Annual Service Contracts

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by aquamtic, Dec 12, 2004.

  1. aquamtic

    aquamtic LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 303

    Working on some new options for annual contracts, wondering what some others are giving their customers.

    Are you providing service contracts with:

    1) Startup and Shut down only- service calls throughtout seasonregular rate
    2) Startup and Shut down - service calls throughtout season discounted rate?
    3) Startup and Shut down - free ervice calls throughtout season ?
    4) Startup and Shut down - certain number of free service calls throughtout season ?

  2. jerryrwm

    jerryrwm LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,274

    No blow-outs down here in deep south Texas along the coast. We are going to have our four days of winter here pretty soon. It's supposed to be above 80 again today.

    We do have spring checks for the irrigation systems however. That involves doing a walk-thru to see all valves operate and all heads operate. It also includes cleaning nozzles and readjusting spray patterns. Then reset the controller to growing season timing. usually in and out in less than 30 minutes (45 min if you have to re-teach the homeowner how to operate the controller) Total charge for this service on most every residential system which are very seldom over 8 zones = $65.00 Other larger residentials are priced accordingly.

    Any broken heads, lateral breaks, mainline leaks, or heads needing raising or lowering, etc. is extra work and is discussed with the homeower before proceding. If schedule is loose enough it will be done following the walk-thru. If not, it will be rescheduled for a later date. Regular rates apply = $55.00/hr plus parts.

    Commercial properties typically don't shut-down, so there is no need for a spring check. They are usually on a monthly service agreement. Walk the system, operate every valve, see every head, check controller setting. Other than obviously needed pattern adjustments (rotor watering street, etc.) there is no work done on the walk-thru. Notes are taken and any problem areas are marked with paint. (Flags don't last long at apartments) A report is sent to the manager detailing problems found and an estimate for repair. Some properties have a preset spending authorization and minor stuff such as missing or broken heads and nozzles can be replaced immediately and billed. Other properties have to get a PO number for everything and authorization to procede. Walk-thrus are priced per zone. I allow 4 min per zone (usually can be done in 2) and price according to regular rates. I charge the standard service call rate for controllers up to 12 stations. Then I price accordingly on the larger multiple controller properties. Repair rates are standard rate plus parts.

    One of the first things I do after taking over a property on service agreement is to rewire the controller so that stations operate in a clockwise or counter-clockwise manner. That way I can follow the valves around the property logically and faster. Most installers really don't bother with good sequencing, they just want it to operate. So I reroute the watering sequence so that I can walk most controllers in 2 minutes per zone.

    Next thing is get a site map, and color code zones if possible, or at the least color code controller areas. I make laminated sheets showing controller and backflow locations, and color code zones. Makes returning to the correct zone a lot easier. It also helps when you have to send someone new to the property to do repairs or walk-thru. They can take the laminated sheets and the walk-thru report sheets and pretty much go right to the problem area.

    There are no free service calls or walk-thrus. If they have an problem such as a stuck valve or broken mainline I charge them standard rate. (overtime after 6 PM and on weekends and that is to shut down the system and stop flooding etc. Repairs will be scheduled later).

    I don't feel that a certain number of 'free service calls' would be a prudent way to go. Because you could get hammered with repairing the mainline that broke under the driveway, or the valve wires are cut in several places by the fence guy. A monthly walk-thru price and additional work is time and materials. Then you can budget based on the walk-thru income.

    Just my thoughts.

    TxLI #1452

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