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Cost for overseeding & aerating

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Goodero, Sep 17, 2009.

  1. Please_Be_Green

    Please_Be_Green LawnSite Member
    Messages: 248

    All I know is this... In my area the people who quote aeration are crazy.

    Seriously, 4 neighbors, plus myself, last year all had their companies quote aeration. All bids came in over $400.00, relatively flat 1/3-1/2 acre lots with anywhere between 10k to 15k of turf to aerate. We even went to two of the companies and asked for a discount based on 5 homes in the neighborhood with no success.

    These are people with annual income in the 150k-200+k range. We all balked. Went to rental equipment store, rented an aerator for the day at $85.00, bought 150# of Lesco 50/50 seed for about $180.00 and did it ourselves for $50 a property.

    Now with that said, we joked afterwards that running the aerator was more strenuous then we thought it was going to be and we were all sore the next day... but to save $350+each, it was well worth it... $2000 worth of business not had because of high quotes. If they can get it... all the power to them though.

    All I'm saying... is keep it real. Good Luck.
  2. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    Experienced guys. Let me ask you. Do you think there just might be a correlation between our industry's poor image with some people and the fact that we have thousands of guys who haven't got sufficient experience running around trying to be in the lawn business? You think that might affect how customers see YOU and how YOUR ability to charge a good price is diminished?

    I'm all for charity......For the needy and helpless. However, this guy and others like him aren't helpless. They are perfectly capable of hiring on with someone to learn the trade. One clue you're ready for self-employment in a field might be things like knowing what people charge for stuff in your field!

    The next time you feel like starting a thread about how hard it is to find "good help" these days, you might consider the fact that ANY industry would have a hard time finding help if the entry level position was "business owner". Just imagine if restaurants and dry cleaners were run like that. "Sorry about your suit being ruined sir, but the guys at "drycleanersite.com" told me everything I know".

    This guy can skip working for you because you are here giving him the benefit of all your years of experience for free. I learned what to charge for aerations because I worked for someone else doing aerations! I knew from that:

    a) how long it takes
    b) how much longer it takes on sloped lots
    c) how much harder lawns with numerous obstacles and turns take
    d) how hard it is relative to just mowing lawns
    e) the difference in a good job and simply running a machine a few times over a lawn.
    f) what it cost by simply observing what my boss charged.

    It's one thing to help someone out answering a question here. It's another when people start showing up in droves with nothing more to say or offer than "tell me what to do".

    Somewhere along the line, in their dreams filled with dollar signs and early retirement, these guys forgot one important thing. You have to actually learn about what you're doing. I have noticed that while they get very excited about sales and marketing, truck lettering and shiny new equipment, they don't seem too interested at all in going out and learning the trade itself. They hope a few hours spent trolling posts here will suffice.
    Well, after 17-18 years of it, I still learn new things. But unless I'm teaching an employee so he can help make me more money, I am not sure why I'd hand out that hard-earned knowledge for free.

    If he's like most, you will reply "About $75 for a small lawn" and he will go out and print up 5,000 flyers saying "any lawn aerated, $65". Get it?

    Then again I must be a sucker, I actually paid for a university course on turf.
  3. ALC-GregH

    ALC-GregH LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Messages: 7,051

    I don't see how you can do it that cheap. Your missing something. Did you spread fert too? I made roughly $60 an hour to do the ones I did AFTER expenses. What you and the others did was spent all the time to get the machine, run it over the properties, spread seed, and have to take the machine back to the rental shop, did you add up all the time spent to actually DO the job? Add all that up and you'll see why the LCO's quoted you that price.
  4. ALC-GregH

    ALC-GregH LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Messages: 7,051

    My point, any homeowner can go out and rent the equipment to do the job, what they don't realize is the time it takes to get the equipment, do the job and return it. You and the others obviously didn't want to pay the LCO for all the time it takes to do the job so you did it yourself and worked for free.
  5. mcw615

    mcw615 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 473

    I roughly charge $0.01775 sq. ft. I measure the entire lot then rough guess/subtract the house driveway. Usually ends up between $325-$375 for half acre. $150-$200 for 1/4 acre.
  6. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,276

    I go around $12/K for aeration only here. So for 1/4 acre lawn (10k sq ft of turf), $125ish. Not sure how you guys get double to triple that - must be area where you live. I have to work with small town USA here. I still think I make good $$ at my rate.
  7. ALC-GregH

    ALC-GregH LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Messages: 7,051

    Does your price include seed and fert? I'm thinking it doesn't. If I did them (1/4-1/2acre lot) for the price you quote, I'd lose money!
  8. mcw615

    mcw615 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 473

    Mine doesn't include fert just seed at 2lb 1,000
  9. KS_Grasscutter

    KS_Grasscutter LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,335

    3x mowing price plus 1.5x seed price plus 2x fert price=bid amount. I seed at 4 to 5 lbs per k using lesco transition blend. I don't measure anything anymore for aeration and seeding once you measure about 5 you get to where you can guess it as close as your margin of error from measuring.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  10. Please_Be_Green

    Please_Be_Green LawnSite Member
    Messages: 248

    My bad... You made me log into my LESCO account and look at my billing detail. We did buy 150# of seed at 2.46/# for $395. Add the rental fee of of 85+taxes and we actually spent approx $97.00 without labor costs.

    Even still...

    All companies were local with less then 15 min drive time to said property. Throw $65.00 drive time (to and from) on the bill, throw another $130.00 of labor time. Quote me $250-$275.00 for 15sq/ft of aerated and over seeded turf and I'd probably sign the contract.

    If you have the proper equipment already, and have me stake my own sprinkler heads, you are completing this job in 45 minutes or less upon unloading the aerator and reloading. Even if you are driving 30 minutes, you'd be making more than $60 per hour depending on how you charge/owe on the equipment.

    I've done the entire property in two hours. That includes driving to the rental store, renting paper work, loading, driving back home, taking the time to stake the sprinklers, aerating, cleaning the machine, loading the machine, spreading the seed, driving back to the rental shop and drive back home. Work being performed with a bluebird 424 with only has a 17.5" width.

    I'll also mention that the companies that were quoting $400.00+ do regular cuts for these people between $45 - $55 per cut. I know that fact alone turned off my immediate neighbor. He just couldn't understand an 8x increase over a standard cut & trim.

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