Rain Bird ESP-SMT Smart Controller

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by JimLewis, Jun 18, 2009.

  1. Tony Clifton

    Tony Clifton LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 865

    Dan, I know you know the industry better than I do. Do you think any of that came from RB making a rotating nozzle and charging a buck or 2 less?
  2. bcg

    bcg LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tx
    Messages: 1,865

    My local Longhorn is stocking them. I picked one up yesterday when I was there but haven't taken the time to audit my system so I can accurately programthe controller yet. I've been using a Solar Sync for the last couple of months and have lately begun to become dis-satisfied with it. We've had 0 rain for over a month and 2 weeks for 97 - 101 temperatures and I don't think it's watering frequetly or long enough. My grass agrees.

    Maybe this weekend I'll find the energy to do the necessary prep work and get it installed. It looks very impressive.
  3. Tony Clifton

    Tony Clifton LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 865

    The thing with these controllers is that you can't just install them and leave them. They need alot of attention and tweaking until they are setup for your conditions.
  4. SoCalLandscapeMgmt

    SoCalLandscapeMgmt LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,128

    No... Rain Bird had already developed and released the rotary nozzle well before Hunter acquired MP Rotator from Walla Walla Sprinkler. I think most of the battle between Rain Bird and Hunter started a few years back. Hunter's bread and butter has always been rotors. Hunter makes good margin on those products so they started to make products that were very similar to Rain Bird's and sell them for less. For example... Rain Bird came out with the Root Watering System which is a great product. Almost immediately Hunter copied almost exactly it and was selling it for less. If you notice Rain Bird has lowerd it's list products on products that they know are high margin for themselves and Hunter as well. Rain Bird can blow 5004's out all day long and not feel it but because Hunter is offering such low margins on other products they can't afford to compete that way.
  5. Tony Clifton

    Tony Clifton LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 865

    Interesting... I appreciate your feedback.
    I have been installing systems for close to 10 years (have always installed solid systems) servicing them for just as long, and had a few years of golf experience before that. I just recently have become more passionate and interested in the industry and the manufacturers (the specifics of them) I feel like it is a great industry but am surprised about how comfortable the manufacturers are - it seems like we are 20 yrs behind to me.

    In honesty, do you believe the 5004 is superior to the PGP?
  6. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    Yah, I gotta back up Dan here on what Rain Bird is doing. I remember Hunter did the same thing to them for YEARS AND YEARS. They were always hard selling contractors to switch over to Hunter and SAVE MONEY. They always said they had the same stuff, same quality, less price. Aside from having a good rotor, that's really how they broke into the market. They were lowballers.

    And if you noticed, RB kept raising prices, raising prices year after year as the economy and our industry kept growing. They were banking plenty of profits. I often wondered if RB was EVER going to lower their prices or if they just planned to keep raising them every year. Then in late 2008 and early 2009, they finally LOWERED prices for the first time I can remember. And I remember thinking, "Thank you! You guys raised them for years when things were good and now that things are tight, you're helping out the little guy (contractor) by lowering your prices. THANK YOU!" It's honestly helped me get more jobs this year because my material prices on each install are down a decent amount from previous years.

    THEN, they took it a step further and started hammering Hunter at their own game. For years, Hunter was lowballing. So RB - now being at a lower price point across the board - took advantage of the situation and accentuated the one thing they were always lacking in ==> better price!

    You can't say you dislike Rain Bird for capitalizing on the lower price thing when Hunter did the same thing to them for years. That's unfair. Just because RB is being more prominent about it and REALLY hammering them with the ads, doesn't mean they're evil. They're just playing the same game that was played at them. It's business man. Just business.

    I say good for them. About time they started fighting back. And beating the competition at their own game is always admirable in my book.
  7. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 50,376

    Since when was Hunter lowballing with the price for the PGP?
  8. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    That probably wasn't directed toward me. But I'll answer that. I think they're fairly equal. I can't say the PGP is a great rotor because I have one large commercial property where we are replacing 5-10 of them every single year. And I have yet to be called back on a 5004 we installed. However, we've only been installing them for 2 years or so. And fairly rarely, too. Most of the jobs we do, we're installing spray heads.

    As far as reliability the 5004 seems to be great so far. As far as functionality, seems great too. I like that you don't need some funky white key to adjust it. Just any screwdriver will do. I always lose those damn hunter keys anyway. I also REALLY like the MPR nozzles along with the 5004 PRS rotors. That's about the most efficient setup around, IMO.

    But overall, I'd say they are about equal - just the RB unit is easier to adjust because it doesn't require a special key. That's my honest opinion about them.
  9. irritation

    irritation LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,578

    I don't think they ever did. The PGP was always overpriced and the warranty sucked too.
  10. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 50,376

    If you need the warranty, then there's a problem.

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