Service contract

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by MikeK, Feb 17, 2003.

  1. MikeK

    MikeK LawnSite Member
    Messages: 145

    Hello All,
    I'vce been a member of this forum for just a few weeks and have found it to be very Informative. I wish I would have found this sooner.

    This spring, we will put some Residential and commercial customers on a Service contract for various reasons.
    I would really like some input as to what you guys charge for residential and especially commercial customers on a service contract and also what services you include.
    Also, if someone has a copy of a blank contract, I would love to see it, I think that will give me some good Ideas.

    Other questions:

    1. I have a customer on a 6 Zone lake system ( 8 heads per zone), 1 1/4 Main. I will need to visit them once a month for adjustments and to clean heads. It's approx 80 Miles round trip.
    What is fair to charge for startup, Blowout and this monthly service call.

    2. I have a commercial system, 2" main, about 200 heads and 9 Zones, 40 miles round trip, what is fair for blowout, startup ect.

    3. I will be bidding for a few other commercial contracts. What are some general guidelines to charge for routine services?

    Thanks much in Advance!
  2. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,712

    Gotta get paid for travel the same as working. Charge them "portal to portal" + OJT or figure what travel time is.

    None of us wizards are real good on this svc contract stuff yet. I have made posts on start and blow rates before. Just read back or do some searches on this forum or for my posts.

    What are your thoughts or ideas on the svc contract stuff?

    What filter or screening if any, exists on the lake system?

    I have about 5 yr of service stuff to review here so I think I can get a handle one the number of repair visits and/or start ups per yr. vs the number we winterize each yr. I also know how many $ of materials were billed for svc. I think I can do some pretty simple math to see what percentage of active systems each year had a start up or svc call and then ghow many $'s did we bill per visit. Since we do not do repairs when winterizing it should come out OK.

    I really want to offer an all inclusive (with exceptions & stipulations) svc contract almost as if an extended warranty. Any body can price a start & blow but I want something different to get a leg up on the competition.
  3. MikeK

    MikeK LawnSite Member
    Messages: 145

    Thanks for your comments.
    There is a Filter on the lake system, the last one we put in was an Alge Queen... It's a big mess.
    Here is my post on that:

    In My area, Installs are getting more and more competitive. People are just GIVING away systems, especially this past year when we had the rainiest summer on record.

    I have to work harder on educating potential customers that the least expensive system is not always the best fit for the customer.

    In addition, I think that Service work will continue to grow and can be a profitable alternitive to installs.

    I'm pretty happy if we gross 40$/Man/Hour on installs. This does not include the fact that I probably had to bid 3 or 4 systems to get one job or the travel time to and from the job.

    I charge 60$ an hour for repairs plus a 25$ trip charge.
    All I had to do is pick up the phone and show up with a stocked truck. To me, this seems quite a bit more profitable. I just have to find a way to get more of this business. Service contracts seem to be a great way to get this started.

    Plus, servicing can be a bit more fun than Installs, It's always a challenge trying to figure out someone elses system.
  4. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,712

    Is the algae pretty much top to bottom in your shallow lakes like the one in question?

    We have the problem here and it can vary from floating to growing off the bottom. I do either of 2 things. We use a 2.5 gal plastic jug as a float and suspend the intake in the water column at a point where there is the least junk. Or I take a 2-3 gallon plastic shrub pot, cut a hole in the bottom to make a tight fit on the nipple I use to connect the pipe to the foot valve. I use a close nipple so the foot valve is inside the pot. I then wrap the whole pot in fiberglass wind screen. This can lay right on the bottom if its clean because the pot keeps the footvalve up just enough. No blocks, no stakes , no nothing needed.

    We have also installed the "T-Flow" screen type line filters and put a ball valve on for manual flushing. Better yet, install a dirty water zone valve on the filter drain as a "zone". One system, we wired this valve to 2 stations on the clock. !/2 way through and as the last "zone". Runs 5 min each station doing an auto flush 2 times per irrigation cycle.

    Install pricing stinks everywhere. Guys love the lure of the big $'s even though they don't make anything.
  5. MikeK

    MikeK LawnSite Member
    Messages: 145

    Thanks again for your comments.
    The Screen ideas are a great Idea but they just won't work in this application.

    The lake is no more than 4 feet deep, 100 feet out from the lakeshore. The alge queen filter that we are using is a big beast. Its about 2 1/2 feet tall and it's filled with rock which acts as a filter medium. There is no way this thing is floating unless it's attached to a pontoon boat.
    I have it on 1 1/2" line, 100 feet out in lake, it's sitting on a concrete block and the top of the screen is just about 8 inches below the water line. I do not want to put it out much further as it will become more difficult to prime.

    I am familiar with the Inline filter you are refering to and have thought about the same thing. The Irrigation designer we work with thinks that adding thins inline filter will be usless, as he feels it would plug in about 5 minutes. It might be worth a try though.

    Do you or anyone else have blank copies of a service contract I could look at?
  6. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,712

    I have nothing. We know who to blow out, send them a notice in the fall and call as we go to set up appts.

    We have other jobs marked as "auto starts" meaning folks want us to come and start. We send no notices. We jsut start calling and scheduling while others will call us. No mid season check ups.
    I want to get off this basis and begin with service agreements for various levels of svc such as blow only, blow and start, mid season and blow, start, mid and blow, extended coverage. Want to this within 2-3 weeks.

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