Irrigation only

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by GreenHor7, Jul 23, 2007.

  1. GreenHor7

    GreenHor7 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 131

    How many of you guys do irrigation only and can it be profitable. I am starting to see more guys in my area doing it, but it is not too flooded. I have had a few customers ask questions about it.
  2. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    Honestly, I would love nothing more than to do just irrigation. And we install enough systems each year that I could - if I wanted to. I wouldn't have 3 construction crews like I do now. I'd probably just have 1. But I could keep at least 1 crew busy doing new installs every day. And we already keep 1 irrigation tech. busy 50+ hours per week - out on his own. So I now I could do that, if I wanted. And I've thought about it a lot, because I like irrigation more than any other part of landscape construction. I'd rather install a new irrigation system than a paver patio or a new lawn or implement a new design any day.

    The problem is that too many people expect us to do so much more! Most customers also want a lawn installed. Or they also want landscape maintenance. Or they want a flagstone pathway installed. Or maybe some new plants. Or whatever. And given a choice, they'd much rather just hire one company for everything. They don't want to have to deal with one guy for irrigation and another for maintenance and another for design / build. They just want one guy or one company who does all that - and does it all well.

    And so the problem is twofold.

    1) If all you do is irrigation, you'll lose jobs that you would have got, had you also done other landscaping work.

    2) Even if you don't lose the irrigation job, you're turning down money that COULD be yours, by not doing other landscaping work. And that gets frustrating real quick!

    That's what started me doing irrigation and design / build in the first place. I started my company only wanting to ever do landscape maintenance. I never wanted or dreamed of installing landscapes or irrigation systems. I never wanted to install decks or fences or paver patios - any of that. I was totally happy managing maintenance crews and just maintaining properties. But the two problems above kept coming up over and over. I kept losing accounts to guys who did it all. Customers were frequently canceling our maintenance service and telling me stuff like, "You've been doing a great job. But we finally decided it was time to have our stuff maintained by a full service landscaping company." That got old and it bugged me.

    But what bugged me even more was making my friend rich. I formed an informal partnership with an guy who did everything but maintenance. It was a great deal. He gave me all the maintenance stuff and I referred him all of the irrigation and design / build stuff. But i quickly realized that I was throwing him like $100,000 or $200,000 a year in jobs. You know how much that hurts?!?!?!? It really starts to bug you when you are giving away more work than you are bringing in. So that's why I started getting into irrigation and design / build stuff. I just got tired of throwing all that money to someone else.

    So I think that's why most companies don't do JUST irrigation. And that's what prevents me from doing it, although I'd really love it. Irrigation is so much less stress and headaches than other work. And I land a lot higher percentage of my bids for irrigation as compared to design / build stuff.
  3. NC_Irrigator

    NC_Irrigator LawnSite Bronze Member
    from NC
    Messages: 1,445

    Irrigation Only. Profitable? Yes.

    Im in a partnership with my brothers company for my landscaping needs.
  4. CAPT Stream Rotar

    CAPT Stream Rotar LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,168

    our services are a"one call does it all" type of landscrape needs.

    Messages: 18,668

    I specialize in irrigation repair and upgrade. All work by the hour plus marked up material. NO BIDS PLEASE. DON"T KNOW HOW TO BID. Even though I'm a graduate of ATM with a degree in agronomy/turf management plus have extensive horticulture training, golf course experience, drainage training and know more than 90% of the contractors that show up on the jobs I'm on I really prefer to be the simple minded irrigator. "Here's your bill ma'm, by the way your landscaper is an idiot. Have a nice day!"
  6. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,209

    Irrigation only. Myself and two techs. Service, repair, spring start ups, winterizing/blow outs, and a few redesigns - only. No installs. I agree with FM, I hate to bid jobs. Just let me come in and charge by the hour to do what you want.
  7. Mjtrole

    Mjtrole LawnSite Member
    Messages: 226

    Service is where it's at, we do installs at a profit but the main goal of that process is to turn those customers into long term service customers.
  8. SprinklerGuy

    SprinklerGuy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    Irrigation only was a problem for me in Arizona as well...I realized I could make more money if I did the rest of the "simple" landscapes while I was there...everyone wanted one stop shopping...just as the others have said...

    I don't find that problem here in Colorado...while I have installed systems at new subdivisions and laid the sod for them too.....and done some mulch isn't as prevelant..most folks here seem to want to do that part themselves...

    Of course..there are plenty of L/Sers so there is a market for it...

    I would love to do irrigation only..and I mostly do...but I build fences and do some other stuff as well because the season is so short and I'm only on season #3.....

    It is easy to build an irrigation company to do just are good w/ people, do what you say you will and ANSWER THE GD PHONE....
  9. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 23,148

    And that is what turns the business into something saleable down the road.:)
  10. Without A Drought

    Without A Drought LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,086

    Primarily irrigation. Also drainage, LV lighting, water service. Pretty much anything involving underground work. No landscaping whatsoever, and that separation is the norm in new jersey, very few LSC's that also to irrigation. and that's good, because i hate cutting grass.


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