5 Ways to Ruin Your Irrigation Service Margins This Spring

Blog Image_2024_Spring Service Margins

Look, at the end of the day, you operate a business, which means it all comes down to the bottom line. And the way you know your bottom line? Know your margin. Now your service margins should be some of the best (certainly better than installs), but here are some surefire ways to really screw them up. 


Missing Jobs

It’s full-tilt crazy-town out there. Your techs are rusty, maybe a few FNGs that are getting trained up, the phones are ringing off the hook, and your attention - and that of your team - is getting pulled in every direction. And you miss a job, it happens. 

Or maybe the homeowner (or property manager) forgot you were coming (see the next section), and you couldn’t access the controller or valve. They’re likely going to be upset, and now you have to work them into your carefully crafted schedule. 

Hopefully, you’ve maintained the sanctity of your “flex day” each week, but even if you did, you’re now sending a truck across town, possibly without any other stops between here and there. That’s a lot of wasted time, fuel… and client satisfaction. 


Bad Communication

There are a few guaranteed ways to piss off your customers, and bad communication is one of them. Not only that, your communication needs to be better than their memory. You need to confirm the time, send a reminder, and let them know when your tech is on the way. 

Then after all of that, you need to confirm the job has been completed! All of that takes time, organization, and diligence on your part. But it’s so important to not only communicate well with your customers but also blow away their expectations, so they’ll keep coming back! 


Not Billing

I hate to break it to you, but the work in the field that your pros do is not how you make money. You only make money when you do the paperwork, because that’s the only way you can bill. And if you don’t bill, you’ll never collect. It’s the ultimate margin killer because until you collect, there is no margin, in fact, it's negative.


Following Up on Opportunities (or Issues)

Your techs should check the system and property for future opportunities (repairs, upgrades, retrofits, etc.). In a perfect world, they can run through a system checklist (like this very simple one here), but they should at least add a few notes about follow-up opportunities. 

But once that happens, you need to know about it. You need to take action. Make a phone call, send an email or text, or even swing by the property yourself. Not doing this is just leaving money on the table later in the summer. And if there’s an incomplete job or an issue with a system, you MUST follow up, otherwise, you’ll have a much bigger problem. 


The Star Technician 

This isn’t your best tech. It’s the one that drives all over the map. East, west, southeast, north, southwest, and tracing their steps north to wrap their day. Plot it on the map and they’ve made a star across your area. 

This costs you hundreds or even thousands in fuel, labor, and non-productive time. Don’t let them be that guy! Route effectively, plan for gap days to cover missed/incomplete jobs or last-minute calls and re-route as needed to keep things efficient. 


The Solve

So how do you solve these issues? Automation around best practices, with software that understands what makes your business tick… and even more, software that helps your business succeed.


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