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DanaMac
04-28-2007, 09:36 AM
Let's keep this thread for good, bad, funny, interesting stories from the jobsite. Not debating parts, prices, install practices, etc.

I had a customer last fall call for blowing out the system. So we put her on the schedule. A week or so later she called back saying not to worry about it, a friend took care of it for them.

Well I showed up yesterday and after replacing the cracked PVB, PVC leading to the manifold, and a cracked valve and filter for the drip, that "friend" needs to be taking this couple out for a dinner and drinks a few times. It'll probably run at least $350-$400 in repairs that this friend caused.

SprinklerGuy
04-28-2007, 09:38 AM
Sniff Sniff Sniff......Sniff

DanaMac
04-28-2007, 09:40 AM
Usually poly pipe will only crack a few inches in length, unlike PVC that can shatter for a long run (the longest I saw was 60'). My technician repaired a 15' length of poly pipe that was cracked the whole length. He said the pipe felt really hard and brittle, and even cracked a couple times when inserting the coupler. It will probably crack again at some point.

anyone else see this before? Not sure where the pipe came from or who installed or how old.

DanaMac
04-28-2007, 09:41 AM
Sniff Sniff Sniff......Sniff

Don't cry Tony, you're not forking out the cash. and I know you have plenty of stories, so chime in.

SprinklerGuy
04-28-2007, 09:42 AM
OK
I have a hold of myself now...

I have seen it with 1/2 inch poly in Arizona...never seen it here as of yet....the Poly in Arizona was presumed to have been stored outside in the SUN too long, the UV rays causing some sort of molecular breakdown...or so the guys at the counter were trained to say ;)

SprinklerGuy
04-28-2007, 09:43 AM
Would you like to go fish 11 mile canyon next Wednesday after you help me pull 600 feet of poly and install drip to 51 trees out there very close to the fishing?

Thanks...I'll pencil you in..you still work free?

DanaMac
04-28-2007, 09:44 AM
Wish I could. Schedule is full for a couple weeks now.

SprinklerGuy
04-28-2007, 09:47 AM
So is mine....but spring fishing in the Canyon cannot be beat......;)

Probably snow..my luck....

I am headed out soon to work another 12 hour day..you?

DanaMac
04-28-2007, 10:10 AM
Oh yes, leaving soon.

today I get to rebuild an above ground manifold that completely broke off and got busted up by snow falling off a roof and crushing it. At least that is what he is telling me. As much as I hate the look of above ground manifolds, they are easy to work on.

And I think I have 4 Febco bonnets to replace today. Easy $$$$$$!!!!!

SprinklerGuy
04-28-2007, 10:20 AM
lol

Mine are all just regular startups for regular customers and 2 bids...

7 for 7 btw...added 10 extra percent to the one 2 days ago....he called last nite and practically begged me to start......

Answer the phone.....show up on time.......make money.....too bad about winter.

Flow Control
04-28-2007, 06:44 PM
My service guy had a call today to help a customer turn their system on. We have only serviced the customer the past two winterizations and have not replaced any parts. Well my service guy calls ahead and the customer (X now) says "Me no pay you to turn on" after a wtf? thought I find out that the customer can't turn his valve on in his basement and that it is stuck. And he wants me to send someone over to turn it on for him for free. The kickers 1) He had turned his own valve in the basement off last fall & we winterized from the outside of the house 2) We did not install the system or the gate valve (we only use lever valves) So I radio back to tell the tech to just go home. So if anyone that wants to work for free I have a service call for you.

CAPT Stream Rotar
04-28-2007, 06:51 PM
one day my boss was using the outside mulch bed facalites on an install..

he said give a holler if anyone comes around the corner...as he got done saying that 2 seconds homeowner (female in 50's) walks around the bend...I shout real loud"HOSS /how is that valve box coming over there......she almost bagged him/privates if he was 2 seconds late..

good times

Mike Leary
04-28-2007, 07:07 PM
one day my boss was using the outside mulch bed facalites on an install..

he said give a holler if anyone comes around the corner...as he got done saying that 2 seconds homeowner (female in 50's) walks around the bend...I shout real loud"HOSS /how is that valve box coming over there......she almost bagged him/privates if he was 2 seconds late..

good times

Ho ho.....like we care....forum is teaching/funny..not mindless.

CAPT Stream Rotar
04-28-2007, 07:21 PM
Let's keep this thread for good, bad, funny, interesting stories from the jobsite. Not debating parts, prices, install practices, etc.

I had a customer last fall call for blowing out the system. So we put her on the schedule. A week or so later she called back saying not to worry about it, a friend took care of it for them.

Well I showed up yesterday and after replacing the cracked PVB, PVC leading to the manifold, and a cracked valve and filter for the drip, that "friend" needs to be taking this couple out for a dinner and drinks a few times. It'll probably run at least $350-$400 in repairs that this friend caused.

did i read the thread title wrong mike...sorry about that....like i said its a miracle i can acess the internet..I amaze myself sometimes...

bobw
04-28-2007, 07:47 PM
Well, I just got in from the worst PITA customer start up for the season. A bad solenoid, a rotor that siezed up, a couple heads that needed lifting, a whole zone that needed conversion from sprays to mp rotators, and a wireless rain sensor that needed replacing due to losing signals. All pretty standard stuff, but all of this was in my OWN yard... :(

irrig8r
04-28-2007, 08:09 PM
Here's most of a letter I wrote to a problem customer late last summer. It's kind of self-explanatory.

John had an old electromechanical Toro clock that I changed out to a new Rain Bird ESP-M. (One of those situations where the contractor default program came in handy because he'd screwed it up so much.)

His reply told me to take him to court if I wanted any money. I decided it wasn't worth it for the balance due. He was an old guy who had seemed nice to begin with. The more complicated it got the more difficult he and his wife became.

I let it go, he sent me one last note to tell me he'd found someone else to replace his additional faulty and aging actuators. At that point I was just glad he became someone else's headache.

I felt bad when I heard he died this past winter. I knew he was up there in years. Turned out he was in his early nineties. Spry old curmudgeon. He'd had heart troubles a few years earlier and was due for a pacemake change. Oh well.





August 21, 2006

Dear Mr. and Mrs. X,

I was hoping that it would not come to this. Your repeated and persistent phone calls are bordering on harassment.

The initial work that I agreed to on your property was completed on July 3. Any subsequent visits I’ve made have not been billed for, though I have every right to.

I have “bent over backwards” to please you, going beyond any obligation, and yet you keep asking for more.

Your phone message yesterday threatening to report me to the Contractors State License Board (C.S.L.B.) for work that you consider “unfinished” has helped me to make up my mind not to do any further work for you.

I am enclosing copies of two invoices and an additional copy of the sprinkler schedule I prepared.

I was left stunned and speechless on July 3 when John offered me only $20.00 for the four hours of work I performed. I had since prepared an invoice but hadn’t gotten around to sending it until now.

I don’t expect you to pay the balances due because you don’t seem to understand the technical nature of the service I performed, and I couldn’t actually complete the diagnostic work because you wouldn’t allow me to trace the wires through the garage.


The original work that I performed on June 30 was testing your old sprinkler timer, replacing it with a new one, programming the new one, and testing it to see that all of your lawn areas were being watered properly. When I left all the lawn sprinklers were working properly except for one small section of one of the front lawns.

As arranged, I returned on July 3 to combine two existing valves on one timer station (so that a broken wire was bypassed) and all of the lawns were now being watered.

At the time, another problem surfaced: John thought there was something wrong with the timer. I investigated, and found that the valve controlling the back lawn sprinklers was still running, independent of the timer.

In other words, the timer was working properly and the lawn station had run through its cycle and was “off” as far as the timer was concerned, but the valve was stuck open.

As I explained to John at the time, all the other valves were accounted for, but that one that was stuck on was the one we hadn’t found. I assumed a mechanical problem - something stuck in the valve or worn rubber parts, either of which could have caused the valve to stay in the open or “on” position.

John couldn’t remember the location of the valve, and he was in fact under the impression that a different valve controlled those sprinklers.

With both my electronic diagnostic tools and by manually "bleeding" the valve I established that the valve John assumed was watering the back lawn was connected to other sprinklers long ago capped off, and had nothing to do with the valve that was stuck “on”.

I spent more than four hours chasing down the lost sprinkler valve. I picked up a strong locator signal along the control wire, across the back lawn and under the concrete walk to the back door of the garage.

I also picked up a faint locator signal at the front of the garage, and discovered a round valve box that had been covered with concrete. With John’s permission I broke up the concrete and discovered one valve which I found to be the one controlling sprinklers turned off in the vegetable garden area.

I wanted to trace the stronger signal through the garage, but John wouldn’t let me.

John told me that he could live with turning the sprinkler mainline on and off to allow the timer to water until he had time to cut back the junipers adjacent to the driveway on Mona Way where he thought he might find the lost valve box.

Subsequently I got a call from John about the timer not working properly and not turning off. I stopped by on July 11 and discovered it had been programmed in error, so that some stations were watering as long as 2 and 3 hours. I reprogrammed the timer and went over the manual instructions with John again.

I also took the time to revise the irrigation schedule I had prepared earlier, to reflect shrub area valves left disconnected and the two front lawn valves on one timer station.


Your recent calls about another valve not working properly did not surprise me. You have a twenty year old sprinkler system. Some of the valves I found on your property were not the originals, and had been replaced in recent years. There was every reason to expect additional valves to fail.

Please note that those valve problems still have absolutely nothing to do with the timer that I installed, except perhaps that they are being run more frequently and thus have more opportunities to fail.

I heard that John had been in to purchase more valve actuators at my supplier, so I suspect he has done more tampering with the system. We didn’t have a written contract for the work because the initial amount was less than $500.00, and it was a repair job considered urgent.

I’ve enclosed a copy of the terms and conditions that normally accompany my larger contracts. Please note paragraph 10.c. regarding warranties which expressly addresses tampering by the homeowner.

Please forward a copy of this letter and all the enclosed invoices and other documents with your complaint to the C.S.L.B.

Sincerely,


Blah, blah, blah

Remote Pigtails
04-28-2007, 08:22 PM
Here's most of a letter I wrote to a problem customer late last summer. It's kind of self-explanatory.



Blah, blah, blah[/INDENT][/I]

Greg I feel your pain. That had to be one frustrating episode. I've dealt with issues similar to that involving the elderly. I rarely eat invoices and have even sent minor invoices to small claims court to prove a point. The elderly are a whole different matter and I have eaten a few invoices involving them.

Remote Pigtails
04-28-2007, 08:56 PM
This whole elderly thing made me decide two add my two cents. Both of these call came in yesterday. One was an E lady that said the sensor I put in wasn't working, she had used 48,000 gallons of h2o and was going to get fined by the city if I didn't get out there. I didn't recognize the name or the address. So I called back and she handed the phone to her son who starts chewing me out. i remained calm, got a few questions in and when he said I had installed the system and put sod in last month I knew I was the wrong person and explained that to him. So he puts me back on the phone with his Mom and while she is trying to talk to me he is screaming at her. Turns out she had been taken by some guy for a lousy system and sod job. The guy that did it had my company name and number on his invoice.

The second is an elderly couple in my church. i checked their system and the bill was higher than normal. I explained that two rotors had been topped off by the yard service. She called a day later and asked to save and bring the rotors by so she could get reimbursed by the yard service which I did. Yesterday she calls and says the yard service said I was responsible because the heads were too high (I did not install the system and one of the heads had been previously repaired by the YP cuz it was a HD head. The other head was a PGP that hung up.) They also told her I ripped her off on the price of the rotors (I charged 19 ea plus the hourly rate) and they should have not cost more than 6.00. Now she wants an explanation from me.:dizzy:

CAPT Stream Rotar
04-28-2007, 09:14 PM
This whole elderly thing made me decide two add my two cents. Both of these call came in yesterday. One was an E lady that said the sensor I put in wasn't working, she had used 48,000 gallons of h2o and was going to get fined by the city if I didn't get out there. I didn't recognize the name or the address. So I called back and she handed the phone to her son who starts chewing me out. i remained calm, got a few questions in and when he said I had installed the system and put sod in last month I knew I was the wrong person and explained that to him. So he puts me back on the phone with his Mom and while she is trying to talk to me he is screaming at her. Turns out she had been taken by some guy for a lousy system and sod job. The guy that did it had my company name and number on his invoice.

The second is an elderly couple in my church. i checked their system and the bill was higher than normal. I explained that two rotors had been topped off by the yard service. She called a day later and asked to save and bring the rotors by so she could get reimbursed by the yard service which I did. Yesterday she calls and says the yard service said I was responsible because the heads were too high (I did not install the system and one of the heads had been previously repaired by the YP cuz it was a HD head. The other head was a PGP that hung up.) They also told her I ripped her off on the price of the rotors (I charged 19 ea plus the hourly rate) and they should have not cost more than 6.00. Now she wants an explanation from me.:dizzy:


ouch dude i hope you keep the KY Jelly next to the phone handy...
here is my delima...90 year old lady wants green grass..but dont want to spend $$...is personal friends with my boss...and i know he dont want me doing 3 hrs of free work/materials....so i did my best to get the quick fix and told him the deal...

that sucks pigtails.....how does 1 use your info?and gets away with it....I would be pissed and on the warpath if i were you buddy

irrig8r
04-28-2007, 09:59 PM
Greg I feel your pain. That had to be one frustrating episode. I've dealt with issues similar to that involving the elderly. I rarely eat invoices and have even sent minor invoices to small claims court to prove a point. The elderly are a whole different matter and I have eaten a few invoices involving them.

I have a few older customers. I treat them with respect, even when I have to bite my tongue. Sometimes the requests seem unreasonable, and sometimes they pinch pennies... but I try to put myself in their shoes...

This guy was just a little too much..

Reminded me of another problem customer a couple of years back who told me he'd pay me for the sprinkler renovations "as soon as the lawn turns green". Turned out it wasn't even the schmuck's house... it was his ex-wife's house, and they wanted to get it spiffed up for their daughter's wedding reception... I believe he had every intention of screwing me from the get go... he paid me exactly half, and said I could try to get the rest from his ex. :nono:

What I think I forgot to mention with John was that he sheepishly admitted expanding the garage to two-car width after the sprinkler system was put in. That's how one valve ended up under the driveway, and the other, as far as I can tell, under the garage floor. :laugh:

I was discussing plumbing with one customer recently and suggested she should get a new copper domestic water main line when she could budget for it... She actually didn't realize that the incoming fresh water and the outgoing sewage were two separate systems and used different kinds of plumbing.

How could she live over 70 years with indoor plumbing and not know that? :dizzy:

DanaMac
04-29-2007, 09:59 AM
I have also let a few go because chasing that 60-100 dollars is to much of an aggravation. Probably no more than $500 in 12 years of business though. Which isn't bad really. The bad ones were two landscapers that stiffed me for about $2000 total. One guy went to jail not long after for theft, forgery, fraud, and I would have been very low in line to get paid if I would have pursued it.

Yes the elderly don't get it sometimes. If they have a mechanical controller that needs replacing, I now replace with a mechanical controller. Nothing digital. They will never understand it and always complain about it. And they usually cost more too.

Remote Pigtails
04-29-2007, 10:04 AM
I have also let a few go because chasing that 60-100 dollars is to much of an aggravation. Probably no more than $500 in 12 years of business though. Which isn't bad really. The bad ones were two landscapers that stiffed me for about $2000 total. One guy went to jail not long after for theft, forgery, fraud, and I would have been very low in line to get paid if I would have pursued it.

Yes the elderly don't get it sometimes. If they have a mechanical controller that needs replacing, I now replace with a mechanical controller. Nothing digital. They will never understand it and always complain about it. And they usually cost more too.

One thing I am trying with the elderly is setting them up with the WM smartline and a weather monitor. I've done it to a couple and they really seem relieved to not have to learn a new timer. We'll see how they respond when their summer water bills come in because the smartline really jacks up the run times.

Remote Pigtails
04-29-2007, 10:05 AM
Who makes a mechanical these days? RB is discontinuing the rc is my understanding.

DanaMac
04-29-2007, 10:12 AM
Who makes a mechanical these days? RB is discontinuing the rc is my understanding.

Hadn't heard that. Hopefully not but I wouldn't blame them. Florida and here in Colorado, have the two highest rates for lightning strikes, and the mechanicals are less likely to get damaged from what I've seen. Not sure if Florida uses a higher percentage than other areas because of it.

PurpHaze
04-29-2007, 12:56 PM
Southern Florida may die and blow away due to extreme drought conditions. I understand there are tremendous watering restrictions in effect.

Mike Leary
04-29-2007, 03:12 PM
Hadn't heard that. Hopefully not but I wouldn't blame them. Florida and here in Colorado, have the two highest rates for lightning strikes, and the mechanicals are less likely to get damaged from what I've seen. Not sure if Florida uses a higher percentage than other areas because of it.

I remember the first time I went to I.A., saw all the electros being displayed,
thought "what a bunch of hicks!" until a superior rep told me the stories of
clocks being fried in lightning area. I have not heard the RC being dropped,
market still too good in lightningland.

mikecaldwell1204
04-29-2007, 09:48 PM
The rc timers are being discontinued by rainbird. Yes purp the watering restrictions down here are unbelievable. Lake Okeechoobee or however you spell it is down 14 or so. There was a big article in the paper about it today. If the state doesnt do something soon about the water crunch, were going to be like the desert states with all hardscapes in peoples lawns.

PurpHaze
04-29-2007, 10:06 PM
Where are the gators going to live? They gonna start an adopt-a-gator program so peole can take care of them in their homes until the water returns? :)

Dirty Water
04-29-2007, 10:12 PM
In the sewers.

Duh.

PurpHaze
04-29-2007, 10:31 PM
Then they'll get all stinky.

Wet_Boots
04-29-2007, 10:59 PM
like they're any bargain now

NCStateME
04-30-2007, 09:53 AM
As an employee for an irrigation manufacturer, our tech support guys get some pretty good calls from homeowners... Here is one of my favorites:

Caller: I installed your rain sensor last week, it is pouring down rain and my sprinklers are going.

Support: Have you checked that the sensor is hooked up properly??

Caller: Yes, when I installed it, I tested it and it turned off the controller.

Support: Where is the rain sensor installed??

Caller: Right next to my controller.

Support: Where is your controller??

Caller: Inside my garage.

Support (Trying not to laugh): I think we found your problem...

:hammerhead:

txgrassguy
04-30-2007, 11:39 AM
Probably my best story about working for elderly people concerns a business park owner. Original contractor installs an irrigation system yet doesn't return for repairs. My company gets called for the repair, and end up with all of the grounds maintenance, new installs around new bldgs, basically the enchilada.
After about 1 1/2 years I start getting strange calls from this guy, to make a long story short he had Alzheimer's and would go out and reprogram the controllers, forget he did it then call me and attempt to chew on me for the faulty programming. As bad as he was, his wife was much, much worse.
She ends up running the office complex and has a new bldg go in.
I bid on the system and she wants written specifics, a design, my cost - literally everything. I replied no way, a design is X$, specification sheet is X$ and I refuse to release cost data on my parts source. After going round and round she hires my company to do the grounds install + irrigation. We start the piping and she was in everyones way - asking why are you doing this and that. After four hours of her incessant crap I pulled the crews off of the job. I had tried to tell her she couldn't stand right next to a trencher with a tape measure, she had absolutely no authority to instruct my highly trained crew and that quite simply I was sick of her #@$%. I refunded the deposit when I yanked the crews and thought this was the end of it. Two weeks go by and she is on the phone, nice as pie wanting me to return. Seems the word was out and even other irrigators were staying away. So I meet with her, have her sign a new contract, and say I will recommence work when I receive a deposit. I thought she was going to #@!$ a brick! So I walked a second time. Another two weeks go by and the city calls me to find out when the system will be done. I informed the inspector as to what was going on and he goes to her and places a cease and desist order on the bldg construction and C/O. So she comes running back but now the price is up over 30% from original quote - she is screaming at me and I just pointed at her and said that is why the price has been increased. At this point she really has no choice, no pay, no work, no C/O for the bldg. So she coughs up the check for the full amount before I will go back and finish the install. The end of the day I go make a deposit and the bank informs me there is a hold order on the check she wrote. It was for three days, so I called her and said I am not returning until I have a certified cashiers check for the full amount, this is non negotiable. During the conversation she admits to being way over budget on the bldg and confesses she was going to stiff me for the install as she couldn't pay. So I say "F-U" and walk for the third time. The city stops the work, bank comes in to run the project and they call me to finish. I inform the bank because of the difficulties I had with her the price is up to 40% over original estimate and I require payment in full before I will return. Literally with-in two hours a courier is at my office, sir this and sir that - here is your money and bingo we finish.
A year and a half goes by and the state calls me saying this woman was filing a complaint as the system had stopped working and I wouldn't return for warranty service. I told the state I wasn't aware of any problems, I return to the site and the freaking controller has been stolen. Obviously this isn't a warranty problem so I told the state she had to pay me for a new controller, labor to install, etc. I find out from tenants that the controller was stolen like three months before during a night time burglary. Once again this old bat refuses to pay, thankfully the state never opened a complaint file on me as they understood what was going on. But to get this old bat to leave me alone I had to file a restraining order for harassment so she would stop calling.
The last I heard the old gent had passed, she abandoned the office complex after owing just about every contractor money - but me.

Flow Control
04-30-2007, 11:44 AM
Tx, That's one we can all learn from

Mike Leary
04-30-2007, 11:56 AM
Tx...great way to start my week...they are still out there...know when to walk

irrig8r
04-30-2007, 10:02 PM
Tx... I feel your pain...:)

DanaMac
05-02-2007, 05:44 PM
I've gotten a few calls lately from new clients, or better yet, they thought they were existing clients. In the local phone book for my home/office/neighborhood, just outside the Colo Springs area, there is a company with a name VERY similar to mine. I have scheduled 4 new ones because they thought we were the other company. Makes me wonder how many they have of mine.

The first one that called about it, swore up and down that we blew out the system. She said I wrote a check for $33 to Sprinklers xxxxx. I told her no way it was us for that amount. And told her the other company is also listed in the book. She said she'd call them, which was good because I couldn't understand half of what she was saying anyway.

Mike Leary
05-02-2007, 05:57 PM
Thirty three dollars to winterize????? Did they use a straw?

Wet_Boots
05-02-2007, 07:08 PM
maybe they subbed it out to those 'experienced blowmen' from Idaho that advertised a twenty-two dollar rate

Mike Leary
05-02-2007, 07:20 PM
maybe they subbed it out to those 'experienced blowmen' from Idaho that advertised a twenty-two dollar rate

Double straws go faster...hook-up the dog!

SprinklerGuy
05-02-2007, 07:54 PM
Post the name chicken......

I have done the same......somebody called and the conversation went like this:

Them: Hi...Sprinkler (2nd word unclear)?

Me: Yes..this is he....

them: Great, Hi Dana.....we need some more work...

Me: Ok...what day do you want?

;)

Kidding of course....it has happened..there is a Sprinkler Solutions of Colorado...in Denver area....I think he and I both get calls from out of our markets.....I really need to call him and chat about that....

Mike Leary
05-02-2007, 08:20 PM
Sounds like a partnership to me....then everyone gets the work!

Mike Leary
05-02-2007, 08:32 PM
[QUOTE=SprinklerGuy;1816271]

Them: Hi...Sprinkler (2nd word unclear)?


Second word.."ripoff, slimeball, fleecemiester, primadonna.

lehrjetmx
05-03-2007, 11:49 AM
pICTURE OF THE YEAR HERE. You guys will love this one:laugh: Got a service call for a leak in front yard. Note I did not install this system OK!!!! Got there sure enough not 1 but 2 leaks within a foot of each other. Took me tool of choice the shovel into the ground and tinge!!! Again tinge. and the third time on the othe side of the leak the shovel went into the dirt. Puzzled on what that tinge sound was I got out my little hand shovel to uncover!!!!!! What we uncovered will make you all laugh. A 1 inch poly pipe running about 2 inches deep over the top of a gas meter/ shut off cover. :nono:

Wet_Boots
05-03-2007, 12:05 PM
Locating utilities is for wimps! :dizzy:

gusbuster
05-03-2007, 01:36 PM
Where are the gators going to live? They gonna start an adopt-a-gator program so peole can take care of them in their homes until the water returns? :)

We already have adopted that one gator in the pond in the L.A. area didn't we. It was in the news again last Saturday that the gator was spotted again and the lake\pond was closed.

A 1 inch poly pipe running about 2 inches deep over the top of a gas meter/ shut off cover. :nono:

I was replacing a lawn and adding irrigation. 30 some years ago, her husband installed the lawn. When I was tilling, i hit something that made my tiller fly 3 ft in the air(thank god for the dead man switch). Turns out, I hit the cover for the main gas feed shut off for that block of the street, six inches down. Unfortunately, this is quite common in our hill areas.

irrig8r
05-03-2007, 08:55 PM
Gusbuster, that's why Underground Service Alert exists.

http://www.usanorth.org/about.php?user=excavators

Even then they aren't always accurate, but at least calling them relieves you of some liability.

About 10 years ago, even after they marked up a property we were planting 48" box trees on a commercial job. I had a guy with a backhoe making holes and I was out there with a shovel uncovering anything suspicious as he went. Turned out there was a 2" underground electrical conduit a few feet away from the mark, and within 4 ft of a 5" gas main... It was time to rethink a little... we decided to modify the LA's plan and locate the redwood tree elsewhere.

Mike Leary
05-03-2007, 09:03 PM
In Washington state...www.callbeforeyoudig.com

PurpHaze
05-03-2007, 10:50 PM
In 1992 my former partner, who was a master plumber (rest your soul now Tom), put the teeth of our large Case trencher through the main gas line to a site on day #1 of a project. I'd gone to the shop to pick up another copy of my blueprints and returned to blocked off streets with fire trucks and police cars all over the place. They'd evacuated all the students to the park next door until they could locate the main shut-off 300' away near a street. Needless to say... we kiddded him quite a bit about that one. :)

DanaMac
05-04-2007, 08:58 AM
My employee called me up yesterday from a jobsite, said he was at so-and-so's house, but nothing would turn on through the controller. Timer was putting out juice at the terminals, so he figured there was a break in the wiring. Without hesitation, I told him to look for a rain sensor, even though I have never been on that job. Sure enough, and it was tripped. The wiring was run to the valve box instead of the controller, so of course the controller would still put out current.

I love when I can troubleshoot over the phone.

Just had to toot my own horn. :)

PurpHaze
05-04-2007, 09:34 AM
I love when I can troubleshoot over the phone.

I have site grounds guys often call me via our Nextel and "blah, blah, blah, blah, etc." about a problem they're experiencing. My answers: (1) "Turn off the controller and submit a work order." (2) "Turn off the isolation valve or backflow and submit a work order."

Just had to toot my own horn. :)

Ah-oooooooooooo-gah! :)

lehrjetmx
05-04-2007, 09:48 AM
Went to my first commericial gig and started up the system with one hitch. Got one zone that would not turn off. As soon as the system came up that zone just kept running. We walked the property a few time before we bidded it and marked out the zones and valves but knew we were missing one. Guess what that was the one valve box we could not find. We found it buried in a shrub bed under mulch. Took apart the valve and wala found a nice piece of broken pvc stuck in the valve body. Turns out the home owner vp said that zone ran all summer last year how did you fix it in one day?:weightlifter:

PurpHaze
05-05-2007, 12:47 AM
Turns out the home owner vp said that zone ran all summer last year how did you fix it in one day?:weightlifter:

Because you knew what to look for and their last irrigation maintenance guy was a Rotard? :laugh:

CAPT Stream Rotar
05-05-2007, 07:22 AM
Because you knew what to look for and their last irrigation maintenance guy was a Rotard? :laugh:

lol...PURP...Dont quit your day job..Because comedy sure isnt your calling....

Flow Control
05-05-2007, 08:33 AM
My service guy worked from 7am til 9:50pm yesterday. Crazy hours but to be expected a couple of weeks out of the year. His service day started with an LV Lighting estimate at 7am (I don't like selling lights that much) which he landed on the spot and received a deposit ($1806, 9 lights + transformer) then around mid day I meet him at a customers house and the customer mentions lights for the backyard so I just tell the service guy to takeover and go over what we offer for lights and about 2 hrs later he calls and said yeah that one is 95% sure and has a budget of $7k. And this point in the day I am like wow, that is impressive I think maybe he will start taking over all the LV Lighting estimates which I don't really care for that much anyway. So then I am on my way to dinner with my wife and I get another call from him and he says while at a service call the neighbor stopped by and wanted a quote for irrigating their front yard. (4 zones, no bores, level lot, 12 rotors, 8 sprays) so I ask him what type of customer are they. And he says nice home, crappy yard and they have lived there for a few years and don't even have any bushes yet. So normally that type of job would fetch 1800-2000 in our market, but I told him they are probably cheap and are just looking for the lowest price so I told him to go in high at $2600 and just forget about it. Well he calls back 45 minutes later and said done deal for $2881. Now from a business standpoint wouldn't it be dumb of me not to give him some of the leads that I normally handle to see if I have a hidden gem of a salesperson?

Remote Pigtails
05-05-2007, 08:44 AM
My service guy worked from 7am til 9:50pm yesterday. Crazy hours but to be expected a couple of weeks out of the year. His service day started with an LV Lighting estimate at 7am (I don't like selling lights that much) which he landed on the spot and received a deposit ($1806, 9 lights + transformer) then around mid day I meet him at a customers house and the customer mentions lights for the backyard so I just tell the service guy to takeover and go over what we offer for lights and about 2 hrs later he calls and said yeah that one is 95% sure and has a budget of $7k. And this point in the day I am like wow, that is impressive I think maybe he will start taking over all the LV Lighting estimates which I don't really care for that much anyway. So then I am on my way to dinner with my wife and I get another call from him and he says while at a service call the neighbor stopped by and wanted a quote for irrigating their front yard. (4 zones, no bores, level lot, 12 rotors, 8 sprays) so I ask him what type of customer are they. And he says nice home, crappy yard and they have lived there for a few years and don't even have any bushes yet. So normally that type of job would fetch 1800-2000 in our market, but I told him they are probably cheap and are just looking for the lowest price so I told him to go in high at $2600 and just forget about it. Well he calls back 45 minutes later and said done deal for $2881. Now from a business standpoint wouldn't it be dumb of me not to give him some of the leads that I normally handle to see if I have a hidden gem of a salesperson?

SWEET, Something tells me your aren't dumb.

h2oman
05-05-2007, 09:15 AM
Yesterday a property manager called me for a new rain delay, because some kids had broke the old one. I told him we could get a service tec. out on Monday. Without thinking his reply was: "Can you drop it off behind the office in a zip-loc bag because I don't want it to get wet, and I'll put it on myself.":laugh: :laugh: ROTARD!!!

DanaMac
05-05-2007, 09:33 AM
:laugh: :laugh: ROTARD!!!

Is ROTARD our word of choice for being a goofball or jack***? I like it.

Just screwing with ya. You'll have to take your lumps for a while, just like we all did when we started here. Although PURP still gets a lot of crap from everybody too.

PurpHaze
05-05-2007, 11:10 AM
Is ROTARD our word of choice for being a goofball or jack***? I like it.

That's my word of choice also. :)

Just screwing with ya. You'll have to take your lumps for a while, just like we all did when we started here. Although PURP still gets a lot of crap from everybody too.

LOL... Just because "dinky pipe" to me means any pipe under 2" in diameter and I run into stuff some guys will never encounter except in their Rotard wet dreams. :laugh:

PurpHaze
05-05-2007, 11:23 AM
Here's a few pics from yesterday's encounters.

#1: Fencing contractors augered right through a sprinkler and swing joint in a corner. Easy replacement though; found the lateral line cut/installed new swing joint and Hunter I-40 ADS.

#2: Contractor install; valve box not cut out large enough for 2" outlet side and area around box not compacted properly; cement truck ran over box forcing it into lateral and breaking it. The valve box right next to this one (which we installed properly) was unscathed.

#3: Break occurred where the 2" x 1-1/2" reducer bushing located coming out of 2" 45 el; used a 90/90 configuration to put it back together.

londonrain
05-05-2007, 11:43 AM
Thank God it rained last night...this week ;1 install , 30 service calls, 1 drip zone added, 1 system reworked and 10 repair jobs on my to do list and I need new tires on my truck.. Had to change my message on my phone that we are scheduling installs for the fall.....

bobw
05-05-2007, 11:45 AM
Thank God it rained last night...this week ;1 install , 30 service calls, 1 drip zone added, 1 system reworked and 10 repair jobs on my to do list and I need new tires on my truck.. Had to change my message on my phone that we are scheduling installs for the fall.....

I've already started turning away estimates for the season, haven't even gotten thru start ups and the year is booked out. Wish it was easier to find any decent help....

Mike Leary
05-05-2007, 11:47 AM
Thank God it rained last night...this week ;1 install , 30 service calls, 1 drip zone added, 1 system reworked and 10 repair jobs on my to do list and I need new tires on my truck.. Had to change my message on my phone that we are scheduling installs for the fall.....

I tried for twenty-five years to not do installs in the heat of the season so
we could take care of service work. For twenty-five years, we failed because
some install came along that I could'nt refuse!

PurpHaze
05-05-2007, 12:03 PM
... in the heat of the season...

Heat or height of the season?

If it's heat, you Western WA-WAs are wussies. Whenever I've been up there and the temp gets to 85-90 and we're out and about like nothing is happening they often ask, "How can you stand this heat?" Our reply is, "This is spring temps where we're from." :laugh:

I'll even bet LC Pullman out in the eastern palouse area thinks you Starbucks Pugies are strange. :p

Mike Leary
05-05-2007, 12:16 PM
Heat or height of the season?

If it's heat, you Western WA-WAs are wussies. Whenever I've been up there and the temp gets to 85-90 and we're out and about like nothing is happening they often ask, "How can you stand this heat?" Our reply is, "This is spring temps where we're from." :laugh:

I'll even bet LC Pullman out in the eastern palouse area thinks you Starbucks Pugies are strange. :p

What we have here is a failure to communicate..by "heat" I meant "busy",
not weather...even tho we do ***** when it gets over 80..humidity, you know.

Mike Leary
05-05-2007, 12:18 PM
What we have here is a failure to communicate..by "heat" I meant "busy",
not weather...even tho we do ***** when it gets over 80..humidity, you know.

OOPS...I meant ******"complain"

PurpHaze
05-05-2007, 12:33 PM
What we have here is a failure to communicate..by "heat" I meant "busy",
not weather...even tho we do ***** when it gets over 80..humidity, you know.

I knew what you meant. Just passing the crap back at ya'. :laugh:

SprinklerGuy
05-05-2007, 07:30 PM
I decided to be like all other contractors in all other industries this year and accept all bid invites.....when I get the job I will tell them I'm 3-5 weeks out or whatever it happens to be.....

Then when I slow down a bit in June...I will have work....last two years I stopped doing bids and was slooooow in June/July.....that won't happen this year....

I have 47 phone calls to make as of 3pm my time today.....mostly startups....but some estimates and repairs.....it is going to be an ugly week....

I love it.

DanaMac
05-05-2007, 07:34 PM
I decided to be like all other contractors in all other industries this year and accept all bid invites.....when I get the job I will tell them I'm 3-5 weeks out or whatever it happens to be.....

Then when I slow down a bit in June...I will have work....last two years I stopped doing bids and was slooooow in June/July.....that won't happen this year....

I have 47 phone calls to make as of 3pm my time today.....mostly startups....but some estimates and repairs.....it is going to be an ugly week....

I love it.

I hear ya. I may actually bid a couple. VERY high though, and if I get it great, if not, oh well. But I usually don't slow down until late July or August. Not sure if anyone wants to wait that long. But then again, I haven't had but one call for installs this year.

BSME
05-06-2007, 12:37 AM
My service guy worked from 7am til 9:50pm yesterday. Crazy hours but to be expected a couple of weeks out of the year. His service day started with an LV Lighting estimate at 7am (I don't like selling lights that much) which he landed on the spot and received a deposit ($1806, 9 lights + transformer) then around mid day I meet him at a customers house and the customer mentions lights for the backyard so I just tell the service guy to takeover and go over what we offer for lights and about 2 hrs later he calls and said yeah that one is 95% sure and has a budget of $7k. And this point in the day I am like wow, that is impressive I think maybe he will start taking over all the LV Lighting estimates which I don't really care for that much anyway. So then I am on my way to dinner with my wife and I get another call from him and he says while at a service call the neighbor stopped by and wanted a quote for irrigating their front yard. (4 zones, no bores, level lot, 12 rotors, 8 sprays) so I ask him what type of customer are they. And he says nice home, crappy yard and they have lived there for a few years and don't even have any bushes yet. So normally that type of job would fetch 1800-2000 in our market, but I told him they are probably cheap and are just looking for the lowest price so I told him to go in high at $2600 and just forget about it. Well he calls back 45 minutes later and said done deal for $2881. Now from a business standpoint wouldn't it be dumb of me not to give him some of the leads that I normally handle to see if I have a hidden gem of a salesperson?



I wish all employees had this feature

YardPro
05-06-2007, 09:10 AM
My service guy worked from 7am til 9:50pm yesterday. Crazy hours but to be expected a couple of weeks out of the year. His service day started with an LV Lighting estimate at 7am (I don't like selling lights that much) which he landed on the spot and received a deposit ($1806, 9 lights + transformer) then around mid day I meet him at a customers house and the customer mentions lights for the backyard so I just tell the service guy to takeover and go over what we offer for lights and about 2 hrs later he calls and said yeah that one is 95% sure and has a budget of $7k. And this point in the day I am like wow, that is impressive I think maybe he will start taking over all the LV Lighting estimates which I don't really care for that much anyway. So then I am on my way to dinner with my wife and I get another call from him and he says while at a service call the neighbor stopped by and wanted a quote for irrigating their front yard. (4 zones, no bores, level lot, 12 rotors, 8 sprays) so I ask him what type of customer are they. And he says nice home, crappy yard and they have lived there for a few years and don't even have any bushes yet. So normally that type of job would fetch 1800-2000 in our market, but I told him they are probably cheap and are just looking for the lowest price so I told him to go in high at $2600 and just forget about it. Well he calls back 45 minutes later and said done deal for $2881. Now from a business standpoint wouldn't it be dumb of me not to give him some of the leads that I normally handle to see if I have a hidden gem of a salesperson?

you had better give him a bonus....!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Flow Control
05-06-2007, 09:32 AM
He is getting 15 points on it and deducted the hours from his day. So yeah he is happy.

txgrassguy
05-06-2007, 01:34 PM
I have one more "winner" for you guys.
Over a year ago I put in a complete system, grading, the whole works for a customer.
He calls me up last month to "service" his centrifugal pump as it "is making a funny noise and blowing the breaker".
So I go out and see where he added over 1000' of additional mainline to pull out of the lake. The area experienced it's worst drought since the '60s and he chased the lowering water levels.
Get this, he tried to get a centrifugal pump to lift over 39' to his property:dizzy:
The pump was toast, I mean toast - I have never seen one so badly burnt before.
I tell the customer that since he violated the warranty by doing this without my permission, acknowledgment or my guys actually doing the work, the warranty is void.
Naturally he gets upset and says the pump is covered under a two-year warranty.
Thank goodness I had the original, signed paperwork with me and the look of utter frustration is all over this dude's face.
He actually tried to get me to replace the pump, under warranty and when I told him no way he threatened to "sue" me.
So I called the state department to alert them to this guy and they were quite surprised I was even offering a two year pump warranty.
So now, thanks to this doofous, I ain't doing the two year warranty anymore.

DanaMac
05-07-2007, 02:36 PM
My #1 tech just called with about 50'-60' of frozen/cracked PVC mainline. Also a bonnet, and ball valve at PVB. Another 6' of mainline cracked on other side of house. Looks like I'll put the new guy on fixing that later in the week.

SprinklerGuy
05-07-2007, 03:03 PM
New guy always gets screwed.....

Sigh.....

Your guys are working? I begged off today.....I'm a wuss...

WalkGood
05-07-2007, 04:42 PM
My employee called me up yesterday from a jobsite, said he was at so-and-so's house, but nothing would turn on through the controller. Timer was putting out juice at the terminals, so he figured there was a break in the wiring. Without hesitation, I told him to look for a rain sensor, even though I have never been on that job. Sure enough, and it was tripped. The wiring was run to the valve box instead of the controller, so of course the controller would still put out current.

I love when I can troubleshoot over the phone.

Just had to toot my own horn. :)

This same thing happenned to me just last week.

Valve box was under a low deck. Spiders and cats hung out down there. Box filled with mud and water. Entrance was a trap door in the deck, which opened on top of the gas meter and piping. I became "Snake Man" thru that hole since the deck was too low to the ground to crawl on my belly (6', 210 lbs) thru mud and cat turds. I didn't see the clear speaker wire at first in the bottom of the muck which was connected to a rain sensor. Sensor was interupting the commons of the solenoids. Doh!

DanaMac
05-07-2007, 07:26 PM
New guy always gets screwed.....

Sigh.....

Your guys are working? I begged off today.....I'm a wuss...

Yeah, but my day was short since I had my day scheduled all up in Monument, which still has a ton of the white stuff. They each worked full days.

WalkGood
05-07-2007, 09:20 PM
He is getting 15 points on it and deducted the hours from his day. So yeah he is happy.


You paid him 15% of the jobs he sold, but didn't pay him his hourly wage while he was there? Or did I misunderstand?

bicmudpuppy
05-07-2007, 11:45 PM
I hear ya. I may actually bid a couple. VERY high though, and if I get it great, if not, oh well. But I usually don't slow down until late July or August. Not sure if anyone wants to wait that long. But then again, I haven't had but one call for installs this year.

If you bid them good and high and still get them, you could always sub them to Tony and sip lemonade while they go in:clapping:

DanaMac
05-08-2007, 12:16 AM
If you bid them good and high and still get them, you could always sub them to Tony and sip lemonade while they go in:clapping:

Oh yeah baby!!! already thought of that. Lemonade? How 'bout a :drinkup:

SprinklerGuy
05-08-2007, 08:44 AM
Tony will gladly do them if he can make his daily nut.....

DanaMac
05-12-2007, 09:21 AM
Had a new guy call a couple weeks ago, and we played a little phone tag. Well my voice mail message states that we are scheduling appx. 7-14 days out. So we finally talked yesterday, and he thinks I should be there today because we first talked 2 weeks ago. :dizzy: I had no clue where he lived or work needed, how the heck could we just leave time open for him.

When we schedule with someone we give them a window of time that we will show up. We'll tell them "someone will be there between 9:00 and 10:00". So I got to one the other day at 9:00, nobody home. So I waited until 9:20, called her cell and home phone, left messages, and took off. She called back saying that we told her we would be there between 9:00 and 10:00, and she got there at 9:40, and we should have been there.

How clueless can the general public be? I still say I want to live on my own island, and make people pass a common sense test before they can enter.

SprinklerGuy
05-12-2007, 09:36 AM
It's okay....a client (perhaps former?) of mine called last nite to say


"Lawn Dr. fertilized today......I expect to see you tomorrow (sat) to turn my sprinklers on at both properties......goodbye."


Ummm...........will he go or not go?

Verdict later....

DanaMac
05-12-2007, 09:48 AM
Dump him.

I had one tentatively scheduled for last friday for tom. He called ahead to see if it was on. the guy said no, he was afraid of freezing still. Called this Thursday saying they are leaving for San Diego on Sunday for two weeks so he wants it turned on Friday or Saturday. Hmmmmmmmm..... Don't think so buddy. Talked to the wife and scheduled it for after they get back. Hopefully they will call and cancel. Tom says he's a pain anyway.

PurpHaze
05-12-2007, 11:00 AM
How clueless can the general public be? I still say I want to live on my own island, and make people pass a common sense test before they can enter.

I would imagine that the failure rate would be quite high. :)

jerryrwm
05-13-2007, 05:49 PM
....
When we schedule with someone we give them a window of time that we will show up. We'll tell them "someone will be there between 9:00 and 10:00". So I got to one the other day at 9:00, nobody home. So I waited until 9:20, called her cell and home phone, left messages, and took off. She called back saying that we told her we would be there between 9:00 and 10:00, and she got there at 9:40, and we should have been there.

How clueless can the general public be? I still say I want to live on my own island, and make people pass a common sense test before they can enter.
We get them the other way too. If we say between 9:00 and 10:00 and the tech isn't there by 9:15 I'm getting the call wondering where the hell is he and exactly when will he be there. Sometimes turn-ons can be such a pain. Wish I could double the price. Might make me feel a lot better.

Mike Leary
05-13-2007, 06:02 PM
We get them the other way too. If we say between 9:00 and 10:00 and the tech isn't there by 9:15 I'm getting the call wondering where the hell is he and exactly when will he be there. Sometimes turn-ons can be such a pain. Wish I could double the price. Might make me feel a lot better.

I gave up waiting more than 15 minutes years ago...if you're going to have
a service truck out of the loop waiting for Babbs to unlock the garage, NOT.
I've commented before about controllers mounted outside for this reason.

jerryrwm
05-13-2007, 06:12 PM
I gave up waiting more than 15 minutes years ago...if you're going to have
a service truck out of the loop waiting for Babbs to unlock the garage, NOT.
I've commented before about controllers mounted outside for this reason.Controllers outside is not the problem. All the shut-off valves are in the basement. Gotta get to them before we can do anything else. And most of our clients can't or won't or shouldn't put in the blow-out plug and then turn the water on for us. We do wait on customers, but the clock starts when we get there not when they let us in. Still TM and though a few do squeal they will pay.

Mike Leary
05-13-2007, 06:19 PM
Controllers outside is not the problem. All the shut-off valves are in the basement. Gotta get to them before we can do anything else. And most of our clients can't or won't or shouldn't put in the blow-out plug and then turn the water on for us. We do wait on customers, but the clock starts when we get there not when they let us in. Still TM and though a few do squeal they will pay.

As Purps posted "CHA CHING"..but a big pain when we're all balls out at
start-up.

DanaMac
05-23-2007, 10:00 AM
Tony and I are always exchanging more stories than what we post here, and it's good to be able to vent about it instead of to our wife or girlfriend.

Had one yesterday that was a referral from an existing customer. Once there he start showing me some of the problems, then stops and asks how much I charge. "$50 for the first half hour, and $60 hour there after" I told him. I thought he was going to die right in front of me. "$60 an hour!! Well so-and-so said you were reasonable". "well sir that is reasonable and I'm sorry if you don't think so." So I started turning the backflow off and walked away. then he stops me and says hold on, blah, blah, blah. Told me how he only made $4.00 and hour back in the day, blah, blah, blah.

Then he starts saying how I'm overcharging him because of where he lives - big old house, large wooded lot, etc. That was when I got mad and told him I am charging him just as much as anyone else in any other neighborhood. We eventually got it all worked out, then he asked what I charge for a replacement rotor. $26 I tell him. "That's outrageous, I can get them for less than half that at Home Depot". "no you can't even get the ones I have. They are commercial grade, and only sold at my suppliers". Blah, blah, blah. He still want me to do the work. NEVER backed down on my price.

Now after going through the system, most the rotor heads are clogged from the well water. Barely spraying 10'. And the junk clogging them has ruined some of the old (gasp) Toro heads. So I probably have 6-8 hours of fixing this POS system. Even though I will make plenty of money on it, I should've walked away when I had the chance.................

PurpHaze
05-24-2007, 08:25 AM
Cha-Ching!!!!!! :)

Bottom line is that his system will work great when you're done and you won't have to see him again.