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MikeKle
09-22-2008, 11:30 PM
I had some yards to aerate today and I was using a Bluebird 530A type aerator,This thing is a BEAR to use!!! I am a pretty strong guy and this thing took all I had to "man-handle" it around!If you get it on just a slight grade,it always wants to tip over because of the set up of the front middle wheel.and the drive mechanism is extremely jerky,almost impossible to keep it at a constant speed.My inner thumbs have some good callouses forming! I dont want to think about what Im going to feel like in the morning! I am going to have to use something else if I continue to offer this service.Is there any aerators that mount to a hydro walkbehind or something similar to that?Also the bluebirds width is only around 20" so it also takes forever along with beating you to death!What do you guys suggest using? I think i could probably fabricate something to mount to my turf tracer but turning around would be the problem.I would be interested in seeing some pics if anyone has ever made one.Thanks.

Jason Rose
09-22-2008, 11:49 PM
LOL!

Welcome to "Running an aerator 101".

That's how most of them operate, speaking of the rear "drum" tine types. No, they are no picnic, and you get one hell of a workout. No, they aren't good on side slopes either, better to go up and down if you possibly can. If no choice but to go across the slope you have to try to manhandle it as best you can and overlap your passes a little to catch the high side that didn't pull plugs well.

Not sure what you mean about maintaing a constant speed though. You just pull the handle all the way back and go. 1 speed. you can "feather" it a little when nosing up to things, but otherwise you just run it wide open.

No one ever said this work was easy!

brucec32
09-23-2008, 01:11 AM
check your manual. You can download one from bluebird if you need one. It says how you can adjust it to be less "jerky" and responsive. You'll lose some top speed but it wont' wear you out as badly. These are hard machines to use, the Ryans are about the same.

Anything really easier to use is also really expensive so be sure you're in it for the long haul. I would go with one of the cam driven machines that punch holes in the ground and get the model with the ride-on sulky if I were doing a lot of lawns. So far I don't think there has been a super-successful ztr front mounted aerator. They all seem to have some problems, but ask around.

As you know going accross hillsides it seems as if it will roll over and also only aerates about 10" wide, so try to go up/down where possible.

Wear a set of mechanix type padded gloves and your hands will not get as beaten up. Try to feather the control lever a little too. Good luck.

Whitey4
09-23-2008, 10:43 AM
I did 15 houses yesterday, which average about 3k of turf. Rented a Ryan... and man, it really knocked the snot out of me. Same issues, a "too sensitve" throttle, and a beast to manevuer. These properties have a lot of obstacles,,, beds, trees not to mention water metters and sprinkler heads.

Still, it's quite profitable, so I will continue to offer the service every fall. My trailer set up is lousy for an aerator too... I sorely need to upgrade.

I was able to slow it down from doing wheelies a bit by keeping one hand on the throttle and the other one UNDER the throttle handle. After about 4 houses, I was done trying to pivot on the water tank roller... I found it was easier to just drop the rear wheels down every time I made a turn. Still... I am SHOT today... but still have to go slit seed 5 houses. Obviously, getting a late start... body refused to get out of bed this morning!

younga
09-23-2008, 11:05 AM
Has anyone tried the Billy Goat with the casters on the back? I think they call it the EZ model. I've ran a Bluebird before and it is a workout. One of our local rental stores here has the Bill Goat and it looks like it'd be easier and more stable to operate.

larryinalabama
09-23-2008, 11:17 AM
On the bluebird take out 1 weight if your going sidewas on a slope. I know its a hassle swithcing the weight but its the only way to get good penetration

SB Gary
09-23-2008, 11:19 AM
Call your Plugr dealer for a demo. The Plugr units are a lot less work to run. Try the PL800 Pro 30 inch.

turfcobob
09-23-2008, 04:22 PM
Mikekle, If you are going to get into "Aeration" and not just offer it as an add on you need to get serious about your equipment. You can rent Ryan and Bluebird but it is usually worn out or at least tired. In turn these machines will beat the crap out of you. They were designed (Ryan) in 1977 and Bluebird copied them with little changes since. At that time they were EZ compared to the old Ryan L-15. Today there are some easy to operate options out there that drive using brakes, lift themselves out of the ground and you can ride behind them. But they cost money and make money if you have enough accounts. Say 10 to 15 a day for 30 days will make you some serious $$$. Come see us in Louisville, Ky Oct 23 to 25 and see what I mean. Or visit turfco.com to take a peek. http://www.gie-expo.com/ to register we will all be there. Turfcobob

Whitey4
09-23-2008, 08:30 PM
Mikekle, If you are going to get into "Aeration" and not just offer it as an add on you need to get serious about your equipment. You can rent Ryan and Bluebird but it is usually worn out or at least tired. In turn these machines will beat the crap out of you. They were designed (Ryan) in 1977 and Bluebird copied them with little changes since. At that time they were EZ compared to the old Ryan L-15. Today there are some easy to operate options out there that drive using brakes, lift themselves out of the ground and you can ride behind them. But they cost money and make money if you have enough accounts. Say 10 to 15 a day for 30 days will make you some serious $$$. Come see us in Louisville, Ky Oct 23 to 25 and see what I mean. Or visit turfco.com to take a peek. http://www.gie-expo.com/ to register we will all be there. Turfcobob

Are you folks going to get into the rental biz? Or is your machine not suited to the rental market for full service solo LCO's such as myself?

Niche markets are dwindling in my local market area. People want all their apps and maintenance from ONE LCO. That makes the Turfco out of my price range in my particular business plan and market, as I simply can't justify spending that much for a machine I might use for 4 or 5 days a year. So, I guess I'm struck with the old aerators.... 95 bucks to rent, 15 houses in a day, at about an average of $95 per house... and live with the limitations of my power rake for other jobs such as dethatching and slit seeding.

Do you have a dealer on LI, NY?

Turfco Tim
09-23-2008, 08:58 PM
Whitey,
If you can promise your local rental guy that he will get a return on his investment in a TurnAer I am sure he will be happy to buy it. The problem is we make the TurnAer for a higher intelligence level than the average homeowner who rents an aerator. If a homeowner can't figure it out rental stores have no interest.
We sell everything direct from the factory.

Tim Gray
Turfco

Whitey4
09-24-2008, 12:15 AM
Whitey,
If you can promise your local rental guy that he will get a return on his investment in a TurnAer I am sure he will be happy to buy it. The problem is we make the TurnAer for a higher intelligence level than the average homeowner who rents an aerator. If a homeowner can't figure it out rental stores have no interest.
We sell everything direct from the factory.

Tim Gray
Turfco

I'm not sure sure it's my place to tell rental companies what to carry in inventory.... I think that onus is on the manufacturer. You are talking Home Depot rentals... I rent from my dealer.

Vigliotti, also known as Great Gardens, LI Compost and Hampton Estates Mulch is NO small home owner operation. That is who I do most of my business with, including rentals, repairs, new equipment purchases, seed, fert, chemical controls and just about everything else. They are a "to the industry only" company, although they do sell millions of $ in top soil, compost and mulch here regionally through HD and Lowes on the retail level.

If I were doing the marketing at Turfco, this is exactly the type of place I would start marketing. Get your machines into the hands of LCO's through a large company like Vigliotti. Even if you have to almost donate a machine. If it's that good... pro's will rent it and buy it.

I'm not looking to stir up some dust with Turfco, but there have been some posts here from your customers who were quite unhappy with support issues. Just based on what I have read in these forums, I would not buy your machine without dealer support.

Now.... get a HUGE outfit like Vigliotti to put one in rental stock, become a dealer and get your machine into the hands of local LCO's here... if it's as good as you claim, I believe you would sell quite a few units. Aerators are shoulder busting back breaking machines.... the market for a better way to aerate (and over-seed, etc) is certainly there. If I were able to rent one, and KNOW it is as good as Turfco claims... at some point I would buy one and sell my power rake.

I'm not likely to travel to wherever you have a machine on display somewhere in the south during the peak lawn renovation season, or for that matter, at any time.

I have always felt it was best to make it as easy as possible for a customer to buy. The professional rental market would be a very good way to get better established through "spoiling" LCO's such as myself if I were to use it just ONE time vs. the old aerators.

I did buy a Quick machine... but that is a bit different, actually VERY different compared to a Turfco. I knew what to expect from a mower buying direct. With a machine like yours.... no way I buy one without a demo or a rental first.

I'm not trying to be critical, just stating what I personally would look for before making that kind of investment on a Turfco. With Quick, every single complaint or issue that showed up in this forum was resolved and fixed... I don't have that sort of confidence based on what I have read here in Turfco's customer service response.

Why would Turfo NOT want to rent to the professional market? I know most rental companies, regardless of the market or product don't want to carry inventory that the market isn't demanding... they are reactionary. Send a demo machine to a Vigliotti for a month for them to rent out... and see how many units you get sold. Of course, if you are dead set to sell direct, the professional rental market will remain closed to you. They won't rent machines they can't sell and support.

Quick is different... there is no professional rental market for mowers... not so for a Turfco. I doubt my opinions will have any sway with Turfco on this issue, but in the meantime... I'll rent an aerator 2 days a year, bust my butt and make very good profits in the process. And I'm not about to go to Louisville to demo a machine either.

Thinking that the rental market is a "home owner only" one is (at least in my market) a rather naive notion. I'd rent a Turfco if I could....

turfcobob
09-24-2008, 11:59 AM
Witey: All your thoughts are good ones, Well except the giving a machine in hopes of future sales. Kinda like giving free lawn service for a year in hopes they will come back next year. The up front investment is just too high.
The rental market is a tough one I have been to the Rental Show 32 times and been involved with them for that many years. One thing is apparent. They do not care if the machine breaks your back they will buy the cheap one. Fact is most of their customers just rent one time a year and for a half day. The rental dealers know this so comfort for long rentals is not a concern. Now some Rental Dealers do direct their attention and buying to the Commercial Market and we do sell a number of our machines including the TurnAers, Top Dressers and Overseeders to these dealers. They have established a customer base of commercial customers (not jus homeowners) and they buy the equipment the commercial users want. Tim hit the nail on the head. IF NO ONE ASKS THEM FOR COMMERCIAL EQUIPMENT THEY WILL KEEP BUYING the Bluebirds and Ryans. This is the sad fact for the industry. Most Rental Dealers do not cater to the Commercial Lawn Operator, he is just another customer to them.
We have no problem in selling thru dealers. But dealers have a problem handling our line. Most dealers get their equipment from distributors who handle multiple lines of products. Such as mowers and other lawn equipment. A dealer tends to buy his aeration equipment from the same distributor he gets the bulk of his other equipment from as part of a package deal. We sell just TURFCO so it is difficult to get a dealer interested in just our line. We do however have SERVICING DEALERS all over the USA and if you have a fave dealer and he wants to be a SERVICIING DEALER, give us a call and we can set him up. He can even sell Turfco if he wants. Not having retail dealers should not be a problem as we have a trail purchase program where you can try it and keep it or return it. This along with having a servicing dealer answers most of our problems. The rental problem however is more up to them than to us. We will be at the ARA show and continue to sell to rental but we are not homeowner rental in nature so there goes the problem all over again.

Whitey4
09-24-2008, 11:41 PM
I certainly agree that the rental companies will only rent and keep in their rental inventory those machines that their customer base asks for... it's the same thing in the high tec electronic instrument market, which I have a thorough understanding of from my previous career... in this market, I'm a newbie and can only offer my regionally limited and personal perspectives.

The thing is.... how to get those customers to ask for a Turfco? that was my rather off the top of my head idea of letting a big outfit like Vigliotti use one for rental for a month... like September. If they could rent it to 20 different outfits... that could create demand... as you said, I said, and we agree, the rental market is demand based.

Would a loaner for a month be a good return on investment if you sold 2 or 3 units to end users and 2 more to the rental company? Just thinking out loud, and certainly not suggesting I know better than you guys as regards to this issue.

This thread alone is proof that there ARE LCO's that would pay more to rent a Turfco if it were more productive and easier to operate, so there is a market there... how big? You guys know much more about that than would I.

I know some small LCO's here who just WON'T offer aeration for exactly the reasons the thread starter pointed out. Aerators are hernia makers. At the age of 53... how many more years can I do 15 houses in a day with a rented Ryan or Bluebird?

Bottom line here... my motives are selfish. I'd rather be able to rent a Turfco, use it over a standard aerator at higher cost (understood), and then be able to make a determination if the return on my investment in a Turfco would work for me. I can't reach that determination from a video or testimonials with confidence, I'd have to be able to try one first. Heck, if Vigliotti was a rental/dealer, I could swing a deal to return my Husky power rake for a Turfco!

They would put my Husky in the rental inventory, and I'd own a new Turfco! See where I'm goin with this? :)

In any case... if you guys come up to the NY metro area for a show or exhibition, I'd still like to see your machines. i aerated 15 houses on Monday, slit seeded 4 on Tuesday, and two more this morning, while getting my mow and blows in too. I can tell ya, the slit seeder and aerator are beasts... and I am one tired little old solo lawn guy.

DuallyVette
09-25-2008, 12:59 AM
Home Depot in Matthews NC rents all types of commercial equipment. Skid loaders, track hoes, brush chipper, LT Rich's z-plugger, Lawn Solutions Renovator,etc. A turnair would be a nice addition for a test drive. A local LCO I spoke with has a TurnAir. He said his guys fought over who HAD to use it. They'd rather wrestle a ryan, or fight over the z-plugger

turfcobob
09-25-2008, 01:32 PM
Too bad they do not know how to use the TurnAer correctly. Whenever I hear that it is harder I can assure you they are trying to use it like a ryan. Lift turn drop and go straight back. It is a bugger to operate that way. There is a FREE video that comes with the unit that shows how to run it. When I ask people about it they say "NO, we did not watch it we know how to run Aerators". Nuff said, when operated correctly using the controls to drive the unit it is very easy to operate.

Marcos
09-25-2008, 01:59 PM
I had some yards to aerate today and I was using a Bluebird 530A type aerator,This thing is a BEAR to use!!! I am a pretty strong guy and this thing took all I had to "man-handle" it around!If you get it on just a slight grade,it always wants to tip over because of the set up of the front middle wheel.and the drive mechanism is extremely jerky,almost impossible to keep it at a constant speed.My inner thumbs have some good callouses forming! I dont want to think about what Im going to feel like in the morning! I am going to have to use something else if I continue to offer this service.Is there any aerators that mount to a hydro walkbehind or something similar to that?Also the bluebirds width is only around 20" so it also takes forever along with beating you to death!What do you guys suggest using? I think i could probably fabricate something to mount to my turf tracer but turning around would be the problem.I would be interested in seeing some pics if anyone has ever made one.Thanks.


You're not too far south of me.
(I'm up near the Kings Island area in Warren Co OH)

If you're out there, RIGHT NOW during this mini-drought we're having in this region, trying to aerate un-irrigated turf with ANY type of aerator, ALL you'll get is yourself beat up :wall and dusty for tryin'!!

Normally I'd be one of the 1st ones to bang on the "Bluebird" brand. But not here!

In THIS dry spell we're getting right now...you'd be wise to be calling every customer you have scheduled for aeration, and ask them to water their lawns, ideally finishing a few hours prior to your arrival.
And frankly, ask them to water it deeply & thoroughly if they're expecting any kind of decent aeration job!

And if they say they WON'T or CAN'T water...just put 'em at the back of the list and pray for rain! (...there's a "chance":rolleyes: tommorrow, they say!)

DuallyVette
09-25-2008, 07:00 PM
Too bad they do not know how to use the TurnAer correctly. Whenever I hear that it is harder I can assure you they are trying to use it like a ryan. Lift turn drop and go straight back. It is a bugger to operate that way. There is a FREE video that comes with the unit that shows how to run it. When I ask people about it they say "NO, we did not watch it we know how to run Aerators". Nuff said, when operated correctly using the controls to drive the unit it is very easy to operate.

First, I think that you make a superior product, i.e. The differential w/ disc brakes and the low center of gravity. I've watched your video, and I'm looking at your brochure now. Making a pass around the perimeter seem easy enough, but as the circle gets smaller, it seems that you'll have to turn tighter than the machine is capable of. It seems that by the time you aerate the center of the property, you would wind up really chewing up the perimeter with too many passes. Maybe a video with the drawing of a lawn with the entire area showing the pattern I could use without making 15 loops on the edge.

wdhille
09-26-2008, 12:22 PM
We just bought a small Plugr 410 two weeks ago. Easy to use, it turns while aerating, and does not beat the heck out of you. And, I think it will take plugs out of blacktop given the chance....

Wayne

DuallyVette
09-26-2008, 09:37 PM
First, I think that you make a superior product, i.e. The differential w/ disc brakes and the low center of gravity. I've watched your video, and I'm looking at your brochure now. Making a pass around the perimeter seem easy enough, but as the circle gets smaller, it seems that you'll have to turn tighter than the machine is capable of. It seems that by the time you aerate the center of the property, you would wind up really chewing up the perimeter with too many passes. Maybe a video with the drawing of a lawn with the entire area showing the pattern I could use without making 15 loops on the edge.


I'm still waiting for a diagram with the proper proceedure to aerate a complete lawn.

Turfco Tim
10-01-2008, 01:28 PM
Duallyvette,
I probably can't use the "Zamboni" comparison unless you are a Hurricanes' fan so I will try to describe the recommended pattern. Start the area by aerating around the contour of the lawn. When you get back to where you started make 2-3 passes down the center of the area to be aerated making turns back to the edge of the area. Once you have completed the center passes start aerating around the countour again. The center passes allow you to make a wide turn for your final pass when you reach the center.

If you get in a tight area and can't turn with the tines in the ground use the spring assisted lift to raise the tines out of the ground. Then use the front drive wheels to assist turning the machine in place. Using this method allows you to turn the machine in place with very little physical effort by the operator.

Tim Gray
Turfco

DuallyVette
10-01-2008, 08:10 PM
Duallyvette,
I probably can't use the "Zamboni" comparison unless you are a Hurricanes' fan so I will try to describe the recommended pattern. Start the area by aerating around the contour of the lawn. When you get back to where you started make 2-3 passes down the center of the area to be aerated making turns back to the edge of the area. Once you have completed the center passes start aerating around the contour again. The center passes allow you to make a wide turn for your final pass when you reach the center.

If you get in a tight area and can't turn with the tines in the ground use the spring assisted lift to raise the tines out of the ground. Then use the front drive wheels to assist turning the machine in place. Using this method allows you to turn the machine in place with very little physical effort by the operator.

Tim Gray Turfco

Thank you for your response. I googled zamboni pattern and got a nice picture. The picture may be different from your description. This is the same pattern that I used mowing fields with a bushhog, or tractor with a belly mower as a child. Are you recommending raising the tines as you maneuver along the north & south boarders. If you don't raise the tines, I would expect to that the edges would be totally plowed.

Turfco Tim
10-01-2008, 11:01 PM
DuallyVette,
I guess my recommendation is a variation of the Zamboni diagram. Instead of working your way from one side to the other, which would cause the aerator to go over the same area multiple times, I recommend you work all sides toward the center by following the countours. This pattern would only cause the aerator to cross over the passes down the center once since you are working toward the center from the sides and top and bottom. Again the initial 2-3 passes down the middle would create a turn area large enough for the final turn of the TurnAer.

Tim Gray

DuallyVette
10-01-2008, 11:50 PM
Turfco Tim.
I like the way the zamboni pattern drawing shows the path using different colors. I see your words printed, but if you could draw a pretty, multi colored picture of the pattern that doesn't over aerate some areas, I'm sure that it would work nicely on your brochures, and sell lots of TurnAires. I've seen the drawings in the current brochure. I've always wanted to see the lawn in the drawing finished.

i.e. The 2 or 3 center passes. Do you go down the center, then wrestle it around and make the other passes right beside the first.

Turfco Tim
10-03-2008, 02:38 PM
DuallyVette,
I will have one of our draftsmen/engineer types work on something.

As for the center passes. After each pass you turn out to one of the sides and make a big turn then come back to the middle again and repeat.

Tim Gray

Seacoast
10-03-2008, 04:43 PM
I think this is being over-complicated....If the lawn is in good shape, going over an area a few times isn't going to hurt anything. That being said, I have a Turn Aer and it is waaaay better and easier than the old Ryan LA5's. I have the chariot, and I can do lawns from 500 Sq Ft to 40,000 or bigger.:usflag:

DuallyVette
10-03-2008, 06:07 PM
I think this is being over-complicated....If the lawn is in good shape, going over an area a few times isn't going to hurt anything. That being said, I have a Turn Aer and it is waaaay better and easier than the old Ryan LA5's. I have the chariot, and I can do lawns from 500 Sq Ft to 40,000 or bigger.:usflag:

I'm sorry to overcomplicate this, but a turnair owner said it was to hard to turn oround. Turfco said he just didn't know how to operate it. I bought a z-plugger instead of a turnair because of the conversation. I'd REALLY like to know what the perfect pattern would be. Turfco has a diagram in their brochure that show a pattern proving that it's easy, but a bulldozer can make the 1st pass around the perimeter easy. If Turfco comes up with the easy pattern for the complete job, puts it in his brochures, he'll sell a million of em.

turfcobob
10-04-2008, 10:57 AM
If they try to operate a TurnAer like conventional aerators they are hard to turn. That is trying to make them do a 180 to go back on the pass next to the one you just did. It can be done but it is hard and others try to lift and spin the unit. 340 lbs is hard to lift. The TurnAer makes a nice turn using only your fingers on the brakes but it will not make a Zturn 180 you have to give it a couple rows of spacing Like a Zamboni. This will set up a oval pattern that you can keep moving across the lawn. Like mowing you make a pass skip two and retun, get to the other end go along side your first pass etc, etc. It is not rocket science. Doing a lawn this way means you do not have to lift or force the machine. It does all the work and you can even ride behind it. The TurnAer is actually quite easy to operate when operated the way it is designed to be operated.