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Pricing a job

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by Dirt Boy, Apr 5, 2006.

  1. Dirt Boy

    Dirt Boy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 489

    New to the business, so, I'm kinda wondering how all you guys that have been here, done that, bid underground sprinkler jobs. I have bid a couple, apparently too high.
    I tried to figure out just what it would cost per head, including the sprinkler head, funny pipe, "blazing saddle" fitting and couple of other fittings. Price of valves, boxes, wiring, pulling poly pipe, figuring aprox. how much time it's going to take, service after the sale and come up with a price. I must think I'm worth more than others though:rolleyes: Can you pro's give me some guidelines?

    Thanks a bunch in advance:clapping:
  2. horizonlandscape

    horizonlandscape LawnSite Member
    from usa
    Messages: 30

    For residential I bid $75 - $100 per rotor and $35 - $45 per rotor depending on who I am bidding against. From time to time I will add in a $250 - $500 misc. amount for fudge factor. Again with this fudge factor amount it allows you to drop your price if you need to so you can get the job and still get your price (you can come down easier than go up in price).
  3. bumper

    bumper LawnSite Member
    from So. Cal
    Messages: 187

    35-100 per rotor? did I read that correctly?
  4. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 50,546

    (more like $35 - $45 a sprayhead, I imagine)
  5. Dirt Boy

    Dirt Boy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 489

    Just some additional info:
    Job is residential consisting of the following:
    - Total area aprox. 18,000 sq. ft.
    - 8,000 of this will be the "good" yard which will have underground sprinklers.
    - According to my layout, it will require aprox. 60 heads, 45 of which would be spray, balance gear drive rotors
    - Includes leveling entire area, it will require extra dirt for which they will pay separately.
    - Includes aprox. 450 sq. ft. of area around the house to have edging, fabric underlayment, landscape rock (again, they will pay for the rock separate)
    - Includes seed (long fescue) for 18000 sq. ft. + fertilizer
    - I also will stand behind any problems which arise with sprinklers, adjusting, faulty, etc.
    My bid - $4,550 and I think I'm loooowww, but I also want the business
    And they are whining a bit, want to cut something to save bucks.
    New house, lake front lot, new subdivision!!! Can't afford $4500???
  6. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,794

    You are waaaay low for my area.

    $4500 would cover the irrigation only, and that would be low.
  7. bumper

    bumper LawnSite Member
    from So. Cal
    Messages: 187

    I know a couple guys that charge 780.00 a valve or line and one that charges 50.00 per head. Depending up on the job,,,I use both methods or T and M. Good you want the job but it should not cost you money to do it...

    I just bid a 1.2k sq. ft backyard, 4 valves, roughly 40 spray heads for 1.8k, lawn, three flower beds, approx 400' of pipe, if that gives you any idea
  8. Dirt Boy

    Dirt Boy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 489

    Thanks guys!
    I am just starting, and I want the work, but I'm not interested in going broke either, so I'll listen to you (and my wife!!) cause your all saying the same thing.
  9. Keith

    Keith LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,979

    I know what you are saying about wanting the job. When I did my first complete install 15 years ago, I wanted it so bad I could taste it. The guy lived here only part of the year and his son wanted to have a sprinkler system and sod down by the time he got back. He was going to do it himself, and had bought a few pieces here and there. Way to few sticks of pvc, mostly 1/2" at that, a crappy controller, stuff like that. He called and wanted a price. Time was of the essence. He knew it would not be completed unless he got someone to do it. He had gotten into more than he bargained for. He asked me to give him a price.

    I told him I would do what he wanted, $1000 for a 4 zone system. Two rotor zones and two spray zones. He told me to go ahead. I bought about half of what I needed when he came asking if I could do if for less...he could only afford $900. I had painted myself into a corner buying most of the stuff and told him I would do it. Everything went together fine. I think I had roughly $400 in parts in it. I dug everything by hand. I basically lost my butt, but I got the job.

    On top of that, the sod showed up on a hot Friday morning. It was only about 2400 feet, enough for the front yard. The front needed to be leveled off a bit too. But none of this was my responsibility, it was his son that was going to do it. The sod sat, and sat, and sat. It was starting to brown in the heat. My Dad, who had helped me do the system, went over there on Sunday, leveled the front out and laid the dying sod. I would have let it sit. But he did pretty much what I had done with the system, did it because it had to be done. I guess he thought the guy would come home and say "wow" and someone would pay him for doing it.

    To this day it still runs works as well as any of them and that sod made a lawn that still looks nice 15 years later. Your question reminded me of my experience, only mine was on a smaller scale. We both had a customer who could afford more, but wanted to pay less. We both wanted to get our feet wet, literally :D And you, like I did, will end up resenting it. There is not a day that I pass that place that I do not want to kick myself for doing it. Even more, I want to kick myself for being a sucker. It never brought a flood of business. I can't think of more than a couple repair jobs that I got that were directly related to it. And they sucked too. I didn't learn anything on the job. I honestly think you are willing to do this for zero profit. You are just not admitting it to yourself. Heck, a lot of us did it. But I don't recommend it. What you are going to get out of it is a soured attitude toward the person.
  10. SprinklerGuy

    SprinklerGuy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778


    It is all about how much you want to make....who cares about the other guy, so you get all the jobs in your area, but do them at a loss....who is that helping eh?

    It is so easy to figure out how to price a job when you know what you want to make.

    During the busy Spring Months I know I can make x amount per day doing service, so I price my installs and my other work at double that daily rate....if I get the job, GREAT, now I don't feel bad putting the service work off for a couple days. When I slow down, my price comes down.

    When my company was large it was even easier...I knew how much per hour each of my guys cost me..including their percentage of overhead....

    Costs + Profit Desired + Overhead = Price

    Good luck, sounds like you have a good head on your shoulders.

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