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Expanding into the irragation side of the industry.

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by Superiorlandscaping, Nov 3, 2002.

  1. Superiorlandscaping

    Superiorlandscaping LawnSite Member
    from Ma
    Messages: 62

    Alright here, i am planning on expanding my operations to include installing inground sprinkler systems. As of now, I have no information or knowledge on teh subject. I have told past clients that I am in going to expand into the irragation market. When i say irragation i mean sprinkler systems.

    1) what liscenses do i need?
    If i do need a liscense where would i get one, in ma, and how much. Any courses needed.
    2) what tools do i need?
    I seen a trailor that looks like it splices the grass in order to put down tubing. i need information on every tool i am going to need if possible. Thanks
    3) what supplies should i stock up on, fittings, heads, control units, should i be brand loyal,
    4) how to price jobs. (mark-ups, hourly rates etc.)
    5) Are there any websites that will assist my learning of the subject.
    6)List of brands that i am going to have to come familar with and dealers in teh northeast that sell them.

    Thank you so much for your time. This information will be greatly appreciated.
  2. therainman

    therainman LawnSite Member
    from IL
    Messages: 196

    Let me start by saying DO NOT DO IT!!!
    If you have to ask all of these questions, then you have not done the needed research and therefor will not be able to provide qaulity systems to your customers.
    This is the very thing driving prices down..... people who do not have the slightest clue doing half a** work for half a** money.
    In my area I am the only irrigation company doing residential installs and currently do not have to deal with uneducated lowballers, I can however see this is about to happen. All the other lco's saying, "that must be good money."
    There is a lot to know and understand before you begin taking on a venture such as this. Currently you dont even know what a vibratory plow is.
    Sorry for the long rant now some help...

    I only use PVC pipe in my install no poly, more expensive but better.
    I always pull with a plow and drop my wire, less damage to the turf .
    I am not loyal to one manufacture, I tend to use mostly hunter heads, and controllers, but rainbird valves. personal preference from past experience.
    I Have a 60/40 with my dist., I mark up all parts 40%
    I bill out labor at an estimate for the install time My labor rate of $40/hr.
    As for info, you are here the people here will help with all you ask.
    Do not however rule out your dist. he should be willing to help with all aspects in the beginning. including design of the proposed system.
    Liscenses- differnt in all areas, as are codes be sure to do your home work. ask here maybe someone from your area could answer for you.
    Education- Your dist can usaully help here too, do not be afraid to ask, many have classes in the winter months on basics all tehh way through the most major problem solving.
    If all else fails try to find someone who does know what he is doing and hire them to run your irrig. division, that is what I did you will be able to learn mor. it will all be hands on training

    good luck
  3. Superiorlandscaping

    Superiorlandscaping LawnSite Member
    from Ma
    Messages: 62

    Thank you.

    I am not trying to rush into this aspect of landscaping. I do however plan on hiring someone who does know what they are doing. The reason i do not know the terms is that there are no companies near me that do this type of install. Usually i see companies from nashua doing irragation. My company is not aimed towards being "cheap", but more for customers who want the best product. Therefore, I would obviously not run out and start throwing together systems. What i am trying to find out is where to start. I have the rest of this fall and all winter to start learning. I do plan on taking classes, but i dont know where to take them. For some reason, i have no problem making money, whether its from my company or doing some sort of online activity. I have never had handme downs or had anything given to me. That is proof that the work I do is the best possible job I can. With every bill i send out there is a separate page thats optional if they customer wishes to fill out. The page asks questions such as were all my employees working hard. Have you ever seen one of my employees sitting on the job when its not lunch. How would your rank my employees work from 1 - 10. What specific areas are my employees not spending enough time on. And so on. haha theres my little rant. all my point is, is that i am not trying to take money away from others or what have you but i am more just trying to make my company as large and diverse as posssible. If that involves learning about irragation than thats what i have to do. You do not make money, which is what it is all about, by watching others do the work. You get your *** out there and do it, know what i am saying. so i am not trying to insult your trade or anything, I am just trying to make it my trade also. Also, thank you so much for your information. I learned what a vibrotory plow was in the process. Now i just have to learn some more terms, take some more classes, hire people who know what they are doing, find out the rules, and work as hard as possible. It will all come through. Hopefully more people will post some info. Thanks.
  4. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,712

    The opportunity aspect of this needs to be investigated. Customers could be enthused till they find out it cost 1,000's to install a system.

    There are not McDonalds burgers or big department stores everywhere because the market is not there. Ther is not a WalMart everywhere either.

    Irrigation is not in it's infancy. If it is not strong or growing in your area there may well be a good reason. Consumer pocket books, available water supply and cost could be 2 factors.

    Talk to irrigation distributors in your area. Read my old posts and those of a few others. Search. Many suppliers and manufacturers sponser design classes. Rutgers University in NJ offers design clssses.

    It is not easy. Irrigation is a service oriented business and is very technically oriented. You don't set it up and forget. Your gotta be involved everyday.

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