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winterizing blues

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by Greenguy1, Oct 10, 2007.

  1. Greenguy1

    Greenguy1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 103

    I rent a compressor to winterize but have a problem arranging for the homeowner to be present so we can turn off the water inside. In the past we have made calls after winterizing instructing them to shut off the water at source, but they don't reopen the lower bac-flo valve and the trapped water in the hole of the ball pushes out the side of the valve and they expect me to replace it free of charge. I did a couple but decided it is not really my responsibility if we cannot gain access when there to blow lines, compressor rental is $150/day so we get them blown regardless of the source being on or off, and if we have to return to shut off the water we make no money. Any suggestions?
  2. CAPT Stream Rotar

    CAPT Stream Rotar LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,192

    buy a cheap compressor.
  3. jerryrwm

    jerryrwm LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,274

    1. Make the client commit to giving you access. Schedule a time slot and they need to have someone there. Just like waiting for the cable guy or the phone man.

    2. Do not blow out the system without the water being shut off properly and all lines drained. If you don't do any work then there is no liability. Explain the process in your contract and get a signature if you are coerced into doing the shut-down. If you have to return to shut off the water, charge them an additional service call. Maybe you can schedule shut-downs on Saturdays. Charge a little more for weekend blow-outs and pay the techs a premium for weekend work or give them a Friday or Monday off to offset the time.

    3. Find a different place to rent a compressor. We pay around $650.00/month for a 185 cfm tow-behind. That includes hoses, hose reel, etc. And it runs continuously. It only makes money when the engine is running.
  4. Mjtrole

    Mjtrole LawnSite Member
    Messages: 226

    You need to inform your customers either at the time of their estimate or when they call you to schedule an appointment that "We are not responsible for your winterization scheduling".

    Another suggestion, when you install a system and are running through it with the homeowner show them the shutoff valve and explain to them that when they are done running the system in september/october to shut the valve off.

    Another suggestion, this one usually makes sense to homeowners tell them that "by shutting your water off when it's time to winterize will help us keep our prices down for next season".

    All of our clients understand that we are no different than the cable comp. the phone comp. the gas comp. the appliance repair company, if they insist on having a schedule so they can be home when it's done we Give them two choices Before Noon or After Noon.
  5. Mjtrole

    Mjtrole LawnSite Member
    Messages: 226

    I would definately agree, don't be afraid to shop around a compressor is a compressor even if you have to drive a bit to get it and return it, it's worth it.

    Also ask around at rental yards for used ones for sale and buy it. We bought a 185 gordonsmith w/a ford industrial 8 cylinder for 3k that still runs like a champ 6 years later and has saved us thousands.
  6. Greenguy1

    Greenguy1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 103

    The biggest problem is that most of these customers are weekenders, these are their second homes, they will not be there for the rest of the year. I have got to develop something. Had they had the through the bac flo shut off valve when I started it would have been a cinch!!!
  7. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

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