The purpose of aeration is to alleviate compaction in lawns allowing water and nutrients to reach the roots of turf grass. It also promotes root growth which improves the quality of the lawn. The most effective type of aeration is core aeration. Core aeration is achieved by a machine with tines pulling a core of soil out of the ground creating a void. There are other methods of aeration but they only work well in sandy soils or where compaction is not a major concern. Aeration is generally done in the spring and fall.
What you need
You need an aeration machine, broom or leaf blower, and a method of transporting the equipment. There are many commercial aeration machines on the market. Two of the best are Ryan and the Blue Bird. Basically, the machines are like a large walk-behind lawnmower. They are heavy and require some muscle to use. They are best transported in a small trailer. The broom or leaf blower is to clean up any mess you make pulling the cores or “plugs” as they are often called.
Investment – less than $5,000
Income potential – depends on number of clients and local market conditions. You can expect to make between $30 to $50 for each residential home, based on a quarter acer lot. Expect to spend at least 15 to 20 minutes per yard. It is best to find out what others are charging in your area and be competitive. Not all jobs are the same so be careful charging a flat rate.
Add on service: lawn fertilization. This can be an additional $20 to $30 or more per property. It takes less time than the aeration does and can be done as much a 5 times per year with 3 times being the average. For this service figure out a price per square foot based on your overhead and product cost. A commercial grade walk behind spreader will cost between $200 and $400.