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You Get What You Pay For – Why Investing in Superior Water Quality Systems and Management is Wise

One of the biggest obstacles standing in the way of widespread acceptance of advanced water treatment technology — and indeed the entire approach to water quality management — is price.

It’s a familiar refrain heard for as long as I can remember in this industry, and many other types of businesses: too many property owners and managers are focused purely on the price tag and nothing else. Never mind quality. Never mind reputation. Never mind commitment to the end results, and, certainly, never mind building relationships. No, these “transactional buyers” are all about price and price only. They will reflexively dismiss bids that are higher than others and, very often, they are not entirely courteous in doing so.

By contrast, there are buyers who value relationships based on reputation, vision, responsiveness, and sensitivity to their needs. And, above all, they are also smart enough to see the long-term benefits of artisan water management. These clients understand simple things like clear water is not necessarily safe water and that it’s better to prevent problems like infectious outbreaks, smelly water, algae blooms, and the buildup of disinfection byproducts before they happen. They know that genuine value usually does not come at bargain basement prices.

Fact is, anytime someone reacts negatively to water problem solutions, they’ve already lost the first battle and are fighting a rear-guard action. That’s why we urge both our construction clients and our service customers to invest in systems and regimens that stave off trouble before it happens. After all, once you find yourself in the reactive mode of adding chemicals to correct issues, it becomes a cat and mouse game of chasing the chemistry, and that never really stabilizes the situation.

Servicing an inadequately treated pool, one with inferior technology and non-expert service, will always be a compromise. Homeowners will become frustrated and even angry, and in the case of commercial facilities, the downtime and other issues stemming from water quality problems can become surprisingly costly, both in revenue and reputation.

A Clear Explanation

In our business, I’d rather explain my price than apologize for our service. No, we are never going to be the least expensive option, at least not up front; but when you cast out the costs associated with water quality problems over one, two, five, or ten years, it’s abundantly easy to see that investing in our approach will pay for itself many, many times over. And even more importantly, the life of the body of water will be defined by reliable operation, constant enjoyment, sound health, and biological safety.

The problem from our perspective is that there’s no quick way to make that case, and the transactional buyer doesn’t want to hear it in the first place. Until a problem occurs, it’s fair to say that water quality management is invisible to most people. When it’s working, you don’t really notice the water treatment system because a well-maintained body of water is simply there to enjoy without concern or worry.

As a result, it’s easy to ignore, until it’s too late.

All of that said, when clients step beyond the reactive and transactional mindset, it’s amazing how satisfied they become, especially over the long haul. Pools and spas can represent massive investments, and they become daily parts of people’s lives. Our more mindful, relationship-driven clients quickly realize and appreciate that the money they’ve spent on our system and our service yields benefits they can enjoy every day and that over the long term, they do in fact save money.

That’s why even though it can be tremendously frustrating when being beat up about the head and shoulders over price, we never give up. We know through years of experience, both building and servicing pools and spas, that we offer far greater value than some of our competitors that look to shave off small margins of profit by selling down-and-dirty service and systems of inferior engineering and construction.

Never Giving Up

It’s not an easy sell, because to some degree, most people are rightfully concerned about how much money they spend, and many take that concern to the point of obsession. But for those who consider the broader, more long-term implications and benefits of our approach to artisan water quality management, the results always speak for themselves, in terms of dollars and otherwise.

We know there always will be those customers who opt for the cheaper options. And, we also know there always will be those companies in our industry that are in lockstep with the transactional approach to doing business and rely on cheap price tags to rope in unsuspecting customers. Our goal and our approach, by stark contrast, has always been to tip the margins toward quality; to make the case that investing in water quality is akin to investing in a quality car or a beautiful home.

Consider the fact that for the average homeowner, or commercial property owner for that matter, the aquatic environment often represents the second biggest investment they ever make behind their home or facility itself. Given the enormity of the financial commitment, I ask is that really where you want to skimp on quality? A poorly built house might be marginally less expensive in the short run, but there is no question that corners cut by the builder will come back to haunt the buyer with frustration and expense down the line.

The old adage is true; you do get what you pay for. Focusing purely on price is essentially a surefire way to add expense down the line as well as experience the disillusionment that comes with substandard operation and water conditions. It’s ironic, I suppose, that the cheapest options are ultimately almost always really and truly the most costly.

the Water Geek


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A blog about all things water, written by SRK's founder Steve Kenny.