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Irrigation SERVICE pricing?

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by Envy Lawn Service, Aug 30, 2006.

  1. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    OK, I have this irrigation system that needs service severely...
    The whole thing is a wreck... and that's putting it lightly.

    At this point, primarily... this system NEEDS a full reset...
    It over-watering and under-watering and running multiple times a day during the DAY.
    Everything just needs wiping clean and I need to start over from scratch re-programming.

    This is a 4 program 21 zone system. Lord knows how many heads... some mist... some drip too.

    Right now, it has 3 programs in it and the zones are all jumbled up across that. Nothing is right. But I am not so much worried about all that. What's getting to me is that the contractor who installed it (lowest bidder) did not supply the customer with a programming chart of any kind... No programming info, no wiring info, no master valve or pump info, no schematics or spec sheets. This was on purpose I am sure.

    Anyways, this means that I will have to test the electrical and I will have to go in manually and chart everything... extracting all the info prior to starting with a clean slate. I'm going to have to go through one step at a time and figure out every last detail of the system. Then re-program.

    I can do this and draft a whole new program to get it back to a reasonable state... then later do any repairs, head adjustments and program adjustments to tweak it on into perfection.... on a separate bill of course.

    So now you have a mental picture of what it is I'm dealing with...
    And you have an idea of what the first phase achievement goal is...

    So how would you go about calculating what you would charge for this?

    I've calculated it a couple of different ways and it sounds expensive to me.
  2. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,781

    Wow, I get to say it first after having been gone sooooooooooo long!!
    It's called T&M. That's how you price it. Flat rate by time. Whatever your normal hourly rate is.
    Now, as to ESTIMATING what that bill might be...........what type of controller? 21 zones, if I have to manually program a 2 min test cycle instead of having a built in or default test, the call it 15 minutes. Then, one time through at 2 min/ zone with pen and paper in hand, plus that again to double check the first go around. Call that an additional hour. I am sure I could be in and out with a crappy sketch or with the zones marked on a provided plat and the controller programmed in a little over two hours.

    Now, if this is a maintenance contract and we get to do everything, I get a signed mainenance agreement to turn on, turn off, and do periodic sytem checks, then I eat the initial trip beyond what I get for the contract. If I think I can keep the property long term, I eventually rezone the controller so I can walk everything in order instead of jumping around like most low bid systems do.
  3. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    Sorry for being long winded...

    I do work other for this PMC, but I do not service this site.

    The layout of the site is odd. I tried the zone test deal just to see if I could get an idea right up front. I turned it on and realized things were such a mess I was wasting my time. The zones would cycle before I could get in view of them... then it would jump somewhere else that I would have to hunt for... and with no idea of the zone number. After a few minutes I realized I was totally wasting my time and running around for nothing.

    Basically I started over and stood still nearby the controler for about 45 minutes, which put me in view of 5 zones I could document out of 21.

    Anyways... as I said, this is a PMC I deal with and they are accustomed to me quoting a flat job rate... or flat rate plus unforseens... So $XX.xx per hour til I'm done ain't going to cut it.

    In all honesty, I'd be doing good to just figure out where the zones are in 2 hours.
    And I can already tell that's not going to be the worst part.

    But entering the new program will be a piece of cake...
    And unfortunately that's all the customer really thinks about paying for.
    However, rest assured I will enlighten them.

    Still feeling really expensive....
  4. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,496

    We do our troubleshooting with a remote which makes life a LOT easier. It's easy for us since all our controllers are one of two types (Irritrol MC-Plus and Hunter WVC) and we have the remotes for both models. Kinda tough when you're out in the commercial world with dozens of different types of controllers though.

    Contractors are prone to just stick a wire to a terminal and then program the whole thing. I have to understand site usage and potential problems and rezone accordingly. It's quite common to rearrange the majority of a site after we take control of a system. Plot plan, remote and I'm ready to go and make notes. Then I go back to the controller and mark the wires with electrical wire marking numbers and go from there. Then I can reprogram accordingly and set the program up.
  5. SprinklerGuy

    SprinklerGuy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    If they have to have a price....break the job into reasonable pieces....estimate how long the pieces will take you......add 20% to each piece.....WAG on the parts....add 50% to that.....double the total you come up with...multiply by your profit margin needed.....then second guess yourself and come down a bit because $25,983 looks really high for a repair....then grow some nards and tell the sunsabeeches that you can't quote a price for a job like this not knowing what you will find....then give them a ballpark based on the above calculations.....done. Amen.

    Good luck.
  6. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    We would get along good....

    And since you are a sprinkler company... I really do not feel all that out of line anymore.

    My plan was to break it into parts... no physical repairs or adjustments included initally. In other words, let them pay me to discover their problems while I'm getting the program in order. Then... I can send them a repair/adjustment estimate.

    To get where they want to be on the setup, I am looking at a 6 step process.
    6 steps x 21 zones x at least $5 per zone...
    I'm looking at NO LESS THAN $630 and I'm not sure I want to do it for that even...

    The way I feel about it, I would be totally comfortable at $800-$850 to be honest.
    $840 is what I actually came up with first.

    Then I told myself that sounds expensive.
  7. Lawnworks

    Lawnworks LawnSite Fanatic
    from usa
    Messages: 5,407

    That has worked well for me.
  8. mwardy

    mwardy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 23

    Buy a eicon remote control and wire it into controller. It will pay for its self fast with repairs. Plus get pigtails from Rainbird and put them in your other sites and save alot of time and runnig back and forth to controller. It's great invention.

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