Selling aeration services can be a great way to make your lawn care business more profitable. It’s relatively easy to learn to bid. It doesn’t require a huge equipment investment, and it’s not a complicated task. It also can extend your season in spring and fall because aeration services are best performed when grass is not aggressively growing.
One of the biggest reasons customers often pass on aeration services is that unlike the need for mowing, which makes itself known in obvious ways, detecting the need for aeration is far more subtle. The good news is that lawns do communicate when they’re compacted, and they do it in many ways. The key is to teach customers to read the signs that indicate a lawn could use an oxygen boost. That way, customers will see the indicators and make the aeration call for themselves.
Begin with the Basics
Many customers won’t know what aeration is or does, so it’s best to give them a short description. Something like “making small holes in the lawn so the soil gets more oxygen, nutrients and water” should suffice. Tell customers that while the lawn may look good now, there are key things to watch for down the road that will indicate that an aeration treatment is in order.
- Excessive hardness: Soil can become compacted easily, which leads to many turf problems because it prevents roots from getting water, oxygen and nutrients. Vehicles or small equipment (yes, even mowers) driven on lawns are obvious culprits, but even outdoor entertaining or kids and pets playing in the yard can leave all or part of a lawn compacted. Advise customers to regularly check to see how the soil feels under their feet.
- Puddling after a rain: Customers should watch to see if there are areas of the lawn where water is pooling. If the pooling can’t be explained by grade or an unusually aggressive downpour, aeration could be the key to getting water into the lawn’s root system where it’s needed.
- Thatch at the surface: Thatch is a layer of dead organic matter that accumulates on top of a lawn. If thatch is thicker than 0.5 inch, it can prevent water, oxygen and nutrients from getting to the root system. Aeration helps to decompose thatch at a faster rate.
- Thinning grass: While there are many reasons healthy lawns can begin to thin out, compacted soil is often at fault. Tell customers to be on watch for scraggly areas and let them know that aeration could help beef up the lawn by allowing it to get more nutrients.
- Areas of discoloration: Yellow and brown spots in a lawn are usually a sign of trouble, signaling roots are not getting what they need to thrive.
Sell Aeration and Plant Some Seeds
The above indicators are all sound aeration conversation starters. Should the conversation begin, don’t forget to add that aeration time is the best time to overseed. It all has to do with the germination rate. The germination rate is the ratio between the number of grass seeds planted and the number that grows. While the average germination rate for many grass varieties falls within the 80 percent range, a range between 90 percent to 95 percent is preferable.
Hole Lot of Germinating Going On
The holes created by aeration not only allow water, air and nutrients to circulate, but they also provide an avenue for grass seeds. Along with increased contact with the soil, these little holes make protected spots where seeds can sprout. In essence, aeration makes overseeding more effective. Take note: Overseeding can be done in spring or fall, but it’s best paired with aeration in fall. That’s because warm soil and cool air make a wonderful combo for seed growth.
Simply put, aeration sells itself, especially when you educate customers about its benefits and how a lawn sends up metaphorical white flags asking you to loosen it up. Take the time to educate customers on what to be on the lookout for when it comes to compacted soil, and you’ll see your requests for aeration germinate like healthy grass seeds.