Aeration Questions

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by pmsmith2032, Jul 25, 2014.

  1. The Turf Guys

    The Turf Guys LawnSite Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 135

    I'm with Ron.

    Yes this forum is to learn but instead of asking silly/broad questions, it might be a good idea to use the "search" tool in the upper right hand of the page.

    Maybe search:
    1 how to price jobs
    2 licensing for applying chemicals
    3 advertising
    4 how to grow my business
    5 what insurance do I need
  2. pmsmith2032

    pmsmith2032 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 20

    Wow Turf Guy.....thats EXACTLY what I was looking for! Thanks so much!!!
    Posted via Mobile Device
  3. recycledsole

    recycledsole LawnSite Gold Member
    from MD
    Messages: 3,274

    aeration should be a lot more.
    sounds like 27" is a lot more profitable and economical than either of the 2 options IF it fits in your vechile.
    Aeration, overseeding and fertilization, but a lot of places required a license.
  4. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,813

    Raise your prices. Allow for slow payment--or for the occasional customer who doesn't pay.
    Allow for the cost of damage to her sprinkler system, radio dog fence, cable TV.
  5. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Messages: 5,956

    Not sure why Riggle is always right, but he is. Probably cuz he knows his stuff. :usflag:

    1) Late fall winterizer fert. Use something like a 44-0-0 (maybe 25% slow release in it). Figure 25% material cost on an average lawn.

    2) Advertising: I'd try yard signs if you're trying to stay local. I hate junk emails, and I don't like people hanging junk mail on my door. Craigslist might work, but you better specify the geographic area -- yet I suspect results might be poor. I think yard signs & word of mouth would be best.

    3) Renting an aerator: I think you should rent TWO aerators.
    a) One to do the bulk of the work
    b) One for trimming/small areas
    Best aerator would be a 30" stand-on ZTR. Toro or Exmark are my current favorites. (mainly because you mentioned 'suburbs') But you need a 48" gate or bigger.

    4) RED FLAGS

    a) Rental aerators are often neglected. I saw a Toro 30" stand-on at a local rental place the other day (the unit has 6 chains). 4 of the chains were extremely loose. One chain was good, and the other was way too tight. And all 6 chains had "surface rust" on them. The hydraulic fluid reservoir was totally empty. I won't mention any names, but it was Porter Hardware, Des Moines, IA.

    b) Drum style (non hydro) aerators from rental stores often have worn out sprockets & chains. I know, cuz we bought 2 used Ryans from a rental place, and had to replace a whole bunch of stuff. So I would choose a hydro walk-behind aerator for trimming.

    b) "Suburb of Chicago" -- I sure hope it ain't the "south side". I know Chicago well, so I hope you're on the west side cuz those lawns are mostly flat & wide open.

    Shoot me if I'm wrong. :laugh:
  6. turfcobob

    turfcobob LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 878

    PMSmith: You are in the right place to ask those kind of questions. Some folks here forget that you / they have to start somewhere. We were all beginners at one time. Our company sponsors this site just for folks like you as well as the established professionals. Turfco has a long history of helping beginners get started as well as being a prime supplier to the largest companies in the business.

    Your choice to start small and work into the service is a wise choice. It also gives you a chance to try out different brands of machines before you buy. This being said the rental industry usually does not buy the latest designs or the designs that professional users will buy. They know a home owner will just use a machine for a few hours and return it. Professional grade machines are designed for operators that have to run the machines day after day for 6 to 8 hours. So there is a big difference.

    My advice is to go with the smaller unit to begin with as you said no trailer and all you are loosing is a few minutes per lawn. Riding unit.......not a good idea unless you get some very large lawns. Keep your overhead as low as possible. Keep track of everything...hours, drive time, gas, rentals and etc. it all counts to your overhead costs. When you get enough lawns that you can afford to buy then go for it and Turfco has great finance plans to help the beginner.

    How much to charge. Whatever you do....DO NOT LOW BALL YOUR PRICES. This is a premium service you are providing do not sell it cheap. It is easy to go down in pricing but nearly impossible to go back up. Shop your local industry to see what they charge and go along with the local companies. Most rule of thumb pricing is 2.5 times what a mowing is worth. But that varies greatly. Also be careful with driving out to give quotes....this costs...when was the last time an appliance repair guy said he would drive out and give you a quote for free? Everything costs be careful. If you are going to give a quote over the phone do so with an out telling them you will do the actual measurement when you get there to do the lawn. Best plan is to have a 3 step pricing....X$ for 0 to 5000 sq ft....XX$ for 5000 to 10,000 AND XXX$ for large lawns you have to measure that will help with making phone quotes.

    Advertising... is whatever works...craigs list is a good cheap place to start as well as local posters.. stay away from commercial advertising in the beginning. Remember....everything costs.. Make up some small signs to put in lawns after you aerate them. Make the phone number big enough to read from the street...this law aerated by XXXXXXXXXXXXX. Here is another good trick that works... get some hanging bags for door hangers. When you finish a lawn take a nice core put it in the bag with a flyer and business card. Write a personal note.. Hi my name is Bob I will aerate your lawn for $xx then hang these bags on all the neighbors doors. When they get home and see the sign in the neighbor's lawns and the bag on the door your phone starts to ring.

    I can go on forever as I used to give lecture seminars on " Home Lawn Aeration, what is it and how to sell it" But, I retired after 41 years of this.
    Turfco still has tome nice books you can get very cheap on How to get started on aeration and What is Aeration? for home owners just give them a call..tell them Turfcobob sent you they will get a chuckle out of it. You can also direct questions at me I will answer them.

  7. foreplease

    foreplease LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,062

    Some terribly heavy soils out that way. I worked at a golf course near O'Hare that had awful, sticky, blue gumbo clay everywhere. Good place for someone aerating lawns.
  8. pmsmith2032

    pmsmith2032 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 20

    Thanks! When should I start offering aeration? Is the weekend after Labor Day too early?
  9. turfcobob

    turfcobob LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 878

    In your climate you can start Sept 1 and go till it freezes. Some folks will even start a little earlier if it cools down a bit. This is also a good time to do some overseeding of weak spots in the lawn.
  10. pmsmith2032

    pmsmith2032 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 20

    Thanks Turfcobob! I'm planning on only doing yard withing a 2 mile radius (don't want to spend a lot of time driving). I plan on advertising on craigslist and passing out door hangers (I already have the plastic bags and just plan on printing out flyers). Any good templates for the flyers?

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