Backflow Testing

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by Thumper0504, Dec 3, 2003.

  1. Thumper0504

    Thumper0504 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 17

    How do each of you go about identifying and hiring a company to test your backflow assembly? I am thinking about doing backflow testing only and not nessessary compete with other irrigators in the area. How do you suggest I get in front of them as well as convince them I'm their best choice?

    How about on a retail /end user level? Any other untapped areas this service could market?

    Thanks in advance for your input.
  2. NC_Irrigator

    NC_Irrigator LawnSite Bronze Member
    from NC
    Posts: 1,416

    we test backflow ourselves.

    to get in front of them, just offer a lower price and just be a good salesman

    im not sure about what you mean retail / user
  3. Thumper0504

    Thumper0504 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 17

    Koster -

    Thanks for replying. I'm trying to figure out what percentage do their own testing vs who outsources it, and for those who do, what is the biggest selling point? Price, service (ie test within 24 hours of call) Tall blonde as a salesperson, etc. :eek:)

    As for retail, I was referring to Resturants, car washes, vet clinics, doctors offices, etc all have BFA's in their businesses and many cities require they be tested yearly (Fire sprinklers included). In Texas (where I am now, need to update my profile) a BFAT can be an irrigator or plumber, so we can do these kind of tests.

    I know the obvious is good salesmanship; I guess I was looking for that edge or niche from someone not in the competition area that could throw some ideas out to consider.

    Hope to get some more input.

  4. MOlawnman

    MOlawnman LawnSite Member
    Posts: 161

    We do all of our own testing and certifications. When I received my liscense I simply put together a simple form letter that detailed our services and prices in the backflow testing area. I then mailed it to all owners of bp's in my area. I received a very good response.

    Our local water purveyor sends out a letter to remind everyone that their bp is due for certification. At the bottom of the letter, he lists all the certified testers in our area that provide this service. Usually, the customers will call around for prices and since we are the lowest in our area we get a lot of work.

    Now you might say we are lowballing, but I charge an hour of labor per test, and each device is billed seperate. So we make GOOD money testing.

    We got into this arena so that we wouldn't have to sub it out and it has created an entire business on its own.

    As far as service within 24 hours, we can usually do that no problem, but I try to set up the tests so that I can do several in one day. If someone calls and says they need it tested right now to avoid having their water shut-off for non-compliance we charge double.
  5. Thumper0504

    Thumper0504 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 17

    MOLawnman -

    Thanks for the info. Good points. May I ask what you charge for a basic test on a BFA? Is it the same for DC, PVB, and RP ?

    Thanks in advance.

  6. MOlawnman

    MOlawnman LawnSite Member
    Posts: 161


    I charge the same for all assemblies depending on size. When I get into the larger sizes I charge more, mostly because it takes longer to do the test. For anything up to 2" I charge $35, for everything above that it is $45.

    While this may sound like it is too low (or maybe you were thinking it is too little) most of the testers in my area are charging anywhere from $35 to $55, depends on the company.

    If I do a repair I charge an additional hour of labor plus parts plus another testing fee.

    I hope this helps.

  7. Thumper0504

    Thumper0504 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 17

    Steve -

    Thanks for all the information. That is a little low, but it seems the service is very price driven. $45 seems to be the lowest in this area. Some charge $100 an inch on commercial BFA that are 2 inches or greater.

    I'm wondering if most are already testers and do thier own.

  8. MOlawnman

    MOlawnman LawnSite Member
    Posts: 161



    $100 per inch???

    I could cease all my other business ventures and just do certifications if I could get that kind of money here. Thing is I can perform a test in about 90 seconds and do the paper work in about 3 minutes. That's about $0.12 per second.

    Your right, the backflow industry is price driven just like everything else.

    I do know a certified tester that makes about $65,000 per year just doing tests and repairs. He drives a lot but it is easy work!!

    Anything else you might want to know just ask!!

  9. Critical Care

    Critical Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,654

    Average out here is about $45 for residential. The local water purveyor used to list the other backflow device testers but now just says to look in the yellow pages if you want someone else than him. I bet most people don't bother to pick up the phone book. In this state, a person can pass their landscape contractors exam for irrigation and LIBDI (landscape irrigation backflow device installer, but not be able to perform testing on BFDs. For that you need to go through a hands on course and pass a test. Is this the same as in your states? I'm not sure if I caught that...
  10. MOlawnman

    MOlawnman LawnSite Member
    Posts: 161

    We have to pass a test either approved by American Society of Sanitary Engineers or the American Backflow Prevention Association to be liscensed to install, test or repair. Here, anyone can install one but not test or repair.

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