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View Full Version : Walk behind aerator opinions?


jay12
11-18-2010, 11:15 AM
I am considering buying a walk behind aerator to start doing some aerations in the spring and next fall. I will buy used to avoid spending a lot of money. I have never done any aerations before and Im looking to get into it to make alittle extra money each year, especially with no more input cost than there is in a used aerator. I would like any opinions on this idea. Will it make money? Good idea? bad idea? any help would be appreciated? most yards that would be aerated are probably 20000 sq ft. some are more some are less. Any advice is welcome, thanks

weeble67
11-18-2010, 12:17 PM
I have a Ryan that I use. I aerate in the spring and in the fall. I offer over seeding when I aerate. I have noticed a huge difference in my customers lawns. The thatch is reduced greatly and when combined with over seeding the lawns get so much thicker. As for money maker? The profits are huge. Your overhead is low, and maintenance isn't that much. I have several customer that aerating is all that I do. Next year I'm going to spend some money promoting aerating and try to expand it.

jay12
11-18-2010, 06:53 PM
Thanks, I considered the same approach, maybe advertise aeration with seeding or aeration with a fertilize, or aeration only for x dollars or a discount if they signed up for late march service or something along those lines? I am still in consideration about it, but I believe it would be good for extra income and maybe an opportunity to grab some extra customers.

aeration
11-18-2010, 07:23 PM
Rent an aerator until you can cash flow for a new one. When you have enough, purchase a Lawn Solutions walk behind. You won't regret it. You will understand what I mean after using a rental machine. It will most likely be a Ryan, Blue Bird, or maybe a Billy Goat. They are beaters, IMO.

jay12
11-18-2010, 08:12 PM
Thanks for the input, what is your opinions on a split drive lesco? I know where there is a decent buy, I suppose on one? That is what I am looking at. Ups downs? I like the lawn solutions but I dont know how well I can justify that at $4000 vs spending 1500 or so on a used ex: lesco for now. I would perfer to own, rental around here isnt exactly profitable.

fatboynormmie
11-19-2010, 09:50 AM
Thanks for the input, what is your opinions on a split drive lesco? I know where there is a decent buy, I suppose on one? That is what I am looking at. Ups downs? I like the lawn solutions but I dont know how well I can justify that at $4000 vs spending 1500 or so on a used ex: lesco for now. I would perfer to own, rental around here isnt exactly profitable.

Jay12 lesco and classen are the same units except ones green and the others red.Slit drive is better then the non split drive units.Alot easier to use.If you have never used these machines before you might be surprised at how physically demanding they are to you.If your area is mostly flat they aren't horrible to use but if your in a hilly area your in for a treat.I use to have to wrestle my classen all 400lbs of it because the lawns I work on were not all that flat. You better learn to schedule your aerations for the last day you work that week because your day off will be needed to recoup.I switched over to a hydro machine and will never look back .Can work all day and don't feel worn out. I'm more tired from just walking behind the unit.Plus having reverse is sooo much easier to maneuver around obstacles .I too bought the cheaper unit when I first started out but now that unit is up for sale .It was a hard financial decision for me to make to buy the unit but I really see the potential that they offer my business and now I'm not afraid to build this portion of my services because It's no longer taking the physical toll on me. These units are deal changers and if your serious about growing this service buy the right tool from the beginning .You will see how easy and fast that unit puts dollars in your account and if you take care of it it should last you 10yrs.Most of the time you get what you pay for.

turfcobob
11-19-2010, 10:24 AM
Jay, There are some very good comments in this thread. Myself first year out I would rent if I could. If you buy a used unit be prepared to get rid of it the 2nd year. When you understand the income vs expense you can get from aeration you will be ready to expand quickly.
The older design aerators that all of us have made for the past 30 years are back breakers they will put you down. But they were much better than what we had in the 1960s / early 70s. But in the past 5 years we manufacturers have made great advances in designs to make it easier on the body. We now make aerators you can steer, ride behind and on, hydro drives with easy steer and reverse and the options will grow in the next few years. Development of small hydro drive axles have been a big boost so look for more in the coming years. When you get a solid base of aeration customers you will see the value of a $3000 to $4000 machine that is easy to operate all day. If you want some tips on how to SELL AERATION, give me a call. I used to give hour long lectures on Aeration, What is it and how do I sell it.
I am glad to help out, Turfcobob 402-783-2028 cell 402-432-2446

jonthepain
11-22-2010, 10:59 AM
I used to give hour long lectures on Aeration, What is it and how do I sell it.


If you still have your outline, notes or whatever, I'd love to buy a pdf copy from you.

Thanks
Jon

Bryn
11-22-2010, 11:36 AM
I have not used the Lawn Solutions Aerator, but am looking at that product. They have the walk behind, and a ride on.

http://www.lawnsolutionscp.com/

turfcobob
11-24-2010, 05:44 PM
If you still have your outline, notes or whatever, I'd love to buy a pdf copy from you.

Thanks
Jon

I do have many trays of old slides. You know the things we used before power point. None of my notes or scripts exist anymore. But you can find some great information on the various University sites in studies they have published. Check out Michigan State, Ohio State, University of Nebraska and Perdue...

jonthepain
11-28-2010, 02:55 PM
will do, thanks Bob.

exmark user
12-09-2010, 04:54 PM
Aeration seems to be a money maker you can charge a lot its as easy as push mowing their lawn just a little harder to control and tiresome but thats when your help comes in just sit their and watch and make bank .

boneswaller
12-10-2010, 04:01 PM
If you can buy one it's the way to go! I got lucky last year and my girl's uncle had one he wanted to sell for $400. I offer free aeration if they sign a year contract for new customers. I recieved 10 new customers from that last year alone! Overseeding is a must when you aerate because when you pull the grass plugs your leaving voids for weed seeds to grow. I talk my customers into doing it in the fall becauce there is alot less weed seeds floating around. Also do as much reseach on areation as you can so when you talk to a customers you give them self asurence that you are a professional. I did my research on it's pros and cons and made myself a company hand out to give the customer. I sit down with them go over the information, ask them if they have questions, and leave the hand out with them that way they can continue to look over it with your company name and number on it. Make sure you mark those sprinkler heads too before you aerate!!!!

turfcobob
12-11-2010, 01:39 PM
If you can buy one it's the way to go! I got lucky last year and my girl's uncle had one he wanted to sell for $400. I offer free aeration if they sign a year contract for new customers. I recieved 10 new customers from that last year alone! Overseeding is a must when you aerate because when you pull the grass plugs your leaving voids for weed seeds to grow. I talk my customers into doing it in the fall becauce there is alot less weed seeds floating around. Also do as much reseach on areation as you can so when you talk to a customers you give them self asurence that you are a professional. I did my research on it's pros and cons and made myself a company hand out to give the customer. I sit down with them go over the information, ask them if they have questions, and leave the hand out with them that way they can continue to look over it with your company name and number on it. Make sure you mark those sprinkler heads too before you aerate!!!!

AND underground electronic dog fence!

americanlawn
12-11-2010, 05:21 PM
Nearly all "dog fence outfits" around here only bury their (thin) wires a mere one inch deep at best. To me, that's just pure laziness/ripoff cuz....

We had an invisible dog fence installed spring of 2010 at OUR home. Wire depth = 4 - 6 inches deep so aeration would never be a problem. They also used a heavier gage wire. Extra cost of all this was about $125.

Here's what we do regarding aerating: Customers with (cheap/shallow) invisible dog fences = WE NEVER NOT OFFER aeration anymore. Main reason: They load their property up with tons of shallow/cheap wires near the surface, and we don't want to take the hit for this. (Been there too many times).

What I'd really like to see is a demo of TURFCO's new aerator. I heard it beats all others, but I want to see it first.

My 2 cents


AND underground electronic dog fence!

americanlawn
12-12-2010, 03:50 PM
Instead of WE NEVER NOT OFFER, it should read WE NEVER OFFER.

I can't blame 'spell check' on that one. sorry :laugh:

Nearly all "dog fence outfits" around here only bury their (thin) wires a mere one inch deep at best. To me, that's just pure laziness/ripoff cuz....

We had an invisible dog fence installed spring of 2010 at OUR home. Wire depth = 4 - 6 inches deep so aeration would never be a problem. They also used a heavier gage wire. Extra cost of all this was about $125.

Here's what we do regarding aerating: Customers with (cheap/shallow) invisible dog fences = WE NEVER NOT OFFER aeration anymore. Main reason: They load their property up with tons of shallow/cheap wires near the surface, and we don't want to take the hit for this. (Been there too many times).

What I'd really like to see is a demo of TURFCO's new aerator. I heard it beats all others, but I want to see it first.

My 2 cents

jay12
12-15-2010, 11:08 PM
found a nice deal on a lawn solutions aerator today, looks like new, I dont know much about them but it seems like its going to be a great piece. Is there any maintenance on it I need to check out, oiling chains? etc? Im clueless past the engine. its all new to me, guess Ill find out in the spring, thanks for the help

Exact Rototilling
01-15-2011, 09:57 PM
I do have many trays of old slides. You know the things we used before power point. None of my notes or scripts exist anymore. But you can find some great information on the various University sites in studies they have published. Check out Michigan State, Ohio State, University of Nebraska and Perdue...

TurfcoBob,

If you ever decide to publish materiel for aeration promotion I'd definitely buy it....:clapping:.....might even buy one of your aerators in some sort of package deal. Any chance of Turfco producing a reciprocating aerator? :laugh:

The Right Tone
01-18-2011, 08:59 AM
I bought a piece of angle iron from Home Depot and drilled a few holes in it to mount it to my Toro Zmaster on the back. Now all I have to do is drop a pin in it to attach it to my mower and aeration is a breeze. I usually make 2 to three passes with it and the lawn is thoroughly aerated.

Nashville Lawn Care (http://www.lawncarenashvilletn.com)

twcw5804
01-20-2011, 02:45 PM
To go of what someone else said I called RSC equipment rental this week and they have a Ryan that you can get for around $100/day. The trick with this is to rent it late in the day Friday and you get it till monday morning.

So this spring if I can get 4 of 5 yards to do it then it will be worth it to me. Then I guess once I get enough aeration work that I can't fit it into a weekend then it would be time to buy one.

Valk
01-21-2011, 11:32 AM
I certainly see this as a decent money-maker as an upsell...but how dependable is the repeat business? How often does a customer have/need their lawn aerated?

Mowing is sooo beautiful cuz it grows back and I can expect either weekly or 14-day intervals. A drought is my greatest fear, but having to find enough folks for aerating seems steeply uphill to me...requiring a lot of marketing/advertising, right?

Wow me!

*trucewhiteflag*

Exact Rototilling
01-21-2011, 05:06 PM
I certainly see this as a decent money-maker as an upsell...but how dependable is the repeat business? How often does a customer have/need their lawn aerated?

Mowing is sooo beautiful cuz it grows back and I can expect either weekly or 14-day intervals. A drought is my greatest fear, but having to find enough folks for aerating seems steeply uphill to me...requiring a lot of marketing/advertising, right?

Wow me!

*trucewhiteflag*


The short answer is yes you are correct in general terms. A few here on LS have tried to tell me this privately. There is more money in just mowing overall.

The equation can be broken down further...I could make this a very long post. I have always looked for a niche service to essentially capitalize on. I started out basically rototilling hence the screen name years ago. At the time I noticed a neighbor who had their lawn aerated. It looked like a serious PITA. The operator looked like he was really chasing that machine around. Then I found out about the Plugr 850HD bought one and have been trying market aeration's as a niche service.

I would love nothing more than to quit mowing and do nothing but lawn aeration's and lawn renovations. Marketing is trickier and work comes at you in bursts. Advantage would be to be able to take off July & August. I typically have a reasonable amount of repeat aeration customers however last Spring was super wet so I had to choose to tick off my aeration customers in favor of mowing customers after 2 or 3 reschedules and cancellations people get really irked.

americanlawn
01-21-2011, 05:25 PM
We bought two Ryan Lawnaire IV units off ebay about 4 years ago. Total cost for both = $2200. It looked liked the best deal we had seen in a long time, cuz I had been "searching" for some time. They came from a rental company. Description said they were in fine shape, were ready to use, and were only 2 years old.

Once we received the aerators, the units looked almost new, but we discovered serious problems. All sprockets, chains, belts, wheel bearings, etc were worn out & needed to be replaced. We ended up spending about $800 per unit to get them up and running properly. Bottom line: they were poorly maintained if at all.

Then we figured the shipping cost, the downtime, and the hassle of driving back & forth to TerfWorks (the company that did the repair work).

I figure we broke even on the deal, but then one has to consider their time when you could be making money instead of communicating/driving back & forth just to get the units "ready to use" like the ad suggested. my 2 cents