A winterization ponder

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by bicmudpuppy, Dec 17, 2005.

  1. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,781

    OK, I've heard from the cold and snow areas that you guys are done for the season now, and by all rights, I am too (-6 the other morning would have killed me if we hadn't gotten almost a foot of insulation first). The frost is creeping into the ground here. I have one site that the customers have moved. They have been customers for the last 3 years and I transfered their annual service pre-payment to the new house and winterized it. I stopped by the old place trying to meet the new customer and can't get lucky and find anyone home. The other evening, I poped the box on the DC and..........the water is still on. This house feeds the water from an inside shut-off with exposed piping before the backflow. That 3/4" copper survived the -6 of a week ago, but......... I have mailed a "current resident" letter, but does anyone read those? If they weren't only 6 blocks away, I would probably drop it. I take the truck mount compressor back Monday AM. If I don't catch them this weekend, I guess I give up. How far do the rest of you go to try and maintain addresses/sites when customers move?
     
  2. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 47,992

    Every now and then, I wind up giving an inadvertent freebie winterizing, when a long-time customer moves away and I never hear of it, but end up doing the system anyway, from my list of addresses.
     
  3. Broker

    Broker LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 382

    I used to check up on houses. Not really anymore, I do enough hand holding and babysitting with workers and other companies. One mailer is there reminder and beyond that the 4K I spend on the mailer clears my conscience of feeling bad for someone that does not do it on time.
     
  4. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 47,992

    I'm also slowly getting more cynical about it, but will keep an eye on elderly or invalid customers' systems, even if they don't communicate. Someday a flock of dobermans will chase me off some yard, and I'll give up the practice forever.
     
  5. Broker

    Broker LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 382

    The only ones I will watch closely: 1st year owners of new systems and owner is new to irrigation. Owners that have mulitple homes or travel for work all of the time. Pro Athletes, CEO's or other vic's that the last thing they want to remember is what the stupid watering system needs. But I don't feel bad for com custumers that forget or owners that don't pay on time anyway.
     
  6. Broker

    Broker LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 382

    Now you got me going:

    Then we have the customers that forget then expect the new BFP to be free. Well when I first started I felt bad and would comp the service. Then I started to think about it and now I won't comp anything unless under special circumstances because a $60 BFP + misc. parts and Time might only cost us $100 or so. But for me to break even on the customer I would have to winterize the property for say 4years just to break even. When you include everything else at cost. And I had to take the stance of a business person and not the nice guy all the time.
     
  7. sprinklerhead

    sprinklerhead LawnSite Member
    from MI.
    Posts: 92

    Yeah when it comes to that f them. you'll be back next year to fix it . if not a fellow irrigation company will make a few bucks.
     
  8. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,781

    well, on this one, it is now a moot point. I had a machine rented and I returned it. I left a card on the door and rang the phone off the hook once I finally found the right number. To bad they don't have an answering machine. When that exposed charged copper line before the backflow splits and then thaws, I bet I get a call. I also bet I'm a real jerk and refer them to some overpriced company with a lot of cheap help who will charge them two or three times what the system is worth to put it all back together. I really wanted to keep this one. It is only six blocks from my house/office. On the flip side of that, there is nothing in this whole wide world I hate more than digging full sections of split pvc by hand. Pipe is the cheapest thing we sell besides labor. The heads won't be busted. Some of the valves are still going to work. I don't remember what brand, but they aren't WM and I don't think they are Hunter. I know they aren't 2400's. I want to think they are DV's. So it's going to be a whole lot of time and very little material and they will still be PO'd about how much it cost. I avoid this at all costs, but I can't make them return a call to let me in and write me a little bitty check to save them all that money.
     
  9. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,496

    You've done all you could and now it's in Mother Nature's hands. Course, when the Stupid People Gnome pisses her off all bets are then off.
     

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