Irrigation system Installation Question

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by westernmdlawn, Feb 18, 2004.

  1. westernmdlawn

    westernmdlawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 98

    Hi all...
    Heres the deal.... I have been approached by a General Contractor who is building a new "Applebee's" restaurant nearby to bid on the landscape installation. He said it would involve some irrigation. Okay, the thing is that I am just starting out this year and have zero experience with irrigation. The landscape stuff alone is going to be new for me to do, and I'm not afraid to do that at all. But the irrigation portion is what bothers me. Is it hard? Do I need to learn about alot before I attempt something like this, or is it self explanatory and easy to do???? What do ya think guys? I'm also not sure since I don't have the plans yet, but wouldn't the irrigation work have to be done before alot of the landscaping work??
    Your help is MUCH MUCH appreciated!!
  2. AssuredServicesCo

    AssuredServicesCo LawnSite Member
    Messages: 113

    Sounds like an opportunity to get a job under your belt. Why not consider subbing the job out to a licensed irrigator, then take a slight mark-up. Make sure the irrigator can follow-up with service to the system as needed. You don't want to make a bad name for yourself by doing a job you can't service. If it works out chances are this contractor will use you again. Also remember your general liability insurance does not cover Works Completed Operations so don't get stuck. Good Luck.
  3. greenworldh20

    greenworldh20 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 659

    network with other landscape companies that do not have irrigation in house. they should be able to point you in the direction of a reputable company.

    OR you could visit an irrigation supply house and have their guy design the system for you. some will come out to your job and flag heads for you provided you buy all materials from them.

    this is how i learned irrigation.


    gw truck 2.jpg
  4. D Felix

    D Felix LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,898

    Hate to burst your bubble here, but don't get your hopes up too much on this job. Unless you have already signed the contract, chances are you are just being used to keep someone else honest. I think we've all probably learned that the hard way. Happened with us on a Home Depot last year, only it was US that contacted THEM, not the other way around...

    If you do want to bid, bid it so you will make money. My recommendation is to sub out the irrigation. If you don't know what you are doing, chances are something will come back to bite you in the a$$...

    Just my observation. Good luck with the bid. Is the restaurant under construction currently, or is this a GC who wants you to submit a bid to go along with his?

    Whatever you do, don't shoot yourself in the foot!

  5. westernmdlawn

    westernmdlawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 98

    Yeah... see, I'm in Western Maryland (hence my name) and the restaurant is to be built here. For some reason, the General Contractors that are bidding the job are from parts afar. One is from Memphis, TN and the other is in Louisville, KY. They both have contacted me and asked if I'd be interested in bidding on the Landscape work, and if so they will send me out the plans. They are bidding on the job for the General Contract, and the job bids on 02-25-04. So, I wonder why Applebee's wouldn't want a local GC to bid the work? Wouldn't it be cheaper for them to hire a local GC to the job???
    I don't have my hopes up by far, and am certainly going to bid the job to make good money. Its a little big for my first job, so I'm not super concerned with getting it. See, these 2 GC's got my info on the VERIZON listing. When I put my ad in the yellow pages, it comes with listing as well. So someone can go to and do a search for "Landscape Contractors" in Western Maryland and my company will be on the list, along with just 3 other company's (that is all that there are around here). Oh well, well see. I definitely am not going to tackle the irrigation now. I will sub that out, and pad it for some profit. Thanks for all the info guys.... any other pointers?
  6. D Felix

    D Felix LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,898

    Doesn't surprise me much about the GC being from out of state...

    The Home Depot that was built in Crawfordsville (about an hour west of Indianapolis) was built by a company out of Saginaw Michigan...

    Chances are that if you have been contacted, so have the other three "Landscape Contractors" in those listings...

  7. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    I swear rule #1 in the Landscapers Ethical Code should be, "I promise to never do work for which I am not completely competent in."

    It's a very good rule to adhere to. I am not saying don't ever do irrigation work. I am just saying that if you're admittedly clueless about something - DON'T DO IT!!!!!

    Either sub-contract it out or leave that bid to someone else and just admit to the person that you're not qualified to do that kind of work.

    If you want to learn stuff, fine! Study, read up on it, sub contract and watch the sub-contractors, buy how-to videos, read online tutorials, etc. until you feel like you REALLY got a grasp for something. And even then - START SMALL and work your way up. Practice on friends or family's yard or YOUR OWN yard first.
  8. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,776

    The reason that they use GC's from places afar is that they most likely have done several Appleby's. They have built the same building several times. They have rehearsed it over and over.

    What you as a landscaper have to realize is that a GC on a job like this does not view you as a priority. He is much more concerned about letting the rug guy drive right up to the building three days before the entire job is to be complete than to have him out of the way, so you can plant. You won't be able to coordinate the job at a normal pace. Everyone will be in your way to the very last minute. At that time they expect you to run in with a bunch of guys and blow it out.

    The GC knows that. That is why the biggest guys in town get the commercial jobs. They can throw an army at it at the drop of a hat. A smaller guy has to have more time, work at a calmer pace, and has to be able to coordinate his schedule.

    It is not whether you have the capability to do the work. It is how fast you can drop what you are doing when your window of opportunity is opened by the contractor and how well you can orchaestrate a fast wrap without any problems.

    There is a reason why Haliburton gets huge government contracts other than the fact that Cheney used to be the CEO. It is that they are best capable of handling rediculously huge jobs because they are huge and do it all the time. That was just as true before Cheney was VP and will be just as true after.

    If you are a smaller company with little commercial experience, the GC does not care how little you charge because you will cost him much more if you don't flow on his schedule.
  9. westernmdlawn

    westernmdlawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 98

    AGLA: I see... that makes sense, thanks for the insight. I've decided to not bid on any part of the job. I am very small right now (no employees even) and innexperienced to boot. I think it could be a disaster for me to try to tacklie this job at this point, maybe next year or the year after I would do it. I appreciate all the advice guys, you have all been very helpful.

    Felix: Yeah... you are probably right.
  10. Coffeecraver

    Coffeecraver LawnSite Senior Member
    from VA.
    Messages: 793

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