My lawn is in rough shape. I live in Colorado and I have no shade so over the years the sun has killed off the sod I planted. This fall I plan on reseeding with drought tolerant seed. I have been looking around at some of the services being offered. One company has quoted me $175 to have the lawn aerated and seed added. They will not put down any compost. Is this something that if I do it will be much more cost effective? I live on a corner lot so they will do the front, side and back.
Depending on the area being covered, you could reach a break point where the cost of renting the aerator ($50-75) and buying the seed ($25) would be somewhat less expensive than $175. But IMHO if you factor in your time to go pick up the machine, buy the seed , figure out how to use the machine effectively, do the work, and then return the machine - you are much better off paying the $175. For that money you buy back your Saturday and, at least in theory, get a professional application.
I would like to see compost go down, so you might want to find someone who will do that as well. Just be aware that the composting might cost more than the aerating and seeding.
How big is the area? I would say as a refunded resource, (cheap method) buy your seed needed. Get a two handed tiller, "if abled to work" till up your dried out yard. Then dig down into your yard flipping over all the moister dirt underneath. Lay all your seed in the ground.
But just before you do all this. Depending on the area, get a cheap 9 dollar sprittser. One that is vertical of course, being the cheapest one. Every morning right before the sun hits down on your lawn. Turn on the sprayer and let it saturate your tilled yard. After that, turn it off. Then when the sun is starting to go down, lets say 8 o clock . Turn it back on and saturate the yard. Do this everyday. Every morning and afternoon untill grass starts sprouting up. When you start having grass appear. Cease early morning waterings and only do it at sundown.
Sounds like alot of work, I know..But the cheap method is always the hard method..Me though, I find it fun.