PDA

View Full Version : Irrigation Audits


Tony Clifton
02-10-2009, 08:27 PM
Any of you guys do em?

hoskm01
02-10-2009, 08:32 PM
Any of you guys do em?
Yes. Try to sell, but mostly on request.

EagleLandscape
02-10-2009, 11:23 PM
Yes we do. They are expensive. Time consuming.

Kiril
02-11-2009, 12:45 AM
Any of you guys do em?

You don't?

Yes we do. They are expensive. Time consuming.

Only if you don't have the right equipment ::nods in Pete's direction::

bicmudpuppy
02-11-2009, 12:49 AM
Can't you just see the written report from a Kiril audit?????

Your system is ineffective and wasteful. Your watering living things. Shut it all off and plant rocks.:hammerhead::hammerhead::hammerhead:

Kiril
02-11-2009, 12:51 AM
Can't you just see the written report from a Kiril audit?????

Your system is ineffective and wasteful. Your watering living things. Shut it all off and plant rocks.:hammerhead::hammerhead::hammerhead:

Heck .... don't even have to go that far ... I walk up with bill in hand before even doing anything. :laugh:

HokieAg07
02-11-2009, 06:28 AM
Id like to start offering the service to our commerical clients at some point. I think its a great idea.

Audits should be part of an irrigation managers tasks.

Tony Clifton
02-11-2009, 06:44 AM
These are definately going to be big in the future as water prices increase in most parts of the country.
My next question is how much to charge. Lets say on a residential system that is 6-8 zones. I have a couple of #'s in my head...one is what I think it should cost, another is what I am afraid we will have to charge until (if) these catch on with customers.

CAPT Stream Rotar
02-11-2009, 08:04 AM
I would say charge the price of the turn on and blow out..

we do a mid season check up on a lot of places, charge the same

Kiril
02-11-2009, 08:09 AM
I would say charge the price of the turn on and blow out..

Ouch ...... :dizzy:

bicmudpuppy
02-11-2009, 08:12 AM
These are definately going to be big in the future as water prices increase in most parts of the country.
My next question is how much to charge. Lets say on a residential system that is 6-8 zones. I have a couple of #'s in my head...one is what I think it should cost, another is what I am afraid we will have to charge until (if) these catch on with customers.

Your thinking like the average LCO again. What do I have to do to price point my product so I can sell it. WRONG. The question should be how high can I go before I price the product outside of its value. An irrigation audit is going to save the customer in the long run.

I would expect a residential audit like your suggesting (less than 1 acre lot) to cost the customer the equivalent of 3-4 man hours, depending on how thorough your going to be. The first trip w/ service call (on site about 60 minutes and charged for 90 to cover getting there) is going to take you about an hour, UNLESS you have to fix anything obvious first. The extra time/labor/materials to bring a system "into line" is not part of an audit. So, you evaluate the system with a complete system check and check the programing. You leave the catch cans out and set the system to run. Your still in and out in about an hour. The return trip is going to take another hour. About 20-30 min to check and collect the cans, and another 30 min of your time to do a report and explain it to the customer.

Here is where I usually get soft. Explaining it to many customers is going to take longer than that, but helping them to understand the system is part of the job as their irrigation contractor. They call out of the blue for an audit because "trunk slammin' Joe" has been taking care of things and they want a "professional" opinion, then I say the audit is going to take and get billed for nearly double what you would charge a "customer".

Kiril
02-11-2009, 08:35 AM
The question should be how high can I go before I price the product outside of its value. An irrigation audit is going to save the customer in the long run.

Bingo .... damn :cry:

Biggest problem is selling the client on the potential savings. If they don't pay for water (or don't care about water use), might was well forget about audits.

As far as time .... 1 hour seems a tad low to me. It can take me that amount of time to assess the system (with zone pressure tests), and a quick schedule of the controller, especially if dealing with drip zones.

I would say on average figure about 20-30 minutes per zone for the "basic" package. With the right tools, you could probably shave 5-10 minutes off of that per zone.

One thing to note here. While doing the system assessment, you can usually determine if it is even worth the time pulling out your catch cans. It is pretty easy to spot a poorly designed system, or one that has been "repaired" by hacks. That being said, the catch can data might help convince the client that improvements are necessary.

FIMCO-MEISTER
02-11-2009, 08:49 AM
i'm taking a 16 hour auditing course, starts in 45 minutes, for my current CEU requirements. I have several "schemes" (for lack of better word) I'm working on to make auditing a profitable venture. Will share as I see fit of course. I will give one hint. FIND OLD RICH PEOPLE AND MAKE THEM FEEL GUILTY.

EagleLandscape
02-11-2009, 09:55 AM
dont forget to sell them a billion-dollar ET controller, and swap all of their heads out with SAM PRS and $8 MP rotator nozzles! (Even if their pressure is great, and the land is flat)!!

Tony Clifton
02-11-2009, 10:21 AM
[QUOTE=bicmudpuppy;2761833]Your thinking like the average LCO again. What do I have to do to price point my product so I can sell it. WRONG. The question should be how high can I go before I price the product outside of its value.

I agree, you put it better than I did.
I don't want to underprice audits, but I also don't want to be the guy bragging about how we are making $200/man hr for an audit but in reality we are only selling one a year. I would rather make $100/hr and sell 20 or 30 a year.


How many of you guys are retrofitting systems with MP rotators? Pressure of course does play a role, but bottom line is that your uniformity can only be so good with rotors and worst yet, sprays.

CAPT Stream Rotar
02-11-2009, 10:28 AM
I honestly think you should charge the price as a turn on mid season check up or blow out...

lets say 6 zones we turn on for 80 $ + L/M = same as audit..fix any problems to you advantage....Pick the 5 worst area's on Lawn or a zone..... L/M

simple

ARGOS
02-11-2009, 10:43 AM
Six zones on a small lot? I would think you could get 140-160

Tony Clifton
02-11-2009, 11:14 AM
I honestly think you should charge the price as a turn on mid season check up or blow out...

lets say 6 zones we turn on for 80 $ + L/M = same as audit..fix any problems to you advantage....Pick the 5 worst area's on Lawn or a zone..... L/M

simple

Out of curiosity, what would your audit consist of?

HokieAg07
02-11-2009, 06:40 PM
Out of curiosity, what would your audit consist of?

I honestly think you should charge the price as a turn on mid season check up or blow out...

lets say 6 zones we turn on for 80 $ + L/M = same as audit..fix any problems to you advantage....Pick the 5 worst area's on Lawn or a zone..... L/M

simple


Yeah I dont see how you can charge the same as a winterization or startup, an audit is a specialized thing and should be treated as such.

If you are doing a startup on six zones for 80 and only going to charge that for an audit one of two things are going on:

1) You are losing money
2) You are doing a crappy audit

Flow Control
02-11-2009, 07:09 PM
We are going to approach our commercial customers the following way:

Keep in mind that Irrigation Management is not the norm here (YET) the market is more like: Spring start-up, call for any repairs when noticed and winterization.

Pitch is:

We want to audit your system and manage the system for the season and will only charge any repairs we make. At the end of the year we would like to compare the water usage to 2008 and once your $avings are figured out we would like 40% as payment for our work. We can then figure our a 2010service plan based on our 2009 # of hours spent on site or instead of weekly or bimonthly visits we could reduce those in half if the customer wants us to install a ET based controller.

I have two guys on salary this year so I figure we could just schedule stops for the commercial sites when we are in the area.

Am I wasting my time thinking about this approach?

CAPT Stream Rotar
02-11-2009, 07:18 PM
Out of curiosity, what would your audit consist of?


well if they wanted to pay for it catch cans in the worst performing zones all calculated for precip rate.

change out poor heads, raise heads or relocate others....

the basics.....

L/M

CAPT Stream Rotar
02-11-2009, 07:24 PM
Yeah I dont see how you can charge the same as a winterization or startup, an audit is a specialized thing and should be treated as such.

If you are doing a startup on six zones for 80 and only going to charge that for an audit one of two things are going on:

1) You are losing money
2) You are doing a crappy audit


I don't see what you mean..

1.the run through of the complete system...
2.any trouble area's fix for L/M..

X dollars get you there
yz dollare make you the money



we charge the same to start it up
the same to give a mid season check up
the same to blow it out...

how aren't you making money
I take the audit as an excuse to treat someone's system as your own
make it perfect....
charge the Labor and Materials
how can you not make money?

Tony Clifton
02-11-2009, 07:45 PM
I don't see what you mean..

1.the run through of the complete system...
2.any trouble area's fix for L/M..

X dollars get you there
yz dollare make you the money



we charge the same to start it up
the same to give a mid season check up
the same to blow it out...

how aren't you making money
I take the audit as an excuse to treat someone's system as your own
make it perfect....
charge the Labor and Materials
how can you not make money?

I guess it is a matter of what your definition of an audit is. From what you described you could get away charging what you said, and make money on top of that with repairs and adjustments.
By audit, I was thinking catch cans to determine distribution uniformity, soil type(s) root zone depth, evapotranspiration rates all used to determine an accurate schedule (amount of water required over what period of time)

FIMCO-MEISTER
02-11-2009, 07:51 PM
day one of my class. Pretty interesting. Seems to be an acre multiplier. Audit twenty acres at 150/acre. One way to go. Catch can method here but I've got a more time effective method. Lawnmasters my buddy from aledo is here and he had his remote and it turns out the cojtrolller is a rm eagle controller so we hooked it up. I'll take pics mañana since this place is pretty cool with a Texas style rain harvesting system. Right on the "real" Colorado river.

HokieAg07
02-11-2009, 07:54 PM
I don't see what you mean..

1.the run through of the complete system...
2.any trouble area's fix for L/M..

X dollars get you there
yz dollare make you the money



we charge the same to start it up
the same to give a mid season check up
the same to blow it out...

how aren't you making money
I take the audit as an excuse to treat someone's system as your own
make it perfect....
charge the Labor and Materials
how can you not make money?


Basically what I was trying to say is that a good audit should take you longer than it takes you to start up, blowout, whatever.

I try to treat all my properties as my own all the time, thats the point isnt it?


I guess it is a matter of what your definition of an audit is. From what you described you could get away charging what you said, and make money on top of that with repairs and adjustments.
By audit, I was thinking catch cans to determine distribution uniformity, soil type(s) root zone depth, evapotranspiration rates all used to determine an accurate schedule (amount of water required over what period of time)


This is my idea of an audit as well. I guess audit means different things for different people.

CAPT Stream Rotar
02-11-2009, 08:01 PM
I guess it is a matter of what your definition of an audit is. From what you described you could get away charging what you said, and make money on top of that with repairs and adjustments.
By audit, I was thinking catch cans to determine distribution uniformity, soil type(s) root zone depth, evapotranspiration rates all used to determine an accurate schedule (amount of water required over what period of time)

you might of missed my first post with the catch cans ect.

I would go as far as DU and soil type and content
(cause my company has a lab), but I think trying to figure out ET and root depth is a whole nother ballgame.

Mind you my friend I work @ a tree Company that does IPM.
so I am very familiar with tree and shrub water needs.

I can spot over 30 different types of fungus and insects.. Half of what I find in Kentucky blue and exotic plantings problems lies with over watering..

all and all I might not be giving a true "audit".
not sure if im saying this clearly....few beers today .

how would you figure ET on a proptery for a XyZ shrub?

CAPT Stream Rotar
02-11-2009, 08:06 PM
Hey Hokie- I think you and me are on the same track

When you can- treat it like its yours..
to me thats what an audit is all about.

as far as the turn on blow out topic that would be the bottom charge as if it were perfect.

when its not 100% L/M until it is...

my 2

FIMCO-MEISTER
02-11-2009, 08:08 PM
[QUOTE=CAPT Stream Rotar

I would go as far as DU and soil type and content
(cause my company has a lab), but I think trying to figure out ET and root depth is a whole nother ballgame.

Mind you my friend I work @ a tree Company that does IPM.
so I am very familiar with tree and shrub water needs.

I can spot over 30 different types of fungus and insects.. Half of what I find in Kentucky blue and exotic plantings problems lies with .

how would you figure ET on a proptery for a XyZ shrub?[/QUOTE]
Need more info

CAPT Stream Rotar
02-11-2009, 08:10 PM
Need more info

on what?

mon amiee

bicmudpuppy
02-11-2009, 08:12 PM
An AUDIT has NOTHING to do with repair work. Doing a system check to make sure everything works is fine and is going to be part of the process, but it is NOT the process. Fixing what the audit shows to be wrong is repair work. An audit is just that an audit of the systems efficiency and real recommendations on how to improve that efficiency. A residential audit (IMO) is going to be a scaled down audit. The average HO isn't going to shell for pressure testing at each nozzle, etc. A lot of that type of information is going to be visual only. Does the pressure "look good"? Are the heads nozzled for matched precip? Verifying that information if it looks "iffy" and then getting real data about actual precip and soil types. I think you could do the average resi in about an hour. That is evaluate and set out cans to evaluate precip. Your not going to fix anything in that time frame. And, again, if it is YOUR customer, and you go over a little, it might be because YOU haven't been taking the time to fix things and your going to make up for it. If it is someone who called you because he's been hiring a fly-by-night.........Its going to cost "just a bit" more !:clapping:

CAPT Stream Rotar
02-11-2009, 08:25 PM
well in my eyes Audit= evaluation just like a turn on..operational, and functioning properly, find issues...

everything else= chaching

ARGOS
02-11-2009, 09:40 PM
Quick synopsis. (http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/GREENHOUSE/hortgardens/conservation/agentdemo1.pdf)

Waterit
02-11-2009, 10:27 PM
day one of my class.
Lawnmasters my buddy from aledo is here and he had his remote and it turns out the cojtrolller is a rm eagle controller so we hooked it up.

Gonna take the Aquaterra out at recess, too?:)

Kiril
02-12-2009, 12:13 AM
Quick synopsis. (http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/GREENHOUSE/hortgardens/conservation/agentdemo1.pdf)

Note how all irrigation "audits" never address micro-irrigation. :nono:

ARGOS
02-12-2009, 12:41 AM
Note how all irrigation "audits" never address micro-irrigation. :nono:

It is easy to adapt a template to micro irrigation.

Kiril
02-12-2009, 01:37 AM
It is easy to adapt a template to micro irrigation.

Not my point. Information on audits does not cover micro-irrigation, at least I have never seen anything that has, including what is distributed by the "illustrious" IA.

An audit is just that ... a complete audit of the irrigation system performance. Why is it the focus is strictly on sprays and rotors? Granted they are the biggest water wasters, but micro can also be wasteful and poorly designed/installed as well.

No excuse IMHO.

FIMCO-MEISTER
02-12-2009, 08:22 AM
Not my point. Information on audits does not cover micro-irrigation, at least I have never seen anything that has, including what is distributed by the "illustrious" IA.

An audit is just that ... a complete audit of the irrigation system performance. Why is it the focus is strictly on sprays and rotors? Granted they are the biggest water wasters, but micro can also be wasteful and poorly designed/installed as well.

No excuse IMHO.

One of the reasons I got the Aquaterr was for this issue besides helping me adjust frequency. Having said that it is much more cost effective to audit large turf areas and continuously "trim" micro/drip and monitor the plant quality over time.

Kiril
02-12-2009, 08:40 AM
One of the reasons I got the Aquaterr was for this issue besides helping me adjust frequency. Having said that it is much more cost effective to audit large turf areas and continuously "trim" micro/drip and monitor the plant quality over time.

Speaking of which ... have you had the chance to do any extensive QA on the unit yet?

Also, with respect to audits, just how fine a resolution does it have? As you know, with clay soils and your typical over watering scenario, soil water content will more likely than not read the same regardless of your DU. This would necessitate communication with the property owner prior to the audit, specifically SHUT THE DAMN SYSTEM OFF!

FIMCO-MEISTER
02-12-2009, 08:53 AM
Speaking of which ... have you had the chance to do any extensive QA on the unit yet?

Also, with respect to audits, just how fine a resolution does it have? As you know, with clay soils and your typical over watering scenario, soil water content will more likely than not read the same regardless of your DU. This would necessitate communication with the property owner prior to the audit, specifically SHUT THE DAMN SYSTEM OFF!

No info yet. Still exploring it. It won't replace a catch can audit. It will supplement it down the road during the trimming phase of water usage.

bicmudpuppy
02-12-2009, 08:54 AM
Poor poor Kiril. On a tangent again. One I agree with this time :)


Hey, I thought mid-range rotors were micro-irrigation! I haven't seen a spray head in so long, I'm not sure I could identify a malfunctioning one. Audits are harder when it takes 20-50 cans to check the performance of 4 heads :laugh:

Heavy bar glasses work well in some situations. You can carry 20+ in a tray and set them out. I look for uniformity more than actual precip rate. (in other words, the can or glasses I use aren't graduated). I can adjust for precip IF I know the DU is good.

Peter, have you had a chance to really test your meter in a drip/flood irrigated bed yet? Start w/ a dry bed, turn on the zone and spot check for uniform coverage? Very curious to see how well it works.

Tom Tom
02-12-2009, 10:05 AM
Catch can method here but I've got a more time effective method. .

Is that the aquaterr your talking about?

Tom Tom
02-12-2009, 10:07 AM
Note how all irrigation "audits" never address micro-irrigation. :nono:

I'm thinking because the biggest water savings are achieved through rotor and spray zones, but you already know that.

Dripit good
02-12-2009, 04:17 PM
As a certified irrigation auditor since 02, I'm embarrassed to say I've never performed an audit for $$$. I haven't pursued it as I should, and when I have I've found it a very hard sell. I wouldn't think of doing it for chump change, as a proper audit is tedious and very time consuming.

I think they are valuable and should be required in certain areas. The con is they apply only to turf requirements. Busy landscapes packed with a variety of material each with different water needs needs can't be properly audited.

It's hard enough to educate a customer to justify needed and basic renovations to their systems, let alone explaining the best DU they could ever achieve is 75-80%!


Not my point. Information on audits does not cover micro-irrigation, at least I have never seen anything that has, including what is distributed by the "illustrious" IA.

An audit is just that ... a complete audit of the irrigation system performance. Why is it the focus is strictly on sprays and rotors? Granted they are the biggest water wasters, but micro can also be wasteful and poorly designed/installed as well.

No excuse IMHO.

Forgive me Kiril....I know you are top shelf, but this is not true. There is an entire drip/micro spray auditing procedure in my IA manuals, very detailed too. Right up your alley. Minutia's galore.

Wet_Boots
02-12-2009, 04:33 PM
.........Forgive me Kiril....I know you are top shelf, but this is not true. There is an entire drip/micro spray auditing procedure in my IA manuals, very detailed too. Right up your alley. Minutia's galore.Uh-oh, information overload!! ;)

Kiril
02-13-2009, 08:01 AM
There is an entire drip/micro spray auditing procedure in my IA manuals, very detailed too. Right up your alley. Minutia's galore.

Good to know. Too bad they don't put that information in their recommendations.