Cristina Tuser is associate editor for WQP. Tuser can be reached at [email protected].
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Knoxville, Georgia, is home to DJ Pump Service, a water dealership that was created in 1996. The business caters to residential or commercial properties in Knoxville and Warner Robins, Georgia, offering a wide range of well, pump and irrigation services. These services include pump repairs, well drilling, well repair and general purpose trenching. DJ Pump Service also provides water testing services for both residential and commercial properties.
The pillars of this business are simple. According to the water dealership’s website, experience, professionalism and a hardworking attitude are the recipe for success.
Richard Cosnahan is owner and operator of the business, alongside his wife, Dinah. Cosnahan’s background includes starting working for wholesale distribution of water well products right after high school, for about 10 years. His father worked for that same wholesaler his whole life.
In 1996, Cosnahan and his wife formed DJ Pump Service as a well pump service company.
“We started out just doing well pump repair and then we started doing filtration work and yard irrigation work, and that then stayed that way until about 2008,” Cosnahan said. “In 2008, we got into the water well drilling business as well, and its kind of the way it has been since then.”
When the business first took off in 1996, its first pump pullers were made of boat winches and 2-inch black pipe as a barrier. Months later, a new homemade device was constructed of heavier 3-inch tubing.
As time went on, the business began to grow, purchasing its first 1997 Ford truck with a smeal 5T pump hoist, which allowed the team to work faster and more efficiently at various sites.
The business’ customer reach grew in tandem with the housing boom of the early 2000s.
Soon enough, the company bought its first new truck in 2005, a second truck in 2007 and a third new truck in 2008. Creating this fleet inspired DJ Pump Service to keep striving towards further development.
2008 was the year DJ Pump Service acquired a well drilling rig and support equipment, which opened more doors for the business but also came with its own set of challenges. The drill, a 1968 DSi drill, would require much work before it was able to be used to drill a well.
The resulting efforts taken to get the well drilling rig usable would lead to the business becoming a full-service water well company.
Problem Solving Water Issues
DJ Pump Service currently employs 10 people, who are all described as carrying a team player attitude to drive success forward. Cosnahan considers the team a family of passionate water professionals.
For the last five years, an average of 15% sales growth each year has consistently been achieved. Cosnahan attributes this success to how well the team works together. When hiring, the business looks for people who want to be a member of an enthusiastic, growing team.
There is a range of experience within DJ Pump Service’s team, with some employees having at least five years of experience and others with at least 25 years.
42% of the business comes from the new construction of wells, according to Cosnahan.
The areas of service are located on the fault line, which is a line that stretches from Columbus to Augusta. To the north, it is normal to encounter piedmont formation, which requires the air rotary method for well drilling. To the south of this line, the team drills with the mud rotary technique. This area is known for much greater water availability.
There are two different types of wells in the area: the granite rock wells and sand wells. To the south, the sand wells experience iron and sulfur issues.
For the granite rock wells in the north, hardness issues and iron issues typically are found. Occasionally, there are contaminant issues in the area, for example, trichodina can pose a problem. For the team, there is always a solution, however.
“Generally we find most of our water condition issues are aesthetic problems,” Cosnahan said. “We don’t have a lot of water that is unsafe to drink. It is mostly aesthetic issues.”
Water Filtration Philosophy
After spending a lot of time studying water and the industry, the business found that filtration is a necessity. Since urban sprawl has brought more people into rural areas, the status quo and water standards have changed, which further drove the industry into filtration, according to Cosnahan.
DJ Pump Service hired a water filtration maintenance specialist to specifically target the need for consistent maintenance. Based on observations out in the field, it was apparent to the business that an unmaintained filter could potentially produce water quality that is worse than untreated well water.
The dealership provides a range of water filtration options, including iron filters, sulfur filters, calcite filters, water softeners and acid neutralizers.
Newer generations and homeowners are more concerned about water quality, Cosnahan explained, based on his more recent experiences in the business. This interest is vital in shaping the future of water, and it is part of what makes the job so worthwhile for him.
“People demand quantity and quality, as well,” Cosnahan said.
After researching water filtration in more depth, the business transitioned from simply selling water filters to maintaining them for customers. Most of the business’ customers are on filter maintenance programs as a result.
The business has simple philosophies regarding the need to reinforce filter maintenance and to stay on-top of water industry trends and forecasts to maintain a pulse on water quality.
Hard Work Pays Off
According to Cosnahan, his customers are happier than before with their water quality as a result of this hard work, and the maintenance programs have created residual income that helps keep the business thriving.
For the business, a short-term goal would be to reach more than 1 million in sales. Despite COVID-19 and its impacts, business has not slowed down for DJ Pump Service.
In the long term, DJ Pump Service would like to expand through the acquisition of other businesses. According to Cosnahan, most competitors are past the age of retirement and have no succession plans, so there is certainly potential for growth in that respect.
“I absolutely love what I do,” Cosnahan said. “I don’t want to do anything else. I love it because we are able to help people and certainly offer a service that is very much needed.”