My first Aeration experience!

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by HighGrass, Sep 20, 2005.

  1. HighGrass

    HighGrass LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Z5 MA
    Posts: 1,237

    Well, I aerated five lawns today. This was my first time at this so I thought I would pass on some observations for any of you that have not done this yet so for the more experienced, this might be a re-hash.

    Some background
    Machine is a rental, Ryan. ($74.00 w/insurance)
    It is a walk behind and I think it's a 21"
    Lawn sizes:
    #1. 30,000 sq/ft
    #2. 20,000 sq/ft
    #3. 25,000 sq/ft
    #4. 9000 sq/ft
    #5. 9000 sq/ft

    I picked up the unit at 0900 and got to my first lawn at about 0920. The guy at the rental shop didn't exactly check me out on the machine but it only took me out about two minutes to pretty much figure out where everything is and what lever does what etc. For those of you that do this for the first time, you may may want to ask questions before getting the machine into the field...especially if your solo.

    The first lawn I did was the biggest. You really get a sense of how big a lawn is when you walk behind something over it. I normally mow this lawn with a Z-steer so when I aerated it...boy did it seem to take forever to do this lawn. Finish time...1.5hrs! Granted, about half that lawn was me getting used to the machine and trying to figure out what line to use that would be the most effiecant. Contrary to the way I mow, I found that aerating in a circular pattern seemed faster because turning one of these beast at the end of a row ain't like tossing a walk behind mower around. Cores were nice and consistent but i noticed that the machine works better if you lean on it a little. The problem with this (with this machine anyway) was that since I am 6' 1", that meant constantly bending at the small of my back which in a word...sucks. So, I simply went 80% of the time, letting the weight of the machine do the work. This seemed to produce pretty decent results.

    The rest of the lawns were easier to do, but trust me when I tell you, for a 46 year old guy who is admittedly overweight, here are some thoughts at the end of the day....

    -My feet hurt
    -Next year...charge more!
    -My feet hurt
    -My feet hurt
    -Oh, did I forget to tell you I made $500.00?
    -My feet hurt
    -My feet hurt.
     
  2. Olylawnboy

    Olylawnboy LawnSite Senior Member
    from Oly Wa
    Posts: 312

    Wow, do I remember those days :) ...Oly
     
  3. hole in one lco

    hole in one lco LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,793

    its even funner when it rely dry out and then your chasing the thing all day long but i think the best part is when you hit a tree root
     
  4. korelandscaping

    korelandscaping LawnSite Member
    from ct
    Posts: 61

    I feel your pain. I have a Ryan aerator and it takes quite a toll on your body at the end of the day! To be honest...you probably should have made alot more then 500.00 for all those lawns. I try to charge 1.5-2 cents per square foot then extra for seed. ( I usually go cheaper with past aerating customers ) I also have a minimum charge of 90.00 to aerate a lawn under 5,000 sq ft no matter what. These fuel prices are ridiculous!
    I purchased a 60 inch tow behind a couple of years back. The tow behind was very productive but at the same time didn't do the same job as the walk behind. I put it up for sale this year and purchased a new gator rator. Let me tell you...this thing is awesome. It pulls out great plugs and all you have to do is sit on your ztr and press a button. My 2 guys did three lawns today: 35k, 10k and 25k in under 3.5 with about 25-35 minutes in travel time. If you decide that aerating is a service that you want to promote, then getting a gator rator is the way to go. It cost me 1800.00 shipped to Ct. Look into it....Gregg
     
  5. GrassBustersLawn

    GrassBustersLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 983

    I guess your GATOR RATOR is better than mine.

    I bought it a couple of years ago. The first year of production? I don't know if improvements have been made, but they are definitely needed!

    First job I did the "mud flap" was ripped off the machine. Consequently there are plugs flying up on the deck & foot well of my mower.

    Later on the linear actuator began to not hold the load. When head was lifted the motor would slowly drop it until it was on the ground. Had to keep hitting the "up" button so it wouldn't drag. I talked to Bryant about it and he said "he'd gotten a bad batch of motors (linear actuator)." I got a new motor from Bryant at the Louisville Expo later that year. Now that motor will not stay "DOWN". I have to keep hitting the DOWN button to keep it in the dirt.

    Also the thing EATS FUSES like CRAZY. It is not unusual to go thru 2 or 3 in a yard.

    The electrical CONNECTOR that attaches controller to power head FUSED TOGETHER from the HEAT that is being generated. I don't know from what!

    I tried calling Bryant today on the 800 # listed on the machine & got "Number no longer in service". Are they still in business???

    With all that being said, I did do 9 yards today. If I'd had done that with a Bluebird I'd be DEAD NOW.

    Oh yeah, I paid TOP DOLLAR for this...$2250 as I remember. So I kind of expect it to PERFORM like it SHOULD instead of having all these problems!


    Mike
     
  6. 1grnlwn

    1grnlwn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,261

    30,000 thats tough with a walker. It's hard to get much over $10/K around here. Lots of rental stores and DIYers. I use a ryan 21" for the perimeter and tight yards and a ryan tow behind for the field. Pull behind will pull 3" plugs in almost any conditions. Don't forget to aks the people if they have an invisible dog fence. That can ruin your day.

    Mark
     
  7. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,028

    Oh ya, I know exactly what you mean and I will never relive those days.

    I used a Lawnaire IV in the old days or my learning stage as I like to refer to it as. I now do not own nor rent a walk behind aerator. My little grey market Mits 15hp diesel with the Classen 40" aerator is the only way I go. Up and down with the 3 point is effortless and better yet painless. I can aerate lawns of any size. 2000 sq ft to 5 acres is not an issue. The bigger the better. Its an old gear model that I got from e-bay but I love it. Paid 2500 for the tractor and 800 for the aerator. That is already paid for a few times as well as the increased production from me because I am not sitting in traction the next week after walking.
    Check the link for some shots;
    http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=52764

    Just load up on the ibuorifen and start looking on e-bay. Its worth every penny. Take care.
     
  8. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,654

    Hell yeah you won't be so quick to shoot off the mouth at someone who says they do Core Aeration no more, lol.

    I'm just ribbing but first of all congrats on figuring out one of the better money makers in this business. A lot of folk won't even try it (cauz it IS a bit of a b!7ch) and it is hard work especially in the turns, I have a Classen Ta-26, always surprises me how a little 4hp Honda can pull the whole machine so good.

    The only thing I wanted to mention, JUST in case you did not know / forgot, is remember to mark sprinkler heads with flaggots in yards that have sprinkler systems thou I will mention I've hit a few heads over time with the tines and no damage done - Still, better safe than sorry, you bust one and this one is likely your fault, every 'pro' Lco ALWAYS marks sprinkler heads, so...

    That it's worth a lot, no doubt. Raise your prices but be watchful, the ceiling may not be as high as you think, then again maybe in your case it is high, seeing how it appears you underbid somewhat...dunno... Still, I've done lots for 30 and 40 dollars before but nowadays for MOST yards my minimum is $45 and there's guys out there won't MOVE for less than $60.
     
  9. HighGrass

    HighGrass LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Z5 MA
    Posts: 1,237

    Yea...the Ryan I rented had the same motor. Talk about a fuel miser. I bet I didn't use a gallon all day!
     
  10. LonniesLawns

    LonniesLawns LawnSite Senior Member
    from KS
    Posts: 317

    With a RockSolid Plugr I often do 10 -12 8k yards ina day and have no problem playing softball or going for a jog with the wife afterwards. All the difference in the world. A great machine.
     

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