Profit Boost Guide: Irrigation

Supplement - Profit Boost Guide

Being a full-service irrigation company has one company’s bottom line rising.

March 5, 2013
Peter Hildebrandt

Precision Landscape Management in the Dallas area considers themselves a full service landscaping company. They provide the gamut including irrigation, landscape maintenance and landscape design and construction.

Thirty years ago, owner Bruce Birdsong saw full service for his irrigation business as a good fit. Having an irrigation repair business soon became an important niche for his growing company.

“We became an affordable one-stop shop right out of the gate,” Birdsong says. “Maintenance of the irrigation systems we’d installed came about within a few years of our irrigation work starting up. Nowadays, most of the companies offering irrigation do offer repair and maintenance. We felt the need to improve our bottom line by offering this service virtually at the very beginning of our company’s existence.”

Being a one-stop landscape company is a challenge that has paid off for Birdsong. The company has also won nearly 50 awards in a variety of areas from state and national contractor associations.

They also deal with backflow devices between a meter and a building which will prevent water from being sucked out of the irrigation system and into the main city water supply. Precision Landscape Management is licensed to install nearly any type of device involved with irrigation. The backflow device prevents water, which may contain pesticides from flowing back into the city water supply.

Approximately 15 percent of their business involves irrigation work. With the current long-running drought in much of the state of Texas, it is important to have an efficient irrigation system, Birdsong says. “You only have a limited amount of time to put water down and you’ve got to make sure you are doing it right and not wasting a lot of water.

“There needs to be a balance between making your property look good and the mandate regarding the amount of water customers are allowed to use.

“Desert landscaping has resulted in more ornamental grasses being used, but also an increase in the number of rodents around. Rodents are being given a great protected area in which to flourish because landscapers are no longer going through the middle of all that stuff, therefore letting animals live undisturbed. We’ve received this comment from some of our clients,” he says.

Word of mouth is perhaps the best way to market what you do, Birdsong says. “Let your work speak for itself and then if you are doing a good job, being customer-oriented, your customers are your greatest help,” he says.

“We are one of the largest companies in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and a lot of companies do try to do everything, including subcontracting a lot of their work out. But certain states to have requirements to be met before some of these services can be done.

“If you are involved in landscape maintenance, irrigation inspections – repairing and detecting any problems – may be something worthwhile to add on to your business. Since Texas has been under drought conditions for a number of years now, with the Dallas-Fort Worth area under a water rationing system, this is good reason to start practicing more water management.”

The efficiency of the sprinklers needs to be determined. Being able to provide the most efficient sprinklers can be a profit booster in the long run as can hiring the right people, according to Birdsong. Not only hiring the right employees but retaining them is also important. “Our turnover rate is probably less than 2 percent because of the benefits of taking care of the people who work at Precision Landscape Management,” Birdsong says.

“In addition to that, it does take a lot of commitment on our part to share the wealth of the company’s earning through profit sharing and a pension fund. It also means our overall profits get a boost through the generous involvement of our employees through their talents, ingenuity, creativity and work ethic.”