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southfla
02-01-2011, 03:31 PM
I have decided to move forward and get my FL Irragation lic. Per the internet you must pass a test and then forward the results with your application to the county you live in. Has anyone taken this test before? I wanted to know if it was easy or should I go to class. I perfer to order the books and study at home due to my schedual, but if its pretty hard I would look into classroom study. Any info would help

Thanks in advance

Ric
02-01-2011, 04:59 PM
I have decided to move forward and get my FL Irragation lic. Per the internet you must pass a test and then forward the results with your application to the county you live in. Has anyone taken this test before? I wanted to know if it was easy or should I go to class. I perfer to order the books and study at home due to my schedual, but if its pretty hard I would look into classroom study. Any info would help

Thanks in advance

SouthFla

Yep I have taken the Test TWICE and the Contractor Law with OSHA regulation etc was the only test I ever failed in my entire life. I did pass by the skin of my teeth the second time.

The Test is given by an out side company and not the state. I believe it costs $ 300 to take but it has been many years since I took it.

Florida has Two types of Special Contractor Licenses. Certified and Registered. My Commercial Pesticide is a State issued CERTIFIED LICENSE that is good any where in the state. Like all Irrigation license in Florida, my Irrigation License is a Registered License issued by my county. Each County has the right to make their own requirement for a Registered License. That license is only good in the county it was issued for. Now with the state Block test Many counties are excepting licenses from other counties IF YOU PAY THEIR LICENSE FEE.

My County required 3 years Experience working for an Irrigation Company. I sat for the test and finally passed it. I went to the next county north of me to apply for their irrigation License to be turned down. They required 4 years. A year later I applied again and got it.

Collier County has no requirement to sit for the test. After you pass the test you must prove experience to get the license. That doesn't mean you will get a license.

Go to your County Code Enforcement and hopefully talk to a County Wage slave who has worked there long enough to know that counties policy. Get all your facts straight first.

southfla
02-02-2011, 04:29 PM
I just got off the phone with palm beach county and they said if I am completing a "wet check" and replacing broken heads/minor repairs I DO NOT NEED A LIC.

If i need to replace a motor, valves etc I would need a lic or call a licenced company.

Does that sound correct? It seems like everyone has a different answer regarding this issue. I am guessing a lic irrigation company will report me for doing "wet checks" so I want to make sure I have my info straight

fl-landscapes
02-02-2011, 06:21 PM
I just got off the phone with palm beach county and they said if I am completing a "wet check" and replacing broken heads/minor repairs I DO NOT NEED A LIC.

If i need to replace a motor, valves etc I would need a lic or call a licenced company.

Does that sound correct? It seems like everyone has a different answer regarding this issue. I am guessing a lic irrigation company will report me for doing "wet checks" so I want to make sure I have my info straight

like ric said, each county is different. Different idiot politicians and bureaucrats making 10 million different contradicting laws in each state and each county. Makes sense doesnt it:dizzy:

tallrick
02-04-2011, 11:48 PM
The experience requirements are ridiculous. How can anyone get experience if nobody is hiring? I have always believed it was a way to limit competition. I installed or repaired irrigation systems on every property I owned, so I guess I am breaking yet more laws. Nobody else I know has working irrigation on their rental properties. Not only have I replaced pumps but I have even rewound them. When buying a distressed property you never know what you will find.

Ric
02-05-2011, 12:35 AM
The experience requirements are ridiculous. How can anyone get experience if nobody is hiring? I have always believed it was a way to limit competition. I installed or repaired irrigation systems on every property I owned, so I guess I am breaking yet more laws. Nobody else I know has working irrigation on their rental properties. Not only have I replaced pumps but I have even rewound them. When buying a distressed property you never know what you will find.

Tallrick

The Theory of Irrigation is pretty easy and therefore the Irrigation part of the test is very easy. But the WHY and WHERE of the experience requirement comes into play in actual daily field problems. Do you have any idea how many manufactures of Valve and spray heads there are???? If you are a fully Registered Irrigation contractor, then you must be able to repair older system with very different and strange parts.

As for getting Experience, that is a problem in both a Commercial Pesticide and Irrigation license. Most people don't want to work for the man and pay their dues.

southfla
02-05-2011, 07:57 AM
well it's official I cannot apply for my irrigation lic because of the experiance issue.
3 years working for someone or 1.5 years as a supervisor. Owning a lawn/landscaping company does not qualify.

I am now looking to purchase a company that has a lic employee, but my question is:

If that employee leaves the company can the company continue to operate with that lic for a period of time?

I am trying everything to add services to my company in a legal way!

Thanks for all the help..

Ric
02-05-2011, 08:45 AM
well it's official I cannot apply for my irrigation lic because of the experiance issue.
3 years working for someone or 1.5 years as a supervisor. Owning a lawn/landscaping company does not qualify.

I am now looking to purchase a company that has a lic employee, but my question is:

If that employee leaves the company can the company continue to operate with that lic for a period of time?

I am trying everything to add services to my company in a legal way!

Thanks for all the help..


South

In the case of a pesticide license you have one year grace period to replace a CPO. However County regulation vary county by county with Irrigation Licenses. Check your local county once again.

Truth Be told I bought a Irrigation company and had the previous owner signed me off as a employee for 3 years so I could sit for the test. However you can not do that with Pesticide because you must hold a State Spray Card for 3 years.

There comes a point in growing a landscape maintenance company where Pesticide and Irrigation Licenses are necessary to make the big jump into a real competitive company. I watched my Income double when I hired a CPO and got the Pesticide license. Irrigation wasn't as big a jump but still a jump. One way to get the same effect is to Net Work with a small owner operator Pesticide and Irrigation company. It is hard for the average Yard Boy with a me first attitude to realize by giving work to others you make more money. We are in the service industry and SERVICE is what we sell. I have customers who call me for names of Aluminum soffit repair guys and I gladly encourage them to do so.

Kiril
02-05-2011, 10:14 AM
The Theory of Irrigation is pretty easy and therefore the Irrigation part of the test is very easy.

Licensing tests for irrigation only cover the very basic knowledge needed, if they didn't, almost no one would pass the test. The knowledge required to service irrigation systems isn't all that extensive. On the other hand, designing and managing irrigation systems requires extensive knowledge and is anything but easy.

tallrick
02-05-2011, 11:46 AM
Irrigation is not rocket science, I personally feel that anyone with simple understanding of hydraulics and gardening can successfully design and install an irrigation system. Licensing is just a way of controlling the market to keep prices high. Otherwise, a set of tests freely administered would be all that is needed for qualification. Experience requirements allow tradesmen like plumbers and electricians to command top dollar while excluding others to black market lowball projects.

Kiril
02-05-2011, 12:01 PM
Irrigation is not rocket science, I personally feel that anyone with simple understanding of hydraulics and gardening can successfully design and install an irrigation system. Licensing is just a way of controlling the market to keep prices high. Otherwise, a set of tests freely administered would be all that is needed for qualification. Experience requirements allow tradesmen like plumbers and electricians to command top dollar while excluding others to black market lowball projects.

True .... not rocket science, but not simple either. If designing and managing irrigation systems was so simple, then why are there so many irrigation systems that are woefully inadequate at properly irrigating a given site?

I am curious though, what would you include in a set of tests?

Ric
02-05-2011, 12:21 PM
Licensing tests for irrigation only cover the very basic knowledge needed, if they didn't, almost no one would pass the test. The knowledge required to service irrigation systems isn't all that extensive. On the other hand, designing and managing irrigation systems requires extensive knowledge and is anything but easy.

Kiril

In you infinite Wisdom I believe you are missing the point that there are 100 different manufactures of plumbing parts. While basic plumbing theory is fairly easy, the knowledge that comes with experience of these different manufacture is what makes an accomplished journeyman.

Kiril
02-05-2011, 12:40 PM
Kiril

In you infinite Wisdom I believe you are missing the point that there are 100 different manufactures of plumbing parts. While basic plumbing theory is fairly easy, the knowledge that comes with experience of these different manufacture is what makes an accomplished journeyman.

Regardless of how many different products there are, they all operate on the same principles. The experience factor (with respect to service) comes into play on knowing how these products typically fail, how to identify products that are close to failure, knowing how certain products will perform under different scenarios, how to repair these products, etc.... Regardless, you can have 100 years of experience in servicing irrigation systems and still not have a clue on how to properly design and manage them.

Ric
02-05-2011, 12:59 PM
Regardless of how many different products there are, they all operate on the same principles. The experience factor (with respect to service) comes into play on knowing how these products typically fail, how to identify products that are close to failure, knowing how certain products will perform under different scenarios, how to repair these products, etc.... Regardless, you can have 100 years of experience in servicing irrigation systems and still not have a clue on how to properly design and manage them.

Kiril

And you have all those years of experience and can recognize different manufactures products. All you have to do is buy the same Make and model number to change out the guts instead of re-plumbing the system RIGHT????

Kiril
02-05-2011, 01:14 PM
Kiril

And you have all those years of experience and can recognize different manufactures products. All you have to do is buy the same Make and model number to change out the guts instead of re-plumbing the system RIGHT????

What are we talking about Ric .... valves? Why would you re-plumb the system because a valve failed?

Lets say a valve is weeping. How do you spot a weeping valve, what are the most likely causes, and how do you fix it? This is where the experience factor comes into play.

tallrick
02-05-2011, 03:05 PM
True .... not rocket science, but not simple either. If designing and managing irrigation systems was so simple, then why are there so many irrigation systems that are woefully inadequate at properly irrigating a given site?

I am curious though, what would you include in a set of tests?

Since I am not in the industry I do not have a set procedure for tests. When I buy a property the first thing I do is look for a system and attempt to power the pump. Most of the time the system that is there has been neglected for 10 years or more. I try and see if there is a controller and if it works. Most of the systems I find have manual valves or an indexing valve to control zones. Several turn out to be black poly pipe which is totally worthless and means I will put it all in new. The PVC systems are invariably shallow buried and have been cracked and torn out by trees falling in storms or by vehicles driving around the yard. I get a good laugh out of some of the rigs I see, one home had garden hose as a makeshift "funny pipe". The only system I have been able to save was a galvanized system installed sometime in the 50's that was almost complete except for some broken off heads and the main feed broken off so vehicles could drive to the backyard. Whoever installed that system was a true professional and buried 11/2" pipe 18" down as a main line and had the spray heads and impact sprinklers on risers with street elbows as a swing joint. Although the crack heads stole the brass heads they could not break the risers off. I replaced the risers with Toro rotors at ground level. The brass spray heads were replaced with some Toro pop-ups I got at the flea market. I put in barriers to prevent tenants from driving on lawn areas. Gate valves and indexing valves I replace with solenoid valves and my valve boxes are made from concrete. That system is the only working one on the street and there are no dry spots.

For any other system it is just easier to install new than repair. After calling 811 and following the marks I try to figure out where the sewer line or septic is, as well as any lines going to sheds or garages. I do a flow test with the meter as I close the valve, and see how fast the pump can fill a 55 gallon drum. After drawing a layout of the yard I try to place the sprinklers in groups that can match the demands, and group only like types of sprinklers in a zone. Because they are cheap and I have a lot of them from the flea market, I only use 1" jar top valves. For a controller I use a PLC logic board which has RS 485 capability and place an outdoor phone plug if I need to program the system. I do not use moisture sensors, just time programs. Installing a system is usually a weekend job, I bring the ditch witch to trench, cut and glue PVC then after installation use the bobcat and a shovel to finish it off. A truckload of muck finishes the job and within a month the lawn looks presentable. Since I bury all lines at least 12 inches deep, I have not had one fail yet. One of my best tenants is a gardening enthusiast so I changed from rotors to spinners on risers. She is very nice and always gives me some of her choice backyard produce. Since I added compost, the lines are now 24 inches deep.

If not for the ridiculous licensing requirements I would probably be in the business. Neighbors always compliment the landscapes of the homes and ask who did the installation. This is even the case for a home I bought for 25K in a really nasty area to rent for 450 a month. You know its bad when you find burned soda cans used to smoke crack around the yard.

If I designed a license program it would involve a practical installation project as well as servicing an existing one. Several written exams on irrigation, basic electricity, plumbing with both plastic and steel pipe, as well as basic botany and landscape plant identification. The first tests would be free, and upon failure fees would be added for re-takes. The practical installation could be at the applicants own home or at a training center, for which fees would be charged for materials used and instructor pay.