Service versus installs

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by DanaMac, Sep 23, 2004.


Repais/service vs. installation

  1. I prefer repairs and service

    12 vote(s)
  2. I prefer installations

    8 vote(s)
  1. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,209

    I'm trying to get a few posts going on the biz end of irrigation instead of the technical posts

    Do you prefer service/repairs, or installs. Why?

    I myself prefer service/repairs. I can go to many different homes per day, see and talk to many people, troubleshoot problems, fix other companies mistakes. My overhead is also very minimal. I can run the company from my home, our main equipment is 2 trucks (which my employee drives one home every night), hand tools, cell phones, and what ever inventory we have (not really overhead). I don't seem to have the patience anymore to stay on one job for more than a few hours. A few days - forget it. When I'm working I like to keep moving and hustle.

    Down side - training employees to troubleshoot and repair if they haven't installed before. Learning to fix screwed up systems from other contractors or homeowners (although the challenge is fun), lots of driving around town, which leads to lots of gas money.
  2. jerryrwm

    jerryrwm LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,274

    Agree that repair and maintenance is my preference.

    Overhead is low - no equipment but that which I carry in the truck.
    No employees for service work. At times I would like someone to dig that hole, but I just suck it up and do it, knowing that the money earned from that project is mine.
    Most profitable is the monthly walk-thru. Turn on the controller for a two minute test cycle, follw the sequence and make notes. Depending on the customer agreement, I may fix the problems right then up to a specified amount, or submit an estimate for repairs for authorization to procede. If I have pre-authorized agreement, I charge for the W/T and then start the clock on the repairs and submit both invoices. Any large ticket repairs are submitted for approval and then done as schedule allows.

    Don't like installs, but will do them if specifically requested by customer. Requests for installs are mostly from referrals. If they want me to do it, at the price I want, then we have a deal. If they just wander up and ask me to give a bid so that they can compare prices, I usually reply that I am scheduled pretty far out and may not be able to get to them for several weeks. I usually pre-qualify before going over to even look at the yard. If they don't balk at my off the hip price, I'll talk to them further, but they also understand up front that I am probably going to be one of the higher priced bids, and that there is no 'wiggle room' in my bidding. I hire temps to do the digging, clean-out, and covering. I do the installation, nozzling and fine tuning. But I really don't like to hang around on a property for several days. Get tired of looking at the same scenery all the time.

    Most of my contracts are with commercial properties - apartments, HOA's hospitals, strip centers, etc. Provide on-call emergency repairs, and do the necessary renovations as requested.

    Fixing screwed up installs is what keeps my mind active. How many times have you opened up a problem area and then thought, "what the hell were they thinking?" Many times it's like an Easter egg hunt when trying to figure out why that stuck valve isn't in the most logical place, or why the wire path isn't anywhere close to the mainline path. But, that's what they are paying me for - to find the problem and fix it. Oh the stories I could tell!!

    It works for me.

  3. TClawn

    TClawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,036

    I prefer doing installs because I'm starting with a clean slate and don't have to deal with the mistakes of the previous landscaper ,like on repairs.
  4. DGI

    DGI LawnSite Member
    from SE Mich
    Messages: 173

    Which do you find more profitable at the end of the year?

    For us, it's install. Startups and blowouts are a whole other boon, though.
  5. Mdirrigation

    Mdirrigation LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,695

    service is more profitable dollar for dollar , installs are more labor intensive .
  6. Green Sweep

    Green Sweep LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Pittsburgh, PA
    Messages: 322

    Generally service is more profitable for us. However, it is nice to throw in a contracted install every now & then. I have one guy right now that works with me. We just installed a 9 zone system in 4 days for $6,000. At $40 /man hr. - it is impossible to generate that kind of dough in 4 days doing service work. Another good example is this year we spent a month repairing a huge commercial system (major fiber optic lines installed - trashed most of the system). Time & Materials = under $15,000. Last year, we spent the same amount of time installing a commercial system (contract) for around $60,000. What a difference.
  7. SprinklerGuy

    SprinklerGuy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    I can't answer this question.

    I love service for the lack of difficulty in selling it. Meaning that when they call and have a leak...they don't care how much it will cost, for the most part. In installs it is a fight to get them to pay for it.

    I love installs because typically I can make a bit more per day per man hour and no driving around wasting gas.

    In the end....the installs tend to be more profitable per hour for me....unfortunately we work fewer hours on installs, therefore, service is more profitable and steady annually.

    FEELIN' DUCKY IN PA LawnSite Member
    Messages: 17

    I believe installations are way more profitable than service because if the job is estimated right, you get to put it in the ground the way it should be and not trying to run around finding pipes or leaks in something you didn't install. I don't think service end is as profitable because you need to add in all the factors that go with the bottom line dollar amount like the salaries of workers, the gas it took to get to the job and the materials. If it's not estimated right, you could end up losing money on what should be a money maker.
  9. TClawn

    TClawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,036

    around here a 6 zone system goes between $10,000-$15,000.
  10. SprinklerGuy

    SprinklerGuy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    Yeah but in Hawaii a big mac at mcdonals is $8.00!

Share This Page