Working successfully in the irrigation and plumbing industry takes ongoing education and hands-on skills. So you want to carefully vet any company before you hire them to install or revamp your residential or commercial irrigation system. This guide will take you through the steps you need to follow to pick the right irrigation company for your job.
Set Your Budget
You should take some time to determine your budget up front. You should also add at least 10 percent on top of any budget number you come up with, since plumbing is an area where you never know what you are dealing with until you actually start digging or laying pipe. So when you come up with a final number, add 10 percent to that, and that is your actual budget.
Brainstorm Your Project Goals
Unless all you need is maintenance or repairs on your existing irrigation system, it will be important for you to carefully think through and write down your project goals before you begin interviewing companies.
Contractors are experts at carrying out a job from A to Z – creating a timeline, applying for permits, hiring sub-contractors, pricing parts and getting the job done, step by step. But they are not generally the creative masterminds behind the project they are overseeing. So you need to provide your goals up front and choose the best company to fulfill those goals.
Read the Contract Carefully
Before you choose an irrigation company, you want to know exactly what you are getting, what your recourse is if something goes wrong, what the warranty covers and how payment is made. All of these things (and more) should be covered in the contract you sign.
If you feel like something important is missing from the contract, don’t be afraid to ask that it be written in as an addendum. If you don’t understand something you read, ask for clarification before signing. Also be sure you know how any disputes are settled just in case.
Research the Contractor’s Reputation
You will want to get a list of references from the contractor and contact those individuals to find out what their experience of working with that company was like. But you also want to do your own research to see whether the company has any Better Business Bureau (BBB) complaints lodged against them and whether they have been resolved.
Also take a look at their past projects list and do your own independent online searches to see if any other customer feedback has been published. The more research you do the safer you will be in selecting a trustworthy, reputable contractor.
Make a Down Payment Only on Work to be Done
If you pay the entire balance up front, you have no leverage in case the job is left undone or progress is lagging. In most states, there are laws regulating how much money a contractor is permitted to accept up front (~10 percent) for a job.
If the contractor asks you to pay more than 50 percent up front, be wary. Even if you decide to proceed, you will want to get a signed lien from the contractor to protect yourself if the job goes awry. You can give yourself a bit of extra protection here by purchasing all the needed supplies yourself and having them delivered to your work site. This way you have less of a financial tie to the irrigation company if there are disputes later.