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starting out

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by hlgmoney, Mar 30, 2002.

  1. hlgmoney

    hlgmoney LawnSite Member
    Messages: 57

    I have been providing landscape maintenance for several years but an now thinking of getting involved in Irrigation . I have one employee who has some experience and I have done extensive rapairs but never a total install. Anyone have any suggestions? Also, what's a reasonable goal to set for the first year in terms of gross$. Thanks
  2. SprinklerGuy

    SprinklerGuy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    I would say concentrate on doing repairs only at first....the installs will come from the repairs.

    One technician booked full time should bring in over 100k per year. If you are just starting out I wouldn't expect but about 30-40% of that.

    Good luck
  3. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,712

    Study the market carefully between installs and service.

    Here in NJ the install market sucks and has for years. I can put a really good tech on the street for $56/hr plus materials at list and Iget $28 for just showing up at the door.

    I'm pricing installs at $45/hr and ZERO markup on materials and I get laughed out of many places. Thats right, materials are included at my cost.

    Since the site is soooo famous for "help me with this pricing in your area" I think I'll prepare a little bidding exercise of my own but I won't be looking for dollars I'll be looking for hours to do the job along with any pricing. I'll also supply enough info so that everyone should be on the same page.
  4. hlgmoney

    hlgmoney LawnSite Member
    Messages: 57

    Thanks for the info. I live in Myrtle Beach and here things are just crazy. They're building houses on every corner and they all have irrigation. Some of the more affordable subdivisions don't but I've talked to other contractors who say they're getting calls from these neighborhoods too. I'm a little nervous about jumping in feet first but I think I need to since there's such a demand.
  5. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,184

    SprinklerGuy - does your estimate for $100k per year per tech take into account the winter climate of the area the company is located? In Phoenix you can probably work all year but in Colorado I am off from November 15 to apprx March 15 from repairs. I'm not sure of the winter climate in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina though.
  6. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,712

    Colorado will be less probably. Look at it like this. Your talking a 34 week season in your area.

    If you structure billing right you should be able to bill at least 40 hr/week @ $50+/hr. That will be about 75K right there. Add in repair mat and you bump up some more. You probably winterize your systems like we do here in NJ so instead of billing 2K/wk you can probably bill 3K per week while winterizing. So add a little more for that.
  7. Lance Takara

    Lance Takara LawnSite Member
    Messages: 73


    How many hours per week do your technicians work that they are able to bill 40 hours per week average?
  8. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,712

    I'm not so concerned with how many hours per week so much as getting payed for all the hours I pay for.

    Last year I changed my billing method to acheive at least 100 percent billing efficiency. I checked it several times and we were always even to up by a 1/2 hr. Here's how it works.

    We charge an amount equal to 1/2hr of labor to show up at the door. This is billed as a "service call". It covers drive time and loading parts & supplies time at the shop.

    Then we charge for on the job time, 1/2 hr minimum. 1/4 hr increments after that.

    Any part of a 1/4 hr is always rounded up, not down. That way you won't lose 7 minutes per stop. You figure 5-6 stops a day and luck isn't coming your way, 7 min x 6 stops is .75 hr you paid for but didn't bill.

    If drive time and morning prep time can be kept under an average of 1/2 hr per stop you can win a little there too.

    Questions from the audience please.
  9. SprinklerGuy

    SprinklerGuy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    We do much the same as you HB....only problem we have is that I am still in growth stages and am using some Direct Mail to sell the company to new clients. ON those direct mail pieces we sell the first hour for less than our normal service call!!! This has helped me establish quite a base of clients and they keep calling back. I would like to get out of this direct mail habit, but it is addicting. Maybe I should structure the deal a little better but it creates about 15-20 new calls per week.

    Dana...yes we have a 52 week season here. I do things a little different than Harold for tracking purposes. I like to call my total overhead costs (insurance, debt payments etc.) and my direct costs(wages etc)my nut. My nut is a set amount per day. I have to bill at least my nut on average every month to keep the doors open. My 3 techs and contracting crew each contribute towards that nut in different ways. One of my techs is also a foreman so his contribution cannot always be measured. The other two techs and the construction crew can be measured. It is tracked daily so that I can see any deviation and take measures to fix the problem immediately. More often than not, it is my fault though due to poor routing etc.

    My techs contribute approximately 90k each towards that nut per year. Now remember that is labor and markup only. That is how I track it. In other words I add up all the labor and service calls for the day and I add up the profit made on the parts for the day to come up with that number. I want to see 350 minumum per day. Some days are way bigger and some are smaller but the averages must be around that 350 or somethings wrong. In fact, for some reason in March the averages were way UP. Must have been those 90 degree days!
  10. Ground Master

    Ground Master LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 505

    hbfox- if you send a tech to someone house you charge 28 to show up plus 56 per hour? Is that correct? So, if a guy is at someones house for 1 hour, you get 84 for that hour? (28+56)

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