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Lawn Watering Quote.

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by HDALLC, May 15, 2007.


    HDALLC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 71

    I received a call from a potential customer who wants me to quote him on watering his brand new lawn ( in a new development it was just seeded) for a period of 17 days. The area to be watered is about 1 acre. I was going to quote him about $500.00 for the 17 days, any input will be greatly appriciated
  2. MarcSmith

    MarcSmith LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,157

    so 17 days.. @ 500 total

    I'm assuming you are going to use his water....but provide your own hose and sprinklers.

    You will only be able to run 2 maybe three sprinkler total. one maybe two off of each hose bib.

    so even if it only takes you one hour each day, (no travel time) to move hose around to ensure complete coverage, you will make $29 per hour....

    What happens if some areas die, are you going to garantee your watering services.

    I have about 1/2 acre of turf, and when I water, i have probably spent close to an hour moving hoses adjusting sprinklers ect. and I live at the house....

    Plus if you are running the sprinklers, if they decide to take a shower, wash clothes or dishes, you sprinkler pressure and coverage will suffer....

    HDALLC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 71

    I forgot to add in the original post they will be away on vacation for those days, I was going to originally quote them at $800.00 but my wife's uncle who has his own landscaping co. said that was high and to quote it around $500, this is only my 2nd year in the business and the 1st time I have ever gotten asked for a quote on something like this

    HDALLC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 71

    the homeowner also said this will lead to other things, so I really don't want to scare him away with a big estimate.
  5. MarcSmith

    MarcSmith LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,157

    If I had a dollar for every time I heard that...:)

    You need to ask yourself. What is your time worth. how far out of the way is this place from your other jobs...if you have to swing by the house 3-4 times a day to move sprinklers. thats gives you 15 minutes each time just for an hour a day, again not counting any drive time...lets say its five minutes each way..then it only gives you 5 minutes to move/adjust sprinkers....

    I can understand not wanting to scare someone off, but are you willing to work for next to nothing. You know by the time all is said and done, its going to take you probably two hours a day and you'll be grossing only 15 bucks an hour... which means your take home pay is going to be around 10 bucks per hour....

    Again,, what happens if the grass doesn't grow? who get yelled at the guy who seeded or the guy who watered?

    When i was at TGLC we were watering for 75-80 bucks an hour, and that included travel and fill time....Ihad 1/2 dozen trucks out and it wasn't enough...

    How about this... get your stop watch out. start it....the leave your house, go to this guys house walk sit there for 15 minutes then drive back to your house. stop the stop watch. That is your total time each time you visit the house. to move sprinklers, adjust sprinklers, ect. and new grass, especially seedling will need to be watered multiple times per day, you can't just saturate it like you can sod... You could visit this guys house 4 times in a day..., and thats just to get water around the property once....and what happens if you get a hot spell....What happens if you forget about a sprinkler and leave it on all night and the HO gets a big water bill?

    I'm not trying to talk you out of doing the work, but you really need to think about all the angles. Your wifes uncle works too cheap....

    again...even with a best case scenario of one hour per day for 17 days your gross is 30 bucks per hour.... take away uncle sams 30% and you are down to 20, take away your fuel, even if its one gallon is now down to 17, plus wear and tear on your vehicle, maybe another 3 bucks, now you are down 14...now take out your insurance......Before long you will be working for minimum wage....Again if you are happy, thats fine.

    What happens when homeowner sees your cheap price for watering, the next time he wants something done, are you going to charge him the real hourly rate or are you going to do it on the cheap again so you don't scare him away????

    I'm all for throwing customers a bone once in a while, but I'll throw my current clients the bone before I cut a deal for someone who i have no history with, especially for 500 bucks....

    I'll bet if it rains...the customer asks for some money back...:)

    HDALLC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 71

    Thanks for all your help, I am going to give him a quote around $900. As for travel time he is located less than a minute down the road from my shop. if he likes it he likes it if not well there isnt anything i can do about that. :drinkup:
  7. Lynden-Jeff

    Lynden-Jeff LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,405

    lol $900? Sounds nuts. Set up a high quality sprinker on a decent timer and check it every few days. If he goes for it I would be amazed.
  8. chris638

    chris638 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 149

    I agree, $900.00 sounds out of sight. Depending on the location, he probably didn't pay much more than that to have his yard installed. With cheap hoses and sprinklers you will spend too much time moving sprinklers. You can buy digital timers, good hoses and good sprinkler heads and set yourself up a system for watering. The type of sprinkler heads we use cover well over 5,000 sq. ft. each. If you are running three at a time, you are watering over one third of an acre at one time. Are you going to make good money the first time? No, probably not. But you should get paid well enough to cover the purchase of all your material and at least enough to cover your time. Then in the future, you have the material and tools to make good money on it. FYI and I can't express this enough. CHECK THE WATER PRESSURE BEFORE BIDDING. New houses have regulator's on them that come from the factory pre-set at 40 PSI. You can crank them up to at least 70 PSI by simply adjusting the valve. The first watering job I did a few years ago I can't nailed on. Simple job. Needed two sprinklers on timers to water everything we had just planted. Charged her $150.00 basically just to set it up and monitor. Long story short, no pressure and ended up having to hand water everything which took about 90 minutes with her pressure every other day for a week.
  9. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Heck man wth, it takes me 3-4 DAYS to thoroughly water my acre lot, that's with well over 100 feet worth of nice Good Year rubber hose, a farm sprinkler (aka tripod sprinkler), and an inline timer (works like a kitchen timer, UP to 3 hours pre-set) so I can forget to turn it off. Oh yeah, everything's quick connect, I also have a regular floor sprinkler, but both are made of steel, they cost me $30 and $65 each, the timer wasn't too bad (I think $20), the quick connect couplers were not cheap ($25?), neither was the hose, probably 2-300 all together there.

    I do it this way ONLY when there is a drought and it's catch 22 because using that much water only makes the counties reserves the worse off, so I do it sparingly, maybe once / month just to keep it from dying on me.

    Takes a lot of studying, no sprinkler is perfect, lots of adjusting and don't forget what area the last session covered, I usually do the front in two evenings, the back the next two. That is, I start it in one section in the front, run it for 2-3 hours, when it clicks off I move the hose and start it again... If I start irrigating at 5pm and move the hose one last time just past midnight, I can get the entire front done in one evening, thou the sprinkler runs up until 2- 3 am (and this isn't good as it promotes the growth of moss, you're supposed to run it around 5-7 am only).
    Then, next 2-3 days, the back area, same way...
    I'd say I have to move the sprinkler 5-6 times for the front, as many for the back, so 10-12 hours / side, times 2.

    Water wise, well the hose puts out 6 gpm's, 2-3 hours at a time, 12 different locations, probably just dumped around 10,000 gallons on my lawn... Sounds like a lot, but an acre is a BIG lot too, the water bill jumps around $4 per instance (not per session, per the whole thing once).

    You want to know what I would charge for this?
    I mean, I do it for myself, my own lawn...

    I suppose, IF you can get by there early in the am once / day, with a timer, set it up and forget, then move it not until next day, you could water their entire lot one time in 12 days or so... Charge $15 -$20 per day, times 12 = 250-300... But I think it will look funny when the areas that got watered 6-8 days ago have grown...

    Never quote based on future work.
  10. HDALLC

    HDALLC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 71


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