Pricing repair work

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by JimLewis, Aug 6, 2001.

  1. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,841

    Just curious what other Irrigation contractors charge for irrigation repair jobs. Do you have an hourly rate? Do you have a minimum?

    Currently, we charge $35 per hour plus parts. That's the regular going rate in these parts (only a small handfull of irrigation contractors charge more than that where I live). We have begun to set a $65 minimum lately because it's just not worth it to drive over for a 1 hour job just to make $35.
  2. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,712

    $25 to come to the door plus $50 per hr. 1/2 hr minimum and 1/4 increments after that. And that quarter hour is for any part of a quarter hour, even 3 minutes. 1 or 2 we will let slide.

    Goal has been to achieve close to 100% billing efficiency. Means that if I pay a man for 9.75 hr on his time card I want 9.75 hr of billable time. The "service call" or $25 to come to the door counts as a 1/2 hr. Covers drive and truck restock time.

    Also added a "misc mat" charge of $3 this year to cover, primer, glue, paper towels, saw and cutter blades etc. that are not things you would routinely bill for but are consumed regularly.

    If we can't finish a repair during the scheduled visit for any reason, we will return and bill for the on the job time only. Gotta figure out how to recover money discretely for that.
  3. Harris

    Harris LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    Thats a really good way of billing, complicated to understand at first maybe but I'm sure it covers everything. I might have to impliment that into our billing, we just charge a flat rate of $60/per hour plus materials.
  4. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,712

    Is a 15 minute job $60? Is a 60 minute job $60? Do you do computerized accounting and billing?
  5. greasemonkey

    greasemonkey LawnSite Member
    Posts: 57

    I'm not going to give out my employer's price schedule, on the off chance that he or his competitiors are reading this forum, but we have a service call charge, a minmum time charge, extra charges for laborers, wire tracking, the pipe puller / trencher / borer. we charge higher rates for commercial labor than residential, and we bill for EVERY part...wire nuts, poly fittings, poly clamps, wire, pipe, nipples, a charge for plumbing supplies to cover solder, flux, grit cloth, fitting brushes and etc....

    a good sorce of prices is the century rain aid catalog. they list "list prices" for almost anything you will ever sell your customers although I would reccomend marking them up above list for the time and energy it took to order them, pick them up, stock them in your van, pay for them in advance and reorder them before you ran out.

    DO NOT undercharge for service. you are sending a skilled, experienced technician (well i would hope anyways) to someone's house or place of business on short notice with a van full of the parts and tools to fix whatever is wrong. That's a pretty valuable service.

  6. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,712

    It is probably beneficial for good contractors to post prices to give other intelligent operators an idea of what to charge. Ignorance is what hurts us.

    Nobody is going to ruin our business by charging ridiculously low prices because they won't last. If they are $2.00 and hour less than us most people won't change if you have a good relationship.

    How do I know? I'm in the top of pricing for my area and do alot of service. I'm continually amazed at how long people will stay with a schmuck. A combination of laziness and loyalty keeps them were they are until they really get stiffed or he goes out of business.

    And when they call us and the labor rate is $10-$15 per hour more and the same for a blow out they just book it and are happy.
  7. Harris

    Harris LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    The billing is computerized, it needs to be implemented b/c its getting to be out-of-date the way we enter info and bill. I am thinking about buying the Lawn Monkey program. I think it will help out a lot! They even got some type of bar code scanning software to go with it that will make it so much easier and faster at the end of the day and billing period.

    As for the irrigation service charge. We have a minimum of 1/2 hour which would be $30 and then charge $60 per 60 minutes. But for a job that takes 1 hour and 13 minutes we charge for 1.5 hours ($90). 1/2 hour increments after 1 hour even if its 1 hr and 3 minutes. Then we charge for every little piece of material used. For Poly pipe we charge $0.50 per foot that we buy for $0.33 per foot. we mark everything up about 20-30%. We charge for everything, you have to in the irriagation industry, even wire nuts, clamps, 1/2 ft of 2 strand wire. I mean everything. Money is money.
  8. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,712

    Harris- you said

    "We have a minimum of 1/2 hour which would be $30 and then charge $60 per 60 minutes. But for a job that takes 1 hour and 13 minutes we charge for 1.5 hours ($90). 1/2 hour increments after 1 hour even if its 1 hr and 3 minutes. "

    If a tech works 8-10 hours a day, is this method giving you and equal amount of hours billed?
  9. Harris

    Harris LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7


    It covers everything but its probably not the most effiecent way to bill. My buddys company who is strickley irrigation service and install made around $23,000 last month gross on service with 4 techs at $10 to $12 per hour working 8-10 hrs per day. which would be around $8,000 a month for payroll on the 4 techs. So I'd say it covers everything but it could be better. Maybe if I implemented your billing I come make an extra couple hundred or thousands.. It would probably save my buddy another 3 to 4 thousand a month. Its just a rounded figure that I can up with that would cover everything. But I never got into the details, if I did it would be a little extra money here and there and make a difference at the end of the billing period. I just don't like getting real complicated b/c I have bigger stuff to worry about so I tried to make it a simple flat rate.
  10. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,712


    The $23K your friend grossed sounds like a lot of dollars but those 4 guys probably worked a total of 688 hours that month.

    That means his sales were $33.43 per man hour employed. That also includes his sales of repair parts.

    If I bill my way, my sales are approximately $50 per man hour and the parts add to that.

    Even though I bill for wire nuts and small stuff I don't worry about 6" of otherwise scrap pipe or wire.

    My guys make in the mid teens of dollars and I'm more concerned with $50 hours than pennies of scrap.

    The old adage is "watch the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves". But with labor being a big part of what's sold in the service business and costly as well, I think if you watch the dollars the pennies will take care of themselves.

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