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Old 02-02-2013, 10:13 PM
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Turf Dawg Turf Dawg is offline
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Mixed Emotions

I know some states do not require irrigation license and others do. Mine does, Texas, and also if you have employees that you want to leave on site, send unattended on service calls, multiple installs, ect..... then they must have a irrigation tech license.
I have stated before that our course and test is for the technical side but really no "real world experiance".
Some have said they feel you should have to apprentice under someone for a few years. I agree somewhat but not entirely.
Some of the negatives
I would have not been able to do this while running my own landscape business.
Most all the "irrigators", even the "old timers" in my area, I would really not want teaching.

I would rather the course have both classroom and field training. I know Texas A&M has the extension Texas Agri-Life with locations throughout the state. The one in Dallas is large enough that they could have field training.

What are some of y'all [Texas slang] thoughts.
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Old 02-03-2013, 12:51 AM
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1idejim 1idejim is offline
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Originally Posted by Turf Dawg View Post
I know some states do not require irrigation license and others do. Mine does, Texas, and also if you have employees that you want to leave on site, send unattended on service calls, multiple installs, ect..... then they must have a irrigation tech license.
Regardless of the licenses required in Texas, the lack of an actual experience requirement negates the importance of the license.
Quote:
I have stated before that our course and test is for the technical side but really no "real world experiance".
Some have said they feel you should have to apprentice under someone for a few years.
4 years of employment in a 10 year period is required before your application for a test date is approved. One would assume that in four years (amounts to 8,000 man hours) one should have a pretty good handle on their trade.
Quote:
I agree somewhat but not entirely.
Some of the negatives
I would have not been able to do this while running my own landscape business.
Not trying to be a jerk but isn't this similar to begining a business and then having the customer pay you to learn on their property?
Quote:
Most all the "irrigators", even the "old timers" in my area, I would really not want teaching.
How do you think they learned? Many prolly printed some cards, began with repair and ventured on to installs.

Quote:
I would rather the course have both classroom and field training. I know Texas A&M has the extension Texas Agri-Life with locations throughout the state. The one in Dallas is large enough that they could have field training.
I would think 2-4,000 hours would be a good start. Apprenticeships are usually 4 years and it takes 2-3 more years as a journeyman to have the skills to run crews at a professional level.

What are some of y'all [Texas slang] thoughts.[/QUOTE]

Okiedokey, when is the last time that you went to the doctor?

Next time you go ask him/her where they apprenticed. After going to school for who knows how long they haue to serve an apprenticeship to put their education into real life situations.

You would throw a fit if a HVAC guy showed at your house and all the experience he had was 40 hrs classroom and passed a state test.

The scenarios could go on and on and on but you can see my point.

I see the Texas irrigators licensing program being more beneficial for the state of Texas than for Texans. Your observation of fellow irrigators is a direct result of people teaching themselves on their customers dime.

Don't get me wrong and think i don't like Texas or Texans, i get calls weekly from irrigators in Texas that have just gotten licenesed or are having issues that i am able to help with. Some of these people have become very good friends.
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Old 02-04-2013, 10:48 AM
Kiril Kiril is offline
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Originally Posted by 1idejim View Post
One would assume that in four years (amounts to 8,000 man hours) one should have a pretty good handle on their trade.
The assumption is, one is being taught the trade properly. In my experience, that is rare.
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:30 AM
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Turf Dawg Turf Dawg is offline
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The assumption is, one is being taught the trade properly. In my experience, that is rare.
This is exactly what I am talking about in my area. The small amount I have learned from the pre requite course and from reading on here, the more I realize what a crap job is being done around here.

Just a little story from last year. I had a family call and said they thought they had a disease on the grass in the back lawn and that I had been recommended by a friend. I told them it was probably just dry [get a lot of those calls] but they said they a irrigation system installed at the end of 2011. I go by and sure enough it is just dry. I check out the system and the three zones in the back are working and all areas are being hit pretty good. I then start looking at the rotors and all of the are 2.5gpm. They had QT, HT and fulls all on the same zone and all 2.5. I told the homeowners since the system was pretty new that they needed to get the installer to change these out so they would be matched PR. Well, they called the guy and he said that was BS and he had been doing irrigation for X number of years and that I should stick to what I know. Since they did not fully believe me I had them water with their hose and old sprinkler along with a rain gauge, and wouldn't you know it, those areas started greening up and doing good.

I'm sorry, but I do not want this long time irrigator training me or anyone else.
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:13 AM
Kiril Kiril is offline
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Originally Posted by Turf Dawg View Post
This is exactly what I am talking about in my area. The small amount I have learned from the pre requite course and from reading on here, the more I realize what a crap job is being done around here.

Just a little story from last year. I had a family call and said they thought they had a disease on the grass in the back lawn and that I had been recommended by a friend. I told them it was probably just dry [get a lot of those calls] but they said they a irrigation system installed at the end of 2011. I go by and sure enough it is just dry. I check out the system and the three zones in the back are working and all areas are being hit pretty good. I then start looking at the rotors and all of the are 2.5gpm. They had QT, HT and fulls all on the same zone and all 2.5. I told the homeowners since the system was pretty new that they needed to get the installer to change these out so they would be matched PR. Well, they called the guy and he said that was BS and he had been doing irrigation for X number of years and that I should stick to what I know. Since they did not fully believe me I had them water with their hose and old sprinkler along with a rain gauge, and wouldn't you know it, those areas started greening up and doing good.

I'm sorry, but I do not want this long time irrigator training me or anyone else.
In cases like this, I just tell the client in detail what is wrong, with data to back it up. They can either choose to fix it or not. If it is someone else's work that should be covered I let them know they should get it fixed by them, or they can skip the hassle and get it done right by me, given the original contractor didn't do it right to begin with.

I have seen far to many "experienced" guys in all trades not know their head from their ass ..... 20 years, 30+ years, matters not. I believe this is caused by several things; never learned to do it right, lack of education needed to understand the experience they are obtaining, or they just don't give a damn. IMO, if you are claiming 20+ years of experience your work should be damn close to perfect 99.9% of the time under scrutiny from the most critical eyes.

Even though I think certifications are a joke as they merely skim over the top of the subject matter, they are better than nothing when you are coming from nothing. In irrigation work, the most difficult areas to learn are the ones that need the most education .... design and management. Installation is something that can be learned properly in a short period of time, providing you know how to do it right to begin with.
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Old 02-08-2013, 10:38 AM
holmesgts holmesgts is offline
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I have seen far to many "experienced" guys in all trades not know their head from their ass .....

Experience is up to the individual receiving it... It doesn't amount to a hill of beans if you don't pay attention to what the hell is going on around you.
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Old 02-05-2013, 12:54 PM
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1idejim 1idejim is offline
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Originally Posted by Turf Dawg View Post
The small amount I have learned from the pre requite course and from reading on here, the more I realize what a crap job is being done around here.
Texas does not have the corner on this market, poor workmanship is like a cancer and knows no boundries.

Quote:
Well, they called the guy and he said that was BS and he had been doing irrigation for X number of years and that I should stick to what I know.
X number of years doing something wrong, doesn't make it right.
Quote:
Since they did not fully believe me I had them water with their hose and old sprinkler along with a rain gauge, and wouldn't you know it, those areas started greening up and doing good.

I'm sorry, but I do not want this long time irrigator training me or anyone else.
Good call on both lines of thinking.
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Old 02-03-2013, 01:51 AM
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Autoflow Autoflow is offline
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I can't see the problem with someone testing a system and handing a sheet of problems to an irrigator to fix or even repairing a broken lateral, but when it comes to installing and troubleshooting I think you should be licensed.
A lot of people call me and ask what I charge. I am not cheap, and some people get turned off with what I charge, but are happy to pay a gardener or landscaper to spend 5 times longer trying to fix their system when I could have had it fixed much faster.

I have the tools and knowledge to find the problem and fix it quickly, but the guy with zero training and little knowledge gets the job because he is $10-$15 an hour cheaper than me. The HO ends up paying much more than they should have because the authorities allow anyone to work on irrigation systems.

I then get calls to service a system where there is no backflow prevention at all. I tell the HO it must have backflow and they think I am just trying to get more work for myself. Same goes when bidding. They compare my system with backflow prevention, head to head spacing, pipes in at the proper depth, to a random landscaper who has no backflow, terrible spacing and shallow pipes that turn the pipe into a sieve next time the lawn is aerated. My price is double the other guy.

Handing out a license simply because someone has completed a heap of theory is also pretty stupid. Nothing beats experience, and I would take someone with 5 years experience as a sidekick over someone who has no experience but has done the course.

My license is purely for advertising purposes for educated clients who understand that you get what you pay for. The ignorant muppets that don't respect this trade will always go for the cheapest price no matter what the companies experience or qualifications are.

Should you be licensed to undertake work in this industry? YES.

Last edited by Autoflow; 02-03-2013 at 01:57 AM.
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Old 02-03-2013, 08:20 AM
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DanaMac DanaMac is online now
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Originally Posted by Autoflow View Post
Same goes when bidding. They compare my system with backflow prevention, head to head spacing, pipes in at the proper depth, to a random landscaper who has no backflow, terrible spacing and shallow pipes that turn the pipe into a sieve next time the lawn is aerated. My price is double the other guy.
Same scenario plays out in every market. There will always be bottom feeders bidding against the elite, knowledgeable, experienced contractors. Find a way to set yourself apart from the bottom feeders, and somehow prequalify them so you don't waste your time bidding based on price.

I go back and forth with this approach to testing and licensing. No matter if licensing is in place, there will always be guys that pass the test and will eff up a system or repair. Just because a guy holds a license for a particular trade, doesn't mean he will do the job correctly. It happens in every trade and industry - irrigation, plumbers, electricians, doctors, stock brokers and investors. It comes down to quality of the person and ethics, and they can't deny a license for that.

I do believe a person SHOULD train under someone experienced, but that should be said for any trade or profession. A guy opening a BBQ joint with no training, could sell pork or chicken under cooked and kill someone. But no training is needed to start up a BBQ stand on the corner. Just a license and a fat check to the gov't.

So in my opinion, it comes down to how much regulation do we really want from our government, especially at a time when everyone is b!tching and moaning about getting the government's hands out of everything. We want the gov't to regulate our specific little industry, but when the gov't tries to oversee and provide health care because it has become too expensive for the masses, then we cry foul. We can't have it both ways all the time.

Steps down from the soap box, and of into the sunrise for a morning hike
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Old 02-03-2013, 01:08 PM
GreenLight GreenLight is offline
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So in my opinion, it comes down to how much regulation do we really want from our government, especially at a time when everyone is b!tching and moaning about getting the government's hands out of everything. We want the gov't to regulate our specific little industry, but when the gov't tries to oversee and provide health care because it has become too expensive for the masses, then we cry foul. We can't have it both ways all the time.

Steps down from the soap box, and of into the sunrise for a morning hike
That's my basic feeling as well. I understand regulation to a degree and I can appreciate it, but we are talking about the federal and state government here and these people are arguably the most inefficient working bodies in our country. They have taken something as simple as tax code and turned it into something that you need 6 years of college to reliably accomplish. The idea of a free market is certainly a bit of a charade, but at some point there has to be a caveat emptor as well. The consumer is the owner of the market and they choose the risk to a degree. Just to do business in a 45 mile radius in a mid sized city like I am in it takes anywhere from 15-20 municipality licenses, let's not forget some municipalities require a city license for that area as well, a surety bond in some cases, a state contractors license and then to top it off I get to pay to pull a permit on half the jobs I do. Half the time when checking on latest plumbing and backflow code, when you call a certain municipality you hear the dead air on the phone when you ask such questions. Our government is in the business of collecting checks, they are a horrible enforcement body and for that reason alone the more regulation we have is only going to punish people who follow it. What I have seen pretty commonly here, the more regulation you saddle on small business trades the more people simply say F-IT and just wing it.

Personally, my business thrives off of jobs done wrong the first time. At the end of the day, it's the consumer's job to do their homework. Im not calling for deregulation, but simplifying legwork should be a must. Finally, the thing that burns me up more than any other. Pulling a permit and not being able to break ground on putting your guys to work on something until another part of the job is inspected first. IE, being told "no, you can't begin trenching and putting pipe in the ground until we see your backflow connection, we will be to your job within 48-72 hours." If you want people in our industry to ignore the rules, simply tell them that they can't let their crew of 4 guys get to work until it's convenient for them to get out to the job and look at it for 3 minutes.
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