Trying To Get Into Irrigation

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by justinla45, Feb 5, 2013.

  1. Irrigation Contractor

    Irrigation Contractor LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 389

    No irrigation license, but you will need to have cross connection certification along with a minimum home improvement license. This requires you to have a $10,000 bond backed by your insurance company.
  2. Mikegyver

    Mikegyver LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,810

    Not really, backflow prevention is a big deal and should not be treated lightly. Remember that if that device fails there can be major issues that come back to you. If you don't believe me go read the countless cases where people have gotten sick or have died because a backflow assembly failed.
  3. Irrigation Contractor

    Irrigation Contractor LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 389

    I will add this to help you to understand why many will be unwilling to help.

    Just about every "new" guy that comes into the industry does so with lower pricing. I am not talking about 5%, we have seen literally jobs bid half of what the going rate is and it is impossible to do the jobs at that price.

    Bigger companies do have more overhead, but we are also a machine when it comes to efficiency and buying power. If you enter an industry, you have to assume you will end up competing against other companies and if you strictly use lower pricing, you WILL lose!

    They all think differently and know better, but in the end every single company that entered our market will low pricing is now gone. They may last a year or maybe even 2 - 3, but they all fall. Why?? They have to cut corners with their prices and it catches up.

    We have been in business for 15 years now and I have seen it all.
  4. Irrigation Contractor

    Irrigation Contractor LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 389

    If you really want to get into irrigation, then start with service.

    When new comers start off, they get tons of installs because they are cheaper. It all comes tumbling down when they cannot service the customers. We lost a builder 3 years ago because a new company cut our prices 25%, a year later we were called back, the customer had their tail between their legs asking us to not only come back, but repair and service all the crap from the new guy who was now liquidating.

    The view of larger companies having allot more overhead is somewhat misleading. Our commercial building and land will be paid for in 3 more years, plus it costs me less than what rent would cost me. What about all those trucks and trenchers? Well out of 5 trenchers, 3 are paid for and out of 12 trucks we own 10 of them.

    Back to service, I would be willing to bet like TX Irrigation, my main service techs and install foreman probably are making more money than you are at this point. Many cannot comprehend the idea of paying their employees upwards of $50,000 plus a year. They are completely worth it, they stick with me because they make good money and because they stay and hump a$$ for the company.

    If you are into landscaping or mowing, why would you even want to get into irrigation??

    If I had to do it all over again, I would have become a Landscape Maintenance company because they are the largest companies in the area bringing way more money than any of the irrigation firms. The reason I went into the business was because at that time, we were getting double of what we are getting now.

    The reason the prices have come down, to be honest guys just like you!! If you come in educated with the right pricing, then you will do well. If you come in like most, then we will bury you like all the others. I guess this may sound harsh, but we have to do what we can to protect what is left of what was once a great industry.

    All the landscape companies that added irrigation services watered down the industry with pricing and crappy service. Recently, these large maintenance contractors are finally getting a taste of their own medicine. Because they have done such a poor job of installing but mostly servicing, the management companies are now removing the irrigation for the maintenance contracts. They are now coming direct to the companies with great reputations for doing good service. It is to a point now, to where we are turning down new RFP's at this time due to having all we can handle. These large companies are now calling to "work" with us to get the contract, so we are finally seeing some "Justice" and getting some appreciation.

    I know everything about irrigation (sorry, I had to put that out there), so I now want to get into your industry and most likely screw it up more.

    Can you help me get into you business please and if not....why??

    Get the point?
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2013
  5. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    Not sure I get the point given the gratuitous amount of ego stroking. Was it don't bother to start a company because we will crush you? Or was it you will fail because you will be a hack?
  6. justinla45

    justinla45 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 20

    A little ridiculous to be bullying someone on the internet. I own and operate a landscaping company and we do not compete on price but good job for assuming everyone is out to get you. We are completely switching over to becoming a green friendly business and I want to get into irrigation to obtain my watersense certification and provide documents that I am very capable of not only building the customer irrigation but also providing an in depth irrigation schedule and proper runoff for my soil nutrients. It just doesn't sound like I will be running you out of town I think you're safe.
  7. Irrigation Contractor

    Irrigation Contractor LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 389

    Everything comes off the wrong way when typing into the internet.

    Ego stroking was not the point, it was to show some insight and to explain some of the misinformation that many new guys believe and that leads them to feel the lower prices are justified.

    After being in business for many years in an area that is extremely rocky soil, you have no clue when you start that you will purchase 2 - 3 welded shark chains for each trencher.

    Take it for what its worth.
  8. txirrigation

    txirrigation LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 977

    Is any run off proper? I would say no. Water infiltration rate is what you meant to say.

    Irrigation schedules based on soil type, plant material/turf type, sun/shade %, and slope are a requirement by the State I work in.

    I am not trying to sound like a jerk, but someone that has been in the field a while could spot those mistakes from a mile away. You may think that doesn't matter because you will be talking with the customer and not a professional, but don't think the customer isn't going to ask the next irrigator through the door if they provide the correct amount of "run off" for the soil type. This is when that irrigator will pin you to the wall.

    I believe what Irrigation Contractor is trying to say is that there are a lot of streamlined companies out there installing excellent systems at competitive prices. When those companies can provide 10 references for customers they have installed for in the last week, you will be at a disadvantage. Also the bigger companies will be buying parts about 20-30% less than you will be, and even though the owner is not out there swinging picks, they will pay equal if not less than you in labor by the time the job is done. So when a big company comes in 20% less, has references to back them up, over two centuries of combined irrigation experience, and hundreds of happy customers, you are starting behind the eight ball.

    There are a lot of ways to penetrate that wall, PM me and I will help you out more. I was definitely in your shoes, but I definitely understood where I had to be and made a plan to get there. Best piece of advice I can offer right away, don't EVER claim to know everything about anything. All that does is close people off that would normally help you out. One of the colleges I went to offered a Bachelor, Masters, and Ph.D in Soils, (it was termed differently) and had 8 full time research Ph.D's, none of them would tell you they know everything.

    Irrigation is a niche market. Only a few companies in my area have been able to pull off doing landscaping, maintenance, and irrigation. Most companies sub irrigation work out to full time irrigation companies.
  9. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,988

    Yes it is, and should be respected for such. My phone book advertising and biz cards said: "Where sprinklers are not a sideline"

    Posts: 1,343

    Take your time, get any needed certs. In your area, start small with maintenance and small repair work. Pick friends and family to design and install your first few systems on. Work out the kinks and remember there will always be a challenge, stick with it and you will be ok.
    If you study your market and competitors in the area get they're pricing and do not undercut them. Some good points have been made so far, and some crappy ones too. Good luck.
    Posted via Mobile Device

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