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Spring Startup and you find repair needed


LawnSite Bronze Member
Long Island, NY
Situation: a residential startup and you find a repair is also needed (like a broken rotary head). 6 zones, with 4 zones of 4 rotary heads each and two zones of maybe 5 misters each.

If the head replacement takes 10 minutes extra, do you just charge extra for the parts on top of the startup price? Or do you also charge additional labor for the 10 minutes in addition to the parts charge?

How much time do you allot for a residential startup, say a typical 6 zone like above? And for ones with additional zones?

What if a startup has no repairs but 75% of the heads get stuck down from new grass roots that grew over the heads and you have to cut the grass away (adding maybe an extra 20 minutes to your usual time allotment for a "normal" startup time)?


LawnSite Senior Member
Calgary, Alberta
I allot an hour for a startup. This allows me to make sure nozzles are aligned properly and rotors haven't lost their set points etc. If repairs are required, the parts just get added onto the bill. If the repairs take me over the hour mark then I add labour in 30 minute increments.


LawnSite Silver Member
Aztec, NM
A startup is just that a startup. Flag repairs and do what is necessary to start the system. At the point when you have done all you can do w/o doing repairs, the repair clock starts. If you have a min service call, start the clock. Everything is T&M from this point forward.


LawnSite Bronze Member
Long Island, NY
For us, some of the smaller systems like a 4 zone, the price for the startup is a lot less than an hour of labor charge. Makes me lean towards alloting only enough minutes of labor that teh startup price woukd cover.

Simple example if the hourly labor charge is $60 (one dollar per minute), then a $45 startup price should only include 45 minutes of labor (plus parts if needed).

I like the 30 minute increments for labor charges. Has any customers complained about being charged a whole hour for 35 minutes of extra labor time?


LawnSite Fanatic
metro NYC
I prefer to have a service charge cover 30 minutes of time, with the clock running from then on out. How long it takes to get the system running isn't important. It's all T&M, baby!


LawnSite Bronze Member
Depends on how your contract is worded.
We allot time for each system to recharge main, activate all the zones and reset controller. That is our start-up and it is priced according to zones and for existing customers based on actual time spent historically.
Any repairs, head leveling, cleaning, are extras and the first hour is charged at our labor rate. We occasionally give a break on the hour charge if it is a minor repair, but nothing less than 30 minute charge.