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De-thatch, Aerate, and overseeding with moss removal bid (I'm nervous!)

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  • De-thatch, Aerate, and overseeding with moss removal bid (I'm nervous!)

    What would you charge to de-thatch, core aerate, lime, ferrous sulfate monohydrate (moss remover) and over seed half an acre?

    I came to:

    150 for core aerate,
    150 for de-thatching,
    about 200 for chemicals and seed and
    150 for labor.

    $650 for lawn repair seems about right, but also really pricy, this is the biggest project I have taken on to be honest. should I charge more, or less? I live in the pacific north west, medium high cost of living.

    Blahhhh I'm going crazy and I need to send this bid soon as possible help me gopherites!

  • #2
    core aerating

    Did they request to core aerate and dethatch? The core aerating is basically taking care of thatch. The only time I would do both is if it is over 1 and a half inches in thatch. If you were worried about it being too pricy, you could eliminate that. I have a half an acre priced at $255 for core aerating and another $365 for the seed. If I just dethatch without aerating, it is also $255. How do your prices compare to others?

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    • #3
      Hmmm well the main problem (like most north west lawns) is the moss which the de-thatcher should tackle well. The customer did want both, but that is a very good alternative if he finds it too pricey (and I know I would, even if he's in a $400,000+ neighborhood.) I tend to do things slightly cheaper than other guys around here, but I'm not rock bottom cheapest by any means either.

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      • #4
        Here is how I do it.

        *Aeration cost is 4x the mowing cost
        *Dethatching is 4x mowing cost
        *Calculate out the chemicals/seed, add a small mark up for gas and time to get it

        So if I charge say $45 for a half acre, the aeration and dethatching would be $360. Lets say to get the chemicals and seed is a 25 minute roud trip, I feel like charging $25 for that.

        The total for that property is $385

        NOW, if your renting an aerator and dethatcher, you have to factor that stuff in. I own mine, so it's not a problem. I don't factor in labor because that price of $385 includes my labor.


        Thats how I do it, others may be different.

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        • #5
          did u measure to make sure how much seed u are going to need for this project higth quality seed its always a 1poundx1000sqf. i like to put 2pdsx1000 just to make sure.10.000sq=20pds

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          • #6
            Alright so he took the bid for thatching and aerating at 160 a piece 200 for chemicals and seed and 100 for some brush clearing and is referring me to his next door neighbor for the thatching and aerating too.

            I probably low-balled myself a bit but this is the first time taking a project this big for me. Since I had been doing all small lawns all prior to this I just did thatching with a hand thatcher and just charged for my time, which in that scenario was profitable.

            Lord I feel like a noob haha.

            I'll keep you posted I'm going to give him a written bid and talk to his neighbor Saturday and I'll get some before and after of the project.

            Grass Doctor: I did some measuring on Google maps it is a triangular lot and it came to about 12.5k sqft, maybe I'll measure again.

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            • #7
              I probably low-balled myself a bit but this is the first time taking a project this big for me. Since I had been doing all small lawns all prior to this I just did thatching with a hand thatcher and just charged for my time, which in that scenario was profitable.

              Lord I feel like a noob haha.
              Don't feel bad at all! Congrats! Aeration and seeding is a different kind of job to sell. So you gave a quote of what you thought was best for you. Shrug off the fact that you may have lowballed, because I know there are others around you who will do it for less. Heres a case of what happened to me twice last year:

              I sent out quotes to all of my customers last fall on aerations as well as educating them on MY process. My prices are a bit higher than most, but my methods work and work well. (Poke as many holes as you can, use high grade seed -I only use Pennington, put down starter fert, etc.) Of all my customers, 2 chose to go with someone else. The other company was doing it for half my price. They must have thought I was a liar or something, who knows. But when I saw them next, both were upset with the job that was done. Both also let me know it wasn't worth the money and they wish it were done by me.

              I also picked up another customer a few weeks ago. I explained aeration and all that stuff, but she said she was hesitant to do it again after all the money she paid to a guy last year and the piss poor job he did. Her yard would have taken me about an hour and a half, she said the guy was in and out in 10 or 15 minutes. Guys like that ruin this business, and unfortunatly make it harder for us to upsell.

              Some companies do one quick pass with an aerator, throw some "contractor blend" seed down, and rush off to the next job. NOT the way it should be done!

              What you did was perfect. You set a price for YOUR work. Do a good job, make them happy, and more jobs will come! Heck, I finished an aeration and found this ladies sprinklers in her bushes and set them up, got the angles rights, and told her all she had to do was turn them on! A quick 2 minute process made this lady very happy with the service!

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              • #8
                Ahhhh that's why I love this forum, thanks. I feel REALLY bad for guys out there trying to do it all on their own without any support. I'm really excited to get this experience under my belt, and of course watch this customers lawn turn from moss to lush.

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                • #9
                  460.00 does not seen in my eyes as low balling for 3 to 4 hours of work haaaa nice day

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                  • #10
                    Good luck with it all. I'd like to hear more how your estimated time compared with your actual time when you are done. And what if anything you would change about the bid.
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                    • #11
                      depends on how long the brush clearing takes hahaha... haha.. ha. Luckly I Don't run on gas so brush clearing is 100% profit.

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                      • #12
                        Luckly I Don't run on gas so brush clearing is 100% profit.
                        Well, there is something called opportunity costs. If you could make more money within a specific time on another job, you could be losing money on an underbid one. That is why it's so important to get your best price for each job.
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                        • #13
                          ALRIGHT! It has been a busy weekend. My customer "A" took the bid and his neighbor "B" took it too so in total so far I have completed:

                          De-thatching @ 210.00 per yard. $50.00 was added for rental fee (by their own suggestion)

                          I Got the lime down after the de-thatching, spent about $60.00 charged $100.00


                          And I did the brush clearing, which was more of selectively killing blackberry briers (invasive specie) and leaving the natural fauna alone.

                          Anyways I got really carried away and instead of just pushing it back 6' along the 200' of property that is against a forest, I removed all traces of blackberries, in some places about 30' wide.

                          So he gave me a 150.00 tip totaling to 250.00 for brush clearing

                          customer "B" gave me a decent tip for the de-thatching as well.

                          all-in-all I spent 4 days on it. Paying 12.00/hour for help would have been worth it cleaning up all the leftover thatch.

                          I still have the moss killer and seed to put down, I'm also going to suggest some nitrogen to kick start the lawn. Core-aeration which we agreed would be done late april or early may. And hopefully a contract to cut his lawn at 70.00/cut and $50.00/month to maintain the forested area.

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                          • #14
                            What does it cost you in fuel for equiptment and truck? What about insurance, liscensing, taxes, fees, equiptment rental, truck maintenance? How much do you want to make an hour? How much does your equiptment cost? Whats your overhead? (I dont care, and dont want to know, but you should, and you should know.)

                            Something doesnt add up. 200 linear ft on one leg, means about 200 on the other. 1/2B*H = 20,000ft. Either he has a massive house that takes up 7,500 ft, or an acute triangle for lawn. Anyway... $70/cut, but you will dethatch for $160?? Does this include bagging up the thatch? 4 days and around $650 and your still not done? How much mark up on the grass, and moss killer?
                            Why did you apply lime?

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                            • #15
                              What does it cost you in fuel for equiptment and truck? What about insurance, liscensing, taxes, fees, equiptment rental, truck maintenance? How much do you want to make an hour? How much does your equiptment cost? Whats your overhead? (I dont care, and dont want to know, but you should, and you should know.)

                              Something doesnt add up. 200 linear ft on one leg, means about 200 on the other. 1/2B*H = 20,000ft. Either he has a massive house that takes up 7,500 ft, or an acute triangle for lawn. Anyway... $70/cut, but you will dethatch for $160?? Does this include bagging up the thatch? 4 days and around $650 and your still not done? How much mark up on the grass, and moss killer? Why did you apply lime?
                              He's got a massive house with a very large driveway and it is a triangular property, you nailed it.


                              Yeah it included bagging up the thatch, I am going to charge more for de-thatching in the future.

                              I am far more confident in my mowing and edging, and less confident in de-thatching and the chemical application. The difference shows through in my bids. I am more confident now, though.

                              I put lime on because it is on top of a hill with a lot of water run off and heavy use of nitrogen based fertilizer, as well as a lot of cedar trees which further acidify the soil.

                              I am nearly done, it was just starting to rain as I finished the lime and the aeration should be done later in the season.

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