Selling clients an irrigation plan (design)

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by JimLewis, Jan 14, 2004.

  1. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,841

    I was reading about the idea of selling clients an "Irrigation Plan" (design). And I am thinking that's a pretty good idea. May be a tough sell but at least with a plan, then you level the playing field when it comes to bidding.

    You win in several ways by convincing the client to have to create a plan for them.

    1) You at least get paid for a small job (creating the plan).

    2) Along with your plan, you take the opportunity to present them with your bid as well.

    3) Now the other contractors can't just put in some cheap azz system. They are forced to bid on a complete, professionally designed system. Level playing field

    4) At the time you present the plan, you also give the client a questionaire to ask all bidders. Focus on asking things you know that a lot your competion lack. Makes you stand out.

    5) You already have an upper hand in the bidding process by looking very professional and knowing what you're doing.

    6) If you win the bid, you get to install a system that YOU designed.

    Anyone do this? Think it's a good idea?
  2. Mdirrigation

    Mdirrigation LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,639

    It is a good idea . But lets say I install a systen according to your plan and the coverage is not what it should be , and I followed the plan to the letter are you going to fix the system free of charge? ( the customer will requst that)
    I believe you could be opening yourself to liabilites especially if your competition installs according to your plan and does a poor quality job. His excuse would be to shift the blame to the designer. Your business reputation could now be judged by the performance of your competition. I am not saying that you cant design a good system , but you may be opening yourself to a new set of headaches.

    I will install to plans drawn up by others , but I will not guarentee coverage. This only occurs on the commercial jobs. Residential we design and install in order to guarentee coverage.
  3. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,841

    First of all, I don't think most homeowners are going to be able to notice the difference after the install. But regardless, I think I'd just explain that here are the results we should get with this plan/design. I'd guarantee that we get pretty close to those results if WE installed the system. But I'd probably warn them against going with another company - that they'd be taking the risk of that company possibly doing shoddy work and not producing good results. Then, if they go with someone else I can say, "See, I told ya so! Shoulda gone with us."

    I don't see a downside to that scenario.
  4. Randy J

    Randy J LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,124

    Ok, my post didn't take. I like your idea Jim. As far as someone else working off my plan, I would suggest to the owner that they request plans from other bidders, and even offer to do a comparison after they have received other bids - free of charge. That might cut down on them just giving your plan to a under-bidder, and would get your foot back in the door one more time.

  5. Mdirrigation

    Mdirrigation LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,639

    It seems to me that a lot of people worry about the low bidders and the guys doing the poor installations. I USE to , Now I love to see cheap systems going in , First the cheap systems make it easier to sell a good system . ( The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of cheap price is forgotten) Second , the more systems out there ,the more service work to do. Service is the most profiable part of an irrigation business.

    I have seen the cheap guys come and go and what they leave behind are lots of sprinkler systems with problems , problems that need to be adressed , Problems that we solve . Since 1982 there have been over 30 irrigation companies come and go near us.

    If you realy want to have all the competition bid the same system you shouldnt be selling the customer your plan , you should be recommending a independent designer ( a third party ) to design the system . This way your comptition can't tell the customer that your design is worthless. ( I do it all the time , the design may be ok but I point out how what we propose is better) On large systems (over $20K) we refer the customer to a licenced designer , this way we are all bidding the same system . And if there is a problem with hydraulics, coverage , etc and we installed according to the plan, the cost for correcting the problem is the designers responsibility.
  6. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,712

    I like the theory but the reality never worked for me. Buyers in the Philadelphia metro market are just plain price driven at almost all levels of income. Our market although large is very mature. Irrigation has been around here since the 60's and began to get popular in the early 70's.

    People regard a system as a commodity to be purchased like an auto, washer, dryer, big screen TV and the guy with the low price is frequently the winner. Some of this is because of branding attached to the products used and that is a place the client can easily focus. There is too much thought process involved in learning about a system before it is purchased if done right. There is no consumer reports to refer to to make it easy. There is confusion is because this is not looked at as a large capital investment like a kitchen remodeling or a home addition.

    Not only could I not sell designs, but I can't refer to an independent 3rd party. Back 14 yrs ago I got into CAD. I designed a bunch of residential systems for free before quoting the price. I didn't leave the plan but people could see how it was going to work. Didn't work.

    I just talk to them, find there needs and motivation, find there objections to buying from me and go from there. Ask questions and answer questions. My sales closes have plummeted because even with the right answers and experience some prices are so low that they say I just got to give them a shot. I even pre-qualify harder than I used to but installs are a tough sell.

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