Your success rate on…. talking clients out of power raking in favor of aeration…?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Exact Rototilling, Feb 24, 2012.

  1. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378

    Your success rate on…. talking clients out of power raking [what they really want] in favor of core aeration…..?

    Very typical here. I get a call for a power rake estimate. Lawn looks like it is lagging and has a fair amount of dry dead grass in it still dormant from the winter and they want to know how much to scrub it all out.

    I’m thinking all this lawn needs is a maybe a low mow to 1.5” and bagged ... call it good and core aerate and fertilize.

    How many of you have had success in talking them out of power raking? For me it is less than 1 in 10....:rolleyes:
  2. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378

    Okay ...lets rephrase the question.

    I’m at the point where I believe most power rakings and or pseudo dethatchings are in fact largely driven by the client’s wants or desire, not driven by fact or need but largely by cosmetics.

    In the past I have found it to be a hard crowd to please crowd. “you didn’t grind out enough” or “you scorched my lawn”.

    The same can be said for aeration in a lawn that has a very vibrant night crawler population and has no thatch but the client is still convinced they need core aeration.
  3. yardguy28

    yardguy28 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,463

    i've had zero sucess because i never try and talk them out of it......

    de thatching is a beneficial service and i will gladly do it for anyone that wants it done.

    in fact i've also power raked and aerated the same property in the same day.
  4. elitelawnteam1

    elitelawnteam1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 410

    Yeah, that's what everybody does here. I try to promote dethatching, it's good money, but you need a lot of people (or family) who are willing to rake, and collect the thatch.

    It only takes me about 2 hours to dethatch an average 1/4acre property with 2-3 people (including me) and after maybe a $5-10 disposal cost, I charge the customer $140-150

    and yes I as well do aeration and dethatching on the same day.
  5. hackitdown

    hackitdown LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,610

    I push dethatching in the spring. We use a JRCO on a ZTR, we rake, then vac the lawn. Customers love it. I try to do it as part of a spring clean up.

    I offer aeration in the fall.
  6. WHIPPLE5.7

    WHIPPLE5.7 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 958

    Its pretty common for me to do both at same time. If they want to pay for it, I'm willing to do it. My question you is do people complain about the plugs? Many people hate the core plugs so what I do when they want both services is to aerate 1st and use the powerrake to break the plugs up. I get paid for both and they don't have the plugs left over. If you really feel the lawn doesn't need powerraked just adjust the blades up so they don't grab much and let them pay you anyway. Then you have 1/2 the mess to clean up.
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  7. yardguy28

    yardguy28 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,463

    i haven't had any one ever complain about the plugs. i've always de thatched first then aerated if i'm doing both.

    i really don't get a lot of people that want there turf de thatched but when i do i never try to discourage it or talk them out of it. i'm always more than happy to do it.

    some people just get aeration others get just de thatching and others do both.

    about the only service i have ever discouraged is lawn rolling.
  8. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    When people want to have power raking done, I just "never get around to it"... especially in the Springtime when the damage is most severe due to the soft wet ground of Spring and the newly awakened and tender roots that get, ripped out in the process...

    Besides, stirring up the soil may mean some new seeds are going to germinate this year, whereas they haven't in years past... work on the excessive dead grass from August to frozen and let it thrive in the Spring, by leaving it alone, at least for 3 mowings or so... :)
  9. yardguy28

    yardguy28 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,463

    oh i don't do de thatching in the spring.......not unless they want to pay me $35 per man hour to take a rake to it.......

    de thatching and aerating are only done in the fall in my neck of the woods.
  10. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378

    Funny there were about 5 or 6 power rakings I never got to last year [didn’t do any for hire just my own test patch] due to my own foot dragging and a very wet Spring....shucks darn. I intentionally didn’t pose this question over on the renovation sub-forum because I wanted to see how this was handled here. For this process to be less damaging IMO the turf needs to be on the drier side so the roots don’t get ripped out. Over the prior years a number of clients have been irked, “hey we had one dry day this week and you didn’t show up”. I did a test plot last March on a circular area of my lawn bordered by a turn around pull through driveway. One side was Spring Tine power raked [not flail bladed – the other half was low mowed to 1.5” maybe 1.75”. The Bluebird/Husky spring tines are easier on the turf than full throttle flail blades. Bluebird says the spring tines are meant to really only comb the lawn not meant to rip into the turf like sharp flail blades. I have all 3 bars for my Bluebird S22 seeder the delta seeder bar came with the unit.

    Anyhow ...back to my test plot.....I meant to say the low mowed portion bounced back quicker than the Spring Tine raked portion and looked better for a 4-6 weeks. The debris haul off was nearly the same and the low mow section took less time and the haul off was close to being identical. The low mow does stimulate the crowns of the plant but doesn’t rip out the new growth and also gets rid of the extra debris.

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