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Pump location

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by poghead, Dec 16, 2001.

  1. poghead

    poghead LawnSite Member
    Messages: 29

    problem as follows : customer has pond. He wants irrigation system. I am sure I have got the job. He wants his pump to be installed under his house.It's sixty-plus feet from the pond to the house with a rise of about eight feet from pond to house, I've told him this was not a good idea that the pump should be as close to water sourse as possable. He insists pump be under the house. What would you do? Install it his way and not stand behind that part of the install or just walk away.

    thanks for your input,
  2. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,712

    Why should the pump be close to the water?
  3. poghead

    poghead LawnSite Member
    Messages: 29

    My supplyer adviseded me to always place pump as close to water as possable as pumps are better pushers than pullers of water. Please correct me if this is not so.

    thanks, pog
  4. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,712

    Your supplier is correct and I was trying to see what you know. You can do what you want to do with out a problem.

    I have a job we did years ago pumping from a creek. There was a large flood plain along the creek which was a potential problem in pump safety and getting electric there, etc. The house was up hill rom all of this. WE put the pump on the side of the hill where there was electric for a previous pump. This was above all flood levels. The suction line is aboout 120' as I remember. We might have upsized the suction line from the 1.25" inlet to 1.5" suction line, but I forget.

    In order to make priming easy, at lawn level at he top of the hill i put a hose bibb/boiler drain valve with a 3/4" line running all the way to a "T" just before the foot valve at the creek.

    I can take a garden hose from the house and by way of a double ended female x female hose thread adapter precharge the whole mess and force most of the water out.

    We used green "PVC" reinforced hose for the suction line and it has some humps and bumps getting to the pump that trap air. Priming can be a little frusrating but not bad.

    THE KEY TO PRIMING. You can have NO air leaks in your garden hose of hose fittings. NONE, ZERO. If you see any water dripping out of that stuff you can bet your butt air will get sucked in there as you run the pump and try to prime. Been there, done that. If you are tight and dry, priming is almost a snap.

    The guy always wanted the foot valve on the creek bottom in this little hole as the waer gets down pretty good in the summer. Initially we put a 100 mesh filter on the system with a dirty water, self scrubbing valve after the filter. The valve ws tied to 2 zones on the clock and 1/2 wqay through the cucle and at the end it would run for 5 minutes and flush the filter.

    The foot valve was held off the bottom as we put it through the bottom of a 3 gal shrub pot and stretch windoscreen over the whole mess.

    This year we took a 2.5 gal jug and tied the foot valve to it with screen over the foot valve. NO pot, jsut the jug for a float. Cross tied it over over the hole and it worked better than ever with ZERO filter problems and we were way short of water this year. I think the pot used to silt in somewhat.

    The end.
  5. poghead

    poghead LawnSite Member
    Messages: 29

    Thanks Harold.
    I knew someone would know of a way around this problem.
    More than one way to skin a cat and all that. I now may not have to deal with this problem as the customer called last night to inform me he has a bid to do the complete install for 1500.00 less than what I bid . Now makes me wonder why he even bothered to call. Do you think he is fishing ? I think he wants my system for someone else's price.
  6. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,712

    I don't know you or anything about this job but let me wildly guess that $1,500 less would make the job about 2 times the cost of the materials. Let me know if you can.
  7. poghead

    poghead LawnSite Member
    Messages: 29

    Here's what I est. for said job. 2950.00, I Est. three days two men. Cost of mat.s is 1085.00. Materals where as follows: 17 roters, 23 mist heads, 500 ft. drip, 100 +or-drip emitters, 7 elc. valves, indoor timer, plus pipe and wire. He was supplying 2 horse jet pump,I was going to pipe up entire system. Lots of curves around flower beds.
    The properity consists of hard pan clay with lots of rocks. (Prop. is in a river basin.) size of prop. is about one half acre. He has a very nice pond as water source. I really thought I was a little low on my bid, This guy calls me back and wants to know why I'm 1500.00 higher than the lowest bid. He did tell me he had one higher than mine. Thats about the size of it.
    So honestly what do you think ?

  8. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,712

    I think you are in over your head, the customer is a fool and your alleged cheap competitior is on crack.

    The competitor is probably doing less than you, maybe $750-$800 in material and priced the job at 2x materials. Where this number ever came from beyond me, but it out to removed from the business world.

    The job would take more like 7 man days and maybe a few hours more under pretty decent conditions and you should figure probably 20% more time for the heads and valves in the nasty conditions bringing you to something like 75 man hours for all travel and on the job production type time. I usually figure 9 hr per day per man on the clock and thats what i include in my bids.

    You are doing this job for $73/head with the drip not counted as anything. Materials are 36.7% of sales or sales are 2.71 x materials. Not good numbers on a labor intensive job with this much labor.

    Your hourly estimated return for labor on the conservative 7 days or 63 hours is $29.60 per hour. Stay home!

    I'd price this job unseen at $4,460.00. I think that is cheap because it is $45/hr x 75 hr plus materials at cost. Installs are a lot of work and liability plus warranty for $45.00/hr. It's easier to do the Buck a minute mow, blow and go talked about all over this site than install irrigation for the prices people want to pay and the prices most contractors want to to sell for.

    Finally, if your numbers are right on property size and the property is an open property, you can't do it with 17 rotors and 23 sprays.

    Recomendations: Don't do irrigations till you have educated yourself very well in the BASICS of irrigation design and engineering. Secondly, don't sell anything until you take some serious seminars in bidding, estimating and overhead recovery.

    This is a harsh post based on what you've told us here and some interpretations on my part, but trust me it is better than the harsh reality of contracting and it hasn't cost you any money or aggravation yet.

    Good luck and Happy Holidays.
  9. longslawn

    longslawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 201

    Well stated! This is excellent advice.
  10. poghead

    poghead LawnSite Member
    Messages: 29

    I will take your advice as you did not have to take time out of your life to give it.
    This is why I come to this site. I take great pride in a job that is well done and I strive to do the best work in every job that I take on. I come here to learn and learn Iwill.

    Thank- you and happy holidays to all.


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