How To Hire an Irrigator

A licensed irrigator can save you time and money. But being licensed doesn’t guarantee quality work. Ask these five questions before you hire someone.

Last month I gave everyone some excellent ideas on how to hire an arborist. As previously mentioned, a public servant (municipal, state or federal) such as myself is not allowed to provide names or references of specific companies or individuals.

On the other hand, I can provide links to professional organizations and a methodology to search for a competent irrigator — one who actually does what they say they’ll do and who recommends only what is absolutely necessary for your landscape.

Fortunately in Texas, irrigators are required to be licensed, meaning they must have extensive education, take a test and earn annual Continuing Education Units (CEUs).

Licensed irrigators are required to include their license number on their business cards, vehicles and any business materials. If their license number isn’t prominently displayed on their work vehicle, they are not the irrigator for you. Click here to verify if your current irrigator is licensed and in good standing with the Texas Commission on Environment Equality (TCEQ).

Still, being licensed doesn’t necessarily guarantee quality work. Ask all potential contractors the following questions:

  1. If they’re a member of the San Antonio Irrigation Association. Membership in a professional organization demonstrates the irrigator’s pursuit of professional education and professional ethics.
  2. If they’re bonded and insured. Ask to see the documentation, too. As with other contractors, any damage or injury on your property may make you liable.
  3. Who will perform the work — an irrigator or technician. In Texas, work may be done by an irrigation technician under the supervision of a licensed irrigator. If the technician is doing the work, the irrigator should be checking in periodically.
  4. If they’ve participated in a San Antonio Water System Rebate Program. Also, inquire whether their work was approved by a conservation consultant. If the irrigator cannot follow the directions on the SAWS GardenStyle website maybe it’s best to move on.
  5. Most importantly, ask if they can guarantee reduced monthly water usage. If not, move on.

A professional, licensed irrigator can save you money and headaches. It’s worthwhile to do your homework before you hire someone.

Picture of Mark Peterson
Mark Peterson
Mark A. Peterson was a conservation project coordinator for San Antonio Water System before retiring. With over 30 years of experience as an urban forester and arborist, Mark is probably the only person you know who actually prunes trees for fun. When not expounding on the benefits of trees and limited lawns, you're likely to find him hiking San Antonio's wilderness parks or expounding on the virtues of geography and history to his friends.
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