How to estimate and perform a 3,500 sq ft lawn reseeding job.

As a lawn care business owner, you are going to be called to some jobs that are going to be easy where all you need to do is show up and mow. While there are going to be other properties where you totally need to re-do the entire lawn. Starting a lawn from scratch, especially on a larger property can be very intimidating for a newer business owner. That is why this one entrepreneur got on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum and asked for some help on how to perform and estimate a 3,500 sqft lawn renovation job.

He wrote “I am currently working on a lawn care bid for a client. He has a 3,500 sq ft lawn that he wants reseeded. The old grass is completely dead and gone. There is nothing there but hard desert dirt. The property will need to be tilled and I am thinking 4-6″ of top soil plus another 1″ over seeds.

I don’t have any attachments for my riding lawn mower to do this so I will have to do it all by hand. I am thinking with the ground, it will take all day about 8-9 hrs work. I was wanting to get some opinions on what you would charge to see how close I am on my bidding.

I got a rototiller that I will be using. When I say I will be doing this job by hand, I mean I will be using a small walk behind tiller. I don’t prefer to do it this way, but since I have this equipment, I figure I might as well use it. I am not sure how this will effect the time to perform the job. The ground is pretty hard compacted clay but my tiller is pretty decent I hope at cutting through that stuff.”

A second lawn care business owner suggested “rent as big of a rototiller that you can afford. This job should take 3 hr with the rental and you should be able to zip right through it. I performed a similar job recently on a 2,000 sq ft. lawn that took me about an hour.

The reason why I suggest renting the biggest tiller is to get some weight over the tiller. Especially in hard compacted clay soil. Weight is very helpful in getting the tiller to dig and to dampen the vibration you will take as the operator. Even with a heavy tiller, it still beat the crap out of me but I zipped right though it. Using a walk behind light weight model will take forever. Even if the soil isn’t too compacted.

As I was doing this job, I was concerned with the rental time. I kept thinking go faster, need to get it back before the 3 hrs are up. But I was done in an hour. The total rental time which included picking it up and dropping it off was 2 hrs.

At first I didn’t add the top soil like you are which may take you a little more time. I would suggest lay down 2″ of topsoil and mix it in about 4″ deep with the other soil. Also only put 1/4″ of soil over seeds.

With this job, I went down about 4-6in. I even had time to re do a few areas that were much harder than others. If you are worried about how hard the ground is going to be, try to soak it the day before, to get some moisture in there but not so much that the ground is muddy.

The final results were great! The customer now has the greenest yard on the street now and doesn’t need near as much water now as he needed before.”

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