design costs?

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by skurkp, Jul 27, 2005.

  1. skurkp

    skurkp LawnSite Member
    Posts: 248

    I am starting in this aspect of the industry and would like to know if you have a home owner call and ask for an estimate for a new system, do you always do a design? Do you charge for the design and do you tell the home owner, it will be so much for the estimate?
     
  2. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,794

    Estimates should be free.

    With experience, you can look at yard, pace it out, and know roughly how many heads, and valves your going to need.

    You've got your almost non-changing fee's for backflow install and timer, and all that leaves you to figure out is labor and pipe.

    Pipe is pretty quick and easy to estimate, labor is a lot harder.
     
  3. skurkp

    skurkp LawnSite Member
    Posts: 248

    Aren't you supposed to submitt a design and the hydraulics to get a permit?
    Dont you need to lay out a design to be efficient? Do these things really matter in the real world?
     
  4. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,794

    I can lay out a design as I make the system, Once you have a proper understanding of how things should be done (pipe sizing etc) its simple.

    In both counties I work in, you don't have to do anything for a permit aside from backflow inspection.
     
  5. jerryrwm

    jerryrwm LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,274

    Depends on the county or city that you are working in. Webster, Pasadena, Texas City, Friendswood, Pearland, all have some sort of little difference in their codes. Some require a design of sorts, others require that you leave ditches open and use Sch 40 pipe. Check with each area that you are going to be working in.

    Also, a word to the wise. Irrigators in Texas are required to be licensed by the State. If you don't have a license, the fine is pretty stiff for irrigation work done without one. Check the TCEQ (Tx Commission on Environmental Quality) website for particulars.

    Jerry
     
  6. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,712

    I do a mental build out of the sprinkler system and make detailed field notes. I pace everything off counting heads as I go, ie: 3 pc along front curb, 1 pc right side of drive, 3pc across front of house, 1 pc by deck steps, 5 pc right property line, 4, 12H right side of house, etc. I then zone the way I need to, count the valves. pace off for main and wire etc. I only do paper when required or if it is a complex or large residential or commercial job.

    I get product prices from my vendor a couple times a yr and put them in a spreadsheet. formulas take care of grouping prices of differernt components into a "sub assy". For a valve would be valve, valve box, 2 line size T's (1 amin, 1 after the valve), 4 waterproof wire nuts, pvc to poly adp, etc. For rotors it is 35ft 1" poly, head, swing pipe assy, controller and rn switch ar grouped, plumbing connection and backflow are grouped, there is a line item for flags, primer, glue, 1 for misc flat $25 that takes care of shovels, cutter and saw blades, paper towels, duct tape etc. When done there are not too many lines to put labor hrs on and everything is easy. All theinfo goes back outo the field on layout or install day.
     
  7. skurkp

    skurkp LawnSite Member
    Posts: 248

    I am in school now and will be completed August 11. Then I am going to take the contractors state test. I have a couple of commercial accounts that want me to service and repair the irrigation systems and I don't as of now due to no license. I don't care to give the work away for the fact that the other company may take the lawn service from me also. I hope to do installs on both commercial and residential, just not sure how to charge, the instructor says to always create a design and to charge for this. Thanks for the info.
     
  8. Mdirrigation

    Mdirrigation LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,766

    Estimates are free , designs we charge $ 500.00 , if we then do the system its credited to the bill .
     
  9. skurkp

    skurkp LawnSite Member
    Posts: 248

  10. jerryrwm

    jerryrwm LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,274

    Sounds like you might be taking Kurt Hall's class. While it is good and prudent to charge for a design, I will almost bet 9 out of 10 people will tell you to get bent before they will pay for a design on an estimate. If the job gets to the contract signing period in the negotiations then you can determine what to charge for the design.

    Jerry
     

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