Scheduling winterizations

snomaha

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
midwest
Do you let the customer dictate the day and time of service, or do you tell them what day day.

What percentage of your customers have the water off prior to the service? Do you charge more if the water is still on and you need to get into the house?

Thinking of restructuring our fee schedule for winterizations...
 

magna111

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
NJ
Generally speaking, we wait for the customer to contact us for winterizing. Personally, I’d like to be a bit more proactive, but it’s not my show yet. Still, we wait for them to contact us, then schedule them a day/time that works for both our schedules. We need access for the water and for timers, 95% of our customers do not shut the water off themselves, and the remaining 5% who do half of them had probably turned the hoses off and not actually the irrigation supply, so even if they tell me it’s off I prefer to verify. We charge the same if the water is on or off when we arrive.
 

benhargreaves

LawnSite Member
Location
South Dakota
Generally speaking, we wait for the customer to contact us for winterizing. Personally, I’d like to be a bit more proactive, but it’s not my show yet. Still, we wait for them to contact us, then schedule them a day/time that works for both our schedules. We need access for the water and for timers, 95% of our customers do not shut the water off themselves, and the remaining 5% who do half of them had probably turned the hoses off and not actually the irrigation supply, so even if they tell me it’s off I prefer to verify. We charge the same if the water is on or off when we arrive.
We send out cards with the date on it. They are instructed to contact us if they need a specific date or time. Usually the water is not off, and I prefer it that way. Just today, homeowner said water was off. I checked for myself. Water was off, but drain was open. Not the prefered way to winterize. We always check to make sure the water is off. Charge the same whether or not we turn water off.
 

Love the Green Biz

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
NYC Metro Area
We send out cards and when an initial appointment is made on a date we begin calling to try and fill that date with the closest clients so the route is dense. It works well for us as the office is on top of things. I have clients tell me and my techs when we show up "I turned the water off" which near always means they turned the controller off. Most don't understand the connection between electrical activation and a mechanical valve. And they just keep getting less intelligent by the day.

If I could go back in time to ancient Rome, pull any citizen off the street, bring them to the present and show them the way an irrigation system works they would pick it up in no time. Along with most things.

A sad statement to make on present day denizens indeed.
 
OP
snomaha

snomaha

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
midwest
We send out cards and when an initial appointment is made on a date we begin calling to try and fill that date with the closest clients so the route is dense. It works well for us as the office is on top of things. I have clients tell me and my techs when we show up "I turned the water off" which near always means they turned the controller off. Most don't understand the connection between electrical activation and a mechanical valve. And they just keep getting less intelligent by the day.

If I could go back in time to ancient Rome, pull any citizen off the street, bring them to the present and show them the way an irrigation system works they would pick it up in no time. Along with most things.

A sad statement to make on present day denizens indeed.
We have made it too easy for the customer over the years and slowly more and more won't have the water off and want to dictate the time and day. 15 years ago, I would guess that 70% of our customers would have the water source off and we did'nt need them home to winterize - that percentage has flipped now to 30% water off and no need to be home.

Thinking of going to a model next year where you can name your date and time for 2X the normal winterization price. Also considering making coming out to shut of the water supply as separate service call - we have a couple of semi retired guys still working for us that could go shut off waters all day long.
 

Love the Green Biz

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
NYC Metro Area
We have made it too easy for the customer over the years and slowly more and more won't have the water off and want to dictate the time and day. 15 years ago, I would guess that 70% of our customers would have the water source off and we did'nt need them home to winterize - that percentage has flipped now to 30% water off and no need to be home.

Thinking of going to a model next year where you can name your date and time for 2X the normal winterization price. Also considering making coming out to shut of the water supply as separate service call - we have a couple of semi retired guys still working for us that could go shut off waters all day long.
And you can charge more than babysitting rates even though it seems like the same job! :nod:
 
OP
snomaha

snomaha

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
midwest
We have given the office staff clear talking points on scheduling this fall and urging customers to shut their own water off. We were able to hit 425 winterizations last week - first time hitting 400+
 

Love the Green Biz

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
NYC Metro Area
We have given the office staff clear talking points on scheduling this fall and urging customers to shut their own water off. We were able to hit 425 winterizations last week - first time hitting 400+
Nice. On occasion one of those HOs will forget to do it and waste your time but you are more than making up for it with everyone else on board.
 

Optimal Irrigation Corp.

LawnSite Member
Location
Ontario
We put valve tags (little gold tags you usually see on fire sprinkler systems in mechanical rooms) with the letters "SPR" on the manual valves that turn off the water to the irrigation system. Makes it easy to explain to the customer which valve we need turned off before we winterize.
Recently (you guys might think this is overkill, admittedly, it is) we install master valves (brass, and inside the house mechanical room) after the manual shut off valve, so that even if the homeowner forgets to shut off the manual valve before we get there, we can still shut down the system. We've retro fitted a lot of the old timers to wifi ones and can suspend watering so that after we close down the system, there is no chance of them turning on again and refilling the lines. Also helps out a lot in the spring when we would usually need the homeowner to be home to access the timer / shut off valve.
 

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