Charging for installing remote

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by Dirt Boy, Aug 20, 2008.

  1. Dirt Boy

    Dirt Boy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 489

    Do you all charge for installing a remote controller (Hunter) for properties which you maintain?
    Obviously it is a benefit to us when doing maintenance and so in the end it benefits the owner since it takes less time, but what do you tell them to justify it, and if so, do you charge "normal" or give them a break?
  2. dhess

    dhess LawnSite Member
    Messages: 126

    I charge $35 for each install of one if it is on a property we do not generally maintain and they get one free if we get monthly repairs and checks. If we lose the contract the pigtail goes with me though (snip snip).

    I've now resorted to making my own custom pigtails on the job site. It takes me about 30-40 minutes to make a ~22 station which costs about $5-7 in parts to make.

    I guess then it takes about 15-30 mins to wire one in honestly buying them might be the best option, but I like to just custom make them as I go anyway.


    I also made one with alligator clips to use on some jobs if I need to quickly hook it up, but actually I've noticed that it takes longer sometimes just to hook that up versus to hard wire one in. (next one I make I need better clips).



    We had one property which has 6 controllers for a condo subdivison which takes about 4-5 hours just to do a check without a remote because the stations bounce around ALL over the property.

    The property manager wanted to see *why it takes so long to do checks/ work ect* on the property so I had him walk with me for the first controller without a remote hooked up and he immediately saw the benefit of having the remote... (he went home after about an hour). they dished out ~$200 for me to wire them in. I then did about $2000 worth of work changing out 100+ spray heads which would have been impossible without a remote IMO.

    heres a pic of some of the heads I replaced that day...majority sticking that I could use remote to blow out, stick on new head, adjust nozzle...and then move on to next job. That would have been 100+ trips back and forth to the box or 2-3 days of me having one guy sitting on controller all day long.


    Honestly I can't see any irrigation job getting done right anymore without a remote unless you have an extra guy to sit on the control box all day long. Since I usually work alone if a customer actually refused to pay for the pigtail I would probably wire one in FREE anyway just because I know it saves me a lot of time walking plus it saves the customer money because they aren't paying for me to do all that walking...


    Messages: 18,668

    Good deal Dave, you are a poster child for remotes. Grainger has some high end clips you might want to check out for a temporary. Made by that expensive electronics company FELT? My attitude is if you are going to clip it on just make it permanent. Have you figured a way to waterproof the plug-in or do you tuck it in the box?
  4. dhess

    dhess LawnSite Member
    Messages: 126

    most I try to tuck inside the box if possible else it just hangs under..

    I tried this at first (not a good idea)


    what happens is that water runs down the wire or condensation builds up in bag and it just collects water while it is closed (imagine it turned upside down). So you get the pigtail sitting in pool of water :(

    Another after thought I had was if water does sit in that bag it could cause all the wires to short together which might then cause major problems with the controller...

    so that wasn't a good idea now that I think about it. But if I let the bag sit open and hang down it seems to work pretty good. Thats the hill billy way ya'll!

    I probably should buy some type of caps.
  5. 5.0

    5.0 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 119

    dhess- Where did you learn to make those? I love to tinker with stuff like that.

    Messages: 18,668

    David I'm going to price out what it would cost to make that size in bulk. If you leave off the cover plate it would be easier to tuck in behind the panel. I assume you have a m/f extension you are using to connect to your remote. Are you using a RainMaster?
  7. dhess

    dhess LawnSite Member
    Messages: 126

    Yeah Rainmaster Promax Universal 31 station.

    5.0...its fairly simple to make just time consuming. I've made about 30 of these now and it still takes me about 30-45 minutes per one. So if you value your time, it might be worth just buying.

    If I make another one soon I'll do a simple DIY on it. I'm also not using the recommended gauge wire since I can't get it locally without ordering a large spool that I'll never use. Right now locally I can only find 25 multiwire conduit. Meaning 25 wires total so that means only 22-23 stations (1 for power, 1 ground, 1 for master valve if needed) but if I need more I can can use a 2nd strand.

    Here is a pic of one I have had outside for about 1 year now...notice no rust. Maybe the dsub crimp pins I'm using are higher grade (blurry camera phone sorry).

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    There is another one down the road which I should have taken a pictue of because it is outside and is hit by spray heads and rotors every week. The Controller is about 1-2 ft off ground. That one is also not rusted and I have it just hanging down like the others.

    the little baggies are starting to become an eye soar eh?

    Messages: 18,668

    Eleven pins. Interesting. No master and just 9 zones. Make them for whatever your requirements are...... I'll get a price on those in bulk. A foot long with scored ends for 12 stations.
  9. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 23,148

    Yup, hope you have isolators on those double clocks if you share a common.
    Oh, by the way, the spelling nazi says :hammerhead:
  10. dhess

    dhess LawnSite Member
    Messages: 126

    sore :)

    I didn't install those clocks or the system...I'm just the repair and maintenance guy. We took over this contract about 2-3 years ago.

    They are just asking to get hit by lightning or a power surge to be taken out...

    They should all have seperate ground though, but I've never checked.

    Actually there are three clocks (just two pictured) and I bet none of them have a earth ground on them either.

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