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Business Owners & Managers

How to Sell and Charge for Aeration Services

Pricing is one of the biggest challenges facing every lawn care business owner. Price too high and you lose customers; charge too little and you lose money.

Offering the right services at the right price can make the difference between making a profit and going out of business.

One of the best ways to boost your bottom line is by “upselling” existing clients on additional services above and beyond basic mowing and trimming.

Spring and fall aeration are popular add-ons which produce visible benefits to the clients' lawn and soil. But what should you charge for aeration?

Here are a few different pricing models to consider:

Time-based rate

Charging clients an hourly rate (or a portion tof) is a straightforward and transparent pricing system. The bigger a job and the longer it takes, the more you get paid.

However, there are a few pitfalls that you should factor in when setting a price.

Calculate the amount of time you spend travelling, setting up your equipment and cleaning up; 30 minutes of aerating may take you up to an hour from the time you arrive to the time you depart.

Don't forget to factor in the cost of your aeration equipment and your ongoing fuel and maintenance requirements to keep it running in good order.

Lastly, consider setting a minimum price for any aeration job. The time and expense of travel, loading and unloading your equipment, set up and clean up may not be worth the effort for a 15-minute job if you are charging for time spent aerating alone.

Price per square foot

Pricing according the square footage of the lawn is similar to charging an hourly rate; the bigger the lawn, the bigger the cost to the client.

To set a fair price you need to determine how long it takes you on average to aerate 1,000 square feet, not just in straight lines but factoring in navigation around walkways, flower beds, trees, etc.

In general, one 10,000 square-foot lawn will take you less time than aerating 10 lawns that are 1,000 square feet each, so make sure you aren't shortchanging yourself on smaller properties.

Flat-rate pricing

Perhaps the simplest billing model of all, a flat-rate fee allows you to charge a pre-set rate, regardless of how long it actually takes to complete the job.

This model offers predictable and consistent pricing to your clients – something that is always appreciated. It also allows you set a minimum rate, ensuring you aren't losing money on smaller jobs.

Base your flat fees on the size of the property: for example, one set price for lots under 10,000 square feet, one for lots between 10,000 – 30,000, and one for 30,000-50,000.

You can always provide custom quotes and discounted pricing for exceptionally large jobs, or for a number of small jobs in close proximity, such as a number of neighbors on one street who all agree to having their lawns aerated on the same day.

Know your market

Whichever pricing model you decide on, research your local market first before setting your rates. Know what your competitors are charging for similar-sized jobs using similar equipment.

You want to be competitively-priced to offer value to your clients and attract new business, but not at a negative cost to your own bottom line.

What methods do you use to price out aeration services (or others)? Join our forum to share your tips or ask other pros for advice.