#128 - Turning Water into Dollars $$$
The Sprinkler Nerd ShowJuly 21, 202313:2912.34 MB

#128 - Turning Water into Dollars $$$

In this episode, Andy calls Paul Bassett, and together they have a short conversation about the opportunity to turn water into dollars.


Paul: Hey Drew. 

Andy: Paul. Good morning. 

Paul: Good morning to you buddy.

Andy: How's your day going? 

Paul: It's going great today. Thanks. It's Friday. 

Andy: Heck yeah. I was thinking about you this morning because of the concept of turning water into dollars that I was thinking about and thought we could just brain share about that concept.

Paul: I like that.

Andy: So yesterday I moderated a webinar with Ben Coffey at WeatherTrack and Max Moreno, who's the VP of sales for Harvest Landscape, and Max uses water budgets as a part of his daily business practice. And the more I started thinking about water budgets, it's really a concept of a budget and a budget entails finances and money.

Andy: And what I think is so fascinating is that we all, you know, in this industry, when I say we, I'm generalizing here. Most people talk about run time, number one, you know, how long should I run my sprinklers in the form of time? And then. Kind of at the next level, people talk about how much water am I going to use?

Andy: What's the gallons? What's the volume? Either gallons per minute, gallons per day, per cycle, per year, per month. But then what we really don't talk much about is what does the dollars mean? How can we convert that to dollars and cents and why do we not use that as a discussion point more often? 

Paul: You're right.

Paul: I mean, it's something that I think should be discussed with the end user client because in In almost any other utility consumption, it is discussed in dollars and cost. I don't know why the water is slower to transition to that. So I think it's a good place to be for us, Andy, because it will allow us to kind of be a differentiator, or what we teach others to allow them to be a differentiator.

Andy: I think that if we're only now starting to talk about the dollars, I feel like what we need to do is put the dollars out there. So with the, let's say the irrigation design, the proposal, you know, the estimate when contractor X goes out to a client site, whether it's residential or commercial, and they put together their estimate for construction and installation.

Andy: I don't know that I've ever seen a proposal that includes estimated. Cost per year on the system, and I think if we led with that, then that would spark the kind of curiosity and question and we could go backwards into the different parts of the system, the design, the distribution uniformity that actually affects the cost of the system, but lead with the dollars and then explain it through the use of technology, proper installation, proper design, et cetera.

Andy: I mean, it's, it's so good because if you think about it in, in other appliances that you buy, for instance, you know, if you see nowadays, if you buy a hot water heater, or if you buy a refrigerator, what do they have stamped on it, they have stamped on what the anticipated energy cost is to operate that piece of equipment for a given year based upon a unit of measurement of that particular particular.

Andy: Energy or, uh, utility. So they say, okay, if you're gonna buy this refrigerator, average energy costs in the United States is 12 cents a kilowatt hour. On average, this particular refrigerator is going to cost you a hundred bucks a year to run an energy. Why can't we do the same in irrigation? It should be that way.

Andy: Right. Instead we say this sprinkler uses, uh, 2. 5 gallons per minute, let's just say. But what does that really mean? The user, the end user, doesn't, doesn't really know what that means, and they don't necessarily... But what if we said something different? Yeah, change the metric. I don't know if we could necessarily turn it into dollars, because it depends on, you know, how long it needs to run, but maybe it could be like, here's how many, you know, dollars per hour of operation or something like that.

Andy: Yeah, or, you know, just like you, when you create a gallons per minute, we know what that... Flow rate is and you determine what that zone should run for and then calculate what it should cost to run that many gallons through the system. I mean, it's really not as challenging as one would think it's just we don't use that metric at this point, 

Andy: right?

Andy: And and all of these, uh, let's say modern control systems Let's just say modern because I I personally don't think most systems are really all that awesome So we'll just call them modern if we're already tracking gpm And we, you know, we can find breaks in the pipe and we can, we can have all those kinds of alarms and we have a GPM.

Andy: All we have to do is add another box to the controller interface that says, what's your water cost? And now we can run basically like a cash register of, of water, of a dollar totals. You know, how awesome would that be? That's a 


Paul: idea. Yeah, that's a great idea. 

Andy: The screen of the controller should say.

Andy: You know, you spent 264 yesterday to 

Paul: operate this piece of equipment. Yeah. That's a good idea. And it's 

Andy: not anything that requires any kind of like sophisticated engineering. It's just another variable calculated. Like it's easy. 

Paul: Pretty much. You're right. I mean, I don't see that. And well, then there's, there's another idea to put to the idealist.

Andy: We got it. Yeah. And you know, we're looking at from the sort of, that's the technology side of it, but even as a contractor putting together a proposal, I think it would be an amazing differentiator to separate someone's business if they included that in their proposal, because it would be a great.

Andy: conversation piece to have with the client that would allow the contractor to showcase their knowledge, expertise, and build trust. And the client may say, you know what, you're the only one who, who gave me a proposal with the estimated water costs. And then the contractor might say something like, you know what, you should go ask the other contractors how much their system is going to cost you.

Andy: And if they did that, the other contractors may say, I don't, I don't know, I don't, I don't think about that and basically talk themselves out of the sale. Yeah, 

Paul: that is a very good point to make if you're a sophisticated contractor and you want to differentiate yourself from the rest of the pack, that is a good ploy to put in your proposal.

Paul: Yeah, and that 

Andy: would be one way to win the project by and be the highest price is because you're adding value And I don't know anyone who's really doing that. So there you go guys. That's one little nugget Maybe you can experiment with and then reply back and let us know how it went Did it help you close the sale when you included water costs 

Paul: and if folks need assistance with it Andy Certainly they can reach out to both you and I we can we can help them prepare that document because you know We've been doing this for more than 20 years.

Paul: Ideally, I know I've or that 30. So that that's really what has helped me and my business succeed is being able to tell the end user what they're using and spending in water and what a 10% or 15% reduction of water is going to show in savings and then where they can use. Savings by increasing the efficiency in the system or by investing in technology, 

Andy: it would help explain.

Andy: So if, if instead of selling a quote unquote, more expensive sprinkler, because it has pressure regulation built in, let's say for those areas where it's not necessarily required, that helps tell the story of why, well, because you're going to save that amount of money right away in the first year. Because of the reduced water usage.

Paul: Yeah, and or even as we do, Andy, add some additional data points, i. e. some soil moisture sensors to be able to stop watering in a given period because we now know what the moisture level is in the soil. Whereas other irrigation systems will just water their regular Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule and we can delay or even stop those schedules and we can, or you can prove to the homeowner, here's what it costs every time your schedule runs.

Paul: And then here's how many times we feel we can delay the schedule and what that savings are going to be. Yeah, 

Andy: because the, the volume of water doesn't really mean much to people because they don't know what a thousand gallons looks like or 50, 000 gallons looks like. 50, 000 seems like maybe it's a lot of water, but if, if we had the, if we changed the narrative.

Andy: and switched it to dollars, then the amount of water doesn't really even matter as much. It's more like, how do I go from spending 750 a month to spending 500 a month? It's much more tangible, I think. 

Paul: Definitely. Definitely. And then people hope, you know, some of the more sophisticated homeowners and business owners have a budget that they prepare, and then they go from their budget.

Paul: So you can, you can assist them with establishing their. Their annual budget costs of what they're going to spend in water. 

Andy: So I think when we're thinking about water budgets, and then again, this is where my thought came from because this is what our conversation was with WeatherTrack and using the tools of that controller for water budgeting and you can enter the gallons so that you can put, you know, you can track and trend how many gallons you're using.

Andy: I think we really need to switch the conversation to just be about Dollars and cents because everybody understands dollars and cents, but I don't think a lot of people Understand what their water costs or what a certain volume of water, you know, it's it's not tangible to them Yeah, and 

Paul: it's really strange that that's been the case with water and again dealing with it for this past 30 years I'd like to see the narrative shifting I like the fact that people are really caring more about the insights and digitization of water And, and now that there's more and more tools to be able to deploy for people to see the insights in their water usage and their patterns.

Paul: Mm hmm. 

Andy: Mm hmm. Yeah. And again, we kind of talked here about using homeowners, but really, you know, the bigger, the bigger opportunity is for these light commercial, commercial municipal sites that did use a lot of water, you know, say 20, 000 or more a year. I think that's the real hot opportunity. 

Paul: And Andy, as you know, there's other sites that use hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Paul: You know, or more a year, um, and just a slight decrease of 10% can can really be dramatic when you're spending 100 grand. I mean, think about it. If they're spending 100 grand in water a year, and you, you say 10%. 10, 000. I mean, that is a big number to be able to use to invest into the newer technology. 

Andy: And then depending on perhaps what type of, uh, uh, ROI, you know, there could be, uh, a client could say, you know what, anything that can give us a five year ROI, we're going to invest in.

Andy: So 10, 000 over five years is 50 grand. There's the budget for the controls retrofit or whatever the retrofit might be. 

Paul: And then two, it's not even just about the technology to achieve the savings that they, they could use that money to invest in personnel that can monitor and manage this equipment. And so that's really where I think this particular strategy really takes places where you can sell the end user, the upgraded management.

Paul: of the system by showing them the savings by just having someone have eyes and ears looking at the data. 

Andy: Yeah, good stuff, man. Well, appreciate the little brain share this morning. Always good to vision future vision with you. And I think that turning water into dollars, we might be on the on the edge of that next revolution.

Andy: There's 

Paul: no doubt and it's always good to talk with you to the thoughts and brain shares are 

Andy: Always great. So there you have it guys. Paul and I are making a prediction that one of the next revolutions, or let's not say revolution evolution is going to be totalizing water in the control systems by dollars, not just gallons and displaying it and talking about it.

Andy: Cool. Thanks. 

Paul: Good to hear from you. Thank you. Have a good day. Bye bye.