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How is anyone making money on renovations?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by RyanD, Oct 4, 2006.

  1. RyanD

    RyanD LawnSite Member
    Posts: 178

    I have been providing maintenance for a while but had a customer ask about a renovation. I worked up a bid and based on what I have read on this forum I am way too high. I don't have a quote but I read in a thread of someone charging $10 per 1000 to renovate. That's what my costs are:dizzy:

    14k = $140

    seed $100
    fert $25
    gas, not to mention wear and tear, replacement costs, etc. $15

    profit $0:dizzy:

    I was going to bid $360. This would have included going over the yard with the verticutter, go over with Walker to vacuum debris, aerate (some clay is soil), seed, and fertilize. So... am I missing something? I am new to this but want to make sure I do a great job for the guy. Do you guys have a set fee per 1000?
  2. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,496

    Very simply. It can't be done for $10 per M. Watch who you take advice from on here. Also, some peoples' idea of "renovation" is different from proper procedure of renovation. Also, for all that you are doing, is rather extreme. If you ARE going to to the slitseeding AND the aeration (nothing wrong with that), do it in the opposite order...your aeration first, then your slitseeding.
    Anyway, $70 per M is our rate. $75 per M if we are spraying it off first (almost inclusive if it is necessary).
  3. RyanD

    RyanD LawnSite Member
    Posts: 178

    Runner, first of all you have been one of the most helpful member's to me. Thanks.

    Is what I am doing extreme? What part. Like I said, I am new to doing renovations. I want to make sure what I do works... and works well. If there is a step I can drop, great. My guess is you are talking about aeration and verticutting. Thanks for the help!
  4. DoetschOutdoor

    DoetschOutdoor LawnSite Bronze Member
    from S. IL
    Posts: 1,818

    If you have to powerseed and aerate and then seed/fert. then your customers need to know that they are getting some time consuming labor done and will have to pay for it. I agree with runner that unless the yard is in really bad shape you might not need to aerate and powerseed, although you will get good results if you aerate first then powerseed like said. I do not know what I charge per 1000 because my customers never seem to know their lots and I havent had time to measure but aeration and powerseeding is my favorite time of the year because you can really make a difference in customers yards and go to the bank with a pocketfull of good checks because it is somthing that alot of people will pay for.
  5. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,496

    Is what you're doing an extreme? Not really,...but but the part of vacuuming the stuff up with the walker is not a good thing. 1. It is an unecessary time taker - no need to begin with...Save your time, save your gas, save your blades and wear and tear on your machine. Just mow it first (low). You will have MUCH less material left on top. If you leave it long, then you DO have to remove it first. So don't do that...just mow it down first. If you opt to bag it then, that's cool, too...but atleast you're not bagging dirt and dust...which brings us to number 2.
    2. If you are vacuuming raking, or even mowing after you ran the slitseeder, you are removing alot of the seed you put down - oin the very least, disrupting the distribution. These things are great...they put the seed down cut the slits (sometimes in opposite order of that) and some even ensure that all (or most) of the seed gets deposited in these slits via bruches or disks. However, when the soil is all loosened up, and there are many seds laying close or on top of the soil, the turbulence of the blades can and will blow the soil and seed around - vacuuming much of it in the thatch material that is collected. The same thing happens with just mowing it AFTERward, and even raking. I hope this helps. Oh...don't forget your starter fert.
  6. CrewCutEnterprises

    CrewCutEnterprises LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 893

    Hey Runner,

    What order do you do your renovations?

    Aeration, Overseed, Fert? This is how we do it at about .30 per 1000 so 10,000k is $300.00

    Ive never had a slice seeded but I would really like to add the service as germination of the seeds seems a better ratio.

    Ryan D, Most of my customers shrug at the price of Overseeding. Geeze a 50 lb bag of shade grass seed is 94 dollars, k31 is the cheapest at 55 and so on and so on. The seed is expensive, most customers on 10 k lots dont understand that overseeding may cost them $100 to 150. and most of the cost is seed, Stick to you prices, as well as ask around, Ive been doing it for 4 years and when prices of materials go up, you must raise your price too.
  7. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,496

    We never do overseeding with aeration. It has ALWAYS been a waste of time and seed. Seed will not grow out of a 3" deep hole. Many people do it, and many say it works. I'm here to say that in existing turf, it doesn't. Between the depth of the holes, and the height of the existing grass,...the germination rate is nill at best. On top of that, of all the seed you put down, if it is lucky to get rinsed down in all the holes, there you have it...a bunch of holes with 10 seeds on top of each other in a 3/4" area. Now, how effective of use of seed is THAT? Aeration DOES help on new (bare ground) renovations, as it works up the ground (before slitseeding), however, we don't even do that. we do aeration as just that - aeration. We do slitseeding just by itself for renovation with bare ground (or REALLY THIN) ground. For most thinner grasses, I can build it withOUT seed. People are usually amazed at the amount of grass I grow from their existing grass. Sometimes they think we planted more grass in order for it to get that thick, but we didn't. Like I say, if it is so thin that there is bare spots 4 inches across or more, or bare ground, then the slitseeder is beneficial. It's funny, when people call for a renovation - and they want the whole place re-seeded....I have at times said give me 6 weeks (what it would take to grow new grass, anyway). I give them a full lush lawn from 2 to 3 applications. They literally are just in awe and VERY happy. :)
  8. BSDeality

    BSDeality LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,850

    To put down a "blanket" statement like that isn't the best way to answer his question. Overseeding sparse lawns is a GREAT method combined with aeration. Slit seeding is obviously better, however sometimes overseeding is the only thing in the budget. However like Runner said, if you have a thick lawn then overseeding won't do crap compared to a sparse lawn. Our athletic fields are aerated (single pass only :hammerhead:) and then overseeded every fall. In 7-10 days we usually start seeing seedlings where the aeration holes are, the fields have enough traffic and use that they cores get broken up in a day or two and fill the holes back up and the seed grows from there. There is a very evident poka-dot growth pattern that can easily be depicted as the aeration holes.
  9. DoetschOutdoor

    DoetschOutdoor LawnSite Bronze Member
    from S. IL
    Posts: 1,818

    Runner, if aeration and overseding is a waste, what do you do on lawns that are really thick and just need new grass in a few areas. If the lawn is really thick and has a few spots that need seed, a powerseeder is useless because the blades will not make good enough penetration. Like you said, powerseeding works really well on those lawns that are really thin or bare but it doesnt work if you have a nice thick lawn already. I aerate all of my lawns going in at least 2 directions and then there is alot of holes in the yard for the seed to get in and Ive never had a problem with seedlings growing out of a hole. Been aerating and powerseeding for about 6 years now and get good results every single time if I take my time and do the right procedure.
  10. YardPro

    YardPro LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,563

    this is why pricing per unit will not work....

    the way to figure ANY job is to add all your materials, then your labor, then your overhead.... this is what it will cost YOU to do the job..... then add your profit...

    this is the only reliable way to price work... don't just charge an amount becuase someone said so....

    also remember that a lot of members here are new guys who are NOT making money....

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