Side Venture Skyrockets
In 1996, industrial machinery repair professional John July heeded advice from a friend in the wholesale plumbing businesses; he began selling POU refrigerator icemaker filters to municipal water users via his new venture, Water Solutions, St. Augustine, Fla.
The business began as a side project with flexible hours, but July found the three-year-warrantee GAC/KDF product to be an easy sell locally. When his then 15-year-old son produced Water Solutions’ first website in 1998, July added new products his customers needed and business took off.
John July launched Water Solutions in 1996.
Business & Sales
Today, Water Solutions serves customers in the residential, agricultural, commercial and industrial sectors. July offers POU shower, bath, icemaker, drinking water, distillers and reverse osmosis, plus POE ion-exchange, chlorination/dechlorination and carbon filtration systems. He also provides irrigation iron-stain services and repairs all makes of existing equipment.
“I believe that for most people, water quality is not a frivolous expenditure,” July said. “They may delay the purchase, but they will eventually buy.”
Internet sales account for 64% of July’s business, but as local referrals rise to the second and third tiers, his local sales are keeping pace with those of last year. Even in today’s slowed economy, Water Solutions has enjoyed greater overall sales in 2008.
Water Solutions began selling icemaker filters, such as this
polyphosphate crystal and carbon/KDF product.
Keys to Success
Two personal characteristics in particular have helped July run a successful dealership for the past 12 years: his mechanical aptitude and desire to help people. July has 25 years experience repairing pumps and air compressors and has dabbled in electronics. To complement his technical know-how, July centers Water Solutions’ operations around customer service.
So that he can offer customers the most up-to-date expert information and assistance possible, July makes continuing education a priority. “If not for the WQA and their certification program, I would probably not be in this business today,” he said. “My customers realize I’m serious about my dedication to the water treatment business because of the certifications I carry.”
July also makes it a point to conserve energy and related costs without sacrificing customer service. Onsite consultations in northeast Florida; free Web and telephone support; careful, prompt shipping; and website features including an industry glossary and index of frequently asked questions help Water Solutions stand out and prosper amid competition.
Room for Growth
Moving forward, July plans to hire more help, further develop Water Solutions’ commercial and industrial business and persistently seek high-quality products and vendors to serve customer needs. He intends to execute these future plans with the same care and personal touch that helped Water Solutions achieve the success it enjoys today.
“The key to my success,” July said, “is to do it the right way, even if it takes more time.”