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View Full Version : Need help bidding an irrigation/sprinkler system


BrightLeaf
09-29-2007, 12:23 PM
800' of 1" pvc, 36 pop-up sprinklers, 7 drip sprayer heads, 2 control units with 2 zones on each, trenching everything. I have already installed this system as an entry to a residential community. I haven't billed the owner yet what should i charge. I am in murphy, nc. This is my first system and am in need of help!!

BrightLeaf

PurpHaze
09-29-2007, 12:53 PM
It's usually customary to establish a price BEFORE work is started. Things can change based on what you run into and other necessary changes along the way have to be addressed but you need an established base price before agreeing to do the work.

Kiril
09-29-2007, 12:55 PM
Materials + labor

BrightLeaf
09-29-2007, 01:01 PM
The owner is having us do his entire entry....doens't care what it cost. Told us to do the work and then bill him. He doesn't have time to be out trying to find the best deal. So what i am asking is how should i bill him and have it be fair for him and me. I have already spent $2000 in materials. Can someone give me an idea of how to charge for the turn key price.

Kiril
09-29-2007, 01:05 PM
Can someone give me an idea of how to charge for the turn key price.

:confused: You did record hours spent right?

BrightLeaf
09-29-2007, 01:19 PM
yes i recorded hours...but i don't bid jobs on my hours. Is $8000 too much? because that is what i was going to bid.

Kiril
09-29-2007, 01:24 PM
$6000 in labor to do that job? Yea, IMO that is too much for what was put in.

Dirty Water
09-29-2007, 01:24 PM
yes i recorded hours...but i don't bid jobs on my hours. Is $8000 too much? because that is what i was going to bid.

Matarials + Markup + ManHours * Rate.

Why 2 controllers with 2 zones each?

($2000 + Markup) + (ManHours * R) = $8000?

I don't know your exact rates, so I can't solve that equation, but I can get close:

I'm guessing a 50% markup over wholesale for parts, so that puts you at:

$3000 + (ManHours * Rate) = $8000

That leaves you at $5000 for your labor. I would wager it took 2 guys three days to trench and install and backfill 36 heads. Thats 48 man hours. Less if you were just roughing it in, and didn't have to clean up afterwards.

So:

$5000 / 48 = Rate

Rate = $104

Your charging too much, or your taking way to long.

P.Services
09-29-2007, 01:29 PM
$6000 in labor to do that job? Yea, IMO that is too much for what was put in.

so you think he should do this job for free 2k in materials and 6k in labor for a 8k total. i dont know about you but i dont work for free. what a stuipd thing to say . i would say 8 is on the high side with 6 on the low side. go for $6872.00 sounds good to me

Kiril
09-29-2007, 01:34 PM
so you think he should do this job for free 2k in materials and 6k in labor for a 8k total. i dont know about you but i dont work for free. what a stuipd thing to say . i would say 8 is on the high side with 6 on the low side. go for $6872.00 sounds good to me


Lost you there bud. Who said anything about working for free? Charge a fair price for the work that was done. Given this was his first installed system, I dare say charging a premium for labor is not right. Set your rates based on the experience you have. An experienced crew probably could have done the job in half the time.

Dirty Water
09-29-2007, 01:36 PM
so you think he should do this job for free 2k in materials and 6k in labor for a 8k total. i dont know about you but i dont work for free. what a stuipd thing to say . i would say 8 is on the high side with 6 on the low side. go for $6872.00 sounds good to me

You don't have a clue what the variables are in the job.

IMHO, $6000 for labor alone is incredibly high by a margin of at least 25%. He is either charging too much, or working too slow.

As you can see by my math up above.

Wet_Boots
09-29-2007, 01:51 PM
I thought it was $1500 a zone.

BrightLeaf
09-29-2007, 01:53 PM
That helps a lot ppl. Thank you.

Dirty Water
09-29-2007, 01:55 PM
That helps a lot ppl. Thank you.

How many hours did you spend on the job?

Was $2000 retail at homedepot for parts, or wholesale at a supplier?

BrightLeaf
09-29-2007, 02:01 PM
60 hours and yes had to buy everything at Lowe's there isn't anything here.

Wet_Boots
09-29-2007, 02:02 PM
If you're trying to charge over a hundred bucks for a popup spray head, that's too much. A hundred bucks per popup rotor head is close to reasonable.

BrightLeaf
09-29-2007, 02:04 PM
they are rotor heads i am covering a very large lawn, and landscaped area

Dirty Water
09-29-2007, 02:14 PM
60 hours and yes had to buy everything at Lowe's there isn't anything here.

Did you install a backflow preventer?

BrandonV
09-29-2007, 02:21 PM
hey brightleaf I was trying to send you the info on my supplier. other that john deere its impossible almost to buy rain bird or hunter products in NC. I have another supplier, whom I won't revel online because if I did John Deere would probably complain to hunter or rb or buy them out... but if you PM i'll give you the info. you really need to not buy stuff from HD and lowes if you are wanting to get into this industry, shoddy parts make for shoddy work and you don't want your reputation to be built on that. good luck to ya, and hit me up for the info if you want it... LS says you dont receive private messages so i can't help at the moment

londonrain
09-29-2007, 02:36 PM
How many man hour did you spend on the job? then multiply your manhours by your hourly charge plus the cost of equipment and materials.
If he questions your price then you have a formula on how you arrived at your final cost.

Going rate for 36 rotor heads and 7 sprays should be about +/- $4000 in NC.

jerryrwm
09-29-2007, 02:54 PM
That's amazing...here we have a guy charging a pretty penny for the work and some of you are berating him like you do those who charge too little.

$2000 in materials could easily be marked up to $3300.
Labor and equipment could be as much as $3600 with mark-up for labor burden and overhead.

That leaves him about $1100 profit on the job.

As for setting rates based on experience that's a little off kilter. Once you start off low, it is tough as hell to raise the prices.

You charge based on what the market will bear and what will help you realize maximum profit.

What he needs to figure is how much impact is this price going to have on future work from this client. If it is completly out of line with what was budgeted - even though the client said do it and bill him, he could suffer from sticker shock when he sees the price. Maybe a bid from a competitor will tell him what to realistically bid.

At any rate, as has been posted in numerous threads concerning pricing, it is impossible for someone not involved in the area in question to bid on a project using criteria from a different geographical area. Case in point...Leary and Hank generally get around $1500.00 per zone. I get around $1000 a zone. Guys in Texas would just about kill to get over $600 per zone, and those in Florida sometimes struggle to get $400. So bidding clear across the country is moot. You have to bid based on the clientel and the market.

Mike Leary
09-29-2007, 04:12 PM
Jerry hit it..all else is moot. I did one with a budget of 65K, thought,
"I'm covered for all possibilities", well, the project got more complicated,
more add-ons, changes & I was held to my budget, which p...ed me off,
but I made it, but not with the "pucker factor" I thought I had!

Kiril
09-29-2007, 05:47 PM
I will add something here. If your getting your supplies from HD or Lowes at retail, IMHO you shouldn't be marking up your materials, specially given the junk they deal in.

Figure in the time and mileage it takes to get the stuff and bill that as part of your man hours.

EagleLandscape
09-29-2007, 09:44 PM
4 Standard ways to determine price

1) Price by number of heads:
a. 150 x number of rotor heads
b. 50 x number of spray heads
c. 55 x number of 12” spray heads
d. Add above to reach total installation price
e.
2) Price by number of zones:
a. Residential: 400 x number of zones (1” mainline)
b. Commercial: 1500 x number of zones (2” mainline)

3) 75 cents per square foot of turf:

4) Exact parts take off:
a. Estimate exact dollar of parts
b. Estimate man hours
c. Rental equipment
d. Times profit margin (20%-30%)

EagleLandscape
09-29-2007, 09:47 PM
if you bought everything at lowes? what kind of pipe did you buy? class 200, 315? schedule 40 for everything?

Mike Leary
09-29-2007, 10:04 PM
4 Standard ways to determine price

1) Price by number of heads:
a. 150 x number of rotor heads
b. 50 x number of spray heads
c. 55 x number of 12” spray heads
d. Add above to reach total installation price
e.
2) Price by number of zones:
a. Residential: 400 x number of zones (1” mainline)
b. Commercial: 1500 x number of zones (2” mainline)

3) 75 cents per square foot of turf:

4) Exact parts take off:
a. Estimate exact dollar of parts
b. Estimate man hours
c. Rental equipment
d. Times profit margin (20%-30%)
In your dreams.....
:hammerhead:

FIMCO-MEISTER
09-29-2007, 10:13 PM
In your dreams.....
:hammerhead:

I'm loving this. John, Mike is king of the 1500.00/zone system. One of my goals in life is to see the system Mike defines as his career best. Mike, John is a second generation irrigator. Has all his families self starting get up and go. WM loyal to the core. ATM trained and a pup at 22. You guys are so much alike only years apart.

Chilehead
09-29-2007, 10:51 PM
Considering your materials list, plus additional parts that go into a system that you haven't listed, my charge would be $2500-$3000 for the whole thing--parts and labor.

BrandonV
09-29-2007, 10:56 PM
he's in the hills of nc, most likely not the quickest trenching

jerryrwm
09-30-2007, 12:31 AM
I will add something here. If your getting your supplies from HD or Lowes at retail, IMHO you shouldn't be marking up your materials, specially given the junk they deal in.

Figure in the time and mileage it takes to get the stuff and bill that as part of your man hours.
Now that makes absolutely no sense at all. So you feel that if someone pays retail price for a particular item then there should be no mark-up? Regardless where they are purchased, if one does not charge for material (cost + mark-up = selling price) then they might as well let the client buy the materials and work for wages. What do you do if you have to hire a sub-contractor? Pass their price on to the client with no mark-up? What about the cost of a rental machine if one is needed? Pass on the ticket price with no mark-up?

I don't care if I buy something at Lowe's, Home Depot, Menards, Cash-Way, or Costco, you can bet your butt I'm gonna get a substantial mark-up when I price the invoice. I have bought PVC fittings there when it made more sense to stop a mile down the road for a needed part than run 20 miles to the supply house. I've bought bagged mulch at a box store - hauled it to the clients house put it down in the beds and wrote the invoice for three times the cost. And when I worked servicing systems at a couple of Home Depots I would occasionally buy materials in the store, install them in the system and mark them up 100% on the invoice.

If you don't mark up the materials over your cost you won't be around long.

Kiril
09-30-2007, 03:10 AM
Now that makes absolutely no sense at all. So you feel that if someone pays retail price for a particular item then there should be no mark-up?

That is correct. Either you charge them for the time getting the stuff or a reasonable markup to compensate for that time. This is why contractors get a discount heh!

If you don't mark up the materials over your cost you won't be around long.

15 years and counting.

I either mark it up, or charge the hours. What I buy retail it gets charged out cost + time to get the stuff, which many times ends up being more than the markup would be anyhow.

turfnh2oman
09-30-2007, 07:44 AM
Okay here sport.

Try this one.

Figure between $ 1,200 - 1,800 for 3 man crew per day [8 hrs.]

Markup on materials should be minimum double [2x] up to triple [3x].

That'll price it fair and make you some money.

If this is your first install you may want to adjust those numbers down a bit if the job didn't go as planned ?

As previously stated, if you don't make a good profit with those numbers you took WAY too long to install.

EagleLandscape
09-30-2007, 08:46 AM
Peter, do you think I am off for pricing in our area? I'm a little high, but not extreme I don't think.

londonrain
09-30-2007, 08:48 AM
If you don't mark up the materials over your cost you won't be around long.16 years.....

FIMCO-MEISTER
09-30-2007, 08:56 AM
This is a strange thread because I'm trying to get into the mind of the owner/developer of this project. He doesn't have time to get legit bids. Lets a inexperienced person (I think) install the system without an upfront price agreement. Now the installer is scrambling to determine a price to charge after completion. I almost wonder if the developer isn't using reverse psychology figuring the installer will undercut his profits in hopes of future work. The more I read this the less sense it makes to me. Some people are good personality readers and this developer may have noticed a flaw that makes him think the installer is scared to get a fair profit. My philosophy has always been that "Expectation breeds disappointment" Max out your profit margin to the max and don't figure on additional work. If he pays the bill and you don't get more work so what you made a good profit on this job. If you do get more work great and you've established a good profit margin with him.

FIMCO-MEISTER
09-30-2007, 09:01 AM
Peter, do you think I am off for pricing in our area? I'm a little high, but not extreme I don't think.

John I don't do bids. No I don't think you are high. Better to do less work at high quality with a good profit margin than lots of garbage work. Put systems in that people will brag about John. Leave plenty in their for two or three follow up calls.

EagleLandscape
09-30-2007, 09:14 AM
I would always push for the pricing by head method if you can. Typically, the systems we do lawn and shrubs are on seperate zones, which increases the head count 133% ( +30%). ie: more money in yo pocket.

FIMCO-MEISTER
09-30-2007, 09:16 AM
Peter, do you think I am off for pricing in our area? I'm a little high, but not extreme I don't think.

In reviewing your zone rate John I think you are a little low. If a customer called me and asked me to add a zone to their existing system of say 10 heads at 15' spacing that would take me 6 hours done right with two guys. two guys at 20/hr/guy (240.00) me 90/hr (540.00) material marked up 20/hd (300.00)

Total bill
1080.00 and that is a bargain. I realize larger jobs have some built in cost reduction but not 600.00/zone cost reduction. I think a really well done 7-8 zone system with sam/prs hds DV 100 with flow WM SL 1600 + monitor, brass nozzles, should demand 6,000.00 at least. Once again I do service only because the profit margin is even better than that.

FIMCO-MEISTER
09-30-2007, 09:25 AM
I would always push for the pricing by head method if you can. Typically, the systems we do lawn and shrubs are on seperate zones, which increases the head count 133% ( +30%). ie: more money in yo pocket.

Try to avoid comparing to what competitors are doing. You'll always end up beating yourself down. Focus on customer education. If I was in your shoes I'd mention things like "second generation irrigator" "hydrozoning" "water conservation" "pressure control" "doing things according to manufacturers specs" "Distribution uniformity" "ET" "watering the root zone without flushing nutrients" Encourage them to see it as a science. Talk about the individual plants around there house as if they were children etc. encourage the customer to question your competitor on these issues. You and I both know the average irrigator is an idiot.

EagleLandscape
09-30-2007, 12:47 PM
agreed!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dirty Water
09-30-2007, 01:55 PM
That's amazing...here we have a guy charging a pretty penny for the work and some of you are berating him like you do those who charge too little.

Jerry, Jerry, Jerry....

You try to get what the market will bear, no more, no less. You know that. If this guy had presented the builder with a bid of $6000 to put in 4 zones using homeowner grade parts prior to the installation, he would have been laughed at.

We are trying to save him some pain.

Mike Leary
09-30-2007, 05:37 PM
16 years.....

Ditto...25 years.