I'm thinking of adding this service what do i need

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by HazellLawnCare, Apr 14, 2002.

  1. SprinklerGuy

    SprinklerGuy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    you said:

    You know so much........who did they buy? Man what news!!!
    Come on! They bought out McMillin Farms and Century Rain Aid and a handful of other small DISTRIBUTORS! Not manufacturers. I can see it now.......bright green and yellow lawn heads and timers........OLD NEWS

    Doug, I see from your past posts that you are a very gregarious, patient and helpful guy to all the guys asking questions about the pest and app business. That is just great.....takes all kinds. I just happen to get a little pissy with newbies that ask very general questions and then try to back it up with stuff they know nothing about. John Deere DOES NOT MAKE SPRINKLERS!!!!!

    I am truly sorry for hurting your feelings you two, obvious to me now that my barbs were pointed in the wrong direction.....from now on I will laugh in silence and hope that you don't come to my market........I mean markets.

    By the way, Hazel? How did you get a degree in Turf Management by quitting college? Was it one of those tech school ones? Not a knock, just curious.....
  2. dougaustreim

    dougaustreim LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 488

    Over the years, one of my competitors has gotten excited everytime someone new came on the scene. Thirty years ago, he was the largest company in the area. Today he is one of the smallest. When he should have been worrying about his own business and his own customers, he was burning up all his energy fretting about the new guys.

    The new people will take care of themselves. They will either learn and succeed, or they will fail, but there will always be another one. Over the years, I have extended a helping hand to every new person that asked, just as I was helped when I started. You can help the newcomer learn and become a good competior, or you can refuse and let him continue bumbling along hurting himself, hiscustomers and the industry as a whole.

    Doug Austreim
    Austreim Landscaping Inc
  3. Planter

    Planter LawnSite Member
    from Utah
    Messages: 214

    I can't stop laughing!!!
  4. smburgess

    smburgess LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 467


    On a question asked in this manner, I'm agreeing with you guys.

    I guess what got me is he's thinking about adding this service to his menu, yet the first thing that he wants to know is how much he'll have to pay for a trencher, and what are the tools needed to perform the work!

    On a question like that you have to be asking for a smartass type of answer!

    I'm not trying to start anything, but you should have been expecting it....
  5. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,712

    OK, we're a little like Dr. Laura & Dr. Phil and the info and advice are genuine. It's about time people stop sugar coating what guys want to here and deal with the facts.

    Read all of my posts and see what has happened here in NJ when the Distributors encouraged every Tom, Dick and Harry to get into the business because there is money in it. There is only money in it today if you got in early and got you act together today. We're full and we don't need any more contractors. The pie is sliced so small that Weight Watchers would let you have 4 or 5 servings. There are also enough competant contractors to meet the demand so what does anyone new have to offer? And there are way too many scammers even with licensing that will sell at cost times 2 or x $ a head, far below what it costs to operate.

    There are times when you must make a business decision to do or not to do and if there is not a significant opportunity you stay home. This isn't about I can do that, it's about is there a significant growth opportunity for me. Then, if you don't know anything, you ask how and where do I learn. You don't ask about what trencher to buy and suppliers or manufacturers to use.

    Lots can be said for youth, enthusiasm and energy but lets don't cast the requisite technical skills and business knowledge aside. They come first.

    Irrigation requires complete dedication as another enterprise even when starting out. There are suplies to inventory, schedules to be made, service to br rendered. Irrigation clients are not like lawn clients. They are impatient and demanding. You don't go there when you in the area or in the mood. You go by appointment most of the time.

    I started by spending 3 days in the classroom not just doing a little reading. I did minor head repair/replacement. I built a system for myself "by the book" and it worked great. I asked technical questions before proceeding. I forged an alliance with an old school counter man that had been in the field for years and worked for a company that did things by the book. I listened to him and I took his advice. He was just as crusty and onery as we are here. But tough and fair teachers are what make men and business men.

    Irrigation is engineering, business, customer service and agronomy, horticulture and more. Installs are way more risky than landscaping because you gotta make something work. If you bid either one wrong it can cost you a job or cost you money but the landscape is always gonna work. That is not true with irrigation.

    Irrigation looks easy and profitable because of those of us that have been educated in school and in the field and have made good business decisions. If you want to succeed, imitate us and improve and adapt where you can.

    Anyone coming here to this forum that has asked a sound question has gotten good info in return. Those that have asked questions without fully explaining themselves or been a little off the wall with non-chalance, ignorance or whatever are sometimes slapped back to reality with a bucket of cold water in their faces.

    We're not afraid of good competition. But we're deathly afraid of ignorant competion because the playing field is never level, the game is never over and the prize to be won is always mutilated or destroyed. Give me a worthy competitor anyday where the merit of knowledge and experience garner the work.
  6. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,209

    OK I got a call 2 weeks ago with a message saying "I want to talk to you about an interesting project. Call me 555 - ..." So I called the guy and it wasn't about an install project like I thought. This guy was looking for a career change, worked at a local (large) tech company, burned out from the job, was mid/late 40's (I think), and had found a local sprinkler company for sale. He was trying to get some insight about the industry, local growth, is there enough work for more comps, and would I possibly want to partner up.

    Well I learned the hard and right way. I worked for a co. for 2 years installing, did his repairs and service for 2 more, then went on my own. Why should I give all my hard earned knowledge to someone who thinks they want to buy into this business the easy way? He just picked me and others out of the phone book and started calling.

    I don't think he realizes the hard sweaty work, the feast or famine style of work here, the 40/50 repair calls on a Monday, the tight labor market for GOOD help, and if he hires techs for service, they are going to have to speak English.

    I have over 35 companies refer service and repair work to me because they know my reputation. They know what I have learned, not what I may have bought into. Is this something I would have CHOSEN to go into? No. But it is what I had gotten into early, learned it well, learned it right, and still haven't made much money. I too get tired of seeing any guy with a shovel, wheel barrow and a station wagon (or El Camino) think they are a landscaper or sprinkler installer.

    If you are going to get into it, learn it correctly, learn it well, get licensed if required (none here other than cross connection for backflow installation), and don't piss the rest of us off by installing a crappy job that I will be fixing later on.
  7. gusbuster

    gusbuster LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,928

    John Deere makes sprinklers?????

    I had to walk away from my puter after reading that statemant.

    Help can be found on here, but research or think about your question before your ask.


    By the way, HazellLawnCare, I can tell you how much a trencher would cost you, but what good would it do you if your local dealers don't carry the parts or order the parts for that brand of trencher. Second, as the saying goes, if your asking how much, you can't afford it.
  8. Lanelle

    Lanelle LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,361

    Wouldn't it make sense to rent several different trenchers during the season to develop an opinion before buying a machine that you may hate later? Just my thought. I don't install irrigation, and I don't pretend to want to. We have a whole division that loves to do that.
  9. SprinklerGuy

    SprinklerGuy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    FINALLY!!!!!!!!!! Some interest in the irrigation threads. What a shame it took an "almost" argument to get the interest going. I don't think there is anything to add to any of your statements. So, for once in my live I will abstain and wait for the next battle.

    Seriously though, the irrigation business has been very good to me, accidentally. I don't think very many people grow up and say, "I want to be an irrigation contractor because I enjoy people calling me on Sunday on my emergency line only to ask when you can come out to do an estimate to add 4 plants to their drip system".. There are many plusses and many minuses to this as a business. Most of the plusses have just started to show their mugs after all these years and the minuses are still around and growing in size also.

    Think long and hard about any business venture or menu item you add to your repertoire because you will have to live with your choices.

    My advice to any who want to be a "sprinkler guy", is simple. Do small repairs, hire a pro to do the large ones, learn from him if he will let you (i would help if I liked the guy), as you learn do more stuff. BUT, AND I MEAN BUT, if you are going to add irrigation to an already busy schedule, forget it unless you can devote every waking hour to it. There is a lot to be learned and most of it isn't in books. It's called experience.

    Good luck to all, HB and I will be writing a book with a special foreward by Dana Mac.........soon as we have time! Look for it!

    By the way Dana? You aren't concerned with the competition right? Especially a dummy from AZ who doesn't know what compressed air is!
  10. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,209

    Tony - there is always enough work here if you know what you're doing and you efinitely do. I could have turned this into a big company if I'd wanted to. But I don't. I just beat out my previous employer (the one who taught me irrigation) ona a 10 zone system. And I was $500 MORE expensive than him. He told me he didn't hit it off with the guy though.

    Blowing out a system is easy. And by the way, our forecast is crap. Snow Saturday/Sunday. Lows in the mid to low 20s and I have tons of systems up and going. I may cancel Friday and call everybody in a panic to turn it off and drain. But lots of them don't know how. That's why I've already repaired it this spring.

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