A lot of regular people and business owners need irrigation systems. If you’re considering which business to start this year, look no further than an irrigation business. The potential market includes public properties, farmers, and athletic fields.
The potential is even greater if your location is particularly arid and receives minimal rain throughout the year. Other customers who need attractive landscapes and water conservation solutions require the services of irrigation experts to design, install, and repair sprinkler systems.
Setting up an irrigation business requires understanding the basics such as planning your operation, how to operate legally, getting a bank account, necessary costs, and staffing among others.
Here’s our simple guide on how to start an irrigation company,
Create The Business Plan
You must understand the necessary groundwork as part of how to start an irrigation business. The first step is to write a business plan whose essential elements are:
It’s an outline of the various features of your business including:
- Business goals
- Target customers
- Business name and location
- Competitive advantages
- Products or services
- Business structure
The section highlights your industry expertise following market research. Your market analysis must include:
- Characteristics of the target market
- Pricing and gross margin targets
- Competitive analysis
- Regulatory restrictions
- Industry description and outlook
- Details about the target market
Business Organization and Management
Here’s where you include details about the organizational structure and management of your irrigation business. It explains the various roles and responsibilities of key personnel. The reader must be able to understand who does what in your business.
Products and Services
You describe all services and products your business offers. Ensure to break down all services you offer and what makes you the best company to provide them. A good idea is to demonstrate the benefits of why potential customers should reach out to you.
Marketing and Sales Strategy
The business plan must also include strategies to get customers. Your marketing strategy must include how you intend to penetrate the market, distribute your services, communicate to potential customers, and your plan to grow.
A sales strategy is essential and must include the salespeople you’ll need and how to train and compensate them. You must learn the best way to contact potential customers to give you business.
The section includes insights into the effective allocation of resources. You don’t have historical financial information if your business is new. However, you must supply readers with prospective financial data that may be helpful to potential investors.
Calculate The Necessary Costs
How much it costs to start an irrigation business depends on your location, business size, and the services or products you offer. Working from home is considerably cheaper when starting than opening with a team.
The necessary costs you have to include in your budget are:
- Permit and license fees
- Business Insurance
- Website design and hosting
- Payroll costs if you have a team
- Business formation fees
- Irrigation software
- Advertising and marketing
Keeping all those in mind, the minimum cost to start an irrigation business is from $10,000 to $50,000. You can raise capital for your irrigation system start-up from your savings, crowdfunding, or venture capital.
Ideas to minimize costs as a startup irrigation business include:
- Buy used equipment
- Lease instead of buying equipment
- Market on social media and have a Google My Business profile
- Go paperless with irrigation services software
- Negotiate costs with suppliers and contractors
Irrigation Company Registration
The process of registering a start-up irrigation system differs by type of operation and state. You must choose a business structure or business entity. Your choice will determine how you file taxes, liability, and daily operations.
You can operate as a sole proprietor, partnership, limited liability company, or C-Corp. Laws and registration processes vary by state. After choosing a business structure, the next step is to determine your location.
An address is necessary when filing taxes, receiving important correspondences, and when opening a business bank account. Then you register your business name. A Doing Business As (DBA) is ideal when operating using a name that isn’t yours.
You must also register your business to receive an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. The EIN is necessary when filing for taxes if you have employees. You can use your social security number for the same purpose as the EIN if you’re a sole proprietor.
After completing federal registrations, you must register your business with the state or local government.
Get The Necessary Permits And Licenses
Business permits and licenses protect customers and show you meet federal and state regulations. Licensing irrigation professionals safeguards public health, safety, and overall welfare.
Various forms of licensing apply in different states. You must know the appropriate licensing requirements that apply in your state when learning how to start an irrigation business.
In North Carolina, Louisiana, Texas, and New Jersey, you need an irrigation contracting license to undertake landscape irrigation projects.
Other states including Oregon, California, Illinois, Connecticut, and Rhode Island have a license where irrigation contracting is a subcategory in a plumbing or landscape contracting license. Florida offers a voluntary license that exempts anyone licensed from a local irrigation contracting license.
Alabama, Massachusetts, and Illinois have considered irrigation licensing legislation with efforts by the Irrigation Association. The efforts include creating new programs and renewal of existing ones.
Contractor licensing requirements in some states include:
Irrigation contractors need a landscape contractor’s license where irrigation is a subcategory. Getting the license requires paying a fee, at least three years of experience, and passing a state exam.
You can become a limited lawn sprinkler contractor which is a subcategory in the plumbing license. It requires passing a state exam and paying a fee. Applicants must certify completion of one of the trainings as a lawn sprinkler journeyman and take the prerequisite training.
The state offers a voluntary license exempting a licensed contractor from getting a local irrigation contractor license. You must pass a state exam to get the license.
You need a minimum of three years of experience in the irrigation industry or two years of training and a year in the field. Afterward, sitting a state exam is mandatory, and paying a fee to get the license.
Open A Business Bank Account
Having a bank account is one of the critical elements of running a business. You need an account specifically for your business. It makes managing your business more organized and makes tracking finances easier.
The reasons to have a business bank account are:
- Avoid tax issues
- Separate business and personal finances
- Gives your business a professional look
- Offers limited liability protection
- Option to get a line of credit in an emergency
You can open a business checking account, savings account, merchant services account, or credit card account. Do your homework to find out what each type of account offers. A good idea is to open a bank account before accepting your first payment.
Opening a business bank account requires having the necessary documents including:
- Employer identification number (EIN) if you have staff
- Or social security number if you’re operating as a sole proprietor
- Business formation documents
- Personal identification documents such as a driver’s license or government-issued ID
- Business license and DBA certificate
You can open a business bank account online or visit the local branch. Choose a bank with a convenient network and affordable fees. It must have online and mobile banking features with affordable interest rates. A bank that offers a signup bonus is a wonderful idea.
Hire Staff For Your Irrigation Company
When your business grows, hiring staff becomes inevitable. You must find professional and reliable staff to contribute to the success of your business.
Here are a few ideas to make hiring staff for your irrigation start-up business easier.
Ask Current Staff
Referrals are a good idea to get reliable employees. It’s easier than investing in ads. You just ask your current staff whether they know anyone with the right skills and experience looking for work. People are more likely to stay in a company recommended by their friends.
These will be more loyal to you than those handpicked from the street. You can encourage this by incentivizing your staff to bring in people they know. This can be a monetary reward if the people they refer end up becoming productive employees.
On Social Media
Having social media pages is a must-have for any business today. A good thing is that you can use social media to get new hires. LinkedIn is more professional for companies to find new staff.
You can also post on Facebook on your page or industry-related groups. This can attract people with a genuine interest in your business.
Check Within the Company
Another idea to get staff for your business is evaluating your current team. There’s a chance of having people on your team with the experience and expertise to take on more roles.
Alternatively, you can let those interested in upgrading their skills do so. It makes them qualified to take on higher positions.
Find Suppliers And Contractors
Irrigation is a relationship business that creates landscaped beauty and agricultural bounty. However, your customers’ richest hopes can be undermined by leaks, designs that impede water flow, and weak materials that decay.
You need to have connections with reliable and dependable suppliers and contractors.
Success requires finding reliable suppliers of products that install quickly, perform consistently, and are durable under extreme conditions. You also need suppliers for specialized products that may be difficult to find elsewhere.
Membership in industry organizations such as Irrigation Association makes it easy to find suppliers and contractors. The organization offers opportunities to discuss common challenges in common interest groups, and education classes and courses to enhance your expertise.
Ways to find suppliers and contractors include:
- Trade events
- Industry publications
- Networking events
- Industry directories
Create The Website
A well-designed website is the first step to starting an irrigation business. A fruitful website is an investment that requires time, creativity, vision, and finances. The website functions as a revenue-generating tool for your business.
It builds business credibility by boosting trustworthiness among your target audience. This is because your website is a reflection of your alluring ideas for the market. A website accelerates your online presence since most customers search online for service providers.
It’s also easier to grab the attention of a worthy audience when you have a website. It makes potential customers get attracted to your business.
The ideal website for your irrigation start-up must-have features such as:
- Well-designed landing page with lots of contextual and visuals
- Persuasive and comprehensive content
- Sized and coded for easy navigation on mobile devices
- Careers page to attract new staff
- A well-detailed page for each service
- Contact page with your physical address, telephone number, and email
- Live chat for quick responses to customers’ queries
How To Get A Website For Your Irrigation Business
Building a website is no longer expensive. You can do it yourself, hire a professional web designer, or a freelancer. Web designer agencies charge from $500 to over $20,000 while a freelancer may charge from $50 to $250.
Agencies usually offer ongoing site maintenance and updating. A DIY website is likely to cost you from $1 monthly to $27 on-site builders such as Wix and Squarespace.
Marketing Your Irrigation Business
Success for your irrigation business requires a mix of strategies. Apart from a website, you can use other ideas including:
Claim Your Google My Business Profile
Google is the largest search engine that receives over 8.5 billion searches daily. Claiming your Google My Business profile makes your business appear in search results. The free service allows listing your opening and closing hours, services, pictures, telephone numbers, and a map of your location.
Social media is digital word-of-mouth advertising. It connects your business with current customers and prospects. Presence on social media channels such as Facebook and LinkedIn allows being where your potential customers hang out.
Keep updating your pages, post new services, and invite new people to follow your brand. You can even run sponsored ads on social media to get more customers.
Ask for Endorsements and Reviews
Happy customers don’t hesitate to write good reviews about a brand. After completing a job, ensure to ask the customer for a review. Customers can leave 5-star reviews on your Facebook page, Yelp, Google My Business, or Angie.
You can also ask your celebrity clients to endorse your business in their posts on their social media pages.
People usually trust companies recommended by their friends and family. Introduce a robust referral program by rewarding people who recommend their colleagues, family members, and friends to your business. Rewards can include a discount on their next purchase or a gift.
Have your company vehicle equipment, and workwear branded with your company logo and contact information. It makes your crew stand out while advertising your business.
Is Irrigation A Good Investment?
An irrigation business is a good investment with a chance to make over six figures after a few years in operation. When your business grows and expands to other areas, there’s a possibility to make between a quarter to half a million annually.
How Long Do Irrigation Systems Last?
Various factors determine the lifespan of irrigation systems including exposure to freeze/thaw cycles, water quality, soil type near the pipe, and system use intensity. An irrigation system needs replacement after 15 years.
However, this must be confirmed by an irrigation engineer. Evaluation of the control system is necessary at least every 10 years to determine whether the technology needs an upgrade.
What Are The 4 Types Of Irrigation?
Knowledge of irrigation types is part of understanding how to start up the irrigation system. The top options include sprinkler, drip, subsurface, and surface irrigation. Sprinkler irrigation involves supplying water overhead directly in the form of a downpour. It’s applicable anywhere and covers a large area.
Drip irrigation uses lines to supply water without wasting it. Subsurface irrigation distributes water through emitters and tubes. It saves energy and labor costs. Surface irrigation is best for supplying rainwater. It’s also cheap and easy to operate.
Use Our Irrigation Software For Your Business
All of us appreciate hacks that make life easier. Automating basic tasks such as job scheduling, management, and dispatching using irrigation services software makes running your irrigation business easier. Completing jobs and getting paid becomes stress-free.
Irrigation software eliminates the need to shuffle through paperwork, saving you precious time. Make running your irrigation business seamless today by using Field Complete while saving on operational costs.