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irrigation advice for pricing

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by beegreen, May 24, 2005.

  1. beegreen

    beegreen LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    we recently completed an irrigation job for the front yard only. 1200 sq feet, 2 lines for pop-up sprinklers for soon-to-be sod. And 7 valves for drip only (lady wanted 7 diffrent beds that wound around and about.) She wanted the best materials also. Job took us 5 full days, on a two man crew (she kept changing her mind on the plans too). We billed her at $4400 ($1500 was for materials).

    Now she's having a fit over the bill. She's comparing our irrigation price, with her neighbors (who also had landscaping included). She also said that someone would have done it for $1000. Now she's calling companies to give her an estimate.

    We added it up again and it seemed to be the right price, if not less. Were we in the wrong or is she nuts?
  2. DGI

    DGI LawnSite Member
    from SE Mich
    Messages: 173

    2900 for 10 man-days of labor. On install in Michigan, we shoot for 35/hr and work nearly dawn to dusk.
  3. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,781

    Sounds like you've been had to me. If you let her force change orders w/o discussing extra billing, then you may be in real bad shape. Only 2 zones of sprays and the rest drip? How much drip tube are we talking? You may be forced to take what the installed system is worth and eat the change orders (assuming time only. If her decisions to change things increased parts, you could recover some of that as well). 100 man hours of onsite labor is worth what to you in your normal billing? I would normally expect that many man hours to install 10 zones of in ground sprinklers. I bid install labor at $30/man hour. I feel this is very low, but it is what it takes to stay competitive here for this one horse operation. That being said, there are installs where I don't actually make half of that, BUT I do have a customer for the rest of my life unless I screw up!
  4. greenworldh20

    greenworldh20 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 659

    do you have a signed contract? did you get a deposit?

    if you have one or both, no need to worry.

    your client can get prices from anyone for the work...you bid the project at YOUR PRICE and they obviously accepted it.

    am i missing something here?

  5. beegreen

    beegreen LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    All the changes she made, we informed her of the cost and labor. Her reply was, "don't worry!" Later she said that she "didn't remember" the original estimate, and didn't know it was going to be that much.

    I forgot to add, that there were 4 concrete walk ways to trench under, and 2 of the drip lines were for 1) a huge window box, 2nd story 2) Planter boxes on porch of 2nd story. Mind you that the other beds are fairly large.

    We did have a written estimate, however, because of the changes, addition costs were added, all of which we informed her. Above you'll find her reply.

    Thank you though for your advice, this is our very first time that we have ever run into this problem with a client. We've learned never to do work for her again!
  6. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,781

    I don't know about your location, but a verbal change order is usually good enough. Kansas will recognize a verbal contract. Depends on how much changing on when/if a written change order is needed IMO. Again, I don't know about your area, but first step for me when they don't settle up immediately after the job is done is a Lien. Second step is to gut the master valve and let them know the system wasn't free and when they decide to pay the bill and take possesion of my property in thier yard, I will make sure every thing works. I remind them a lien has been filed and that if anyone else works on the system, the warranty is void.
  7. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,794

    We looked into bidding on a new walmart/home depot/ strip mall complex that was recently built, but so many people told us that the first thing we would have do to is take a lien out on the bid.

    It scared us off of it, and a local bottom feeder company got the deal and eventually lost close to $20,000 on it due to a missed deadline.

    Glad we stayed away.
  8. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,781

    I've been a Wal-Mart vendor for over 3 years now. It has all been maint. but, if given the opportunity and resources, I wouldn't be afraid to bid anything they put out there. The people who tell you that Wal-Mart is slow pay or hard to get paid are the same people you wish were not working in our industry period. Wal-Mart is by and far my BEST paying commercial account. Now for the BUMMER. We are getting a total renovation. Store will double in size over the next 12 months. I don't have the resources to do the new system. So as soon as they get past demolition (The general contractor is using me for cut/cap/salvage), I'm out and can't get back in until the warranty runs out.

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