Homeowners in need of sprinkler repair usually want it done immediately. Although plumbers can do this work, it isn’t their particular area of expertise, and their rates are usually expensive. Start-up costs for this business can easily be kept under $2,000, and almost all single-family homes have sprinkler systems, making this one of the most profitable businesses an ambitious entrepreneur can own.
Consider whether you need to build a sprinkler business from scratch or purchase one that's already developed. Many times business owners move out of state, change industries or retire. When this occurs, they usually put their business up for sale. The cost to take over an existing sprinkler business with clients, procedure manuals, parts and supplies can be expensive. Starting your business from the ground up will require a much smaller initial investment, but it may take longer before your business develops a steady stream of income. You’ll need to carefully consider which business model best fits your goals and objectives.
Employ a team of skilled professionals who have experience in the sprinkler or lawn care industry. You may need only one technician, but always hire the best talent regardless of how many people you employ. Whether you hire someone or get people from an employment service, you should conduct an interview. Most jobs require mechanical or technical skills. These are usually the easiest things to assess. Other things, however, are often more important in determining whether the applicant will make a good employee, such as reliability.
Acquire the tools, equipment and supplies needed to successfully operate your sprinkler business. Find a wholesaler that sells to the landscape contractor market. Always check your local hardware stores to compare prices. Unless you have a contractor’s license, a wholesaler may not provide the best pricing. Make sure you have a supply of the most common parts needed, such as sprinkler heads, pipe, plumbing tape, screws and nuts. Power tools may also be required, depending on the work to be completed. New sprinkler businesses can sometimes save money by purchasing used tools.
Assemble a list of prospective clients. This can be done by canvassing the neighborhood to determine how many homeowners have sprinkler systems. Visit neighborhoods you would like to work in and ring some doorbells. Let homeowners know you run a sprinkler business and give them your business card. There are many online companies, such as List Solutions.com, from which you can buy direct-mailing lists. These lists contain information such as household income, family size and buying patterns and can help you reach your target market.
Advertise in your local newspaper. Getting potential clients to think of you when they need sprinkler installation, repair or maintenance takes continual effort. Build a website and make sure your business is listed with all the leading search engines online. The Internet has proved to be a powerful equalizer for small businesses. But entrepreneurs can't just build websites these days — they have to build distinctive ones that truly snag viewers and turn them into paying customers.
Gary Smith began writing in 2006 and in 2009 published his book, “Fortune in Foreclosures.” As a California-licensed real estate broker with a mortgage industry background, Gary has served on political and legislative government affairs committees and worked as a financial adviser for ICM. Gary earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration.