating by the sq foot. I have a per man per hour labor rate and I have a machine hourly rate. they are added together. I never disclose or post my per-man labor rate but I charge 124.00 per hour "just" for the machine. my labor rates per-man is added to that. If you do invest in one get a split drive so you can turn without stopping and tearing the turf. overseeding and fert is extra.

BeautifulBlooms
10-31-2007, 07:00 AM
When I only do 15-20 jobs a year buying would be silly as I build that customer base I will be purchasing but havent had the justification yet.

$125 per hour for the machine wow! I know that covers the cost, fuel, maintenance, that means if you get 20 hours on your machine it is paid for! Wow! If you can get that great, I just dont see being competitive. I guess if you were to do a 10,000 that would take you 1 hour (at maybe $35-50 labor)and $125 machine so anywhere from $160-175. That isnt that far off I guess. I would get maybe $105-$135 depending on the lawn.

Stillwater
10-31-2007, 11:13 AM
When I only do 15-20 jobs a year buying would be silly as I build that customer base I will be purchasing but havent had the justification yet.

$125 per hour for the machine wow! I know that covers the cost, fuel, maintenance, that means if you get 20 hours on your machine it is paid for! Wow! If you can get that great, I just don't see being competitive. I guess if you were to do a 10,000 that would take you 1 hour (at maybe $35-50 labor)and $125 machine so anywhere from $160-175. That isn't that far off I guess. I would get maybe $105-$135 depending on the lawn.

Can't justify the purchase, I guess It really depends on your entire financial picture, but I kinda don't agree. maybe because I might be looking at this a little different than you. I believe you are not "just" doing 15-20 jobs. I am thinking a little more forward than you. I tend to project my goals and think of next year. I don't manage in the now I forward plan, right now I am not thinking of getting my fall work completed. I am thinking of next year because it is right around the corner. I also might have a lower threshold of equipment justification than you.

If I understand you correctly you are getting 95.00 + 45 per 10,000 and you are doing 15-20/ forget about your square footage for a minute and look at your base fee of 95.00 95x15= 1,425 or 95x20=1,900. This is a lot of billable labor. Aerating is not just for the fall it is the for spring as well and on irrigated lawns anytime as long as it is actively growing and not in distress. You can also use the machine for lawn renovations. I think the purchase is justified unless you are spreading the 95.00 rental fee across all your customers. I also feel it is not entirely critical that we be competitive in every single service we provide. Break away from the pack. Only you can answer this question, think of every aeration you have done and what you billed. Now think if you charged just 22% more would you have lost jobs? take your entire income from aeration and multiply that by 22% You can also buy a used machine. what do you think

onebreezer
11-19-2007, 01:42 PM
I like this. I have found that one guy can do eight to ten 8000 to 10000 sq foot lawns with a total of an hour or less of driving total in the day. Using a lawn air 24. I now use a plugr 850 and want to get a high volume in a tight area to do.

Indatreez
12-19-2007, 03:55 AM
solo...8-13 lawns a day with ryan walk behind...that includes Revive/seed application with spreaderl. lawns are 2k-12k sq/ft

onebreezer
12-19-2007, 09:19 AM
Inatreez,

How do you go about marketing for your jobs? Are all of these grounds care cusomers? Do you go door to door or use ads?

onebreezer
12-19-2007, 09:29 AM
I have a retired salesman who wants four to five hours a day to sell and make some extra cash. I am going to have him go door to door and put a plastic staked card w/ aeration price in @ lawn. He will knock on each door when the stake is placed. He will back track and reknock on doors where the card is missing. Missing stakes mean that the home owner is home. He can schedule jobs, get addresses and prices for a data base, and drop off irrigation stakes for @ sale. He will schedule out ten to twenty jobs a day to be done a few days after the sale. They can each be called the next year and bipass the dnc list regulations.

onebreezer
12-19-2007, 09:40 AM
for invisable fence lines I understand that an am radio will play static over them so that they can be marked.

onebreezer
12-19-2007, 09:53 AM
I feel that the best price to charge is the price that the home owner is willing to pay. I find that that price is usually aroung $15/1000 but never less than $10/1000. TruGreen will do a couple of thousand a year from one branch for $10/1000 PLUS $30 trip charge for each job.

lawnservice
12-19-2007, 02:07 PM
i just got done aerating today with a like 20" maybe a little bigger (ryan model) i pick it up from a rental place $95 ... it was a walk behind model......it worked really well the ground was moist, nice deep plugs, works perfect in a straight line, ........ turning it and using it on hills is a BEOTCH, WTF ..... every time you turn you gotta pick the back end up (maybe i was using it wrong) anyway 4 lawns later (2 less than 1/4, and 2 3/4 acre) i was whipped went home took some Tylenol....... knocked out 3 more small yards, with tons of turns..... i work out with weights on a regular basis and iam in excellent physical shape i run 10 miles a few times a week ....... by the time i was done every single muscle in my body was sore i took more tylenol and more today...... i pretty much felt like i got ran over by an aerator when i was done...... i cant imagine an out of shape person doing this..... i cant imagine how someone could use this everyday....... maybe i over did it but this is not an easy job, extremely difficult and taxing on your body RENT ONE BEFORE YOU BUY ONE, YOU WILL NEVER WANT TO DO THIS AGAIN ........

:)
I appreciate your honesty!
It is a tough job, which is why it needs to be priced right.
AND, a split drum aerator will help on the wear and tear of the body, you wont need to lift it up at every turn.

Me, I'm to old to aerate unless I'm riding a small tractor but I have taken my share of tylenol and have used more than my share of ben gay on tired, sore muscles.

I got a real kick out of your post though, thanks

J&R Landscaping
12-23-2007, 06:54 PM
On lots ranging from 3000 - 30000 I have averaged 10,000 - 20,000 per hour with a bluebird walk behind. Obviously the small lots are at the low end and the large lots are more efficient with less turning and less rotator cuff problems!!!!!!!! A perfect rectangle would be on the high end, and lots of little broken up areas would be on the low end, and the most efficient would be a straight line 1 mile long, if only they were all designed like that!!!

Aint that the truth! The postage stamp lawns are ok if they are open. I hate working around low trees (small japense maples, or flowering trees are a pain too). This past year, my machine didn't move for under $45. Seed and all that is extra of course. Working solo with my 18" classen, I was able to get between 7-12 houses done per day but the route was not as tight as I would have liked it to be. Sometimes I was driving for 20 minutes or so but I made mney on the deal and charged what I needed to charge to turn a good profit!
Calls were down this year from last year though as the late drought didnt help a whole lot.