If you are a residential construction or maintenance contractor and you have been doing this for a while, chances are that you are using the same 3 or 4 irrigation controllers that have been in the market for the last 5 – 20 years. And there’s nothing wrong with these products. Dependable, reliable and familiar; these controllers are made by first-class irrigation companies and they get the job done.
Until now. Actually, until a few years ago. That’s when the Smart Home trend started gaining steam and a handful of high-tech companies came out with WiFi irrigation controllers. Fast forward to today and there are now over 20 different companies offering WiFi technology to the market.
So what’s the big deal with WiFi and why should you consider Getting Connected? There are three good reasons. I’ll start with the most important reason first:
- Your customers want them (especially the younger ones): The “Smart Home” trend has been making its way through the inside of the house for the last several years (thermostat, lights, alarm, etc.), so it was just a matter of time before the irrigation system got tied in. Many WiFi sprinkler controllers now integrate with smart home platforms like Nest, Wink, Amazon Alexa and Google Home.
The important buying shift that landscape contractors need to be aware of is that the homeowner is now making this purchasing decision. Historically, the landscape contractor drove the irrigation control decision - it was just one component of the overall landscape and irrigation package. However, with the Smart Home technology shift, the homeowner is now taking the lead. They are researching products, reading reviews and looking at prices. Taking a proactive WiFi controller approach to your customer base will keep you in front of this change and give you the opportunity to differentiate yourself from the competition.
- Time Savings: The saying “time is money” has never been more relevant in this labor-constricted market. Whether you are a one person company or operate multiple crews, it is hard to find people right now. Getting connected to your construction or maintenance accounts will save you drive time, making your labor force more efficient.
While this is certainly true for new construction projects, the real impact here is for the residential/light commercial maintenance contractor. Even if the home has a rain sensor, getting connected to your accounts will guarantee that the controllers get shut off in case of a rain or freeze event.
In addition, many WiFi controllers offer remote programming and reporting, giving you another way to connect with your customers, and saving you a drive when Mr. Smith accidentally changes the irrigation controller settings.
- Water Savings/Conservation: In addition to allowing either the contractor or homeowner to remotely turn off/on the irrigation controller, most WiFi systems blend live weather data, site conditions and historical weather data into a scheduling algorithm that creates efficient irrigation programs. In other words, these controllers are fairly intuitive to program and typically result in water savings to the homeowner.
So whether you want to save water, time or be a part of this growing trend, installing WiFi controllers will make a cash positive impact on your business. Now, how to figure out which WiFi controller to install...
Up Next Month: What to look for in a WiFi Controller
In two months: How to sell WiFi Controllers to your customers
Dan Puthuff is the Irrigation Product Manager for Horizon Distributors. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org