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SprinklerManNY
08-05-2012, 12:10 AM
Its time for me to make a change and considering a move down south. I've been in the irrigation industry for over 20yrs, 10 of that have been in business for myself. Have a strong, well established and still growing business, but all the hack competition on long island is making it harder and harder to profit on these jobs, they give it away for a day's pay.

How is business in these area? I'm actually most interested in moving to the Atlanta area for other reasons. I don't think I want be an owner anymore, I miss too many family functions and my son is growing up without me. Right now my family is away on vacation and I'm missing it cause work is too busy and I really can't trust the guys, certain customers I just can't take a chance with.

Wet_Boots
08-05-2012, 09:40 AM
Why not put on the repairman hat and bring the kid along?

greenmonster304
08-05-2012, 09:50 AM
Where on the island are you?
Posted via Mobile Device

SprinklerManNY
08-05-2012, 12:02 PM
He's too young,he's only 5 and he does not have the personality or attention span to make the day. Besides I want him to have a better childhood than I did. I grew up working weekends with my father and missed out on a lot. I also don't want him getting use to this life, yes I do well and yes I enjoy what I do (most of the time) but its not the life I want for him. If that's the decision he makes later on in life that's his choice, I don't want him to not now anything else.


Mid Suffolk

Are contractors in those states pulling or trenching? Poly or PVC? Year round or seasonal?
Just trying to get as much insight as possible; might help the decision or may have no bearing at all.

CAPT Stream Rotar
08-05-2012, 12:11 PM
trenching pvc is my guess..

I'm sure a good tech could command 50-60 K a year...

good luck...

Wet_Boots
08-05-2012, 12:12 PM
you would be trenching PVC down South

CAPT Stream Rotar
08-05-2012, 12:17 PM
Tough digging compared to our/my sandy beach pea gravel sand.

SprinklerManNY
08-05-2012, 12:20 PM
I figured that's how they did it but why? I know most of Georgia is clay but what about the other areas? Why PVC?

50-60k isn't too bad, techs making that here but the cost of living is much higher. Our taxes here are insane!

Wet_Boots
08-05-2012, 12:20 PM
I guess it's kind of refreshing to not have to worry about pristine beautiful lawns immediately after installation.

PVC is cheaper than poly, and always has been.

CAPT Stream Rotar
08-05-2012, 12:49 PM
In NC man that was some tough stuff...I think PVC is a PITA to deal with.

Wet_Boots
08-05-2012, 01:00 PM
I kind of doubt that speedy PVC installs are being assembled strictly to mfr recommendations.

txirrigation
08-05-2012, 01:05 PM
Its time for me to make a change and considering a move down south. I've been in the irrigation industry for over 20yrs, 10 of that have been in business for myself. Have a strong, well established and still growing business, but all the hack competition on long island is making it harder and harder to profit on these jobs, they give it away for a day's pay.

How is business in these area? I'm actually most interested in moving to the Atlanta area for other reasons. I don't think I want be an owner anymore, I miss too many family functions and my son is growing up without me. Right now my family is away on vacation and I'm missing it cause work is too busy and I really can't trust the guys, certain customers I just can't take a chance with.

The grass isn't always greener my friend. Maybe before a move you should access why you feel you need to compete with the hacks. Keep your price honest and explain why you are more expensive. Do less work and make more money.

We have pretty strict irrigation regs in TX, but all that did was create a large un-licensed bootleg work force. I hear this all the time from customers,"Well this company said they would do it for xxxx.xx if I went and pulled a home owner permit for them. Why should I pay you xxx.xx more?"

I don't try to compete with that, and the number of calls I get after the job is half done and the home owner ran off the other company is increasing. Then they want us to come in and do it for a reduced cost because they already paid the other company half. :nono:

Irrigation Contractor
08-05-2012, 01:09 PM
He's too young,he's only 5 and he does not have the personality or attention span to make the day. Besides I want him to have a better childhood than I did. I grew up working weekends with my father and missed out on a lot. I also don't want him getting use to this life, yes I do well and yes I enjoy what I do (most of the time) but its not the life I want for him. If that's the decision he makes later on in life that's his choice, I don't want him to not now anything else.


Mid Suffolk

Are contractors in those states pulling or trenching? Poly or PVC? Year round or seasonal?
Just trying to get as much insight as possible; might help the decision or may have no bearing at all.


TN and GA for sure will be trenching and PVC, not only due to clay but more rock than you have seen in a year on one job. LOL If you think the hacks are up north, then wait until you come down here. GA is the worst market I have seen due to low ball pricing from the biggest companies and not only the little guys. There are a lot landscaper companies giving the irrigation away to get the landscape scope of work and when they come up here you see plenty of rotors, sprays and even beds on the same zones.

Alabama is a better market due to better codes enforcement and inspections. Every market has their clients that want or need it done right, but I still get frustrated seeing some of the biggest projects around being done design-build with poor quality work. I just checked a job we lost due to price, and knew right away when I saw 2" valves covered with 6" valve boxes. I never had a chance and it kills me to watch crappy work continue since these are large corporations that are getting sub par systems that at times do not even function. Many cannot even be repaired without major rehabs.

$50,000 is going to be on the high end for a great tech who can do anything including central controls, but the cost of living down here is much less. We are always looking for techs that know what they are doing, but some pay less and some pay more, so you have to find the companies that have the customers paying top dollar.

I would say move for sure!! I will never go back to Chi-Town. Be prepared to see plenty of Shark Chains and here, %$^%!!!! We need to weld the trencher again.

CAPT Stream Rotar
08-05-2012, 01:23 PM
trenching tough soil and rock just sucks..Messy. yuck.

Wet_Boots
08-05-2012, 01:45 PM
trenching tough soil and rock just sucks..Messy. yuck.Congratulations on your new Fanatic status! We knew you had it in you. :p

Mike Leary
08-05-2012, 01:53 PM
Well done hanging in there and absorbing our (well-meant) abuse. :clapping::drinkup:

CAPT Stream Rotar
08-05-2012, 02:01 PM
Only took 5 years :)

whats above fanatic?

Mike Leary
08-05-2012, 02:08 PM
Only took 5 years :)

whats above fanatic?

Nut case, Boots is the only one who's achieved that status. :dizzy:

Wet_Boots
08-05-2012, 02:14 PM
Only took 5 years :)

whats above fanatic?I think Derelict is next :drinkup:

avernon0112
08-05-2012, 02:34 PM
In NC it is PVC. Lowballers are everywhere. The big company's are not much better. If you do repair work there is plenty of people to work behind. And like IC said get ready for rock and clay soil that is as hard as rock

Wet_Boots
08-05-2012, 02:47 PM
He's too young,he's only 5 and he does not have the personality or attention span to make the day. Besides I want him to have a better childhood than I did. I grew up working weekends with my father and missed out on a lot. I also don't want him getting use to this life, yes I do well and yes I enjoy what I do (most of the time) but its not the life I want for him. If that's the decision he makes later on in life that's his choice, I don't want him to not now anything else.....The thing is, you have a job you can't get fired from, and that counts for something.

jbell36
08-05-2012, 02:53 PM
from what i gather, the southeast is one of the worst markets for the green industry, especially florida...the northeast and northwest seem to be the best in my opinion, with the southwest coming in second due to their testing and regulations...every place has their issues, like better markets usually have a higher standard of living...the issue i hate for kansas is we are in the extremes, from extremely cold to extremely hot...this takes a toll on grass, some people will just give up on watering

MA VT NH WA OR are a few states that seem the most intriguing to me IF i ever decided to move, but keep in mind we do everything, not just irrigation...NM AZ NV strictly for irrigation have always kinda stuck out for me, i have known a few people who have gone down there for golf course management positions and such...

Irrigation Contractor
08-05-2012, 03:45 PM
In NC it is PVC. Lowballers are everywhere. The big company's are not much better. If you do repair work there is plenty of people to work behind. And like IC said get ready for rock and clay soil that is as hard as rock

This guy has is right on the money!

This is not being arrogant, but we are one of the few companies that are really dedicated to irrigation. We know what we are doing, our techs are all backflow certified, skilled and PROFESSIONAL!

We have built a name for ourselves and when the right owners need it done right we have a good chance of getting the calls. Especially when it comes to decoder systems and central control.

Here is a typical scenario for a HOA or Commercial property still trying to sell homes or lease units: (I think some will relate to this one)
- Customer is extremely nice requesting us to come to "Save the day" since their new property is loosing plants and turf rapidly. Money is NO object right?
- Meeting takes place to discuss the problems, then solutions, then we tell them the schedule and potential timeline to get the system running right. Also adding that we are not responsible for any potential coverage issues due to design flaws. We are going to get the existing system operational, then recommend and price what needs to be done for 100% coverage.
- Then comes my speech about how we are here to help get them and we are going to follow our schedule laid out for the repairs. I do not want phone calls the next day asking why this or that is not working yet.
- Property is repaired, invoices go out along with recommended additions.
- Shock sets in, but bills are paid and things go well for awhile.
- Then customer wants to add new phases, we design and every now and then they decide to get other bids that always come in cheaper. (Some of you are probably starting to smile) This bidder is a 4-8 man lawn care company that just starting getting into irrigation working out of their own garage.
- I then explain that if anyone adds new stations onto this 200 valve plus system then he can take over the maintenance with it.
- I then get a few emails or phone calls immediately and I explain I am more that willing to negotiate the work, but I stand by my previous comments to walk.
- We work it out for a few phases, then it starts all over again with new management or personnel until someone that has been around since the beginning says; "Umm, I would not do that and you better let me handle it":weightlifter:

In the end, I do not really see what we do as anything really special. We just do a good job and have the knowledge many around our area just do not focus on. We turn this type of work away all the time since we only have so many resources to put on so many jobs. It has made us realize to begin getting rid of the low profit work and focus on the good work.

Now, these are what some call "Mega" systems and those who work on them know all to well how quickly one of these systems at the right time of year can go to hell in a hand basket.

Mike Leary
08-05-2012, 04:07 PM
[QUOTE=Irrigation Contractor;4491136 Now, these are what some call "Mega" systems and those who work on them know all to well how quickly one of these systems at the right time of year can go to hell in a hand basket.[/QUOTE]

One of mine in WA just went down in 90 degree temps, flow sensors showed a main-line break and shut both clocks down. We are heading back to see wtf happened! Sure wish I had central with wireless connection. :cry:

Irrigation Contractor
08-05-2012, 05:07 PM
One of mine in WA just went down in 90 degree temps, flow sensors showed a main-line break and shut both clocks down. We are heading back to see wtf happened! Sure wish I had central with wireless connection. :cry:

What system is that property running controller wise? The GPRS (Cellular Data Modem) makes it easy to hook up. Average monthly cost from AT&T is under $20.00 which is gas for just one trip. Customer loves seeing us solve problems within minutes during leaks and when rain is coming. One customer had an event at the club house one Saturday night and they forgot to notify us or the front office. The event ran long and the program started at 10:00 pm. They called me at 10:03 and system was off by 10:09. My guy used Go To My PC to log onto the central at the office and this is when the bosses where convinced the upgrade was justified.

The remote monitoring is priceless. I am sure you have them on some of your sites, but we charge a monthly monitoring fee (controller programming etc) along with monthly maintenance work (walk thru's) then any repairs are additional.

I have been able to convince many of these type of properties of the value of being able to connect remotely. Response times and water savings are the 2 main factors, but in my opinion the benefits are way more in our favor.

Mike Leary
08-05-2012, 05:39 PM
I have two 48 zone Rain Master DX-2 "Evolution" clocks at this particular site wired for central, but the client's preferred to have me personally on site to make adjustments. When I installed them, cell reception was spacey, and software was expensive at that time, since RM had just introduced that feature on their "Eagle" system. Turning around in Idaho was not my plan, but they've been a client for 12 years and I can't find my main man to service the system. RM DX clocks will check flow on each zone, and shut down if high/low flow exist. If it runs into two or three in tandem, it assumes a main-line break and shuts both clocks down, period. If I have a main-line break, I want to see it anyway, and why after all these years. Oh, well, I'm only a day away. :waving:

Wet_Boots
08-05-2012, 06:00 PM
ML executes a Bat-Turn in Boise and motors the Twinkie back to civilization :)

Irrigation Contractor
08-05-2012, 06:07 PM
Remote access does not replace being on site so I agree, but is gives some options we use more than I ever thought.

Since this thread went off topic sometime ago, do you guys prefer normally open or closed master valves? Baseline has a nice MV and flow sensor combo in one unit I am wanting to try. I heard Netafim and Irritrol have a combo unit too. Any of you playing with these?

Mike Leary
08-05-2012, 06:15 PM
ML executes a Bat-Turn in Boise and motors the Twinkie back to civilization :)

I had to put my fork down many times to "hand hold", but, this is as far as I have ever gone to take care of "one of mine". They never bitched, they paid their bills, and always complemented me and the crew, plus cake and coffee at break time! I prolly spent over $125.000.00 on the system; they deserve a Bat-Turn.

Wet_Boots
08-05-2012, 06:19 PM
What's your modus operandi for an event that breaks open a mainline, while simultaneously killing all power to the system, when it is fed from a normally-open master valve?

Mike Leary
08-05-2012, 06:30 PM
What's your modus operandi for an event that breaks open a mainline, while simultaneously killing all power to the system, when it is fed from a normally-open master valve?

The RMs are pretty unique in that the NO valve (Superior) is programmed the same way as a NC, except in reverse, I run what's called "auto limits" a couple of times a year, the clock logs amps and flow with a 20% up/down criteria. The clocks are set for NO and automatically adjust. First time I've ever had it happen, and what a surprise when the client called and said, "clock shows over limit and NO mstr. valve disabled." The power stays on the clocks so the warning can be saved, but all solenoids are disabled. I love those clocks.

Wet_Boots
08-05-2012, 06:40 PM
The RMs are pretty unique in that the NO valve (Superior) is programmed the same way as a NC, except in reverse, I run what's called "auto limits" a couple of times a year, the clock logs amps and flow with a 20% up/down criteria. The clocks are set for NO and automatically adjust. First time I've ever had it happen, and what a surprise when the client called and said, "clock shows over limit and NO mstr. valve disabled." The power stays on the clocks so the warning can be saved, but all solenoids are disabled. I love those clocks.What powers the clocks when the site power is down?

Mike Leary
08-05-2012, 06:48 PM
What powers the clocks when the site power is down?

The main power stays on, so as to keep the NO valve closed, but all programming is eliminated. Big deal if you eat a solenoid on the NO valve. I had the client shut-down both the p.o.c.'s and the clocks until I can get there tomorrow.

Wet_Boots
08-05-2012, 06:58 PM
The main power stays on, so as to keep the NO valve closed, but all programming is eliminated. Big deal if you eat a solenoid on the NO valve. I had the client shut-down both the p.o.c.'s and the clocks until I can get there tomorrow. You miss the point of my question. You have a system fed by a NO valve. Some disastrous event kills the site power completely, while simultaneously breaking the system mainline wide open.

What stops the flow of water into the broken system?

Mike Leary
08-05-2012, 07:09 PM
You miss the point of my question. You have a system fed by a NO valve. Some disastrous event kills the site power completely, while simultaneously breaking the system mainline wide open.

What stops the flow of water into the broken system?

Good point, I'm not sure. What I have at this site is a 20kw gen set, so no big for me, but good question. Would the power going out shut the NO closed? :dizzy:

Wet_Boots
08-05-2012, 07:15 PM
It seems like a missing piece of the picture. One could envision a normally closed motorized ball valve as an ultimate backup device. No power, no water.

Mike Leary
08-05-2012, 07:54 PM
It seems like a missing piece of the picture. One could envision a normally closed motorized ball valve as an ultimate backup device. No power, no water.

Not many people run NO mstr. valves unless the system has quick-couples and spigots that need to be used during the day. If the power went off, and you had a gen-set, since it powered the well pump and the contoller. RM clocks will take three mstr valves, two NC and a NO. I don't know if even RM has that back-up feature should power and gen-set fail, in which case, who cares, the pump is down.!

Mike Leary
08-05-2012, 07:55 PM
It seems like a missing piece of the picture. One could envision a normally closed motorized ball valve as an ultimate backup device. No power, no water.

Could work.

Irrigation Contractor
08-05-2012, 08:54 PM
I am glad to see the discussion because I have been told NO and NC by several different manufacturers.

We ended up placing NC valves on one of our current projects just to stop the landscapers crew from blowing the solenoids open all the time. What a pain to chase open or seeping valves only to find out the solenoid was never completely closed or the O-ring is pinched from turning them on and off all the time.

The project is being done is phases, so we are continuing to install and they continue to landscape. We told them, if they need something watered in to call us so we can then log onto the central to run the zones, after that we just program in an establishment schedule never having to visit the site. We always send techs the day after to verify nothing was damaged by said landscaper and his fricking sod company butchers!

This has saved us soooooo much time and wasted trips since over the last few years I bet we chased 100 plus valves that were just F^%$ up from the landscaper tampering with the solenoids. Since we work with said landscaper often, these trips were costing us a small fortune. LOL

Wet_Boots
08-05-2012, 09:11 PM
I'd feel a whole lot better about a site if it had a separate (smaller) hose supply line for the yahoos to hook up to.

1idejim
08-06-2012, 01:18 AM
If Bess is the PNW version of the LS gulfstream and the Boss is the captain, the flight attendant must be Mrs. Boss. That means dog really is the co-pilot.
Sorry Rosa, couldn't help it.
Posted via Mobile Device

FLCthes4:11-12
08-06-2012, 09:50 AM
My 2 cents on the original question. I live about 60 mile NE of atlanta. I seriously doubt you can pull down 50k as a tech. Maybe 30-35k as a tech and 45-50k as department head but then you are likely to have the same issues as the owner. But in atlanta there is no shortage of large companies looking to hire. Come down take a job to pay bills and learn the lay of the land and go from there. I think that a owner/operator could make a fine living with a small service truck working on residental irrigation lots of 3-4 zone builder systems that make you say wtf!!! Good luck in whatever you do.

SprinklerManNY
08-06-2012, 12:35 PM
Thanks for the info.

Do you work year round or seasonally? Do you winterize? How many stops are usually done a day, I heard guys talking about 3-4. Here when just residential we do 10-20.
What is the typical charge for service call, head change, turn-on?

Mike Leary
08-06-2012, 12:46 PM
I'd feel a whole lot better about a site if it had a separate (smaller) hose supply line for the yahoos to hook up to.

Well, I just checked the site, no blown lines, only a pilot error (mine). I had blanked the clock just before we left and added 8 new programs to give the cistern some more time to recharge. The client has raintowers with big impacts to water his pasture during the day and it always worked fine until dorfman entered "PM" instead of "AM" into a program start time. As dumb luck would have it, the zone that came on while the impacts were working, was one of my large I-20 zones and the RM flow sensor did exactly what it was programmed to do and shut the system down! :hammerhead: Oh well, it cost me a $100.00 bucks for fuel, and we had a nice cruise back "over the hill" from Coeur d' Alene. :waving::drinkup:

koster_irrigation
08-06-2012, 09:31 PM
Im in NC.
Operating in the eastern half of the state. Doing irrigation only.



Theres pleeeenty to do for sure. I would stay in the service side of
things if i had to do it all over again. The overhead is too high with doing installations the bigger your business gets. Were always running into overtime every week doing 45-55 hrs per man or so. We're never "caught up"
as the saying goes, and our slow time is jan-feb.


Yes, the dirt can be really hard in certain parts of the state, Raleigh area is
maily clay-loam. East of raleigh is sandy loam and can be especially hard also. Once you get east of greenville nc & fayetteville its primarily sand.

We work all over. My trenchers are set up for rock & cup teeth.

Be prepared to get a NC irrigation contractors license before your shovel touches down, they're getting real strict. You have to pass the exam.

pgp
08-06-2012, 10:44 PM
Nick if that's you stop crying!!!! LOL

Irrigation Contractor
08-06-2012, 11:00 PM
Im in NC.
Operating in the eastern half of the state. Doing irrigation only.



Theres pleeeenty to do for sure. I would stay in the service side of
things if i had to do it all over again. The overhead is too high with doing installations the bigger your business gets. Were always running into overtime every week doing 45-55 hrs per man or so. We're never "caught up"
as the saying goes, and our slow time is jan-feb.


Yes, the dirt can be really hard in certain parts of the state, Raleigh area is
maily clay-loam. East of raleigh is sandy loam and can be especially hard also. Once you get east of greenville nc & fayetteville its primarily sand.

We work all over. My trenchers are set up for rock & cup teeth.

Be prepared to get a NC irrigation contractors license before your shovel touches down, they're getting real strict. You have to pass the exam.

Does having the license in play keep the pricing up or does at least benefit the industry near you?

My biggest complaint around here is actually the lack of licensing and regulation. I know, I know....be careful what you wish for right?

I see the biggest projects going in around here being done by some of the worst installers due to price. It absolutely amazes me the junk installed and they keep getting away with it. Nobody is inspecting the systems and I would have thought by now it would have caught up with the contractor, owner or city codes???

WaterWizardSprinklers
08-07-2012, 07:35 PM
Nick if that's you stop crying!!!! LOL


LMAO!!! No it's not me....sure sounds like me though. Funny thing is I'm going to Atlanta for business (not irrigation) soon.

Mark B
08-07-2012, 09:00 PM
If you were coming to NC, I would go to the supply,NC and work that section of NC. You would have Wilmington, all the way to north Myrtle Beach, SC. There are a ton large developments in that area. You would have NC17 to travel on. Plus there is some good fishing in that area.