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When it comes to having a thriving lawn and landscape, you know that a properly functioning irrigation system is key. But getting the best possible results means partnering with the best company.
Here in Florida where irrigation is important year-round, there are a lot of irrigation companies to choose from. You might be wondering what really makes one different from another.
Whether you’re looking for a new installation or perhaps repairs and maintenance for an existing system, you want to feel confident that you’re working with a top-notch company. That’s why we’re talking about what to look for when hiring an irrigation service.
We know how important your lawn and landscape are to you and we want to see you get the best results.
We know that when it comes to hiring an irrigation company your choices are varied. But taking some time to do a little research will pay off with a company that you feel confident you can trust. You certainly want to avoid companies that might end up being problematic to work with.
Here are a few ways that you get the research process started.
One of the first things that you can do when looking at irrigation companies is hop on their website and take a look around. Companies know that you’re going to be looking at their sites. Good companies should be taking the time to make life easier for you by providing answers to questions you likely have and giving you plenty of information about their company.
Look for how helpful they are in providing information. Do they offer educational and informative blog articles? Do they make it easy to sign up and contact them?
Do they explain their services and how they make it easy to work with them?
A company’s website is your first impression of how communicative and helpful they are going to be. You’ve probably been on some websites where it’s hard to even find a phone number! But you want to make sure you’re choosing a company that is going to be easy to work with and communicate with along the way.
Online reviews are “social proof” about whether a company is as good as they say they are. Lots of irrigation companies make claims about how great their work is but you can use online reviews to actually substantiate those claims.
Take the time to actually read what clients say in the comment section as this will be the best way to gauge what their experience was like. Obviously, even the best companies will get a bad review every now and then (sometimes unjustified). But you want to find a company for which the vast majority are good reviews.
If you’ve gotten as far as asking an irrigation company for a quote, then you can also use the proposal to get more information about the company and its expertise. Comparing proposals is another good way to compare irrigation companies (though we want to caution against shopping on price, which we’ll talk more about below).
There should be lots of details within the proposal, from the project start and end date to the details of each project step to who’s responsible for obtaining permits. Full warranty details should be included, too.
If they know what they’re doing, and have the experience, equipment, and skills to do the job, they’ll know how much it will cost them to handle your installation or repair. And they’ll bid accordingly. You’ll find that many of the bids are in the ballpark of one another.
But you should beware of a “super low bid.” Oftentimes a cheap bid equates to cheap service or parts. Not all irrigation parts are created equally and some companies might try to get a low bid out by using subpar parts. For instance, at Ground Source, we use Rain Bird and Hunter valves, heads, and controllers. These are high-quality parts that are going to get our clients the best results.
That’s why it’s important not to just shop on price. You want to make sure that you are getting the best value for your investment. Not just a cheap price. That won’t do you much good if the system ends up needing costly repairs right off the bat.
Once you’ve started to narrow your list, part of your research process should also involve speaking to the companies that you’re serious about potentially hiring. Think of it as a brief interview. We know that this seems like a lot of work, but it’s a really great way to find out more about the company you might hire.
Here are some questions that you can ask before hiring an irrigation company that you might be considering.
A good starting point is to find out more about the specific services offered. Ideally, you want an irrigation company that handles the full gamut of services from installation all the way through to maintenance and repairs. But there are some companies that might solely focus on installation and others that only focus on repairs.
Make sure that you’re hiring a company that can meet all of your needs.
Don’t just assume that an irrigation company you’re looking to hire has its license. While it’s true that an irrigation contractor’s license is required for anyone planning to install a lawn sprinkler system (for profit) in Florida, it doesn’t mean that everyone is following the rules.
A company that you’re considering might have failed to get its license (or keep it up to date), which puts you at the risk of having to pay for costly repairs if they make errors. Ask to see their license before moving forward.
The law requires Orlando irrigation contractors to insure their workers. This is to guarantee that, should anything happen in the course of a project, insurance companies will compensate them. If you hire a company without insurance, you’ll be liable for any injuries that occur on your property.
But you should know that the law does not require single-person companies to have insurance. That means the guy-in-a-truck “company” that gave you a really low quote might actually be putting you at risk.
For this reason, it’s worth asking if they can show proof of paying for workers’ compensation insurance.
You also want to get a sense of the experience level that a company has before hiring them. You might be shocked by how many companies lack experience (or hire inexperienced workers). There are also plenty of “jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none,” companies out there that don’t have the experience level you’re looking for.
Find out how long the irrigation company you’re looking at has been in business. Look at their online reviews and make sure they have a substantial number of them (and that they go back at least a few years). While we understand everyone has to start somewhere, you don’t want a brand-new business using your property as a sort of “guinea pig” to get their company up and running. You want to feel confident that you’ve hired an experienced company that knows what they’re doing.
You might assume this is a given…but it’s not. Plenty of irrigation companies will do what we call “dig and dash.” They’ll get your system installed but then they’ll move on to the next job.
But a great irrigation contractor will take the time to ensure that you are comfortable using your system. They’ll also be there for you should you have questions come up down the road.
Are you close to making your choice? You can ask that company what you should expect from them.
If you’re new to having an irrigation system and you’ve never worked with an irrigation contractor before, you might have a lot of questions about what to expect. Feel free to ask the company you’re considering about what you expect from the experience. You deserve to understand what the process is going to be like (and what’s involved).
You want to find a company that is good at communicating and eager to help its customers. Asking about the experience is a great way to gauge this. You deserve to be well-informed and kept in the loop of what’s going on.
As you do your research, you should be starting to gain a good sense of which companies might make the best fit.
The goal is to find a company that you’re truly satisfied with so that you don’t end up back to the drawing board, looking for a company.
Here are some red flags to watch for as you do your research.
Whether you’ve made your choice or you’re getting close, you might be wondering what to expect as you move forward with your decision.
The process will start with a utility-marking service marking public lines to prevent damage. Once installation begins, you will need your water shut off temporarily (only about 30 minutes to an hour). This can be coordinated at a convenient time.
Trenches will then need to be dug (don’t worry, you can arrange to have sod installed for an instant fix) and then crews will lay pipes, connect valves and sprinkler heads, and install weather sensors. All of these will be connected to the irrigation controller, which is then programmed.
You should keep in mind that even though an installer should leave your lawn with as little damage as possible, you will have some repairs. Most people do choose to have sod installed where trenching was done. But you could also wait for new grass to grow. In time, any lawn damage will disappear.
You should also plan for irrigation maintenance to be part of your future to keep your system running optimally. A quarterly irrigation system inspection will find the little issues that can lead to bigger problems later, from cracked lines and leaky valves to clogged nozzles or broken spray heads.
It doesn’t take long for a healthy green lawn or landscape to turn brown and die without enough water. Keeping up with irrigation maintenance can help prevent problems.
We hope this guide has given you some ideas of ways that you can research a company you’re considering. We’d love, of course, for you to consider Ground Source in that process.
Maybe you’ve made your decision and you’re hiring Ground Source. We do offer several sprinkler system installation features that you won’t find anywhere else. These are differentiators that have helped to set us apart.
At the end of the day, it all boils down to wanting to provide you with the best experience and the best results. We are committed to worry-free irrigation meaning that once you hire us, we want you to feel confident letting go of the worries and knowing that you’re in good hands.
We’re irrigation experts, but our skills don’t stop there. We’re with you every step of the way as you plan your perfect outdoor space. Sod, irrigation, and landscape design are all part of our expertise so that we can help transform your yard into something you can truly enjoy to the fullest.
Are you ready to invest in irrigation and enjoy the vibrant, impressive yard you've always wanted? Request a quote today! We’ll help you review your options and then transform your property.