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  #14  
Old 02-04-2010, 12:09 PM
biodale biodale is offline
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Default pricing sprinkler winterization

I don't know anything about spraying. I subcontract that out.

I will comment about pricing for sprinkler winterization. It is a service that everyone in a cold climate needs. Even if they mow their own lawn, not many have an air compressor to do the job properly. It is about 6 weeks from the time the irrigation company turns the water off to the time it freezes. Here that is from Oct. 15 to to the end of of November. During that time I gross about $20,000.

I use a 185 cfm sullair compressor with a industrial 4 cylinder John Deere diesel. I have a regulator on it adjusted to 40 psi. That way I don't blow the heads off sprinklers if there is a water hammer. Unregulated air (125psi) will blow the heads off the sprinkler and send the internals into outer space.

Marketing is very easy. Remember it is a service that your customers need. It is not an optional service in a cold weather climate. Just offer it to your mowing customers as an end of season service. When starting out I walked an area (always target your areas) and handed out flyers. I charge about $36 a blowout. I charge more for larger yards. Since each valve must be blown out separately, the more valves the longer it takes. So about $36 for 6 or 7 valves. For 10 or 12 valves I charge about $50. I figure my cost is in driving to location and having the compressor sit for 11 months out of the year. There is fuel for both the pickup and the compressor. It takes about 15 to 20 minutes. I guarantee my work so if I blow out a sprinkler head or there is winter damage in the spring, I repair it for free. Most of the call outs in the spring are for customer related issues (customer made an error) and so I get the repair business. The few times it has been my error, I repair it and it is great advertising. They tell their neighbors how honest I am and how I stand behind my work and I get more business from it.

When I started out I undercut the competitions price. I know this is controversial. However I felt I had to do something to get new customers to give me a try. Then I raise prices a little bit each year. Now I am on par with most others.

To keep customers from year to year, I keep a list with phone numbers and emails. I then contact the customers each year.

Scheduling is always a headache. You need to be able to go down a street picking up the customers in order. Just take customers that will leave a gate open so you can get to the hook up. I leave a bill on the door. If you have to come back and meet the customer on his schedule you won't make money on that blowout. I will make a special trip for new customers in an area I am targeting because the will put him in my schedule the following year.

I hope this helps.
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