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Pricing for Irrigation Repair - What to charge?

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by OKSooner, May 13, 2008.

  1. OKSooner

    OKSooner LawnSite Member
    Messages: 234

    Just finished some schooling and training and I'm now going to try to get into Irrigation Repair this summer. About the last thing that I've still got to do is decide what to charge.

    I'd like to set up a price list that I can work from that's simple, and says something like: $nn per spray head, $nn per rotor, $nn per valve, $nn service charge (making controller adjustments, etc.) and $nn per hour for stuff like drip systems, etc.

    Anyone have any advice?


  2. hoskm01

    hoskm01 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,690

    Enough money per service call, hour, or a division thereof, to cover overhead and profit. Parts at list or more, per what your market will tolerate.

    Being as though you are new to the gig, probably start out lower on the $$ amount, since it might take you twice as long to complete something that someone with more experience might be able to do in half the time. As you get better, and faster at routine things, up your price.

    What kind of education did you get for your prep?
  3. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,553

    You could ask your local irrigation distributor what the going rates are in your area, or even ask other contractors that perform the service.

    It wouldn't be unusual for a contractor to have someone call up the competition posing as a homeowner and ask what they charge for such and such service, or per hour.

    When it comes down to it, you need to know your true costs of doing business, set some kind of profit margins you can live with, and just have at it.

    Nothing beats the on-the-job training of real world experiences though... whether on your own or under the wing of someone else.

    If I was younger and starting out I would probably try to get a couple years experience working for a few other people... like our friend Rotar seems to be doing.

    Not only does that include the problem solving aspects, but also the billing and customer relations stuff.
  4. Dripit good

    Dripit good LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,081

    What is your experience level? Do you know what your competitors are charging in you region for labor and material? Are you not offering installation work? Who are you targeting as your customer base? Are you willing to learn, work hard and separate yourself from your competitors? Is your schooling and training you speak of in this industry, or something else?

    Sorry about all the questions. Might need a little more background info in order to help you.
  5. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 23,154

    All great suggestions from the crew; there is nothing like experience.
  6. OKSooner

    OKSooner LawnSite Member
    Messages: 234

    Many years of business experience from a previous life. Been in this business for a few years now, just finished a two-year degree at OSU / Oklahoma City (don't tell 'em my screen name) and have been to some Rainbird schools, etc.

    I haven't talked to a lot of irrigation folks around here about how they do their pricing - I know one guy charges by the head or valve, etc, and has a big share of the market. I was thinking along the same lines, although I see what you're saying about just charging an hourly rate along with parts and stuff.

    Messages: 18,668

    I'm old school on this but I think your rate should reflect your experience. When I started doing service work I was about 20 to 30% lower than the going rate because I didn't think it was right for customers to be paying for my learning on the job. As I got more experienced I jacked my rate up. My pet peeve are these newbies running around bragging about how much you get to charge doing service work when they don't know squat.
  8. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 23,154

    That's the only business model I believe in, too. :waving:
  9. rachael24

    rachael24 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 35

    I tend to agree with Mike and Fimco as well...I know we wont be charging as much at the beginning.
  10. anthonyslandscaping

    anthonyslandscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 65

    Figure out your cost, fixed and veriable. Determine what you need to make a year to live, divide that by the number of customers you expect to service and you have your hourly rate.

    for the parts charge list.

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