Help! How to dethatch and how much to charge?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by green-pa, Aug 17, 2007.

  1. green-pa

    green-pa LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 737

    Can someone give me an idea of what is involved in dethatching and how much time I should figure it will take for an avg 1/4 acre home? I'm going to rent a dethatcher from sunbelt probably like the honda 5.5 hp 18in width. Do I use this and then will I need to run over it with the mower and bag it or what is the best way. I'm figuring they'll charge me about $20-30 to use the dethatcher for like 1/2 day ( since a commercial 21 inch mower there is like $15 for a 1/2 day). The lawn is about 20% dead I'd say, the rest is still growing. So with this in mind what do I I just go over the obvious yellow/gray spots or do I go over the spots that aren't so bad too? Is this a 2 hour job or 4 or? I need to get a price quote for this lady cause it's not raining and I'm really hurtin 4 cash, as I'm sure many others are in this line of work!
  2. Grits

    Grits LawnSite Silver Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 2,994

    I am not too sure about dethatching drought stressed grass. But, It would probably take 3 hours to dethatch a 1/4 acre with that machine. After you dethatch you can either bag it with your mower, or do circles and discharge to the center and rake the pile into a garbage can. I have only dethatched my own yard. My yard is about 1/4 acre, I would charge about $150 for it.
  3. Lawnut101

    Lawnut101 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,260

    I agree with Grits about the price. I would recommend bagging it. That is the best way. Otherwise you gotta rake the whole lawn. That is a pain! I've done that a few times on my own lawn. Raking sucks! I think that you really only dethatch a lawn in the spring, before it starts to grow a ton. If you do it now, she may not have much grass left. Best of luck to you.
  4. rcreech

    rcreech Sponsor
    Male, from OHIO
    Messages: 6,163

    If there are dead spots he will probably be seeding anyway!

    I would recommend renting a slice seeder which is a 2 in 1 machine, instead of the dethatcher. You can dethatch your lawn and also seed it with this piece and they do an excellent job.

    That is what I would recommend doing. Grass grows just as good or better in the fall vs the spring so you don't have to worry about thinning the lawn too much or injuring the lawn.

    I would plan on doing it over the next 30 days and make sure and mow the lawn very short if you would plan on seeding.
  5. LawnSolutionsCP

    LawnSolutionsCP Sponsor
    Messages: 907

    If your going to Sunbelt. They have our units in Fishers and Noblesville.

    They will dethatch and seed at the same time.
  6. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,988

    You should not be using a power rake(what you mentioned renting) to dethatch a lawn unless you're going to be slit-seeding it. They tear the turf up too much.

    You have that Scag walk behind right? Get a JRCO(or other brand) tine-rake dethatcher to mount to the front of the mower. Then you can dethatch and bag at the same time. For dethatching, I charge around 3X the price of a normal mowing.
  7. metro36

    metro36 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,417

    I totally agree with the jrco uints. I find the detatching is best done in fall or sring. I have had trouble in longer grass. My dad has one for his 48" lazer it works great. You can dethatch and bag it up at the same time. I will be adding one to my lineup before spring.
  8. green-pa

    green-pa LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 737

    What size bag of seed should I use and should I just get a standard blend like at Dammon's Lawn and Garden or should I ask the customer exactly what they have and or prefer and go with that type of seed? And another thing, in the prices u guys gave me, was that including seeding or just dethatching? Thanks a bunch fellas! Hope we get some more rain here in IN!

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