Sprinkler head replacement bidding pitfalls.

Replacing sprinkler heads can be very profitable but be wary of potential pitfalls. Know what is involved with the job before you submit your irrigation bid. Let’s take a look at this interesting story from our fellow Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum member who told us about one of his irrigation repair disasters.

Sprinkler head replacement bid

Sprinkler head replacement bid

Craig wrote “I have under-bid plenty of irrigation jobs in the past. Because I do sprinkler repair, and everything is underground, I’ve learned that without a “get out” you can find yourself in a no-pay job.

The worst one was 15 years ago. the guy had 10 non-working impact rotors. I normally charge $45 a rotor to replace each rotor, BUT from previous experience with Rainbird impacts, I assumed that they would be side mounted.

Since I had 10 ‘easy’ rotors to replace I said “$45 a rotor and $20 for each swing joint (I knew due to the design and age of the system that the heads were hard piped).”

So $650 minus $125 for parts = about $400+ (minus overhead) for an hour to an hour and a half job. Good enough.

The guy says OK, I’m on my way to the airport, here is your check. Cool.


Each head had a bag of concrete and rock poured around it (just under the turf) the size of a 55 gallon drum lid. I was breaking rocks like a convict for 10 hours! THEN, I had to load my truck with concrete, with my tailpipe scraping the ground, all the way to the dump!

Moral of the story? If you “flat rate” your pricing per task, include a disclaimer at the bottom stating “Standard Service”.

Standard Service means whatever you want it to mean, but for example, if you add a spray head for $85, “standard service means 15 feet, not 300 feet around the retention pond!”

So please keep these thoughts in mind next time you are bidding an irrigation head repair job. What may seem at first to be an easy job, can quickly turn into a disaster where you lose money. If you would like to join in on this discussion further, visit the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum here.

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