Elementary Q. What to charge for repair work?

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by Jason Rose, Mar 7, 2006.

  1. Jason Rose

    Jason Rose LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,858

    Ok, so what are good honest and resonable rates to charge for various irrigation repairs?

    Replacing trash can head with a RB 5004?
    a gear drive head of similiar size with a RB 5004?
    a 1" valve?
    A complete valve manifold (2 or more valves)?
    Moving a sprinkler with funny pipe? Do you charge by the foot usually? Always have to hand dig those...

    I have a feeling i'm not charging enough, but I don't want to totally gouge people either. Ive' seen some say they charge $50 to $75 just to replace a head on here! I will not charge that for what's about 10 minutes of work...
    Just have to remember, I'm in central Kansas. Prices here for services ain't near what they are in the big cities!
  2. Jason Rose

    Jason Rose LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,858

    anybody, anybody? Please!?
  3. Green Sweep

    Green Sweep LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Pittsburgh, PA
    Messages: 322

    I think that you have to charge by the man hour regardless of how long it takes you. Replacing a rotor may take 5 minutes (or less) but I still charge the customer a minimum of 1 man hour to make the stop. $50 per man hour is about the going rate here. I know that it is far more in other areas. Also, your materials need to be marked up. So, with that being said, an example of a service call to replace a damaged rotor: $50 labor, $26 RB 5004, $.85 3/4" barbed elbow = $76.85. A 2 valve manifold? $50 labor, 2 RB DV's @ $33, 4 1" 90's @ $1.10, $1.10 1" slip T, 3 waterproof wirenuts @ $1.85, $22 10" valve box = $149.05 total T/M.

  4. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,496

    Rob has good points. Basically what he is saying is that although a simple repair may only take a few minutes there's a lot of overhead on that simple repair. By factoring all the overhead of insurance, equipment, parts, etc. you can see how a minimum charge amount can get into the realm of what everyone else is charging.
  5. Rainman7

    Rainman7 LawnSite Senior Member
    from NY
    Messages: 291

    Do you charge a standard service call charge PLUS repairs? Service call $50 +replace head $50+ ect...

    What happens if you send someone on a service call for a bad rotary and he finds the customer put a planter on top of it without realizing it?

    Good customers you may not charge. Making a habit of not charging service calls will eat away at your bottom line.

  6. Johnson_inc

    Johnson_inc LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    I am sure everyone here has there own methods. I start the clock when I pull up, and stop it when the work is complete. In addition to the labor, I charge list on all the parts I used.

    My thoughts on this have changed over the years, but if i have to stock a van and am expected to carry that overhead and be sure i always have the parts on hand to do the work, I am not going to "deliver" those parts to your house at my cost. I will be charging for that "service"

    Thoughts on not charging for a service call, even though it takes 10 min. Used to do that and I have found it becomes hard to stop. Customers start calling for little things and dont expect to be charged. Adjusting a controller, changing a nozzle, adjusting a rotor.... whatever it may be, if you have to drive to their house you should be charging. You could just as easily been somewhere else making money.

  7. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,496

    Right on. Time + experience/knowledge + overhead = service charge.
  8. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,226

    There are lots of posts on this if you want to search for them. Every year we talk about our rates and how we charge.

    $50 for me to show up, and this covers the first half hour of labor on site.
    $56 per hour (may go to $60 per hour this year) billed in 1/4 hour increments.
    So if it takes 45 minutes, $50 service call fee, plus $14 for additional 15 minutes, plus parts. If it takes 2 hours, $50 service call fee plus $84 for the next 1.5 hours.

    Yes, some good customers I will occasionally reduce my rate. Just yesterday I had to replace 1 Rainbird T-Bird head with a RB 5004. He called said right where it was, had it marked. I showed up, replaced it, turned on zone at the manifold, adjusted it, and was done in 12 minutes. Broke down the bill showing $50 service call fee, $24 rotor, totaling $74. Then showed a $15 discount for a total of $59.If it is a brand new customer, no discounts. Full rates.

    If that happens, I will still go through the entire system to check things out, manke any adjustments. They called us out, they are paying a fee. Once again, if it is a long time good-old-lady customer, you may decide to just move the pot and go on your way. I have also at times not charged someone for that kind of little thing, knowing I will be coming back in a month or so anyhow, and find a way to add it to that bill.
  9. Green Sweep

    Green Sweep LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Pittsburgh, PA
    Messages: 322

    Someone on this forum had the saying "If they balk at the labor rates, then tell them to call a plumber" under their name. I apologize for not remembering which one of you had this, but I' ve always thought about that saying. That saying just about sums everything up. Plumbers AND electricians can command $80 & up for a service stop. We have to have general irrigation knowledge, plumbing knowledge, & electrical knowledge. Granted, all of this knowledge is not needed to replace a rotor, but it is essential if you service systems on a daily basis. So why should our rates be questioned? To be honest, most of my customers do not question them & the ones that do, will let Joe Trunkslammer service their system at 1/2 of my price...... until their lawn browns out, or flowers wilt & they cant get a hold of Joe. Then they call us.

  10. ESprinklers

    ESprinklers LawnSite Member
    Messages: 39

    We charge $45.00 per man hour (1 hour minimum), plus retail cost of materials.

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