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Very Large Company Beat my bid

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by TexasFire221, Sep 2, 2011.

  1. ArTurf

    ArTurf LawnSite Platinum Member
    Male, from Ark
    Messages: 4,257

    In my town there is one other irrigation company. He is going to be cheaper in most cases. Here are some of the examples why. He does not believe in head to head spacing. An example how he does things: in a 20' x 60' area he may use 2 rotors choked down vs. my 8-6" MP Rotators. I have seen him spray over a 5' walkway to avoid separate zones. Needless to say he can give a cheaper quote. I try to explain to customers such things in my quote but the average customer will not understand and will just look at the price. One thing I will mention is they might want to talk to a current customer of mine who has dealt with the other contractor and their experiences with them.

    But the reality is he is going to get most of the jobs in my area. In my state there is no regulation of irrigation so anything goes. Sad but true.
  2. Waterlogged

    Waterlogged LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 585

    Without more information, it's hard to say whose price is right. There are alot of variables. Buying in bulk is one. If his labor is more experienced, then they may be able to work faster and more efficiently than your crew.
    We have quite a few larger companies in our area who can outbid us because they can put a large system in quicker.
    As far as buying online, I wouldn't recommend it. You really need to build relationships with the supply houses in your area. Once you get a relationship with them, they would be more than happy to help you out with pricing. They may be able to help you with other information, too.
  3. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 23,090

    Some of the above, but that's not the reason. Low-bidders are slimeballs, they'll cut corners where ever they can, if they have a warranty (and will return calls) it will, at best be two years. Crap systems will usually last that long before plant (death) issues come up, that's when we got called in and it got expensive and, usually, never was able to be cured. The best one I had was our local Fire Dept. was sick and tired of me nickel-dimeing them to death over failed systems: they hired me to design a new system and they put it out to bid. At my suggestion, I was also hired as "Owner's Representative" and supervised the install. I was blown-away how those slimeballs cut corners at every chance, I was the most hated guy on their site, but the job was done to my specs and the system works as advertised to this day. :clapping:
  4. TexasFire221

    TexasFire221 LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 480

    I understand that they get a better deal by buying in bulk but there is no way its that much better. I found out today from someone in their area that they are using illegals at $30 a day. They house them all on the property. Im not exactly how accurate this is but I dont see why he would have a reason to lie to me. My company is new to irrigation but my irrigation guy is seasoned. We are WELL below the local plumber that installs in the area, I heard from a new customer the other day that they went out to replace a hunter 6 zone controller and invoiced them $1,200.00.
  5. TexasFire221

    TexasFire221 LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 480

    I have had issue with the local Ewing guys is the reason I buy online. It is a 80 mile round trip also so buying online saves fuel because they ship directly to my door for free. Like I said I am new and not sure what a great price for supplies are but I can buy cheaper online and save fuel.
  6. GreenI.A.

    GreenI.A. LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,131

    I going to confirm what most others are saying. Larger companies will receive better whole sale pricing due to their purchasing power. Other costs are often much less because the fixed overhead is spread out over more customers. Are you renting a trencher or puller at 250 a day? They have theres paid for, or if they are carrying a note on it, they are probably paying 250 a month, speading that same payment across 4+ installs.

    Different companies do it differently. Some large companies have the mindset that because they can do it cheaper they will chrge less. Other large companies have enough customers that they can safely charge a large premium and still maintain a growing customer base.
  7. rlpsystems

    rlpsystems LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 471

  8. GreenLight

    GreenLight LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 521

    Agreed. I personally think you are probably getting beat much more on the "efficiency" side as opposed to the "materials". Im a small timer and can't really compete with the efficiency that large companies bring to the table. Like Green Industry said, if the large company can roll up to the job with every piece of equipment needed and a decked out irrigation trailer, they are already so far ahead on money saved that you are playing catch up before even starting. Couple that with the fact that irrigation experience amongst employees is an unbelievable time saver. Im lucky to find guys I can trust to glue pipe and put on heads properly. Many larger companies have experienced crews who have specific jobs on site and they are blowing through it an an unbelievable pace. Are they killing the installation market with low pricing? Yes probably, but if they can make their numbers they don't really care. The good news is with every system installed, the service customer base gets bigger even if it's not your install.
  9. txirrigation

    txirrigation LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 977

    Well said. I have a few crews, and out of those crews I have my core guys that never leave. When I get a bid on a large comm. system I block out x amount of days for all the crews that I am running and get the job done quickly.

    I split up the zones amoungst the crews and each guy knows what his job is. We installed 74 zones in the same amount of time a smaller company insalled 25-28 right down the street. Less time on site= less operating costs.

    Labor is the main cost on installs over 10-12 zones. When you have seasoned Irrigation Techs and they have trained the grunts well, you can get things moving fast. One of my crews has just 3 men, and they can do the same amount of work as my 5 man crew. They get paid accordingly, and live very nice lifestyles as a result. Each one of them could be taken out and made a forman, but I am not about to split up something that works.

    Trust me you will start finding things that work, and save you money. I sent you a PM.
  10. NC_Irrigator

    NC_Irrigator LawnSite Bronze Member
    from NC
    Messages: 1,444

    Could someone define a "very large irrigation company" (and dont say choate)

    are we talking employee count or customer count ......

    Ive never referred to myself as a very large company, but would love to
    hear some input as the point that people would start to refer some as a medium sized to a large co.

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