Embrace new irrigation, lighting technologies
As pointed out earlier, 40% of Hennebert’s revenue comes from lawn maintenance. But his specialties are irrigation upgrades and LED lighting. He says he’s carving out a niche for himself by utilizing the latest in product technology.
With respect to irrigation, Hennebert is talking about things like rain sensors and smart controllers. “We also perform system surveys in the spring and implement things like improved rotors and nozzles,” he adds. “It’s also simple things like the correct placement of heads.”
Many of the new products themselves are pretty easy to use, according to Hennebert. “You have to hand it to the manufacturers like Hunter and Irritrol,” he says. “They’re very helpful, and tech support is great. But regardless, most of these new irrigation products are pretty simple to use.”
Selling the new technologies gets a little more complex, Hennebert relates. Many of his homeowner clients pump their water out of a nearby lake. So they are not as receptive to the concept of upgrading their irrigation system to conserve water. However, those clients tied into city water are growing more receptive all the time. “I try to be proactive with these accounts,” Hennebert says. “If I see a problem on a property, I give them a list of options. If it looks like it will be a larger investment, I calculate a return-on-investment for them so they see the longer-term benefit and payback.”
Most of Hennebert’s incoming calls are for irrigation system repairs—which ultimately lead to upgrades in many instances. He is also receiving more calls for LED landscape lighting.
“Typically it’s a homeowner that doesn’t have any outdoor lighting, but wants it and knows LED is the future,” Hennebert says. “Additionally, we’ve had customers who switched over from halogen lighting and got their money back in a year or two (from energy savings).”
Unlike some of the new irrigation technologies, Hennebert says LED lighting is a little tougher to grasp. But thanks to educational outreach by suppliers like Vista Outdoor Lighting, he’s well on his way. “I won’t install anything but LED lighting anymore,” he relates. “It’s energy-efficient and virtually maintenance-free—if installed properly.” Fortunately, LED lighting—in addition to irrigation system upgrades—happen to be Hennebert’s specialty.