Charge Backflow Installs Separately from Irrigation?

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by Critical Care, May 24, 2004.

  1. Critical Care

    Critical Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,654

    How many of you who install backflow devices along with irrigation systems itemize the backflow device installation separately from the irrigation system? It’s typical in this area to install double check valve assemblies in valve boxes along with winterization blowout stubs, and brass main shutoff valves. I’m beginning to think that I should be pricing this separately, and maybe even itemize the cost of the permits.
  2. aquamtic

    aquamtic LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 303

    Thats what we do!
    We list out the following:

    Cost for Install/ (includes Labor/Parts)
    COst for additional labor: Boring, Cutting Asphalt/Concrete, etc.
    COst for Lisenced Plumber to Install Backflow/Deduct Meter
    COst For Backflow Permit
    Cost For Irrigation Permit ( If Applicable)
  3. TurfTimeTim

    TurfTimeTim LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    It seems like it's getting more and more competitive in the Bend area. If I propose $425 a zone on a small residential install and then ad the cost of backflow and permits it puts right there with most of our market. However, if the plumber doesn't sweat in a fitting and a gate-valve after the meter for irrigatin, I do ad the labor for tapping into the potable water.
  4. Critical Care

    Critical Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,654

    It seems that many people in this area charge about $600 per zone, so Tim, I guess that your $425 a zone plus other costs would put that figure in the same ballpark. Have I ever seen anyplace plumbed for irrigation? No luck in that department so far.

    By the time I add in all the costs of labor, permits, and material for a total backflow and winterization installation, my profit has taken a beating… even at $600 per zone. Can’t see how a single zone install could be profitable with everything included.
  5. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,231

    Not a bad idea to break that portion down. Maybe even the timer as it is a big up front cost. But don't break it down too much and have them question everything.
  6. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    We install dozens of irrigation systems per year here in OR. Lately we've been installing them at a rate of 1-2 systems per week. I haven't ever found a need to itemize any of it. I just give one price and explain (in words and in my estimate) that the price includes everything that would be needed for a complete irrigation system.

    Of course we live in different areas. But why do you feel it's important to itemize this part out? Most people don't really want to know many details anyway. It's all foreign talk to most of them. If you give them itemized pricing and the other contractors give them one price they're just going to add your itemized prices up and compare them to the one price of the other guys. I don't see how your itemized pricing would help, other than to show them where the final price comes from. But I question whether they really need to know that.
  7. TurfTimeTim

    TurfTimeTim LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    we install mostly new construction and the plumber will usually have a tap in his mainline so he can put a 24 hr pressure check(required by code) into the system before it enters the dwelling. The problem is that most plumbers don't mark these taps and they are buried during excavation. If you have a relationship with the General Contractor you can make sure that the hook-up is marked during rough-in phase. I have yet to do a single zone system on a new install. There seems to always be need for a planter bed zone and a turf zone even on small front yards. Of course adding a single zone to an existing landscape for a homeowner would cost a little more than work done for a General Contractor so bid accordingly
  8. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    Say Whaaa??? What the heck is a 24 hr. pressure check??? I've never heard of that before.
  9. Critical Care

    Critical Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,654

    Actually, I haven't done a single zone install, but tell me Jim, if you installed a single zone and included with it the controller, double check valve assembly, winterization stub, main shutoff valve, permits, backflow test... everything... do you think you could make a good profit by charging $600?

    True, most people wouldn't know the difference between a check valve and an Exmark, but it seems that if you charged a "plain and simple" $1000 for single zone installs you'd probably end up with a lot of people asking a lot of questions.

    By the way, I have seen the 24 hour pressure check done before.

    Don't forget the Farwest Show!
  10. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    H3ll No! I wouldn't even make a decent profit at $600 per zone until I hit about 7 or 8 zones. I never price stuff "per zone" anymore. It's rediculous. Every landscape is different. Some can be trenched with a trencher. Some have to be trenched all by hand. Some zones you have 4 rotors and a big square piece of turf to cover. Other zones you need 12 Rb 1804 pop-ups in all sorts of different areas, nooks, and corners. Some zones are just netafim. Some zones are micro-sprays or micro-bubblers. How can you charge the same flat rate per zone? It's ludicrous.

    That's why I just look at every situation individually, show them how many zones they need and what kind each zone would be, explain what all is included in the system (permits, inspections, what kind of controller, what kind of components, etc.) and then finally a price that covers everything.

    If I give a bid for a 1 zone system (we have given bids and have installed 1 zone systems a few times), then I explain that the first zone is always the most expensive. I explain there are fixed costs like a backflow preventer, permits, testing, inspections, a controller, etc. that are the same for 1 zone or 10. I explain that if they were getting more zones, the price [per zone] would end up being much less. But that because they just need or want one zone, it's going to be a little more expensive for the reasons I cited.

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