Originally Posted by ChiTownAmateur
I am a Do it yourself guy, but if you want to make this easy and get an optimal result, consider hiring someone to do both the aeration and also a slit seeding. The slit seeding puts the seeds at the perfect depth under the soil and saves you all the trouble of doing the work. You just have to mow, water and wait. If you do it yourself, it will come out great, just make sure you are up for the hard work. Using a spreader to get the seed placed is OK, not as good as a slit seeder but plenty good to do the job.
Definitely hire someone for the aeration though. It's a b---- of a job and the guys who own the big rigs are desperate to do as many lawns as they can, they will give you a great deal and you can find someone easily who will come out as early as is practical.
Where I live in North Jersey, you can't get a Landscaper to step foot on your property with anything more than a lawnmower for under $200. I've had this done every year for the last 4 years and the best price was $200 for my ~10,000 Sq. Ft; the average price is $275. This includes top-dressing and prepping the soil where grass has died out, a two-pass core aeration and broadcast seeding with premium Lesco seed. Not to mention, almost all the local landscapers near me won't even return your calls from about July through October unless you're an existing customer. They have more work than they can service as it is during those months. Two years ago I got a quote from one guy, scheduled the job and waited. And waited. And waited. He never showed, refused to return my calls and by then the window of optimum weather had passed. I since found a nicer guy but even there, I coudln't get into his schedule until early October. That's just how things roll in western Essex County, NJ.
I can rent a professional-grade aerator for $45 for 4 hours at Home Despot or a tool rental facility. Ditto a slit seeder, although I'm guessing a broadcast flinging of seed ought to be enough since about 80% of the lawn is reasonably well established and I'm just doing a touchup job for the most part. The areas that get hit the hardest are about 3000 sq. ft. on the north side of the house. In the shade, poor drainage, thin turf, more weeds, etc.