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A "what am I doing here" moment!

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by bicmudpuppy, Dec 15, 2006.

  1. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,781

    Ok, today was my official last day for the season. Yesterday, they call me and ask can I do an 8AM instead of a 9AM start to meet one of our customers and verify the system has been winterized. What the heck, I would rather be starting at 7 but things have really slowed down.
    I get to the site, and there is one of our competitors there with a compressor. The kid immediately asks me if I am going to winterize this one. I explain that it is already off. He asks me where the BO is on this property and I have never serviced this one before. He is here to do a shut down, but doesn't know where ANYTHING is. The POC and BO are about 24" from the water meter. He has been here for 15-20 min and couldn't find it??? BO plug is finger tight and water is off. We locate the controller. A guy from KDOT shows up and is expecting to see the other guy, not me. A little be late for the 9AM, my contact shows up. By now, I am more than slightly confused. Are we losing this one? WTF? Etc. Turns out that the other company did all the repair work for the street expansion out front. The KDOT representative proceeds to tell me that this other company is required by the fine print in the spec book to winterize ALL the systems they did repairs to!! He also mentions that they have complained and questioned being held to several of the requirements in the specs!! No wonder they were low bid :) In the mean time, this poor kid who is supposed to be doing the shut down now, can't get anything to work. He finally finds, and manually opens one valve, but then it won't close. :) Yeah, you guys are laughing now too, aren't 'ya? He goes to the controller w/ a multi-meter and tells me he has continuity on all stations, do I know how to test the controller. I asked him about the valve he opened, what kind is it? His response.............
    Never saw one like it before, it's older than I am!! :hammerhead:

    I go inside to help him with the weathermatic mechanical controller. My first fear is that he manually turned the dial. No, he did use the index button. I turned the "Rain Stat" switch to off and .........OMG water followed by air started comming out of one of the zones. This kid claims he winterized 7-800 systems this year! :cool2:

    Now, I know some of you will find this hard to believe, but I did behave myself, and I DID NOT laugh out loud at the poor boy. I did have to dry the tears from my eyes to leave the parking lot from laughing so hard once I got away from him though:laugh:
  2. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,794


    A lot of people who do nothing but new installs have no idea how to work the older equipment.

    A good bit of commonsense helps when you run into a valve or timer you've never encountered. I bump into older stuff that predates me on occasion, but you can usually always figure out how it works if you look at it closely.

    I remember when we hired a guy who used to do underground utility excavation. He said he had fixed lots of sprinkler lines, but had no idea what a slip fix or a compression fix was. He said he always just used two couplers and flexed the pipe together :)

    I guess when your working in a 24" wide trench you can do that :)
  3. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,496

    All depends..... :)
  4. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,496


    Sounds like mass confusion on the kid's part. He was under the assumption that you were there to winterize the system for him so his company could meet the KDOT specs? Is he a solo contractor or does he work for someone else? If he works for a company then it's not good business to send out a neophyte when you're working with state officials and trying to wrap things up and get you check list punched. :nono:
  5. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,781

    No, he was hoping I was there to do the winterization so I could show him where everything was. Poor kid was LOST. How he could be that lost in December if he had been blowing all season is beyond me. How you could be blowing since September and still renting the compressor in December is also a little beyond me as well. That 185 should have cost him around $1500/month. $4500 worth of rent goes a long way toward a machine for a company that size. Realize that this competitor is a 3 or 4 crew irrigation installation outfit. At peak, I imagine they have around 50 seasonal employees. :hammerhead: :cry:

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