PDA

View Full Version : What to charge for aerating?


millenium_123
02-20-2010, 01:12 PM
I'm starting aerating this year and I'm not sure what to charge for that. Suggestions?? I was thinking a starting price of 45-50?? However I have a few really small lawns that I mow for $25. I may only charge 35ish for those.

Also should I mow/scalp before or after aerating?

I MOW ALONE
02-20-2010, 01:51 PM
usually 3x the cut so cut = $25 aerate=$75. so your really low

cody417
02-20-2010, 01:55 PM
$15.00 per 1000 Square Feet to core aerate in two directions. Does not include seeding or fert.

JohnnyRocker
02-20-2010, 02:01 PM
Yeah, don't work too hard for too little. I usually charge 75 for aeration alone. I charged 240 for aerate, seed and fert all day long last season. Ive seen bigger companies charging 300 for that plus lime. Just make sure you do a thorough job on your aerating, and they will have no problem paying you money for a job done right. And if they don't want to pay, then they can't afford your services, and move on. Good luck!!

AzLawnMan
02-20-2010, 02:25 PM
We dont do it much here in arizona but when I get a call I usually tell them $275 and they usually go for it.

JayD
02-20-2010, 02:43 PM
It would also depend on if you own or rent one.

MikeKle
02-20-2010, 04:27 PM
I rented one last year and did some yards, but Im not doing it anymore, they beat the hell outta me trying to use the aerators!! Im going to get one that mounts on the front of a mower though, that would be much easier.

JayD
02-20-2010, 05:02 PM
I rented one last year and did some yards, but Im not doing it anymore, they beat the hell outta me trying to use the aerators!! Im going to get one that mounts on the front of a mower though, that would be much easier.

LMAO...:laugh::laugh::laugh: I know what you mean. I did something different last year, I rented the ones that were not self propelled, and they were a lot better. You had better control and they didn't run you to death.
Thats what I will get every year. I also rent two of them at a time so me and my helper could both run at the same time and to me, it went so much better because no one is standing around and you get twice as much done. It was well worth it to me.

AI Inc
02-21-2010, 07:56 AM
Im $15 per 1000 sq ft with a $100 minimum. Every time I do it I still think thats too cheap. Its like dancing with a fat girl , its a lot of work.

cody417
02-21-2010, 09:05 AM
My smallest property is 10,000 square. Charge is $150.00 and I am done in 30 minutes. On a 40,000 square property I charge $600.00 and it will take me approx. 1.5 hours to do. I will take that $/hour rate any day of the week.

JimLewis
02-21-2010, 01:30 PM
Of Course the price varies wildly depending on how large the yards are in your area. So the responses are going to be all over the place. In my area, the lawns are what others around the country would consider "postage stamps". All lots of 8,000 sq. ft. with lawns around 1000-2000 sq. ft.

---

Unless aerating is your main source of income or unless it's something you're able to do all day every day with a tight route (like you should be doing your lawn maintenance), then I would advise you not to worry about what the going rate for aerating is.

A lot of guys do aerating super cheap because they do so many of them each day and can do all of them in a tight area that they can get the rate down that low. Others do it for so little because their overhead is next to nothing. And still others do it because it's just a quick buck and they don't realize that they are only making money for today, and really not making the company any profit.

Don't be like that. Price your services based on your overhead. What you need to make profit.

The going rate in my area is $40-$45. But you know what I've been charging for the last 8 years or so??? $75!! That's over 180% the going rate! I charge that for two reasons. 1) I don't sell my services based on price. People use us because they like our reputation, quality of work, timeliness, and have a good relationship with our company. They all know there are other cheapskates they could hire to do their aerating. But they would rather pay us more and rest assured we'll do a quality job and take care of them if something should happen (e.g. broken sprinkler head). 2) If I'm going to do something, I want it to be profitable. I don't always know or care how the other guys are doing it so cheap. I just know that at $40 it's a total waste of my time. We wouldn't make any profit doing that.

So my advice is do what's profitable for you. You may not get as many aeration jobs. But the ones you do get will be very profitable. I'd rather get 50 aerating jobs at a nice healthy profit than 150 and barely make anything.

JohnnyRocker
02-21-2010, 02:45 PM
Of Course the price varies wildly depending on how large the yards are in your area. So the responses are going to be all over the place. In my area, the lawns are what others around the country would consider "postage stamps". All lots of 8,000 sq. ft. with lawns around 1000-2000 sq. ft.

---

Unless aerating is your main source of income or unless it's something you're able to do all day every day with a tight route (like you should be doing your lawn maintenance), then I would advise you not to worry about what the going rate for aerating is.

A lot of guys do aerating super cheap because they do so many of them each day and can do all of them in a tight area that they can get the rate down that low. Others do it for so little because their overhead is next to nothing. And still others do it because it's just a quick buck and they don't realize that they are only making money for today, and really not making the company any profit.

Don't be like that. Price your services based on your overhead. What you need to make profit.

The going rate in my area is $40-$45. But you know what I've been charging for the last 8 years or so??? $75!! That's over 180% the going rate! I charge that for two reasons. 1) I don't sell my services based on price. People use us because they like our reputation, quality of work, timeliness, and have a good relationship with our company. They all know there are other cheapskates they could hire to do their aerating. But they would rather pay us more and rest assured we'll do a quality job and take care of them if something should happen (e.g. broken sprinkler head). 2) If I'm going to do something, I want it to be profitable. I don't always know or care how the other guys are doing it so cheap. I just know that at $40 it's a total waste of my time. We wouldn't make any profit doing that.

So my advice is do what's profitable for you. You may not get as many aeration jobs. But the ones you do get will be very profitable. I'd rather get 50 aerating jobs at a nice healthy profit than 150 and barely make anything.

Sounds like a "work smarter, not harder" situation. I like!!:clapping::clapping:

BIOGRASS
02-21-2010, 07:04 PM
This is a tough one to answer because you are going against boy scouts that sell it d2d for $20.00 a lawn (I had one on my porch last year for that rate!) In SLC the going rate seems to be about $40-65. I personally will not do a lawn unless I am getting $75. That is for a lawn that is below 5000 s.f, anything above that is going to be 90-250.

Just like any service you sell as an lco, persuade the client and help them understand why they need the service and deposit the checks babay!

McFarland_Lawn_Care
03-18-2010, 02:26 PM
Around here rates are around $20-$25 per 1,000 sq ft but that is for aerate and overseeding.

JimLewis
03-18-2010, 02:35 PM
Around here rates are around $20-$25 per 1,000 sq ft but that is for aerate and overseeding.

Damn!!!

Why even bother at those rates?

JayD
03-18-2010, 07:01 PM
Around here rates are around $20-$25 per 1,000 sq ft but that is for aerate and overseeding.

And seed........WOW!

cozymonkey
03-18-2010, 09:42 PM
Wow I wish I lived in your area. Heres how I charge. Total sq ft divide by 100 the divide by 2. Minimum $17. So a 5000 sq ft yard cost $25 and 10000 sq ft would be $50. And I am the highest usually in town. People who dont know my reputation tell how expensive I am all the time.

JimLewis
03-18-2010, 09:53 PM
Wow.

So how long does it take you to aerate a 5000 sq. ft. lawn. I mean TOTAL time; including drive time, checking for sprinklers, blowing off sidewalks, collect the check, etc. What's the total time spent doing one of these?

Also, how many do you usually do in a day?

CameronSR5
03-18-2010, 10:19 PM
I have an aerator that is pull behind. Verry simple to use

millenium_123
03-18-2010, 11:20 PM
I decided to charge about twice what I charge for mowing...seemed to be about the going rate.

JayD
03-18-2010, 11:22 PM
Wow.

So how long does it take you to aerate a 5000 sq. ft. lawn. I mean TOTAL time; including drive time, checking for sprinklers, blowing off sidewalks, collect the check, etc. What's the total time spent doing one of these?

Also, how many do you usually do in a day?

Jim, It's getting crazy out here! That's just CRAZY!

They must own their own aerator and surly just a single pass.

grass4gas
03-18-2010, 11:28 PM
Wow I wish I lived in your area. Heres how I charge. Total sq ft divide by 100 the divide by 2. Minimum $17. So a 5000 sq ft yard cost $25 and 10000 sq ft would be $50. And I am the highest usually in town. People who dont know my reputation tell how expensive I am all the time.

That's ludacris. You would be ahead of the game if you didn't aerate. $5/k on lawns that size are just not worth it.

I feel for ya.

Exact Rototilling
03-19-2010, 01:13 AM
For relatively small lawns I can get $55 here. Super tiny I aerate for $45. I know what the national companies are working for and I can often price match them and do OK. The others leave plugs all over the walks and driveway and fertilizer...I don't. One of my aerators even pulls more plugs than most....people don't seem to care except for few.

I've run up against many very cheap people here. They counter and say I can rent a machine for such and such and I say ...yes but you need to get it...load it run it ...gas it up...buy the insurance....clean it and return it. :hammerhead:
I think what is wrong with you people? Plus I run better aerators than the rentals but they don't seem to care.

One of the irrigation Co.s in my area are aerating at these rates:

Aerating: Normal rates $45.00 first 7000 sq. ft and $5 ea. add 1000

Spring Special 2010......Aerating: first 12,000 sq. ft $39.95 additional $5 per 5000 sq. ft

This guy sends out a flyer to all his irrigation customers saying I will match you current lawn mowing rate. :dizzy:

I will never agree to a sq. foot rate. Way too many variables. Sadly in my experience some of the most wealthy people in my area seem to be the biggest cheap skates.

JimLewis
03-19-2010, 01:29 AM
Yah, we used to have a word here on lawnsite for guys like that. But we're not allowed to say it anymore.

On a different note, what are those things called that Doctors and nurses wear over their clothes before they go into surgery???

:laugh:

bigw
03-19-2010, 01:47 AM
Of Course the price varies wildly depending on how large the yards are in your area. So the responses are going to be all over the place. In my area, the lawns are what others around the country would consider "postage stamps". All lots of 8,000 sq. ft. with lawns around 1000-2000 sq. ft.

---

Unless aerating is your main source of income or unless it's something you're able to do all day every day with a tight route (like you should be doing your lawn maintenance), then I would advise you not to worry about what the going rate for aerating is.

A lot of guys do aerating super cheap because they do so many of them each day and can do all of them in a tight area that they can get the rate down that low. Others do it for so little because their overhead is next to nothing. And still others do it because it's just a quick buck and they don't realize that they are only making money for today, and really not making the company any profit.

Don't be like that. Price your services based on your overhead. What you need to make profit.

The going rate in my area is $40-$45. But you know what I've been charging for the last 8 years or so??? $75!! That's over 180% the going rate! I charge that for two reasons. 1) I don't sell my services based on price. People use us because they like our reputation, quality of work, timeliness, and have a good relationship with our company. They all know there are other cheapskates they could hire to do their aerating. But they would rather pay us more and rest assured we'll do a quality job and take care of them if something should happen (e.g. broken sprinkler head). 2) If I'm going to do something, I want it to be profitable. I don't always know or care how the other guys are doing it so cheap. I just know that at $40 it's a total waste of my time. We wouldn't make any profit doing that.

So my advice is do what's profitable for you. You may not get as many aeration jobs. But the ones you do get will be very profitable. I'd rather get 50 aerating jobs at a nice healthy profit than 150 and barely make anything.

"DITTO" :weightlifter:

cozymonkey
03-19-2010, 02:51 PM
I would say average size property here is 3/4 to 1/2 acre lot and it has a house with drveway and lanscaping so our yards are minimal. If I charged over $35 dollars for aeratings I wouldnt even get phone calls.

Exact Rototilling
03-19-2010, 04:07 PM
I would say average size property here is 3/4 to 1/2 acre lot and it has a house with drveway and lanscaping so our yards are minimal. If I charged over $35 dollars for aeratings I wouldnt even get phone calls.


Dang what are you getting for just mowing lawns.....?

cozymonkey
03-19-2010, 04:36 PM
residential my cheapest is $15 but I have 9 houses in a row so its easy, most expensive is $35. Average probably $28. Commercial cheapest is $25 most expensive is $60. Average probably $47. I have about 50 accounts total. Wonder if there is anyone else on here from CO? To see what they charge. Is there a way to search members locations?

JimLewis
03-19-2010, 04:49 PM
Wow. Well, you're either going to have to stay a one-man crew or raise your prices. I don't care where you are, you can't grow and have multiple crews going, employees, overhead, shop, etc. and be making that little money. I'd be doing something different if that's the most I could make. I don't know how you live on that.

Exact Rototilling
03-19-2010, 04:52 PM
residential my cheapest is $15 but I have 9 houses in a row so its easy, most expensive is $35. Average probably $28. Commercial cheapest is $25 most expensive is $60. Average probably $47. I have about 50 accounts total. Wonder if there is anyone else on here from CO? To see what they charge. Is there a way to search members locations?
You know what ....people like to talk it up with $2 a min or $1.5 a min but the reality is I just picked up a super tiny granny lawn for $15 Even with super easy edging it will take 7 min if that already there no biggie. Prior to that I was doing one $20 lawn last season for a reverse mortgage lady but it was a solid $1+ a min with chit chat included.

Companies here with employees and much greater over head than me are charging $45 or $43 an hour for labor.

I see this entire lawn maintenance market going towards neighbor kids and solos who know how to pick and choose and leave the PITA clients to the low baller up starts.

Exact Rototilling
03-19-2010, 05:01 PM
Wow. Well, you're either going to have to stay a one-man crew or raise your prices. I don't care where you are, you can't grow and have multiple crews going, employees, overhead, shop, etc. and be making that little money. I'd be doing something different if that's the most I could make. I don't know how you live on that.

This was a horrible winter for us here only went out 3 or 4 times for snow myself...but all my accounts are flat rate. payup Many of the bigger Co. are cash strapped and have lost thoudansds in lost snow revenue. Even my supplier at the local nursery says she keeps hearing lower prices this year......:hammerhead:

cozymonkey
03-19-2010, 05:03 PM
I had a guy yesterday ask me for an estimate right next to a property I have aerated for 5 years. He said " look at my yard I pay these guys to mow my lawn and it looks like crap. Will you give me an estimate?" I said sure let me finish this lawn and Ill be over. I went over and measured out 3900 sq ft. I told him it would be $19.50 a week. His response was are you f-ing crazy I pay these guys $11 a week to mow there is no way I would pay $20. I simply replied Well sir thats my quote and you get what you pay for. He flipped me off then proceeded to call the number on my truck to complain only to realize it was me who answered the phone. Its getting insane out there!

If this was my main source of income I would be screwed I dont know how you guys do it. Mowing is just my play money thank god.

JimLewis
03-19-2010, 05:12 PM
I see this entire lawn maintenance market going towards neighbor kids and solos who know how to pick and choose and leave the PITA clients to the low baller up starts.

I'm not sure I agree with that. We're not neighbor kids or solo or a low-baller upstart. And yet we picked up 50 new maint. accounts last year and 10 new ones since January this year. Plan to pick up 40 more by the end of the season. And we're not nearly as cheap as the guys in those other categories you mentioned.

The great thing about low baller start-ups and neighbor kids and solo ops is they often don't have much experience; they often don't offer anything else in terms of ability to do other landscaping (irrigation, hardscapes, water features, etc.); they're often unreliable and the majority eventually go out of business. They're always a good first step for a customer who eventually ends up with a more reliable established company who can do everything.

There's 2 main different kinds of customers out there. 1) The kind who have never had maintenance before and are trying to find someone cheap. 2) The kind who have had a few cheap services before and are ready to finally pay a little more to get someone good to come in. We're all about getting those in category #2.

cozymonkey
03-19-2010, 05:21 PM
well said jim. Just went outside to get the mail and had a flyer on my door. $13 for small lawns $17 for medium and $20 for large lawn. They are licensed and insured and oh yes they offer military and senior discounts. I can still smell the stinch of bs on my porch.

Exact Rototilling
03-19-2010, 05:32 PM
I'm not sure I agree with that. We're not neighbor kids or solo or a low-baller upstart. And yet we picked up 50 new maint. accounts last year and 10 new ones since January this year. Plan to pick up 40 more by the end of the season. And we're not nearly as cheap as the guys in those other categories you mentioned.

The great thing about low baller start-ups and neighbor kids and solo ops is they often don't have much experience; they often don't offer anything else in terms of ability to do other landscaping (irrigation, hardscapes, water features, etc.); they're often unreliable and the majority eventually go out of business. They're always a good first step for a customer who eventually ends up with a more reliable established company who can do everything.

There's 2 main different kinds of customers out there. 1) The kind who have never had maintenance before and are trying to find someone cheap. 2) The kind who have had a few cheap services before and are ready to finally pay a little more to get someone good to come in. We're all about getting those in category #2.

I basically agree with you. Even the installer Co. here are low balling in my area. I will never do hardscaping or any extensive landscape projects. I'm just not set up for it. Bigger trucks, bigger trailers, more expensive equipment etc. I think I have the mow & blow plus lawn renovations pretty well figured out which I can do solo just fine.

My market is attention to detail and 40" gates for mow & blow.

Exact Rototilling
03-19-2010, 05:38 PM
well said jim. Just went outside to get the mail and had a flyer on my door. $13 for small lawns $17 for medium and $20 for large lawn. They are licensed and insured and oh yes they offer military and senior discounts. I can still smell the stinch of bs on my porch.
Fry cook technician is sound pretty good at those rates. Why bother....?:hammerhead:

WHIPPLE5.7
03-19-2010, 05:40 PM
At the prices you guys are talking about why not pull the lawn furnature to the curb and start selling lemonade. Those prices are f*cking ******edly low. When the market is driven that low its time to move on to something else. To the cozymonkey guy in Denver, aren't homes there like $500K? If you are aerating and mowing for under $20 per place you need to just go work at Wal-mart or Mcdonalds, you would take home more money that way.

millenium_123
03-19-2010, 06:01 PM
I had a guy yesterday ask me for an estimate right next to a property I have aerated for 5 years. He said " look at my yard I pay these guys to mow my lawn and it looks like crap. Will you give me an estimate?" I said sure let me finish this lawn and Ill be over. I went over and measured out 3900 sq ft. I told him it would be $19.50 a week. His response was are you f-ing crazy I pay these guys $11 a week to mow there is no way I would pay $20. I simply replied Well sir thats my quote and you get what you pay for. He flipped me off then proceeded to call the number on my truck to complain only to realize it was me who answered the phone. Its getting insane out there!

If this was my main source of income I would be screwed I dont know how you guys do it. Mowing is just my play money thank god.

Sometimes dont you just want to strangle people like that?!

cozymonkey
03-19-2010, 08:28 PM
houses are no where near 500k average medium home price is probably 280k like I said before if I tried to aerate for $35 dollars I wouldnt even get a call back. People just dont want to pay anyone over $20 for less than 15 minutes of work. The big lawns here are few and far between. By big I mean 6000 sq ft plus.

lawn king
03-20-2010, 08:43 AM
We get anywhere from $11.-$13. per K with a $75. minimum, discounting for real big areas. One 15 acre site we aerate runs $2300. yes thats under $200. per acre but its all wide open tractor work and i can bang it out in 4 hours if i hustle.

JShe8918
03-30-2010, 11:26 PM
My smallest property is 10,000 square. Charge is $150.00 and I am done in 30 minutes. On a 40,000 square property I charge $600.00 and it will take me approx. 1.5 hours to do. I will take that $/hour rate any day of the week.

WoW!!!! I have been looking at aeration prices here for the past few days and notice just about everyone is charging between 14.5 to 17 per thousand sq ft. After noticing that i thought to myself, " That adds up to alot of money if someone has nearly an acre for a lawn." So i figured off of 40K sq ft and came up with 600. I have two clients that want thier yard aerated but i don't feel that my area would go for that type of pricing. They were leaning more towards the 6 to 10 per thousand sq ft. I could still make a profit off of 10 per thousand but i would be leaving alot of money on the table. I don't know what to do. I am trying to expand my business and really have to have an aerator for three yards i mow. They are going to be maintained with a reel mower this year. UGH!!!! What's ya'lls thoughts?

JimLewis
03-31-2010, 12:13 AM
My thoughts??? If you're looking to expand, look into something that requires a little more skill. Something you can charge more for. Because if you can't even get $15 per thousand for aerating, then what's the point doing it? You want to have a profitable company or just a job where you call the shots? If you're looking to have a profitable company (as opposed to just a job) then you need to be doing something that makes some decent profit. Otherwise, what's the point of having a business?

I might suggest getting into pavers, drainage, irrigation, irrigation service, hardscapes, retaining walls. Those are all areas where you should be able to pull some decent profit and be able to charge a nice profitable rate for.