Being that it’s called “smart,” you might think these irrigation controllers would sell themselves. However, since many customers may not understand the benefits of installing these tech-enabled devices, this is where the knowledge of green industry professionals comes in handy. (Read more about the different Wi-Fi irrigation controllers here.)
As a contractor, it’s important to not only know the features and benefits of smart controllers, but also how to position them to meet your customers’ needs and wants. Here are four selling points to share with your customers who are on the fence about smart irrigation systems:
- They’re easy to use
Sure, there’s a learning curve to any new device or tech upgrade, but the interface and app for most smart irrigation systems require little upfront training.
The initial set-up is the most difficult aspect to these systems, but only if customers aren’t working with a green industry professional. By hiring a pro, they can install and set up the array of settings for a smart irrigation system, such as plant needs, soil types, precipitation rates and regional evapotranspiration. From there, the day-to-day uses of these systems will be easy to use and maintain. Smart controllers eliminate the need to run out in the rain to shut off the system timer or worry about weather changes while on vacation because they are constantly evaluating the water needs of the plant material.
- Save on your water bills
Who doesn’t want to save money? Being smarter about water usage can significantly save your customer on their water bill anywhere from 30% - 50% on average. This is another key talking point for selling a smart system.
Many smart irrigation systems connect directly to a local weather station and will adjust the system and timers based on changes to the weather, from a rainstorm to humidity to a change in the evapotranspiration.
If a system doesn’t have the automatic feature, it’s still easy to manage. As a contractor, your customers can share access to their smart irrigation systems with you, so even if you’re on the other side of the city, you can make changes from your smart phone. Plus, during season changes, you won’t need to spend a day or two running to all of your customers’ sites, saving you time and money.
According to Ben Jenkins, Ewing Store Manager in Phoenix, Ariz., another money-saving feature is the settings for cycle soaks for denser soil types or sloped landscapes. These auto timers apply the right amount of water, allowing water to seep into the ground, rather than running off or flooding an area.
- Care for the Earth while caring for your lawn
While your customers are saving money on their water usage, they are also being good stewards to the environment. With all the capabilities listed above, smart controllers help conserve water and create efficiency while maintaining lush landscapes. The sustainable aspects of smart systems will interest your more eco-minded customers, like those more interested in xeriscape designs.
Jenkins also recommends pairing smart irrigation systems with water efficient nozzles, like the Hunter MP Rotator, Toro Precision and Rain Bird HE-VAN, to really make a positive impact to the environment while creating lush lawns. These nozzles feature thicker water streams, wind resistance and great uniform distribution.
Another supplemental tool for smart irrigation systems is a smart sensor. These sensors monitor overflow conditions, alerting you to shut off water flow. If your customer is interested in a flow monitoring system with a smart controller, consider a Hunter smart controller like the Pro-HC and a Flow-Sync sensor.
- They integrate with your voice-first devices
According to Forbes, there are 8.2 million voice-first devices in homes, with 33 million predicted by the end of the year. This is a great selling point for smart controllers for your customers that are already embracing Google Homes, Amazon Echos, Nest controllers and more.
For example, when you visit a customer’s home and see an Amazon Echo (Alexa), mention the connectivity between a Rachio Controller and the Echo. It’s as easy as adding a new skill in Alexa. Once the Rachio skill is installed, your customers have voice-activated access to their irrigation – “Hey Alexa, tell Rachio to water zone one for 15 minutes.”
“We’ve found that Alexa is the most used integration on our app,” said Steve Schneiter, Rachio Pro Channel Manager.
According to Schneiter, Rachio is the smart home leader in the irrigation space, with built in integrations with Nest, Echo, Google Assistant, Smart Things and more.
What are some other key selling points you’ve used for smart irrigation systems and controllers? Share in the comments and help others learn from your experiences.