Charging by the Zone

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by Paris Landscaping Company, May 11, 2011.

  1. Paris Landscaping Company

    Paris Landscaping Company LawnSite Member
    Posts: 28

    Hey guys we are new to the irrigation side down here. I got a question about billing folks do you charge a flat rate for installation per zone and parts on top of that? Just want to make sure im covering myself and not screwing anybody.
     
  2. Irri-Light

    Irri-Light LawnSite Member
    Posts: 53


    Materials plus labor. You win some, you lose some. Hopefully the odds will fall in your favor.
     
  3. mitchgo

    mitchgo LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,758

    Almost all of us bid out labor and materials

    cost of materials + cost of labor + overhead + markup in materials + profit = final price
     
  4. txirrigation

    txirrigation LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 977

    Your in TX, so that means you went through the irrigation class and passed the exam. With that knowlege, design the first few systems to get a parts list before you bid the system. Take that parts list and go to a few supplyers and ask them to give you a price for parts.

    A 6-8 zone system can be installed by a (experinced) 3 man crew in 1 1/4- 1 1/2 days.

    After a few systems you will be able to bid the system without doing a design before hand. Although a design is required before you install the system.

    DONT BID BY ZONE! It's a dead in path to this,"Well you bid 7 zones and only installed 6, that means you shouldn't charge me as much."

    I always recommend subbing a few systems out to an experinced company. Pay to learn.
     
  5. Paris Landscaping Company

    Paris Landscaping Company LawnSite Member
    Posts: 28

    SO txirrigation do u charge by the head or do you just guess how many man hours it gonna take to do the job? have u come up short bidding by the zone?
     
  6. Paris if you are new which it sounds like you are you need to do a complete takeoff of all your designs. Get the cost and determine your markup. 50% 100% who knows. That is market dependent.

    Then figure how many man hours it will take to do the job. Every situation is different. Add up the man hours INCLUDING YOURSELF and mark that up.

    Add the two together and see what you come up with.
    In time you will become a good judge of bidding but in the beginning it needs to be the long way and meticulous.
     
  7. Horne277

    Horne277 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 15

    I agree with the other gentlemen. Start with a design. Take messurements and design according to the needs of the landscape. Not only will a design help you with determining you part needs (which will help you in you pricing) it will also help you look professional. By presenting a customer with a design during your "sales pitch," they have a better idea of what the finished product will look like and feel more confident in your overall abilities as an irrigator. Furthermore, when the customer does see the design prior to the actual install, they can ask questions or voice concerns before you get behind the eight ball.

    As far as pricing, it is going to be different for everyone. Obviously a company that does more business will get better prices on parts from the supplier and quicker install times due to experience. Using easy numbers here is a rough formula you can start with.

    6 Zone system, 3 man crew (yourself + 2 guys), and assume it takes 2 days to install.

    Parts = $1000
    Labor = $100 per day per man = $400
    Yourself (This is how much you want to make) = $1000

    Using these numbers, I would charge no less than $2400. Another good idea is to add a couple hundred dollars to the total as a "Ding-Dong" factor...or Murphy's Law. You final would be $3000.

    Keep in mind, that as mentioned earlier, charging by zone or head is a bad habit. You will no doubt come across obstacles such as roots, rock, difficult landscape, tough bores, and/or slight miscalculations and last minutes alterations.

    All in all, install a quality system and try to sell and expensive system rather than loose money.
     
  8. txirrigation

    txirrigation LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 977

    Good advise there. Remember that pricing is very differnt, it changes durastically within 10-20 miles where I am.

    I can't say this enough-

    SUB OUT YOUR FIRST FEW SYSTEMS- You will make a few hundred dollars a system on kick backs and learn most of what you need to know. If you do not sub out your first system more than likely you will loose money.
     
  9. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,611

    When I started, there were no subs, so I had to dive into it alone. After advice from REPS and distributors, I installed my first few systems: not only screwed them up, but lost money. The point is, you gotta "get your feet wet" and learn the trade, it takes some time. Most of the forum are experienced enough to be able to come up with a price +- within a few minutes of knowing the gpm/psi. This is not to say that a design is not a good idea, I did tons of them, mostly as a learning exercise, but there are clients that like the paper and the "boiler plate" specs. I've sold many systems not because I was cheaper, but because I was better prepared and ready to answer any questions the would-be client had. The funniest one was, after my presentation to the clients, cut sheets and all, we got down to the bottom line. As I recall, it was around 60k. He looked at me and said, "holy sh*t, I don't want it THAT damn green!" We started the next day. That system progressed over the years to now having dual Rainmaster DX clocks.
     
  10. Paris Landscaping Company

    Paris Landscaping Company LawnSite Member
    Posts: 28

    Great advise fellas. i have a couple systems to do before the end of the month and this will help me out a ton. i will have to try to find what pricing works best for my area. any others ideas and help are always welcome.
     

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