Irrigation Startups (Charging Property Management Companies)

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by Critical Care, Apr 29, 2008.

  1. Critical Care

    Critical Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,654

    I get quite a bit of work through a few property management companies, and recently one passed along to me a fairly long list of rental properties that needed their irrigation systems started up. These properties are scattered all around town, and since many haven’t been maintained, I’ve had to do quite a bit of additional though fairly simple work. I’m not positive on how I should approach charging for all of this. I’m assuming that most use a minimum set price for turning each system on and doing fine adjustments. I’m also assuming that materials are an added expense to that amount, but I’m a bit unclear about what would be considered “extra labor”. Some places I can turn on the system, dig up and replace a head, and be out in fifteen minutes, but in other places it may take close to an hour just to walk the property and to decipher what in the world is going on. So where do you draw the line?

    Also, if a property management company gives you a number of jobs, do you offer a discount… even though it’s the landlords that ultimately are the ones who are paying for the service and not that of the property management company?
  2. CAPT Stream Rotar

    CAPT Stream Rotar LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,172

    a few questions.
    How did you get in with these people?
    Places around us (belive it or not) would mark up our price by 28% and then charge it to the H/O..
    I would assume give em a deal if they are recharging the customer..If they are just passing the bill then it sounds like they don't care.My partner stopped working for a PM company cause they were recharging the pre-mentioned 28%...Robbery if you ask me..
    We also have a landscaper, we do irrigation for and he gets 10% of the bill for doing we always overcharge 10% to coup our loses..we get more work, the landscraper makes $$ on nothing.
  3. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,210

    Turn around, and run. I got rid of most my rentals this spring. They can be the biggest pain. Tenants are a pain to deal with, schedule with, and then they start messing with things later on. The rentals are scattered all over, and parts of town we don't actually work. The management people can be demanding, wanting things done NOW. We set the controllers in April or May for those conditions, and then they complain in July when things dry up. And then don't want to pay to have us readjust the controller (Tom and I thought the Smartline would be good for rentals so you can use the monthly adjust? feature). They usually want some discount for volume, not the one I just got rid of though. I used to take care of 100+ for Century 21 about 10-12 years ago. And most of these systems are crap anyway.

    Charge regular time and materials for all you do with them.
  4. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 23,148

    I took a ton of those when I started out, all crummy systems, got backflow
    work & service..pain in the butt clients (experts). Finally dropped all of them
    except one condo that I did a re-do on....Rain Master & I-20's. Sold that to
    Hank..he dropped them this year. Huge pains.
  5. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,210

    I think we've all taken jobs like that when starting out. But if I had more techs, I may still have kept those. Just to keep guys busy. but right now, we're never in need of work. The management company I just dropped started out with 6-8 a couple years ago, and I thought no big deal. Now up to 40 and it's just a headache. I actually referred her to Tom Tom, but she says she found someone else. then she called telling him she needed his services, then called right back and said no, the other guy can do it now. :hammerhead:
  6. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 23,148

    Besides you and Tom Tom, how many other "techs" are in your market?
  7. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,210

    Really couldn't say. A lot of guys have gone to doing more service work the last 2 years or so. In '98 or so when I got back into it, I was about the only guy doing just service. I would do about 2-4 installs when slow. I know of probably 5-8 companies that do more service work now. Most have just one guy, or just themselves. Like Tom. And the way I was from '95-'02. I still want to grow the company, but want to make the right hires. I can't afford to go through a bunch of schmucks in the spring. Ideally I need 1-2 more techs, and an office person.
  8. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,210

    But then there are the larger lawn/landscape companies that have 1-2 techs on staff as well, for their commercial properties. Unfortunately we lost one good tech this year in our area. Here's one for Tony :drinkup:
  9. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 23,148

    I think I'd buy a car from him ...miss him too.:drinkup:
  10. AI Inc

    AI Inc LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 26,816

    Property managers? I run in the other direction.Ya fix things that have been ignored for yrs , send em a bill and they think you are robbing them. The following yr a new guy is there. He looks like a hero for starting the system fo a couple hundred, because you fixed everything the yr before. wo yrs later stuff is breaking he fixes it, bills it. Gets the boot because he was too expensive. Now time for a new guy.

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