Question about dethatching pricing

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by f50lvr2, Mar 21, 2011.

  1. f50lvr2

    f50lvr2 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 277

    I'm fairly new to the whole thatching process and did a few last year with pretty good results.

    I had a potential new customer ask for a bid for dethatching his yard and was hoping for some input on pricing this. The yard is pretty good size, around 19k sq. ft. but very open.

    I remember doing some 4-6k lawns last year and having a huge amount of thatch to clean up and get rid of. I don't mind doing the work but when I gave him a price he nearly freaked. I have been pricing dethatching jobs about 1/3 higher than aerating costs. So I'm at about $24 per 1k sq.ft. This seems to leave me some room for profits after renting the machine and breaking my back cleaning it up, plus the dump fees.

    Is this reasonable or am I way too high?
  2. fivestarlandscapes

    fivestarlandscapes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 62

    I charge 3-4 times lawn mowing price. But I have a JRCO dethatcher on the front of my exmark navigator and it sucks up all of the debris. I usually am doing the spring clean-up at the same time so I blow out the beds into the lawn and suck up the debris as I dethatch. It does create a lot of debris though.

    Messages: 1,343

    Only do a job if you can make profits. If you don't you are being a poor business man. We use a jrco rake on the front of our machine as well and thatch with the spring clean up. If we only thatch the cost is three times the mowing price. We also use our leaf vac to suck up all the tharch from the side of the road. Stick with your guns you. Have to make money! Not just. Break even
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  4. f50lvr2

    f50lvr2 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 277

    I don't have any experience with the Jrco unit but I was under the impression that it is mainly a surface dethatcher, like hand raking the yard, whereas the wb power rakes get deeper into the thatch layer and is a much more aggressive process.

    The Jrco rake on a navigator or walker style sounds like the way to go. I've got a debris vac that does a pretty good job picking up the mess but it still has to be emptied after every pass.
  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    You can always provide the alternative to the guy and offer a compost app in place of dethatching... The app will also eliminate the need for a N application for a while as long... The compost will kick the digesters into high gear and recycle the nutrients back into the lawn rather than cart them all away...
    Better for the turf and soil, and cheaper to boot...

    But yeah, don't go cheaper, he has a large lawn that he wants to be perfect then he has to pay... :)
  6. ashgrove landscaping

    ashgrove landscaping LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,529

    Yes the jrco is more like an aggessive raking and does a great job. The tines do dig in much deeper than any rake could. It pulls up tons of surface thatch and grabs the leaves and little sticks as well. Perfect for spring clean-ups. I love mine. Plus you can do this to just about every lawn and make more money as a part of just cleaning up and raking the lawn essentially.
  7. f50lvr2

    f50lvr2 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 277

    I suggested a core aeration to him as it would save him some money and still help alleviate the thatch problem. Actually the thatch isn't too bad, well within the acceptable range, I think he just had somebody tell him that all thatch is bad.

    Thanks for all the input, looks like I'll be staying put on the price, he can take it or leave it. Good luck to everybody this year.

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