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outlook for 2004


LawnSite Senior Member
south east ny
questions for 2004:

what does this board and its members see for the season that does not want to begin (damn rain)?

how will the price of gas and diesel affect you? will service based companies start 'fuel surcharges' like airlines do? will you plan your route more efficiently? will you pre-qualify leads more thoroughly to eliminate unnecessary driving?

with the price of oil rising what do you think the impact will be on our material prices? what effect will it have on your bidding a certain project?

what is your view of the irrigation industry today vs. 10 years ago.



LawnSite Member
Twin Cities MN
Good Questions:

We have seen the prices of materials, especially, pipe, fittings and copper rise sharply. We have protected ourselves by buying enough pipe to get us through Aug and wire and copper fittings to last the year. I would have gotten more pipe but the shop is full and I don't think the wife would approve having 400 coils of pipe in the garage. Yeah we have a ton of $$ tied up in this but , I think it will help to keep the profits up.

In our area, I think it will be tough to charge extra because of rising fuel costs. We are going to work this year to eliminate some of the gas guzzling vehicles in our fleet and schedule things more efficently.

Ths industry is vastly different than it was 10 years ago, we are getting more efficent at installs because of new technology, Blazing saddles, wireless rain sensors, ect. All of these little things add up. Because of this, the consumer benefits because the cost of an average residential system has dropped. All good.
I am excited about the future, 10 years from now, I see no controllers as we know it, systems will be controlled through wireless by the PC, next will be the elimination of zone valves, Every head will have a battery and valve and can be told to turn on via a wireless signal. Just Imagine how much faster things would go without having to install zone valves or pull wire ect. It's coming. Those who take advantage of the newest technologies first, always come out on top.


LawnSite Senior Member
The real question is whether or not we should still be using saddles... what easier way is there to guarantee a leak? I know they are a lot quicker to install than using the flex joint system but I don't believe the quality is even close


LawnSite Senior Member
I'm sorry that the last post tried to bring up the conversation of saddles vs. swing joints again... I didn't read the thread below "Productivity (how many heads... )"


LawnSite Fanatic
We haven't added a fuel surcharge, but our mark on parts has increased. Partly due to fuel rates, and partly because I want to make more money. Scheduling will be tighter when possible. Especially during blowout season.

Service only for us, so no bidding on my end.

My concern is still the drought conditions here. If we don't get some more rain/snow this spring I can see council going to watering once a week instead of twice later this year. Or instead of 3 hours max on your watering day, 1.5-2 hours max. That doesn't matter if it's a 1 zone system or a 12 zone system. I hate to say it, but surcharges may be coming soon to the higher water users. But forecast this weekend is lows around 17-20 and snowing. And I've been turning on systems for 3 1/2 weeks now due to 60-79 degree days.

I've never been a fan of saddles, but that was the older style. Haven't tried the blazing saddles.
Believe it or not...the rain in Phoenix has hurt us as well...we have been much slower this year. So far.....it will pick up when it hits 100 degrees on a daily basis....but this spring is dismal. Normally we are doing 10-15 repairs per day, we are down to 8-10 per day. I better raise my prices!

I have changed my criteria for work...might also explain why it has been slow...I have cut back on the area we will operate it. I am trying to route more efficiently, but honestly, it is very hard to do that in this business....only time I can be efficient is when I am booked out for 3 days in advance, then I can move stuff to fit better.

No fuel surcharge for me...but changed my service call from $60 to $65...is that a fuel surcharge? LOL

I think the fuel prices will increase our materials prices...especially poly fittings and pvc pipe....It won't change too much the way we bid....but it will affect overall prices. As material prices go up, so must install prices.