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IRRITECH
11-10-2006, 11:27 PM
Landscape contractor we work for picked up the landscape installs on a 600 lot subdivision. 1/4 acre track homes in the $175K. Developer says he will pay for irrigation if I provide a minimum of 3 zones and keep the price to $1800/house.

Question

1. Would you toss your principles out the window for a shot @ $1M worth of work over the next couple of years?

2. How do you design a system like that?

I guess 4 rotors in the frot, 4 in the back and 3 sprays on each side. I don't know if I can live w/ that.

Labor and Materials approx $1250/ house. 2 houses minimum/day.

SprinklerGuy
11-10-2006, 11:42 PM
If you have the balls to do it....it could make or break you.

I went through this in Arizona...I did 750 trac homes....they needed timer/breaker/1 valve in front for drip/1 valve in front for 500 square foot of grass.

I hired 3 guys....I had one guy hang all the timers/breakers....I had the other two guys trenching and installing...all day every day 6 days per week for quite awhile...

Keep in mind..this was way before the insurance companies started hammering the subs on these jobs....some folks premiums put them out of business...

Also...be ready to wait for your money....I had a HUGE credit line that kept me afloat.....but 90 days was a long time to wait for cash.

It was fun...would I do it again? Probably not...but I am different now with different goals for business and life.

Good luck to you.....

Cheap backflows in bulk....cheap Hunter timers.....valves by the pallet....you'd be suprised how cheap you can do these...

IRRITECH
11-10-2006, 11:50 PM
If you have the balls to do it....it could make or break you.

I went through this in Arizona...I did 750 trac homes....they needed timer/breaker/1 valve in front for drip/1 valve in front for 500 square foot of grass.

I hired 3 guys....I had one guy hang all the timers/breakers....I had the other two guys trenching and installing...all day every day 6 days per week for quite awhile...

Keep in mind..this was way before the insurance companies started hammering the subs on these jobs....some folks premiums put them out of business...

Also...be ready to wait for your money....I had a HUGE credit line that kept me afloat.....but 90 days was a long time to wait for cash.

It was fun...would I do it again? Probably not...but I am different now with different goals for business and life.

Good luck to you.....

Cheap backflows in bulk....cheap Hunter timers.....valves by the pallet....you'd be suprised how cheap you can do these...


Dual Check Backflows (by code)
Yeah, Src Timers
4-strand wire
6" valve Boxes (no Manifolds)
pipe by the pallet
Whoevers valve I can get the best deal on
etc,etc,etc.......

Credit line not a problem on materials
Labor could be an issue but w/ a signed contract I can get short term money.

But can I live w/ it. Sell you soul for a $?

Dirty Water
11-10-2006, 11:54 PM
But can I live w/ it. Sell you soul for a $?

No, the poor reputation will last longer than the money you made.

We have builders out here that try to get 3-4 zone systems put in for $1k.

Its nuts, we don't even bother. Let the bottom feeders fight over them while your reputation keeps getting you $15k jobs.

SprinklerGuy
11-10-2006, 11:56 PM
You can do a system that is functional...it may not be a Mercedes....but Hyundais will get you to work.

Look at your hard costs....how much more the insurance will cost you.....you know what to look at.

you will be suprised at how much more efficient this will force you to become and that will carry over into the rest of your business.....

Ultimately you have to decide if you want to do this sort of huge volume w/ low margins or not.....

kozmo
11-11-2006, 06:02 AM
If the builder has a good record with payment then i would do it. that kind of system you should be able to do min 3 per day if not more. the service generated would be incredible and as far as reputation any customer has a complaint its the builder s system and sell up grades after the fact. i think the more important issues is that no other phase of your business suffers that is were the money is not worth it and your rep gets ruined. that i see often good luck and make a money grab.

Flow Control
11-11-2006, 07:54 AM
Sounds decent to me, not sure how much you pay for material and labor but I would guess you could get your cost between 800-1000 per unit. Like kozmo said service could be huge. Price out a few normally for parts and price out a few if you used mp's and see if they would help out.

DeepRoots
11-11-2006, 09:12 AM
sell my soul for a $
suuuure
I'd do it.... tho I'd do it in atlanta, and keep my high end customers down here.

Hank Reardon
11-11-2006, 10:26 AM
This is one of those times when you may want to add a DBA on your business license and run all the "B Team" work through it. :)

Like Kozmo said, you'd generate a lot of service work repairing inferior systems (all the way from controller to nozzle) and forced to tell the client there isn't any wire or main line to fix it correctly.

I went on a call this summer at a subdivision like what you are speaking. From a service standpoint, train wreck. For myself, I wouldn't go down that road.

Can you deal with the builder and off upgrades to the buyers? They do it with carpet, appliances, etc. Why not landscape? Honestly though, how much would the extra wire and valve (or two) impact the cost of a house to be done right?

BSME
11-11-2006, 01:12 PM
I liked Hanks points of running the JV squad and giving the homeowner the chance to upgrade for things like shrub zones and such

Flow Control
11-11-2006, 01:18 PM
Trying to sell upgrades is a given. Try to talk to the owners before hand. Since we all know they are probably already assuming the beds are part of the package.

Mad Estonian
11-11-2006, 02:07 PM
As far as your moral dilemna, I can totally appreciate that, but the fact is, if you don't do it, someone else will. Some aspects of the job seem to be out of your control, but what you can control is the overall quality of the work, that at least, for what it is, it's as good as it can be. Not saying that's a good enough reason to take it on, but it's a consideration. Conversely, it's also a great opportunity for you to become a total sleazebag operator. So who needs primer? (Just make sure you dissolve the company before anybody actually moves in).:angel:

IRRITECH
11-11-2006, 02:08 PM
Can you deal with the builder and off upgrades to the buyers? They do it with carpet, appliances, etc. Why not landscape? Honestly though, how much would the extra wire and valve (or two) impact the cost of a house to be done right?


Probably not at this price level. Dropping an extra wire or two wouldn't affect the price all that much but, breaking out the shrubs and turf into seprate zones(like they should be) could get costly. My fear with that is that I end up w/ a 6-8 zone system and take two days to put it in. These would have to be a rotor in the four corners of the front and back and three sprays down the side along the property line spraying back towards the house. I'm talking about watering sidewalks, patios, etc.

PROFESSORRAIN
11-11-2006, 06:00 PM
Maybe it's me but I can do a 4 zone builder home by myself in 6 hours covered up.just a basic system,but I do 4 rotors or 8 spray's to a zone......
I would say Sold as I go to the bank!

YardPro
11-11-2006, 06:58 PM
what king of flow do you guys have??

here we can get 12 gpm from a city supply no problem...
that is up to 6 rotors....


most of our homes are 4 zone systems.

IRRITECH
11-11-2006, 07:38 PM
what king of flow do you guys have??

here we can get 12 gpm from a city supply no problem...
that is up to 6 rotors....


most of our homes are 4 zone systems.


we zone @ 12gpm Most of the time the pressure around here is unbelievable 80 psi + so if we need to stretch it we will.

PROFESSORRAIN
11-11-2006, 08:17 PM
Our mters are 3/4" we can get more, but why?builder's around here are cheap!#17 home builder in the U.S is here 90% of the homes NO IRRIGATION.Also new sub. div. will lose pressure then you fall short.

Hank Reardon
11-11-2006, 08:41 PM
Due to the size of the project, how about using two-wire? That will give everyone the flexibility down the road. Can that be done within the budget?

Dirty Water
11-11-2006, 08:49 PM
Due to the size of the project, how about using two-wire? That will give everyone the flexibility down the road. Can that be done within the budget?

I'm pretty sure its talking about a single timer per house, not one huge community system.

If he was talking about a community system, he would be talking about 4" looped mains etc :) 2-wire is only a good alternative when the system is large, a 4-6 zone system would be a waste.

Just run a 10 conductor multistrand instead of whatever he usually runs and he can throw in a few more zones if the need be.

That said, we don't do inferior work to make a buck, we built a reputation on high quality, and we get larg

sheshovel
11-11-2006, 09:02 PM
I have to say that if you NEED it for exposure and learning then do it for $1800.00.However
I would counter offer $2000.00 no lower than $1950.00 per home.
He expects you to counter offer, that's how these things work.

SprinklerGuy
11-11-2006, 10:32 PM
Actually....that really isn't the way these things work.

The builder can probably find some schmuck to do it for less than the 1800...or at the least can find someone to do it for his price.

If you want to do it...there will be some concessions on both sides of the fence...just don't compromise on insurance and any other regulatory stuff....because he will hang you out to dry if there is a problem.

Take it from someone who has been down this road...it can make you a great living...and if it works out, it won't be the last subdivision you get into. You can do this type of 'tract' work for the rest of your career and retire early if done properly...or you can go bankrupt if not done properly. And the builder.....he doesn't give a rats arse either way.

That my friend...is how these things work.

Hank Reardon
11-11-2006, 11:22 PM
I'm pretty sure its talking about a single timer per house, not one huge community system.

If he was talking about a community system, he would be talking about 4" looped mains etc :) 2-wire is only a good alternative when the system is large, a 4-6 zone system would be a waste.

Just run a 10 conductor multistrand instead of whatever he usually runs and he can throw in a few more zones if the need be.

That said, we don't do inferior work to make a buck, we built a reputation on high quality, and we get larg

Is is a waste due to the decoder and controller? As I don't understand 2-wire, I'm not sure I'm following you :o . Outside of what I've read here and now the current article in Irrigation and Green Industry, I have very little knowledge on 2-wire. I hope to get more literature from some of the companies noted in the magazine.

If it were me, I'd try working with the builder to install extra wire like Jon indicated. It would sure make me sleep better knowing the systems are upgradable.

Tadams
11-11-2006, 11:42 PM
The way I see it is like this: Can you sleep at night knowing that you have not done the best job that you can do? If you are not making enough money then your quality of work will start to taper off. You will start cutting corners because of every little slowdown in production. You may be able to put in 2 zones a day, but you are not gonna be able to do this every day.

PROFESSORRAIN
11-12-2006, 12:23 AM
If you don't mind who are buying materials through.materials max should be $500.00.Buy in bulk suppliers will give heavy % dicount.plus manufactors rebates.what line of product do you install?

Dirty Water
11-12-2006, 03:26 AM
Is is a waste due to the decoder and controller? As I don't understand 2-wire, I'm not sure I'm following you :o . Outside of what I've read here and now the current article in Irrigation and Green Industry, I have very little knowledge on 2-wire. I hope to get more literature from some of the companies noted in the magazine.

If it were me, I'd try working with the builder to install extra wire like Jon indicated. It would sure make me sleep better knowing the systems are upgradable.


The beauty of two wire is that you can upgrade it to huge amount of zones, without running tons of wire.

In commercial applications, where you are looking at 100+ zones, 2-wire suddenly seems nice instead of running over 100 individual runs of 14 ga.

When your only talking about 4 zones, why bother? Considering the added reliability of NOT having the decoder, and how much less expensive it would be.

Rainman7
11-12-2006, 07:52 AM
I think your material/labor est. is a little high. It would cost us approx. $700/house if we did 3/day with 3 mechanics plus myself. You should work it out so you could do a min. of 2-3 houses/day.

Do you use pvc or poly over there?

One thing that you should work out is the charge for callbacks. Make sure you get in there right before sod or seed. Make sure all utilites are in and no other excavation is needs to be done. Your profit could get eaten up pretty quick if the builder decides to intall drainage or something after the system is in and he expects you to repair it for free.

Good luck!

DanaMac
11-12-2006, 03:13 PM
One thing to watch for, is how many homes will be ready at a time. You might hire 1-3 guys for this work, but if the homes are going in one at a time and you can't keep them busy while waiting on homes to be finished, then you might end up with high turnover on the employees and having to train new guys all the time. Now if they have 50-100 homes ready for you now, then you know you'll stay busy on this project for a while.

The new home construction market has hit a wall and is slowing down a lot in almost every market. Those numbers may tail of to 300-400 over a couple years. And I have found builders to really exagerate their projected numbers - at least when I worked with them. Also expect them to want more for less as the project goes on. "Hey while you're there, could you do such and such? And since we give you all this work it should be free."

We keep giving you a lot of bad case scenarios, but I still think it might be a good thing for you.

IRRITECH
11-12-2006, 07:05 PM
Two houses a day is what I firgure we could do right now. Maybe that could be improved over time. 2-wire systems are out of the question, yu can't even buy a controller for $1800. The price is not negotiable, the landscape contractor bid this thing without asking me, total price for the landscape/irrigation is 5500. The landscape contractor sold the builder @ $2000 for the Irrigation and if I want to do it i get $1800. The Landscape guy is on the hook for the extras as I would bill mine. Thanks for all the advice guys, I've really got to Think about this and the future direction of my business.

Jim

PurpHaze
11-13-2006, 09:24 AM
The price is not negotiable, the landscape contractor bid this thing without asking me, total price for the landscape/irrigation is 5500. The landscape contractor sold the builder @ $2000 for the Irrigation and if I want to do it i get $1800. The Landscape guy is on the hook for the extras as I would bill mine.

Hmmm... So you'll be a sub-contractor for a sub-contractor? How's the payment to be handled? I've seen a lot of guys down the food chain never get their money.