AE 551 Billy Goat Aerator Question

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by rbljack, Nov 9, 2012.

  1. rbljack

    rbljack LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 702

    I'd like some inputs. I found one for 500 bucks used, and it looks to be in good condition with the briggs engine (not the honda...DAMN).

    If its in working condition and runs good, im debating pulling the trigger. I need to aerate my own lawn which is less than 2000 sq feet. Most of my customer lawns are in the same size range. From my search on this website, others didnt recommend the unit for Large yards, or extended run times because it will beat ya up.

    I think this unit will serve me and allow me to make some exta $$$ next spring. From what Im reading on here, seems the going rate is 2-3 times the price of a regular lawn mowing.

    Whats your thoughts on my theory? Think I should pull the trigger? Seems that I could pay this thing off next year if I can get a few customers talked into an aeration. Obviously there are better choices out there, but I only have about 20 customers currently, and I cant afford to spend big bucks on a unit. the other plus is that our small town doesnt have a place where people can even rent an aeration machine (i looked into it) so that means the customers cant obtain the unit locally to use the DIY method.
     
  2. dstifel

    dstifel LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 918

    i bought a lesco this fall for pretty close to that price. From what i have seen they are pretty similar machines. I usually would just rent an aerator to do my regular customers but this fall i bought my own. It was defiantly worth the money. It has paid for its self five times over so far and still get calls on it. My best advice is just let the machine go at its own pace. You are not going to push it any faster then it wants to go. Also try doing your regular customers on the weekend if they are ok with it. I did this and very rarely do i do a yard on the weekend without having a neighbor or two come over and ask me to do theirs as well. Out of all of the equipment i have bought (which I've only been doing this for a couple years now) this is the most profitable machine i have bought yet. I paid it off in the first weekend using it. Just my two cents.
     
  3. rbljack

    rbljack LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 702

    Well, i pulled the trigger on it. It needs some work, but does functinon for a 1/4 the cost of a new one.

    If anybody has the same unit, I could really use a photo or two of how the lower handle attaches to the clutch cable. The bar for the drive mechanism is broke, and I have to weld a new piece in, and then figure out the correct spacing for attaching the cable again. The dealer wants 110 bucks for the handle assembly which seems high for a piece of round bar bent in a few places.

    The thottle cable isnt functioning properly either, so Ill have to get a look at that.

    Oh...and here is another question, for those who have mentioned that they are charging 2 or 3 times the charge for a mowing, does that include actually doing a mowing before the aeration? does that include applying fertilzier? or topsoil? or seed? I have gotten decent at giving estimates for mowing, but this is a whole new area that i dont have any prior experience with. But i got my foot in the door now anyways...hopefully the unit will at least pay for itself and make me some money next year.
     
  4. rbljack

    rbljack LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 702

    Turns out the unit was actually a AE550 according to the tags on the machine. I remembered that I had an old mower with a bar engagement that wasnt being used, so I may try to use that for my Drive bar repair. I'll try and get a few pictures up and maybe start a new thread for that repair work.

    I spent a great deal of time searching this site about aeration prices. I still havent figured out exactly what I want to do there (pricing wise). I do appreciate the individual who sent me a PM about their information, and how they do it. that information was much appreciated.

    most of the yards im going to aerate will be under 2500 sq feet im guessing, and this area is not going to allow me to charge a lot for this service. Ill have to find a happy medium between "value pricing and quality service at a price that is affordable. that isnt easy...LOL!
     

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