Installing a lawn sprinkler system is an efficient way to take care of your lawn and also save time and money. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, American homeowners waste approximately one trillion gallons of water annually. Using a sprinkler system for your lawn instead of hand-watering reduces this wastage, saves you up to 10% on water bills, and frees up your time for other activities. It also ensures that your lawn is evenly watered, giving it a beautiful, healthy look. In addition, homeowners that invest in installing a lawn sprinkler system report an 86% return on investment.
To fully enjoy the benefits of a lawn sprinkler system, you must employ the services of a professional sprinkler system installation contractor near you that works in compliance with national landscaping and horticulture safety standards. This way your sprinkler system is properly set up from the get-go, and you also avoid becoming a victim of landscaping-related injuries like slips, trips, and falls, cuts, and even electrocution. Hiring the right sprinkler system installation contractor nearby for the job may seem like a daunting task, especially when you consider the fact that everyone claims to be a professional. To ensure that you hire the most qualified sprinkler system installation contractor near you, you should consider asking the following questions:
Are You a Licensed Sprinkler System Installation Contractor?
Some form of state-level licensing is currently required for sprinkler system installation contractors in at least 10 states. Some of these states like Texas, New Jersey, and Louisiana issue specific landscape irrigation contractor licenses while others like Oregon and California require sprinkler system installation contractors to obtain a landscaping license. In states like Missouri, Colorado, and Indiana that do not require state-level licensing, sprinkler system installation contractors may have to obtain a license at the city, county, or municipality level.
Always make sure that your sprinkler system installation contractor is properly licensed per the requirements of your state of residence. You can contact your state's consumer protection agency to find out the specifics of these requirements. You can also verify the validity of your contractor's license with this office or with your state's licensing department.
Are You a Bonded and Insured Sprinkler System Installation Contractor?
Workers in every industry are prone to different types of work-related injuries and the landscaping industry is not exempt from this. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, landscaping and groundskeeping workers recorded a total of 124 fatal work-related injuries and 12,380 nonfatal work-related injuries in 2019. Sprinkler system installation workers specifically are exposed to injuries like amputations, electrocutions, as well as hazardous chemicals like primers, cleaners, and glue. Therefore, it is important that you hire a sprinkler system installation contractor near you that is bonded and insured.
Bonding and insurance offer you protection by insulating you from any potential financial losses that may occur as a result of your sprinkler system installation job. For example, if anyone is injured during the installation of your project, you are protected from paying any damages provided that your contractor is insured.
Insist on seeing proof of bonding and insurance from any sprinkler system installation contractor that you wish to hire. This proof is usually presented in the form of a certificate. Contact the insurance and bonding companies that issued these certificates to authenticate them and also to clarify any issues that you don't fully understand. Your state may have mandatory bonding and insurance requirements for contractors, and it is a good idea to check with your local consumer protection agency. Generally, contractors are expected to have a workers' compensation insurance plan, a general liability insurance plan, and no less than $1,000 in surety bonds.
What Kind of Work Are You Specialized In?
Sprinkler systems are generally installed in-ground or above ground. The type of sprinkler system that will work best for your lawn depends on factors like the size of your lawn and the type of flowers and plants on it. Before hiring a sprinkler system installation contractor near you, you need to find out whether this contractor specializes in a particular type of sprinkler system and if this system can meet your needs. Some common sprinkler systems include:
- Drip sprinkler system: this system is water-efficient and suitable for non-turf areas and different types of plants. With this system, water is slowly supplied to the soil through a drip device like a micro-sprayer, bubbler, dripper, or soaker, and the soil then absorbs it at its own pace. The drip sprinkler system is easily customizable and relatively easy to install
- Spray sprinkler system: this system uses spray heads to distribute water by spraying it around in a full circle, half-circle, or quarter circle. These spray heads can be at ground-level, pop-ups, or on extended exterior pipes. The spray sprinkler system is generally known for its widespread water coverage and it is commonly used for small areas like flower beds and turfs. However, this system tends to waste water. This can sometimes lead to overwatering, especially if the sprinkler system isn't installed by a professional or if it is left on for too long
- Rotor sprinkler system: similar to the spray sprinkler system, this system operates by rotating a stream or multiple streams of water over a designated area. The rotor sprinkler system is considered more efficient than the spray sprinkler system because it releases water more uniformly and at a much slower rate, which reduces the chances of overwatering.
- Soaker hose sprinkler system: this system distributes water throughout your lawn by passing it through soaker hoses with porous membranes that have been buried along watering lines. This system is relatively cheap and is also easy to install and customize
Always make sure that the contractor you hire is capable of installing the sprinkler system that will benefit your lawn the most.
Who Will Do the Work?
Always get a definite answer to this question. Knowing who exactly will be involved in installing your sprinkler system lets you keep track of these workers and also ensures that you can verify their credentials. Even though installing a sprinkler system does not usually require more than one worker, your contractor may bring a colleague along to speed up the job. If this happens, make sure that this extra worker is licensed, bonded, and insured in line with the requirements of your state of residence.
Do You Offer a Warranty?
Any professional sprinkler system installation contractor near you should typically offer you two types of warranties; a manufacturer's warranty and a workmanship warranty. The manufacturer's warranty covers the components used for the installation of your sprinkler system while the workmanship warranty covers the actual installation done by your contractor.
Always confirm from your sprinkler system installation contractor that you will be offered these warranties. Because warranties generally come with terms and conditions that have to be followed to remain valid, you should also ask for written copies. This way, you have a clear understanding of the specific provisions of these warranties.
Will This Job Require a Permit?
A permit is a government-issued document that gives you the go-ahead to carry out certain types of home improvement projects. The projects that typically require permits are projects that result in a considerable change in your home's footprint. Local governments are responsible for setting the permit requirements of their jurisdictions, therefore whether or not you will need one to install a sprinkler system in your lawn largely depends on your location. For example, in the City of Watauga, Texas, you need to obtain a permit before installing any lawn sprinkler system that is permanently connected to the city's water supply. In the City of Keller, Texas, you need a permit to install a new sprinkler system or to replace the backflow prevention assembly of an existing sprinkler system. Similarly, the City of Geneva, Illinois, and the Town of Apex, North Carolina also require permits for the installation of new lawn sprinkler systems.
Professional sprinkler system installers near you generally know the permit requirements for your kind of project in your locality. Nevertheless, it is also a good idea to know this information too because failing to obtain a necessary permit can lead to monetary fines and other penalties. You can confirm whether or not you need a permit to install a sprinkler system on your lawn by contacting your local building department.
Will You Provide References?
Before you hire a sprinkler system installation contractor, request a list of references from this contractor and contact the individuals on this list to get their opinions on the contractor. The Federal Trade Commission advises that any list of references provided by a contractor should not have less than three names. Alternatively, you can get reviews on contractors through third-party websites like Better Business Bureau, Yelp, and Google Review. Any sprinkler system installation contractor that cannot provide you with references of clients near you or receives a lot of negative reviews should be struck off the list of contractors that you are considering hiring for your project.
Do You Have a Business License?
Always make sure that your sprinkler system installation contractor has a valid business license. A business license is a government-issued document that must be obtained by any business entity that wants to operate in a specified locality. This includes any landscaping business that is either owned by or employs your sprinkling system installation contractor. These types of companies are referred to as small businesses because they typically have less than 500 employees. You can authenticate your sprinkling system installation contractor's business license through your local Secretary of State's Office.
What Are Common Sprinkler System Installation Problems?
Some common sprinkler system installation problems are:
- The pipe trenches are dug too deep or too shallow
- Failure to check for electrical cables or gas pipes before digging
- Different sprinkler heads are set to run for the same amount of time
- Different sprinkler heads are set to operate in the same zone at the same time
- Plants and shrubs are watered together with grass
- Sprinkler nozzles have too much overspray
- The sprinkler system is not set to turn off during or after a rainstorm
How Much Does Sprinkler System Installation Cost?
Installing a sprinkler system in your lawn will cost you an average of $0.20 - $0.50 per square foot. The exact amount that you will end up paying depends on the size of your lawn, the type of sprinkler system you install, and the quality of the materials used for the system. Some sprinkler system installation cost estimates are listed below:
Cost estimates based on lawn size per acre:
Cost estimates based on number of lawn zones:
Cost estimates based on type of installation:
Cost estimates of sprinkler system components:
What Are the Factors That Affect the Cost of Sprinkler System Installation?
The cost of installing a sprinkler system is mostly affected by the following factors:
What Qualifications Should Sprinkler System Installation Contractors Have?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are currently approximately 912,660 employed workers in the landscaping and groundskeeping industry. This number includes sprinkler system installation contractors. Sprinkler system installation contractors are typically trained on the job, and they do not need to have any formal education. Nevertheless, some employers may require them to have a high school certificate or a GED at least.
Sprinkler system installation contractors can also obtain professional certification in areas like landscape design from organizations like the National Association of Landscape Professionals and the Professional Grounds Management Society. Professionally certified sprinkler system installation contractors are generally more reliable and competent than their uncertified counterparts.
Do You Need a Handyman or a Sprinkler System Installation Contractor?
Sprinkler system installation is a time and energy-consuming job that requires skill and expertise. Handymen are better suited to handle minor household repairs, and they do not have the necessary training to properly install a sprinkler system. A handyman is also less likely to be bonded and insured, opening you up to potential financial losses if an injury occurs during your sprinkler system installation. As such, even though they may be cheaper, hiring a handyman near you can end up costing you more in the long run. On the other hand, hiring a professional sprinkler system installation contractor ensures that a proper job will be done the first time around and also insulates you from potential financial liabilities.
What Are the Common Post Sprinkler System Installation Expenses?
The most common post-installation expense associated with installing a sprinkler system is the cost of repairing or re-sodding. This will cost you an average of $1 - $2 per square foot. You can find out whether your sprinkler system installation contractor also offers this service.
Also, after installing a new sprinkler system, you will be required to carry out routine maintenance and repairs where necessary. This can cost you anywhere between $50 and $400.
Does Homeowner Insurance Cover Sprinkler System Installation Expenses?
A standard homeowner's insurance policy typically pays for sudden and unexpected damages and losses to your home and property. Therefore, it will not cover sprinkler system installation expenses. However, if your home is damaged by your sprinkler system, then your homeowner's insurance may cover the cost of fixing this damage. For example, if your sprinkler head breaks and this results in your home's siding or basement being flooded and damaged, then it is likely that your policy will cover the cost of fixing these damages. The Insurance Information Institute estimates that 30.42% of the homeowners' insurance losses recorded between 2014 and 2018 were caused by water damage.
Note that the specific circumstances under which a homeowner's insurance policy will pay for damages to your home vary. If it is determined that the damage to your home was caused by factors like negligence, lack of maintenance, or normal wear and tear, then it is very likely that your homeowner's insurance will not cover the cost of fixing it. As such, it is important that you clearly understand the terms and conditions of any homeowner's insurance policy that you plan to purchase. It is also a good idea to make sure that your insurance premiums are always paid-up.
Can I Use Digital Payment to Pay My Sprinkler System Installation Contractor?
More and more small businesses in the US today, including sprinkler installation contractors near you, are embracing Digital payments. These are accepted by many sprinkler system installation contractors who consider them faster, more convenient, easier to use, more secure, and better for record-keeping purposes than other forms of payment. Nonetheless, you should make sure that your sprinkler system installation contractor accepts payment in this form before initiating any transactions. You should also ask for a receipt of payment if you perform any cash transactions for record-keeping purposes.