I know yall hate me... but.

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by RedWingsDet, Apr 7, 2008.

  1. RedWingsDet

    RedWingsDet LawnSite Gold Member
    from Detroit
    Posts: 3,556

    I know you guys don't like it when landscapers get into Sprinklers, but this economy in MI makes it essential, especially because people like everything on one bill.
    Anyway this will be my 2nd year doing sprinklers. A tech who has worked for a very large sprinkler company in the area for 12 years has shown me all I know about sprinklers. I currently only have about 20 service accounts since I started late last year and haven't done any advertising for it, its mainly just my current landscape and lawn customers switching from the other company to mine.

    Anyway, my question(s) are:

    A.) Is it true, more money in service than install.
    B.) How do you get them coming back year after year for blowouts and startups, when people will do it for half the price (I've seen guys doing it for $28, and I am at $67 for a start up).
    C.) Is the regular service part (not blowouts or startups) big money and how hard are they to get.
    D.) 3/4 ton Cargo Van, 3/4 ton truck, or Box Truck?
    and finally:
    E.) Would one of you pro's mind taking a look at my 8 page price book and see what you think?

    Thank guys!
     
  2. YVI

    YVI LawnSite Member
    Posts: 12

    A. It depends on how you manage your service and insatalls. For us service runs about 60% profit margin and installs 40%
    B. It is all in customer service and sticking to what you say your going to do. We have found once a customer finds a company and gets good service cost isnt a problem
    D. A fully stock van is the way to go if you have a tech working for you no excusess to make extra trips to the supply yard. Plus you can use fully stocked van in advertising
    E. I would take a look at it but iam in the middle of putting my price book together you know how it is.
    F. I almost forgot GO AVS!!!!!!!!!!
     
  3. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,535

    I just don't get that attitude from some irrigators about landscapers being less than knowledgeable or qualified to do irrigation work.. maybe it varies in different parts of the country, just like the whole PVC vs. Poly thing.

    I started out doing landscape maintenance, expanded into sprinkler maintenance and repairs before getting my landscape contractors license that was necessary to install them.

    Here in N. CA, where we water almost nine months of the year, a landscape maintenance company serving commercial accounts must have an irrigation division. It's a part of the package that's expected by property managers and HOAs alike.
     
  4. CAPT Stream Rotar

    CAPT Stream Rotar LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,956

    KYS...kthanksbai
     
  5. I actually think a landscaper has great potential in irrigation service or installs. The biggest weakness of most irrigators is plant knowledge. (Something very lacking in many landscapers as well. The next time I see a Texas Sage planted next to an azalea I'm going to let the customer know their landscaper is a fraud.) The problem I have with landscapers is they treat irrigation as an add on and tend to put in work or systems one would see from a low baller.
     
  6. AI Inc

    AI Inc LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 25,530

    A lot of them want to get into it only to realize they do not have enough work to keep a service tech busy, then the customer suffers.
     
  7. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,156

    The problem is just as the others mentioned. Too many ldscps. think they can just plop any old tree or shrub any place and it is acceptable. many also adjust the rough or final grade too much and then a flooded home happens when it rains. BUT we run into the same thing in irrigation with guys that just throw heads in aimlessly and expect new sod to be green. Or install the wrong backflow preventer. We just don't like to admit it happens in irrigation, and then bash ourselves.
     
  8. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,156

    RedWingsDet

    Anyway, my question(s) are:

    A.) Is it true, more money in service than install.
    Not sure as I never really kept good records of profits for installs. But ideally overhead should be lower. Less large equipment, less people if many crews, no need to stock as much inventory. A lot of service companies, especially if just they are the entire company, can run it from their home. I did for 12+ years.
    B.) How do you get them coming back year after year for blowouts and startups, when people will do it for half the price (I've seen guys doing it for $28, and I am at $67 for a start up).
    Show them you are knowledgeable, understanding of their problems, don't yank them around, get job done the first time, send a letter or postcard in the spring and fall to keep you in their mind.
    C.) Is the regular service part (not blowouts or startups) big money and how hard are they to get.
    Are you talking regular service as being ongoing repairs and maintenance? Make sure the customers knows who you are and kept in their mind. Talk with your suppliers about sending you leads. Big money? Should be same as the rest of maintenance, and start ups as it's T&M.
    D.) 3/4 ton Cargo Van, 3/4 ton truck, or Box Truck?
    and finally:
    Your choice. Works differently for each tech or owner. I now have a 3/4 van for one tech, 1/2 ton p/u with a topper for one, and a 1/2 p/u without topper for myself, but looking into smaller p/u as well for fuel savings.
    E.) Would one of you pro's mind taking a look at my 8 page price book and see what you think?
    Kind of a lot of work on our end. Charge list price or what you feel comfortable charging.
     
  9. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,535

    Oh, I'm not gonna argue with that...

    I know guys that don't have a clue about irrigation that are landscapers... and some don't know plants or soils very well either.

    I have a well-rounded background in horticulture, and if you count cleaning earwigs from brass spray nozzles and replacing broken risers when I was a teenager doing mowing jobs, I've been doing irrigation system maintenance and repairs for over 30 years, and designs and installs for over 20.

    I have had at least two customers call me The Irrigation Guru... but I'm too modest to claim the title. :rolleyes:

    I just think of myself as a problem solver, or one who transforms chaos into order...

    It translates across the many different hats that I wear from time to time... sprinklers, lighting, pruning, bookkeeping...
     

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