Taking on a Challenge
There is an emphasis on family at Integrity Water Solutions of Crownsville, Md. Owned by Don Layfield and his wife Linda, the business strives to provide its family of customers quality service with the utmost honesty and, of course, integrity.
“We knew starting up a new company in the worst recession in our lifetime would be difficult, but we banked on the [the idea] that [by] providing exceptional customer service and keeping honesty and integrity at the top of our mission statement, we would survive and thrive, and this has held true,” Layfield said.
Integrity Water Solutions was founded in 2009 by Layfield and his family, including his daughter and son-in-law, after years of working for Culligan Water of Maryland.
Layfield entered the water industry in 1985 with Culligan Water, serving mostly as the regional director of sales for the company-owned dealer division for the East Coast. When Culligan was purchased by a private equity group, Layfield opted to branch out on his own.
Since he began in the industry, Layfield has noticed the rising importance of professionalism for all in his line of work. “Professionalism and ethics lead by the Water Quality Assn. (WQA) have raised the bar,” he observed. “Our focus is on customer service excellence. We treat all customers with the level of customer service [that] we want when we are the consumer.”
Layfield cites WQA as a driving factor in many dealers’ successes. Through the association’s focus on professional certifications and research, the entire water industry knows it has a third party organization to look toward, and unethical dealers are weeded out, he said.
“Join and support WQA, and invest in getting your certifications so the entire industry can get better,” Layfield said, advising other dealers to focus not just on bettering themselves, but also on improving the entire water treatment industry.
Still, Integrity Water Solutions has faced challenges when it comes to dealing with the uncertain economy. “The biggest challenges have been the downturn of the housing market and the economy, which have a direct effect on residential and commercial water treatment sales and rentals,” Layfield said. “The current challenge is getting into enough homes and businesses to recommend our solution to their water concerns.”
With approximately half of its business coming from the residential segment, Layfield said overcoming these obstacles at Integrity Water Solutions remains a priority. “We are working twice as hard for the same results we were experiencing prior to the downturn. There is more of a fix it versus replace it [mentality] now as well,” he added.
Looking to the Future
Ultimately it comes back to the idea of family. Integrity Water Solutions prides itself on its focused customer service, including 24-hour response times and live answered calls. The company even displays an image of a young child on its vehicles to emphasize the importance of maintaining water quality, which Layfield calls the “most precious resource,” for generations to come. He forecasted that demand for water treatment experts would only rise in the future.
The family courtesy also extends to the company’s employees, a reliable staff of seven. “I am a firm believer [in] walking around and finding them doing something right and thanking them for it,” Layfield said.
For now, Layfield and his family at Integrity Water Solutions aim to continue pursuing success by sticking to the tried and true. “[We are] focusing on what we do well and not taking on everything that presents itself to us,” he said.