View Full Version : What are you charging right now?

09-04-2002, 08:19 PM
I am thinking of raising my price per head for installation. This is my second year at this, and I'm at $35 for it right now. Should I raise or lower? I get pretty steady business during the season but it gets busy in the fall becasue everyone who wants a new lawn gets a system in. Thanks in advance

09-04-2002, 11:19 PM
Are you saying when you figure your bid you figure total heads then multipy it by $35.00. This doesn't seem like a good way to figure jobs. Even if I did it this way $35.00 is way low in our area. I didn't look at where your from, if your not to close I would be happy to give you my formula but don't want to post it here in case the competition is looking in. Let me know if you want an e-mail.

09-05-2002, 06:40 PM
You need to be around $100/head but do not sell or estimate this way. It's just for ballparking.

Most systems I do run about $30/head for just the materials. Labor, equipment, overhead and profit plus sometimes the plumber to do the connection make up the rest.

Tell me where this $35 comes from?

I just priced a job today on bare dirt but messy and rooty. 19 Hunter I 20 rotors with swing pipe, alt pie etc, 4 pgv valves with water proof connections, 380' 1.25" main, Proc-C controller with miniclick and one module, 420' 13 conductor wire, 1" Watts 800m4FR PVB, flags, primer, glue and a misc $25 charge for inicidentals and the materials were $839 incl tax. NO, idon't give the customer the materials price. That is $44/head.

Then I estiamted 36 man hrs with travel, truck stocking, layout, production on the job @ $45/hr = $1620 labor, equip etc to install = $85/head. package pesented to client @$2,460 or $129/head.

John Gamba
09-05-2002, 09:18 PM
If Your Steady At your Price. raise It To where you feel You Still will Get the work and Make more Money. Five to Ten Dollers More Per Man. Then Next year go Five More.

We All Didn't do it Over Night. As some think.

Good luck:D John.

09-06-2002, 09:21 AM
Every time I see someone flatly say "35 per head" or "500 per grass zone" or anything resembling this....per square foot is another one........I CRINGE. How can you possible charge by the "piece". Whatever it may be?

Raise your labor rate.....know your costs, all of them. When you bid a job you should know what your costs are per hour for overhead on the crew you are sending as well as the job costs.....mark up the parts and charge your labor and then add your profit. Only you know what that is!

Having the irrigation knowledge is only part of the battle. The business end is Much More Important in my opinion. Some irrigation companies seem to know very little about either of these.....this hurts the industry. Be careful!

09-09-2002, 05:02 AM
HBFOXJr, I wish I could charge that much $$$ here in the panhandle of FL. I'm currently putting in a system with 15 I-20's, 44 4in prosprays, 8 dv's and a SRC900i for the low low price of $2400. The customer said I was high by $200 but came highly recommended by all his neighbors so he's taking "a chance" so he says.

I have a total of 39 in with an estimate of 6 to go..

09-09-2002, 03:58 PM
Just don't put in a $3500 system for $2400. Make sure you give them a $2400 system. Find some ways to cut costs, not necessarily cut corners though.

I have a 6 zone system were putting in this week, 22 PGPs and one drip zone, for $2700.

09-09-2002, 04:35 PM
but the only problem is, is that I am generally the high priced guy in town. I get cut under cut alot. There are tons of fly by nighters here. Just last month I went to go fix a system that some joker started to install by running a 3/4 line down the middle of the yard then ran several extensions of flex pipe up to 20ft and had several tee's. The contractor told me he wanted to see the coverage and a few squirted out 2 or 3 feet. He got $100 for his time and sent him away. He was also using that good quality K-gro stuff. He would've been better off with a hose and a rotor.

09-09-2002, 09:50 PM
Ya don't ever give without getting. Don't worry about what everybody else is doing or charging. You gotta do what you gotta do. If it means you only sell to 5 out of a hundred people that call so be it. You just gotta figure out how to weed out 80 of the most worthless ones on the phone and go see 20 good possibilities. If you close 25% of what you see, and not worry about closing 50% or more of the calls you get you will be better off.

There is this BIG misconception about "I can't get that here". Well markets and costs do vary somewhat but you know Mercedes Benz, Lexus, Ford, Dodge all sell stuff all over the country the same way for the same prices. You think the manufacturers sell to dealers for lower dollars in the I can't get thaT HERE AREAS??? You think you can pop up a Benz dealership anywhere an make a go of it???

Heck NO. Why isn't there a McDonalds at every cross road in America??? Because they know they can't make it everywhere and pick their spots. Why do all the car dealers and fast food places congregate around the same spots. Because that is where the action is and that is where they need to be to compete.

A lot of you guys just don't realize that what you want to do to make a living doesn't have a wit to do with whether folks can afford to buy it at the price you NEED to sell it for to make a profit.

So, If you can't sell it at a profit or can't sell enough to make it a viable business proposition at a profit, ya better go to plan B.

This ain't "build it and they will come". The green industry is no field of dreams. It's a race track where the rubber meets the road and you better be ready to run when the flag drops.

09-10-2002, 09:08 AM
I have never heard the Mercedes Benz analogy....of course in Scottsdale they are selling Ferraris so I don't have that problem!

Well said, Foxx

We will once in awhile settle for a job that isn't exactly to our standards, but for the most part, 99% of the time, we will not do it any way but our way. Helps us sleep at nite. And make a profit. 2 really important things.

09-10-2002, 04:19 PM

I totally agree with both of you, we are the same way, if you can't make the $$$ on the job and do it the way you know is right, walk away. None of us should be in this game for our health alone, if you can't sleep at night for what ever reason it night be time to try something else

09-10-2002, 09:05 PM
And I'll add that every man hour your throw away on some less than satisfactory business endeavor is an hour you could have made some dollars with the right service, product or job.

You really have to know your numbers, what they mean and how to use them to your advantage to be on top or climb on top from a hole.

A lot of you young'ins think you know the numbers but unless you have a good business education, were taught by a knowledgeable family member or employer or took some workshops as I did years ago, your probably fooling yourself.

There are still a ton of things I don't know and I don't do well and I continue to seek answers and educate myself. Marketing is still a big, big mystery to me as the target always seems to be changing.

09-10-2002, 09:28 PM
I never claimed to "know it all" or even hinted in that matter. And yes I do have a good business education, and yes I was taught by a knowledgeable family member and a previous employer and one more "yes" I do know my numbers, what they mean and how to use them to my advantage to be on top, at least for my marketing area and that's one thing you guys haven't taken into account, different M A R K E T I N G A R E A S. You have good form on technical advice but little savvy in people skills.:rolleyes:

09-10-2002, 09:50 PM
My comments were made as generalizations. Don't take it personal. If I want to say something personal, I'll email you or put your name at the top like this.

I do stick by generalizations. If they shoe doesn't fit you, no problem.

09-10-2002, 10:24 PM
My people skills do suck........especially on here when over the last year or so I've tried to help but get nowhere. Everyone knows more about my business than I do. So, now I jump at the chance to rattle a cage or two. I may not be right all the time, but my guess is that 8 or 9 times out of 10, that cage deserves to be rattled.

As for a system in the panhandle of Florida......you probably aren't near as competitive there as we are in Scottsdale. Fastest growing city in the US....one of them anyway. Most people here are from somewhere in the midwest and they know everything too! Because of that we have lots of competition. But, I can tell you this....there is no way I would install an 8 valve system for 2400 bucks.....sounds like a side job to me!

Sell your smarts not your price. I haven't starved yet and still haven't put a system in where the parts probably cost me close to 1/2 of my price! Wow!

$270 for the I-20's and swing arms etc
$220 for the Pro sprays and swing arms etc
$120 for the DV valves and related components
$100 ish for the timer?

We are at roughly 700 bucks without pipe and misc. fittings......OUCH!....

09-10-2002, 11:15 PM
Find some ways to cut costs, not necessarily cut corners though

I hope you all don't think I meant put in an unsatisfactory system with the above comment. I meant find someways to cut down the size or options on the system. Maybe take out the rain sensor or offer it as an option. Maybe they can reduce the size of the lawn irrigated. Or possibly go with a timer that is comparable but less expensive - Hunter SRC instead of Rainbird ESP. That type of stuff. I am hurting for work - big time. But I still won't drop my price to well below my norm, or put in a shoddy system.

Tony - I'll call you when I get back.

09-10-2002, 11:19 PM
I don't think we would ever accuse you of that Mr. Dana. There are more than 100 ways to skin a cat right? I think finding those ways can be tough but once you do, your on to something. Maybe I can help a little too!

As for your trip, give your mom a hug man! I'll pray for you guys! Take care, be safe.

09-10-2002, 11:57 PM
My apologizes to all I've offended, I too have been on a few other boards for a year and I know what you mean by people knowing it all. I've tried to help others but there's always some yahoo that gets his kicks off of bossing others and is quick to critize, so once again I'm sorry but I will not put up with people telling me I'm wrong especially when they don't know my area and the quality of my work.

My people skills do suck........especially on here when over the last year or so I've tried to help but get nowhere. Everyone knows more about my business than I do
seems like you know mine better than myself.

Cutting corners; well in FL it is mandated by law to install a rain sensor with every new sprinkler system. And hell I just laid the pipe on the ground. My total cost was less than 1k and had the usual spare parts left over, extra ends, tee's etc...

$164.85 for the I-20's and swing arms etc
$120 for the Pro spraysw/nozzles and flex pipe with barbed ends, got a special, free nozzles with a case of PS! yahoo!!
$98 for the DV valves
$75.91 for the timer
$21 for sensor
$195 for pipe
$60 for various fittings
$48.5 for 250ft 9/18
and $200 for misc

This isn't richy ditzy Scotsdale but we too are growing fairly quick. Competition here is pure cutt-throat and if you where here in Panama City you'd love to put in an 8-zone for 2400, side job or not.

I also notice that somebody mentioned something like $500 per zone. I don't price my jobs by this method but I've heard $250-$350 per zone in my neck of the woods. Which gives you some kind of idea what the market is here.

09-11-2002, 08:35 AM
Okay, it is as bad as you say.....sorry to hear that. good luck

09-11-2002, 10:18 AM
One huge variable is labor costs. Laborers here are a minimum of $10/hr, skilled crew boss $16-$20. Skilled meaning can do layout from instructions, plumbing skills, operate equipment, train & supervise them below him and talk to and educate clients in how and when to run the system.

You better offer health ins, uniforms free and possibly paid holidays and sick days. Of course hours after 40 are overtime rate.

If you work under gorund or not by the rules and pay legally or other wise $8-$10/hr cash or straight time the savings are enormous.

You get rid of health insurance to the tune of several dollars/hr, SS, WC, unemployment, and liability ins is reduced or eliminated for many more $$$/hr saved.

Not saying anyone posting here does it but WE ALL know it is going on.

And we know it becasue the pasrts are the same across the country, a truck, trencher or puller or phone bill is about the same across the country. The labor game isn't whether it is legit or not.

10-09-2002, 05:05 AM
This will vary wildly from place to place around the country. And we don't necessarily charge by the hour for installs.

For irrigation repair work we charge $50 service call (just to arrive at their door) and $48 per hour. And surprisingly, I get that rate almost every time I tell people about it. I increased from $35 a year ago thinking people might balk at it. But so far, everyone's been fine with that rate. I did some "research" first with my competition, if you know what I mean, to figure out what others were charging. It seemed that the average was $45 per hour. Some were as high as $90 per hour. Only a few had service call charges.

If I am doing an install, I plan to at least make $35 per man hour. Many times we get much more.

10-09-2002, 05:08 AM
I've heard $250-$350 per zone in my neck of the woods. Damn cuz! I don't necessarily price per zone either. But I start with a price-per-zone formula and then increase or decrease as necessary for the individual lot. And we'll charge $1500 for the first zone, and 800-1000 for each add'l zone. $250-$350 is just freaking nuts! How can you even do that? I almost spend that in parts!

10-09-2002, 07:12 AM
hahaaha, that's the way the ball bounces here. I think for that job I had less than 1k for materials, labor ran me in the neighborhood of $300 and took home $1100. Like I stated before I'm one of the more expensive installers in town and if I charged for estimates I'd be rich since I get undercut alot.

I get my I-20 just under $11
and rainbird 5000's under $10

what do you guys all pay?