Irrigation & Sprinkler Repair Service, Create a Profitable New Service to Your Lawn Care Business
Irrigation & Sprinkler Repair Service
Create a Profitable New Service to Your Lawn Care Business
Article by Jack Stone
Copyright ® 2003 by ProGardenBiz
One of the most profitable additions to your lawn care service
business can be the repair of irrigation and sprinkler systems.
Although plumbers may do this work, it is not their area of
expertise and their hourly rates are often prohibitive for this
type of work. There are irrigation companies that do
installation that also do repair and maintenance and this is
their speciality. As a lawn care operator you have an
advantage with your immediate contact with an established
client base, your own customers!
Most lawn care operators include minor sprinkler repair as
part of the service. Parts should always be charged separately.
Major problems should be handled as separate jobs and charged by
the hour. The repair of irrigation and sprinkler systems is not
something that can be estimated prior to the start of the job.
The problems often lie underground and cannot be seen. You may
be able, from experience, to look over the problem and give a
rough idea of what is involved, but always charge by the hour
for the work, plus parts.
What you charge will vary from area to area. Generally
irrigation repair is charged at a slightly higher hourly rate
than lawn care service, but much less than what plumbers would
charge. An example would be:
Lawn Care hourly man-hour rate: $25.00 per hour
Plumber hourly rate: $85.00 per hour
Irrigation repair hourly rate: $40.00 per hour
Have a minimum charge of one hours work and stick to it.
Tell the client the minimum up front. Before you actually
start working you never know if it will be a ten minute job
or a whole day. I could fill pages with the stories of what
weve found underground once we started digging, but at the
same time its been more than once that I found the problem
was the time clock was shut off or had no power.
Buy your parts at a wholesale supplier that sells to the
landscape contractor market. Mark your parts up a minimum of
30%. Always check the discount hardware retailers in your
area, like Home Depot, as they will often have better prices.
When you buy at the wholesale supplier you will not get the
best discount unless you have a contractors license, so
sometimes places like Home Depot will have better prices.
Keep a small stock of the most often used sprinkler repair
parts on your truck. Running to the supplier for every
repair job will waste time and eat into your profits.
The first question many lawn care operators ask is do they
need a landscape contractors license to do irrigation and
sprinkler system repair work? You will need to check with
your State Contractors license board to be sure, but in most
cases you do not. You would need a contractors license to
do installations of new systems that exceed certain dollar values
(which vary from state to state in the U.S.A.).
How to Get New Repair Customers
People who need sprinkler systems repaired generally want it
done NOW! They will often take the first bid from the first
repair service to show up (as long as they like the persons
presentation and price). The best form of advertising I have
found for this work is a local classified ad direct mailer.
In my area this is called "The Pennysaver". Most towns and
cities have something similar. It will be a small magazine or
tabloid format publication that consists of classified and
display advertising. It usually is direct mailed to all houses
in the city or county. You can usually advertise by zip code
area which makes for very good targeted advertising. I usually
combine several services to make the ad more useful and cost
effective. An example ad for a lawn care service might be like
Lawn and garden service. Weekly, bi-weekly custom care.
Sprinkler repair, yard clean-ups, trimming.
Add your name and phone number and place the ad. The
sprinkler repair work and yard clean-up jobs will easily pay
for the advertising and bring in extra profit. Meanwhile you
also benefit from building your regular maintenance route.
Tip: Is your regular maintenance route full? Not planning on
adding employees? Then continue advertising. Look for better
accounts, ask for higher hourly rates on the new accounts.
Always continue to improve and refine your maintenance work. As
you add better accounts you can drop the lower-paying or higher
maintenance accounts for the better work and improve your
profits at the same time.
Use the tools we have today to stay on top of your marketing
efforts. Have a cell phone and use its number in your
advertising. You can take your calls in the field and schedule
to see new clients faster (they may be just down the street).
Ive taken a call for sprinkler repair while doing maintenance
a short distance away. Im usually the first one there and I
get the job done the same day (sometimes within an hour of the
call). Competitors with answering services or that scheduled
a meeting with the client later that day or evening lose the
If you have never done any work on sprinkler systems or with
drip irrigation then get some good books on the subject and
learn the basics. Your wholesale supplier is also a very good
resource for information. They will have booklets and other
material from manufacturers like Rain Bird, Irritrol Systems,
Toro, Hunter, Rain Master, Weather-Matic, Champion, Superior
Some other good websites with information on irrigation and
sprinkler systems are:
About the Author:
Jack Stone is a Contributing Editor for ProGardenBiz Magazine,
an online magazine for professional gardeners and landscape
contractors. Visit ProGardenBiz to find out how you can get a
free subscription, start-up guidance, business ideas and
inspiration at http://www.progardenbiz.com.