By Denise M. Roberts
The younger Bayford joined the dealership in 1984. For the next five years, he focused on residential and commercial/industrial sales and also handled sales training for the company. Bayford then transitioned to a Kinetico dealership as a residential and commercial salesman for several years before he ventured out on his own.
Bayford and his wife Dorothy launched family-owned and operated Water Pro, Inc. in 2000, running it from their home. Eight years and 8,000 square feet later, they are still going and growing.
“I love to help people and that’s what we do at Water Pro,” he said. “For years, our interest and concern with the quality of drinking water has been both personal and professional. There are always new challenges in water quality; it keeps things interesting.”
Dealing with problem water
Water qualities in the area vary greatly. At times, county municipal water in has chlorine levels up to three ppm. “That makes it virtually impossible for a restaurant to serve a good drink without water treatment,” said Bayford. “The average well in our area has iron levels between one to three ppm and 5-10 grains per gallon hardness. Normally, pH is neutral and TDS range is typically 200 – 400 ppm.
“We also have any many areas where extremes are the norm. We have come across up to 50 ppm iron levels, tannins, sulfur and TDS as high as 10,000 – 20,000 ppm. We occasionally run into hydrocarbon problems. Because of the diversity of our local water quality our job is never mundane, there is always something challenging.
“We do a lot of work with local restaurants and stores and our best sellers are Water-Right® products. Water Pro also specializes in treatment, sampling and wells for residential and commercial properties.
“We are unique in that we will customize our systems to fit our customer’s special water requirements,” the GE Platinum Dealer noted. “We match water problems with the correct technology necessary to solve the issues. And, because product lines do not limit our design possibilities, we can customize the system to correct specific problems.”
Water Pro’s 16 employees serve the entire eastern Virginia region. At some point in their lives, before going on to other career prospects, several of the Bayfords eight children (and other relatives) have also worked for the company. Brian’s stepmother, Melanie Bayford currently is the Accounts Manager for the firm and handles collections. Licensed master plumber and master well driller, David Ashberry, is on staff to meet the regulatory requirements of the state for well applications.
Bayford serves on the board of the Eastern Water Quality Association and deals with many industry challenges, such as brine discharge and septic systems and industry ethics. “I think our industry is on the brink of many new technologies. We have to keep an open mind and always try to further our education to keep up with changes in water quality and industry.”
Additional participation in the regional association’s efforts includes giving presentations on sales and lead generation. This year, the Bayfords included ethics and integrity in their presentation at the annual convention.
“Honesty and integrity are our watchwords and we believe this is an important part of our programs. We have a top-notch retail sales staff that is very professional and honest. A company’s reputation will define the amount of leads that are acquired.”
Diversity is the answer
In 2007, Water Pro diversified into well drilling and is currently drilling drinking water and geothermal wells. The company holds a State Class 6 license by the Board of Waterworks, giving it the ability to install and service small community water systems and a Class A Contractor’s License.
The Bayford’s long-term plan is to continue to grow its residential sales market into other areas and branch off new offices. “I believe Water Pro’s future includes opening other locations within Virginia and North Carolina, “ Bayford offered. “Our residential sales department has been going strong and our commercial sales have gone well.
“We are also very involved with local realtors. We provide all sampling needed for their closings. Most homes require bacteria test only, but some financial institutions will require bacteria, lead, nitrate and nitrite testing. After these test are complete and the new homeowners close on the property, we follow up with a mineral test for the new homeowner. In many cases this leads to installing systems for the homeowner.
“We are always working to expand our commercial sales and have installed systems for motels, hotels, convenient stores, restaurants, and museums. The majority of these businesses have allowed us to put up signs that read Because we care, we used purified water by: Water Pro and list our phone number. Our sign in a local health club reads For your health, our water is purified by Water Pro.
“These signs are one aspect of our many marketing tools. While everyone is complaining about the economic slowdown, we are working harder and smarter to offset the poor market conditions.”
Aside from work…
Ensuring safe water for the region is not enough for the Bayfords. The company is deeply invested in and dedicated to serving the local community and others through donations and participation in various programs.
It has provided water treatment equipment to the local Habitat for Humanity several times at no cost. Systems have been donated to the Humane Society, Boys and Girls Clubs and several families in need that were unable to afford safe water. At Christmas time, Water Pro held a toy drive in conjunction with the local sheriff’s department and delivered presents to the Children’s Hospital for the King’s Daughters and Ronald McDonald house.
They also helped to raise money for the American Cancer Society through Brian’s participation in its womanless beauty pageant. Most recently, the company provided bottled water to help with hurricane relief after Hurricane Katrina.
It’s a full plate for the Bayfords and Water Pro with no sign of a slowdown in their future!