View Full Version : Warranty Repairs

09-29-2004, 11:58 PM
Went out to a new customer today and replaced 3 Hunter pgp's and adjusted and checked whole system. Hand the customer the bill , he tells me the system is still under warranty . he tells me that the co that installed it is out of business and since I install hunter that the warranty is still in effect. I am wondering how some of you would have handeled this situation?

09-30-2004, 12:08 AM
I would do whatever it takes to make it right with the customer.
You should be able to get warranty from the heads from the Hunter Distributor.
Charge him for the system check out and do what it takes to keep him as a Maint. Customer.
Over the long haul, if he is a good customer, you will get much more than what you lost out of him

09-30-2004, 01:32 AM
Agree with Mike on warranting the heads, because you can get them replaced at the supplier. However you still need to charge for the labor. If the other company is out of business it is not your responsibility to take over their warranty. Minimum of a service call for that one.

But you probably should have worked that out before hand. Most customers understand that workmanship is not included. Especially since most manufacturers have a warranty that extends way past the workmanship warranty.

Hope you can get paid for the labor.


09-30-2004, 08:59 AM
I got paid for the labor , the customer understood that one , I gave him a credit on the heads provided they were still under warranty. I also picked up the neighbors all for regular service.

09-30-2004, 10:25 AM
You can easily see the manufacturers date on the head to see if they still fall within the warranty period. Ask for paperwork from the installer to see install dates . But the problem must be related to malfunctioning of the head. Warranty does not cover damage caused by customer or lawn equipment.

10-11-2004, 01:59 AM
Hmmm. I guess you all are much kinder than I am. I would have billed him for the full amount due (including heads) and told him that if the heads were under warranty, he could work out a reimbursement with Hunter Ind. directly. There's no way I would have taken the hit for that one. We're too friggin' busy with irrigation work and irrigation repairs to monkey around with crap like that.

I'll warranty stuff we've installed for sevaral years - parts and labor. But I won't warranty anything someone else has installed - parts nor labor. Sorry.

10-13-2004, 04:29 PM
I'm with Mr. Lewis on this one.
You did not make the profit off of selling the head to this client. The warranty is offered by Hunter, not the installer.

As with many warranties, whether it hunter, R.B. irritrol ect.... they only cover the replacement cost of the unit, but not the labor cost.

As to charging for your time... As long as you were professional about it, the client would of called you back. Most common complaint I get is "I've called 20 people and you were the 1rst one to call me and come over.


10-13-2004, 05:44 PM
i was paid for the service call , I just swaped out a warranty head. Now I have another service customer. In addition I verified that the contractor went out of business, I found him at his house , I offered him a deal where as I would service his old customers and take his buisness phone number . I aquired 106 customers just for the cost of the existing yellow page add . I have since sent out service agreeements explaining the situation where the parts are still covered , but the labor isnt . I have recieved 85 agreements back .

10-14-2004, 09:15 AM
This is a fine example of thinking outside the box with out an attitude.

I just sent out a mailing to 3 doz fert customers with sprinkler systems I do not service. Just went so no results. I offered $20 off on a winterization and $40 off a winterization spring start up combo.

Some might say they are already a customer why give them a break. I want all their business. It costs me more than $40 to generate a new client through methods other than referall. Irrigation clients maybe worth the price of a start up and winterization in terms of market value here. So to aquire more for $40 each is inexpensive. Everytime I land a new fert account or sprinkler account my net worth goes up by the market value of that account in addition to producing revenue and profit until I sell. The ringing of the phone sounds more like a cash register going cha-ching, cha-ching to me.

So what some of you look at as adversity and BS in this case is opportunity to others.

And this problem brings up another attitude adjustment opportunity. If you are not running your business as a labor driven business meaning time is what you sell and where you make you $$$'s, you are making a mistake. Selling your employees time is assured in a service business. Selling materials in irrigation serice is hit and miss for the time invested. How much can you make in parts cleaning heads, replacing spray nozzles or any other labor intensive, low material input part of sprinkler service? Calculate costs so they are covered by labor adn profit is made by labor and let the parts be a bonus.

10-14-2004, 11:02 AM

Excellent points. In the irrigation repair business it is the labor that is the money maker. When a customer calls and says that they have a broken head or two, and when the work is all said and done, I have replaced a nozzle that I can charge them $2.00 for (cost me $.98) or maybe a head and nozzle for a total parts bill of $4.85. (my cost under $2.00) and spent a grand total of about 15 minutes on site. But when the invoice goes out the total is $59.85 plus tax. And they pay it. Where did I make my money? Well it dang sure isn't on the parts. I had a mainline repair that was a little difficult to get to (difficult = deep and lots of roots) Total parts used 1 - 2" Slip Fix and 1 - 2" coupling and a little bit of Christy's RHBG. But the total invoice was for over $200.00. It is the labor that you sell as an irrigation repair service, and any extra made off replacement parts is gravy money. Now replacing a controller is different in that you get to make money on both sides - or do you? You still make the mark-up on materials and that gross profit is still 40 - 50% same as it is on the sprinkler nozzle. You're just going to be there a full hour replacing that controller for the $55.00.

By replacing those rotor heads, MDI made the money off of his labor, Hunter replaced the sprinklers under their warranty so he wasn't out any money for parts, plus he got more service work and new customers from the whole deal. Was it worth the $20.00 he would have made by insisting that the customer take up the warranty replacement with Hunter. I think it was more than worth it. Sometimes a little good will give great returns. Have you ever given a nozzle to someone while you were on another job. Give them a nozzle and a card. $1.00 worth of good will netted me a spring check and backflow test totalling $110.00 invoiced. Well worth that nozzle I'd say.


10-14-2004, 11:49 PM
I would have warranted the heads as well, if I was sure my supplier would take them back. If not, I would have given him a discount on the heads. Hell, we buy PGPs for under $9, so selling them to him at $9-$12 would have been fair if you were unable to return them. We typically mark them up to $18-$24, depending on who the customer is and how many we replace.

How many of you really need to squeeze every nickel out of your customers? A little good will goes a long way. Even if you don't get work out of it, won't it make you feel better in the long run? You wouldn't do this to every customer, and neither would I, but sometimes it feels good to help others.

Today I went to winterize a system for an old lady customer. When I set it up I knew I would be there 30-40 minutes. Working time was 10-12. But she is a lonely old lady and is an Italian immigrant with not many friends. She made me coffee (good coffee too), and gave me cookies. Made me sit with her for a while and chat. She even gave me the check book and told me to fill it out. My normal fee is $54 and I still only charge her $30. She could be a secretive millionaire, but oh well. Everything in the house still looks 1960 era. I can't do this for everybody, or just anybody. But she completely trusts me when she distrusts her neighbors and locks the door when she gets the mail.

Just think about who will help you when you are older, or when you need it.

10-15-2004, 01:51 AM
I'm with Mr. Lewis on this one.
Most common complaint I get is "I've called 20 people and you were the 1rst one to call me and come over.


Just goes to show.. 1 in 20 babies born grows up to be a real sucker.

10-15-2004, 06:24 PM
Just goes to show.. 1 in 20 babies born grows up to be a real sucker.

Do you mean that in a negative way?

The problem in this area, people get their yards serviced so cheap, but when it comes to specialty items such as irrigation, they expect to pay that same cheap cheap maintenance calls. I will tell people right up front that I charge for just coming to see the problem, however, many times the people expect you to come out for free.

I'm sure as heck not going to drive 1hr in heavy traffic to give free advice. Most people would balk at paying for a hourly service charge. As to maintenance of irrigation system, the only kind of problems that people have is programming of timers.

It was said in an earlier post that we should feel sorry for our elders that need help. When they will sell me their house for $200,000 above what many have paid for 20 or 30 years ago, then yes, I would feel sorry for them. An explanation, many people bought their houses back when they would cost around 50,000 to 100,000. These same houses now adays sell between 700,000 to over 1,000,000.

Let them pay me because I need to live here too. I was just nice enough to return a phone call, something that I would expect any other person. No one client is to small or too big for me.