In response to requests from Plumbing Manufacturers Intl. (PMI) and its members, as well as from other supporters of the U.S....
When the economy is in a state of constant fluctuation and you hear of the difficulties dealers face trying to keep up, it is easy to rush to make changes to ensure your business’ security. While taking steps to enhance business security and preparing for economic hardship are responsible moves, Rick Miller, president of All American Water, Jacksonville, Fla., holds to the strategy of “keep it simple.”
“I try to keep it simple and service the accounts I have,” Miller said. “Keep plugging; keep at it. I have talked to others and they’re having a tough time right now.”
Miller has been in the water treatment industry since 1968, when his father started All American Water.
The biggest challenge Miller faces is lead generation. “I’ve had a half-page ad in the yellow pages over the last twenty years or so,” he said, adding that he recently dropped the size to a quarter-page, and is going to put the extra money toward another form of advertising, perhaps direct mail or radio.
While the struggling housing market has affected his business, which is mostly residential, Miller has a large rental business that has helped stabilize his revenue. He also offers in-house financing, providing more purchasing options for consumers.
Another step Miller takes to keep his business going strong is to carry a diverse range of products. “I carry the Hague product line, and I feel like it sets me apart from my other competitors,” Miller said. “It offers something unique my competitors don’t have. A lot of people are just selling Flecks and Autotrols, and I carry those also, but I believe being diversified is a good thing.”
All in all, the future of the industry “looks pretty good,” he said. He believes the housing market will bounce back, and there will always be a need for water treatment.
“There is a concern about things going on in California, banning of softeners in certain areas, but the Water Quality Association (WQA) is doing their best to combat it,” Miller said. A WQA and Florida Water Quality Association member, Miller said membership in associations is important for ongoing education as well as providing his company with added credibility.
Using common sense and simple strategies for success go a long way, as Miller’s business proves. His focus on servicing existing accounts, trying new advertising outlets and providing options for customers—a wide variety of products and purchasing options, including rental and financing—ensure success beyond the current tough times.