What should the customer know about your pricing (e.g., discounts, fees)?
For service calls, our hourly rates are industry standard, around $70/hr (subject to change).
For installations and complex services that require per project pricing, we provide quotes that are either lump sum or time + materials, depending on the scope of work being performed. We make sure to discuss these issues upfront with our customers so there are no hidden surprises.
What is your typical process for working with a new customer?
Whether it's a basic service call or an estimate for a new sprinkler system, the process typically starts with a phone call or follow up email to clarify a few requirements. From there, a site visit is scheduled so that we can identify any problems and discuss with the customer his/her needs and expectations. These steps generally give us enough information to provide the customer with an informed estimate of the work required, including labor and materials.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
- Master's Degree, Biotechnology, University of Pennsylvania
- Bachelor's Degree, Biology, Eckerd College
- Rainwater Catchment Systems Accredited Professional (FIRST in the State of Florida!)
- 8+ years owner/operation of Rainwater Services, LLC an Irrigation Systems Specialty Firm based in St. Petersburg, FL
How did you get started doing this type of work?
My background is a little outside the norm for this profession. I have a Master's Degree in Biotechnology and spent many years dealing with small fluidics projects in academic and industrial settings. Around 2006 I became interested in environmentally friendly watering practices and, using my knowledge and experience with fluidic handling, I began designing and constructing rainwater catchment systems for residential and commercial applications. With that background, I came to realize that there was a larger demand for highly efficient irrigation systems, regardless of whether or not the systems are tied to a rainwater cistern tank or a more traditional water source (reclaimed, wells, etc). For the past few years the company has been primarily focused on providing high-quality, highly efficient landscape irrigation services, while remaining committed to practices that support responsible environmental stewardship.
What types of customers have you worked with?
RESIDENTIAL: Small service calls (broken heads, simple repairs) to full installations
COMMERCIAL: Restaurants, small businesses, churches, etc
INSTITUTIONAL: Schools, colleges, multifamily apartments/condos, etc
MUNICIPAL: City parks, roadway reconstructions (irrigation in rights-of-way)
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
Feel comfortable with your provider. They don't need to become a close friend but you need to feel comfortable asking questions and making sure your needs and expectations are met.
What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
Ask about water source. There are big design and installation difference between reclaimed water, deep wells, shallow wells or city supplied water connections.
How familiar is the provider with your landscape materials? Many providers simply throw water everywhere without regard for plant types. You want to make sure a new installation is zoned effectively for your particular landscape.
Do you need landscaper recommendations? We aren't landscapers but work with a few really good ones who we trust and have good rapport.
Do you need a landscape design? You don't want to put the cart before the horse. If you're planning a new installation or a major landscape design, the sprinkler system should be considered as a design component to that. Plan properly in order to maximize the efficiency, which will extend the life of your landscape and prolong its health.