By Denise M. Roberts
“Two years ago, we had two service trucks on the road and today we have seven. We are striving to maintain the JB Water culture, while growing our business to 12 service vehicles over the next three years. Our goal is build our customer base without losing a single one of our current customers. Certainly continuing to adapt to this information age by increasing the use of all forms of digital communications…”
The founder of JB Water, John Bevell, bought a water distiller to enhance his wife’s health in 1981 and began marketing distillers to friends and neighbors. He steadily built his business over the next 20 years to more than 800 customers. Bevell was an active member of Arizona Water Quality Association, serving on its Board of Directors, and he enjoyed educating his fellow members on the virtues of steam distillation. In 2001, Bevell and his wife Betty accepted an assignment from their church as senior missionaries for one year. He left the business in the capable hands of their grandson, Dallan Randall. Upon their return, Randall continued as the General Manager. He expanded JB Water into a full-service water treatment company providing sales and service of all forms of water treatment, including water softeners, RO, carbon filtration and related equipment. Randall eventually purchased the company in 2008. Under his leadership, JB Water has evolved into a full-service plumbing company in addition to ongoing water treatment services. In 2011, with two full-time service vehicles on the road, Randall hired his dad, Rich Randall, to assist with client relations, project management and marketing.
“The key to success at JB Water is developing a culture of accountability perpetuated by hiring competent professionals. I promised my grandfather I would take care of his distiller customers while he served a mission for our church,” said Dallan. “Once I got involved, it didn’t take me long to realize there was a huge growing demand for pure water. Most people have heard contradicting information regarding pure water and find it difficult to know what is truth and what is fiction among the wide variety of claims and exaggerations made in the drinking water industry. I expanded our water treatment product line so that our customers could make an informed choice according to their needs and desires. I have enjoyed being able to bring water treatment down to a common-sense level that people can understand. It is particularly gratifying when a customer has what I call an ah-hah moment when the light bulb comes on and it all makes sense and they can make a choice based on reason.”
Currently, JB Water operates seven service vehicles providing water treatment and plumbing services to all of Maricopa County and parts of Pinal County in Arizona. The company headquarters, recently relocated from the barn behind the rural Bevell home, is a refurbished office building on Main Street in downtown Mesa. JB Water has distiller customers located throughout Arizona and the business provides plumbing services primarily in the Phoenix metro area, which includes most of Maricopa County and parts of Pinal County. “We have always had a strong emphasis in the residential market because we view ourselves as the peoples’ advocate for clean, healthy water,” said Randall. “We will tell them exactly what the water treatment equipment will and will not do. We don’t have to exaggerate claims to sell equipment. In recent years, we have expanded our commercial plumbing services and are doing an increasing amount of work for property managers, contractors and other commercial customers. Our commercial customers like the fact that we can service most makes and models of water treatment equipment that we may encounter at their properties. “Very few people that we serve depend on domestic water supply wells for water. The vast majority of our customers have municipal water that is a combination of treated surface water and groundwater pumped from municipal wells. The quality of the water at our customers’ homes covers a wide range due to the highly variable quality of the raw water sources and the different treatment methods used by the municipalities to produce potable water. There are three sources of surface water (Salt River, Verde River and imported Colorado River water) and hundreds of municipal wells pumping groundwater from numerous locations and at various depths. The two biggest reasons people call us is hard water and disinfectant residuals, primarily chlorine and hazardous DBPs. Due to high summertime heat in the Phoenix metro area, tap water temperatures entering peoples homes can reach the 90s; accordingly, the municipal water providers add a lot of disinfectant, usually chlorine-based, to help sanitize the water. Taste is also a big issue for our customers. It seems that nobody likes the taste of the tap water. Water softeners are always in demand by our customers to deal with hard water issues. “For those people looking for clean, healthy water, we provide steam distillation, carbon filtration and RO systems. Our flagship water treatment product is distillers for our most discriminating customers who want the assurance that they are getting just clean, pure water. The distillation units are typically installed in a utility room or on the back porch with the necessary storage tank (typically 10-gallon, but can be up to 80 gallons), piping and demand pump to supply clean water to the kitchen sink and ice maker. Our distillation systems always include carbon filters for both pretreatment and post-treatment water as added safety against pesticides, VOCs and other man-made contaminants. Groundwater contamination is a large concern in the Phoenix metro area due to the presence of several US EPA Superfund sites and other smaller sites where cleanup of groundwater contamination is underway. Our customers tell us that the carbon filters greatly improve the taste of distilled water. We can also provide automated boiling chamber dump valves to reduce maintenance requirements for the homeowner.
“Customers who select RO treatment rarely spend the extra dollars for UV disinfection of the product water. We do our best to educate them that while RO treatment removes most of the dissolved mineral contaminants, it does nothing to sanitize the water against bacterial and viral pathogens, and that if the RO system is not properly maintained, the unit itself can be a breeding ground for pathogens. We have learned by experience to recommend installation of a leak detection and shutoff device with all RO units. It is always gratifying when we can provide solutions to difficult situations for our customers.”
Increased use of digital communications has played an important role in how JB Water serves its customers. All technicians carry smart phones and use them in a variety of ways to upgrade communication with customers. Appointments made at the front office are immediately available to technicians for their timely response. They call ahead to customers, informing them of their estimated time of arrival and use online map technology for driving directions. In the field, technicians routinely take photos and scan documents, followed by uploading them to job folders stored on cloud systems, available for future emailing to customers. All of the work is documented with time-date stamped photos. Documents such as project estimates and invoices are routinely scanned and uploaded in the field. “Keeping our customers informed of routine maintenance requirements and getting those appointments scheduled is always a challenge,” said Randall. “We are working on upgrading our customer database specifics and email contact information in order to better remind our customers of routine maintenance needs and making it convenient for them to schedule an appointment.”
“Two years ago, we had two service trucks on the road and today we have seven. We are striving to maintain the JB Water culture, while growing our business to 12 service vehicles over the next three years. Our goal is to build our customer base without losing a single one of our current customers. Certainly continuing to adapt to this information age by increasing the use of all forms of digital communications with our customers will be a part of that growth. We see challenges approaching on two fronts. First, it’s imperative that the combined efforts of water treatment providers like ourselves work through the Water Quality Association to make our voice heard at the legislature. It is important that the information regarding the salinity contribution of water softeners is accurately framed and that the potential for increasing equipment efficiencies is assessed fairly. Any proposed legislation needs to be reviewed and commented on regarding both technical accuracy and practical feasibility of implementation. Secondly, we must continually combat the misinformation from questionable sources promoting water treatment devices that fail to deliver on promises made. It is a challenge for our industry to do all we can to accurately inform the public regarding the many proven and reliable water treatment choices they can make.”
The company’s approach to business has always been to provide outstanding service, which has led to long-term relationships with its customers. “The JB Water caption: The Choice of Reason means we always educate the customer about the available water treatment options in an honest and straight forward manner and let them make an informed choice. Overall, we want to be the most reputable water treatment and plumbing company in the Phoenix metro area. Our slogan: We look forward to spoilin’ you good! means we always strive to go above and beyond in meeting customer needs. As I have often said in our staff meetings, we can afford to lose money, but we cannot afford to lose customers.”
“First, it’s imperative that the combined efforts of water treatment providers like ourselves work through the Water Quality Association to make our voice heard at the legislature… Any proposed legislation needs to be reviewed and commented on regarding both technical accuracy and practical feasibility of implementation. Secondly, we must continually combat the misinformation from questionable sources promoting water treatment devices that fail to deliver on promises made.”