#170 - Turn Water into Money (replay)
The Sprinkler Nerd ShowMay 24, 202416:486.73 MB

#170 - Turn Water into Money (replay)

Andy Humphrey Microphone, checka, a 12 checka. Do I gotta check? I gotta check. Check. Looking good out here, guys.

Another's day, Andy on the water. I was just gonna record a little intro today. Andy so let me let me back up. I am taking my sailboat, which is a 1961 Alberg 35 happens to be hull number 2. So 63 three years old and I keep her in Northport, and then I bring her down to the Grand Travers Yacht Club at the bottom of West Grand Travers Bay in Traverse City.

So that's what I'm doing today. I'm under power, but also have the genoa up because I'm kinda have the wind on my quarter and maintaining about 6 knots with the iron jib, AKA, the engine. This engine is an atomic 4 original gasoline engine, which you don't see very often on sailboats, have converted to diesel. So that might be TMI, but, that's where I am at the moment. And what I wanted to do today was just probably well, I am going to replay an episode, which I don't do very often.

But I had a moment to kinda go through the archives and, stumbled across or the one that caught my attention was a conversation I had with Paul Bassett about thinking of water in terms of dollars. And sometimes gallons don't mean that much to end users or sometimes that it doesn't mean that much to most of us, but when you turn it into dollars, I think it can be more substantial. And Andy now that I've said that out loud, I think it can go both ways. If somebody's water bill is just kinda throwing this out there as an idea, it's less than a $100 a month, that might not be enough to cause change in behavior. But perhaps if they knew that they used, just again, picking a number, a 100,000 gallons, that might seem like a lot of water.

So I think it might be I think the way we look at water is trying to find the greater, the greatest, impact or the greatest number that stand out. So it's either going to be gallons, like a 100,000 gallons, or maybe it's going to be dollars, like somebody spending $3000 month. And it just doesn't it's it's not really out there today. You can run your own math, but name me a controller that reports gallons in terms of dollars. You know, that that really should be sent to clients as a a report either daily, weekly, monthly, but at least it should be displaying inside the control platform Andy even perhaps at the controller, what is your consumption in dollars and cents.

So that's, I'm gonna play an episode from last year, replanned episode from last year with a conversation with my good friend, Paul Bassett, about thinking of water in terms of dollars. Hope you guys enjoy. Have an awesome weekend, and we'll see you next week on another episode.

Paul Bassett Hey, Drew.

Andy Humphrey Paul, good morning.

Paul Bassett Good morning to you, buddy.

Andy Humphrey How's your day going?

Paul Bassett It's going great today. Thanks.

Andy Humphrey Okay.

Paul Bassett Friday.

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

Paul Bassett I like that.

Andy Humphrey So yesterday, I moderated a webinar with Ben Coffee at WeatherTrack in Max Moreno, who's the VP of Sales for harvest landscape Andy 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 Andy a budget entails finances and money. And what I think is so fascinating is that we all, you know, in this industry, when I say we, I I'm generalizing here. Most people talk about run time, number 1, 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 gonna use?

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 how can we convert that to dollars and cents and why do we not use that as a discussion point more often.

Paul Bassett You're right. 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, Sandy, because it will allow us to kind of be a differentiator or or what we teach others to allow them to be a differentiator.

Andy Humphrey If you are an irrigation professional, old or new, who designs, installs, or maintains high end residential, commercial, or municipal properties. Andy you wanna use technology to improve your business to get a leg up on your competition, even if you're an old school irrigator from days of hydraulic systems, this show is for you. I 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 first. So with the, let's say, the irrigation design, the proposal, you know, the estimates 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. 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 in question, and we could go backwards into the different parts of the system, the design, the distribution formity 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. Etcetera.

Paul Bassett 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 energy or, utility. So they say, okay, if you're gonna buy refrigerator, average energy cost in the United States is 12¢ a kilowatt hour. On average, this particular refrigerator is gonna cost you a Humphrey bucks a year to run-in energy.

Why can't we do the same in irrigation? It should be that way.

Andy Humphrey Right. Instead, we say this sprinkler uses 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 care.

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.

Paul Bassett Yeah. Or, you know, just like you when you create a balance per minute, we know what that flow rate is Andy you determine what that zone should run for Andy 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

Andy Humphrey Right. And and all of these, let's say, modern control systems. Let's just say, modern because I've 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, Andy we, you know, we can find breaks in the pipe, and we can we can have all those kinds of alarms.

Andy we have a GPM, 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 to of a dollar totals. You know, how awesome I

Paul Bassett mean, that's a great idea. Yeah. That's a great idea.

Andy Humphrey The controller should say, you know, you spent $264 yesterday.

Paul Bassett To operate this piece of equipment? Correct. Yeah. That's your a good idea.

Andy Humphrey And it's not anything that requires any kind of, like, sophisticated engineering. It's just another variable. Calculated. Like, it's easy.

Paul Bassett Pretty much. You're right. I mean, I I don't see that in Well, then there's there's another idea, Amy, to put to the idealist.

Andy Humphrey 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 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 gonna cost you. 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 Andy basically talk themselves out of the sale.

Paul Bassett Yeah. That is a very good point to make, if you're a sophisticated contractor Andy you wanna differentiate yourself from the rest of the pack That is a good ploy to put in your proposal.

Andy Humphrey Yeah. And that's something that 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 Andy then reply back and let us know how it went. Did it help you close the sale when you included water costs?

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

Andy Humphrey Mhmm.

Paul Bassett And I know I've for that 30 so that that's really what has helped me Andy my business succeed is being able to tell the end user what they're using in spending in water Andy what a 10% or 15% reduction in water is gonna show in savings, and then where they can use savings by increasing the efficiency in the system. Or by investing in technology.

Andy Humphrey It would help explain. 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 1st year because of the reduced water usage.

Paul Bassett 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 You know, we now know what the moisture level is in the soil, whereas other irrigation systems would just water their regular Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule. Andy we can delay or you can stop those schedules, and we can, or you can prove to the homeowner, here's what it costs every time your schedule runs.

Andy then here's how many times we feel we can delay the schedule and what that savings are gonna be.

Andy Humphrey Yeah. Because the the volume of water doesn't really mean much to people because they don't know what a 1000 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 change the narrative, 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? That's it's much more tangible, I think.

Paul Bassett Definitely. Definitely. And then people hope, you know, some of the more sophisticated homeowners and business owners have a budget that they prepare Andy then they they go from their budget. So you can, you can assist them with establishing their, their annual budget costs of what they're gonna spend in water.

Andy Humphrey 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 weather tracking using the tools of that controller for water budgeting and can enter the gallons so that you can put, you know, you can track and trend how many gallons you're using. 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.

Paul Bassett Yeah. And it's really strange that that's been the case with water and and getting 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 in their patterns.

Andy Humphrey Mhmm. Mhmm. Yeah. And again, we kinda talked here about using homeowners, but really, you know, the bigger the bigger opportunity is for these like commercial commercial municipal sites that that use a lot of water, you know, say $20,000 or more a year. I think that's the real hot opportunity.

Paul Bassett And, Andy, as you know, there's other sites that use 100 of 1000 of dollars, you know, or more a year. And just a slight decrease of 10% can can really be dramatic when you're spending a $100. I mean, think about it. If they're spending a $100 in water a year Andy you you say 10% of that, it's $10,000. I mean, that is a big number to be able to use to invest into the newer technology.

Andy Humphrey Mhmm. And then depending on perhaps what type of a a ROI, you know, that could be, a client could say, you know what? Anything that can give us a 5 year ROI we're gonna invest in. So $10,000 over 5 years is $50. There's the budget for the controls retrofit or whatever the retrofit might be.

Paul Bassett Andy then 2, it's not even just about the the technology to achieve the savings. That they you 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, of the system by showing them the savings by just having someone have eyes and ears looking at the data.

Andy Humphrey Yeah. Good stuff, man. Well, appreciate that a 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.

Paul Bassett There's no doubt, Andy. It's always good to talk with you too. The the thoughts and brain shares are Always great.

Andy Humphrey 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 gonna be totalizing water in the control systems by dollars, not just gallons Andy displaying it and talking about it. Cool. Alright, man.


Paul Bassett To hear from you. Thank you.


(0:00) Introduction and sailing update from Andy Humphrey (1:16) Conversation with Paul Bassett about water consumption and cost (3:00) Replay of previous episode on water consumption in terms of dollars (7:43) Changing the metrics we use to talk about water usage (10:36) Benefits of including water costs in proposals for contractors (12:22) Benefits of thinking about water usage in terms of cost (14:33) Potential for significant savings in commercial and municipal sites (15:22) Reinvesting savings into system management (15:55) Future of water management with Paul Bassett (16:19) Wrap-up and conclusion Chapters powered by PodcastAI✨