In many parts of the United States, water softeners are absolutely essential. Without them, homeowners find themselves plagued by limescale, dry skin, high electricity bills, and other undesirables.
Water softeners may also be an important part of your HVAC company’s arsenal when it comes to weathering the COVID-19 storm. In this post, we’ll provide an explanation using data from Market Research Engine.
Water Softener Growth Projections
Market Research Engine predicts that the water softener market will be worth $9.5 billion by 2025. That works out to an impressive compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.7%.
This should come as no surprise to companies selling water softeners in Phoenix, New Mexico, and other parts of the characteristically dry American midwest. However, companies in other parts of the country (and, indeed, the world) would be remiss to ignore this trend.
Why is the Softener Market Growing?
The Market Research Engine report identifies increasingly hard water throughout the world (in other words, not just the parts we’ve come to expect mineral-rich water in) as a motivator for increased water softener usage.
Consumers are also becoming more educated as to the benefits of soft water and enjoying the ever-decreasing costs of having these systems installed in their homes.
Industrial applications are also fueling the enhanced interest in water softeners.
While air filtration is undoubtedly a burgeoning market for HVAC contractors given the pandemic situation, this growth in awareness surrounding water softeners is not to be ignored. Let’s now look at some tips for getting in on the action.
How HVAC Contractors Can Take Advantage of Water Softener Growth
#1. Get Familiar with How These Systems Work
There are many nuances when it comes to water softeners. An increasingly-aware population will be able to spot technicians who don’t know what they’re talking about in an instant. You can avoid this embarrassment by ensuring you and your staff understand the difference between salt and no-salt softeners as well as why magnetic softeners are a big no-no.
Once consumers become aware of the problems caused by hard water, they typically pay very close attention to the efficacy of whatever solution you propose – so get it right.
#2. Know the Manufacturers in the Space
Manufacturing companies have taken note of the increased interest in water softeners. As such, you’ll find units from 3M, Pentair, Culligan, Whirlpool, and many more household names.
Carrying products from one or more of these well-known manufacturers can be enough to nudge skeptical customers off the fence.
You’ll also be able to rely on these companies’ superior warranties when dealing with customer service calls.
#3. Arm Yourself with Statistics
You have to remember that, while consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the need for water softeners, many have simply accepted hard water as a fact of life because it’s what they’ve always been accustomed to.
In these situations, use the ever-widening body of knowledge surrounding water softener benefits to your advantage. For example, we know that water softeners can help appliances last 30% to 50% longer. When it comes to annual water heater costs, consumers typically save as much as 27% (according to that same source we linked previously).
These facts are hard to argue with – so use them to your advantage when speaking with (or advertising to) prospective customers who may not grasp the whole “ion exchange” concept.
#4. Make Sure You Carry Accessories, Too
Water softeners are unique among household water appliances in that they require regular maintenance. Customers will need to refill their brine tanks on a monthly basis, which means buying new bags of salt periodically.
These salt bags are fairly cheap but represent an additional point of contact you can have with customers – and that never hurts. It’s better they buy their salt from you than a competitor who might later sell them on a replacement softener!
Given the predictable nature of water softener salt purchases, savvy companies incorporate reminders – and even salt delivery services – into their marketing.
#5. Remind Customers that Water Softeners Boost Cleanliness
Cleanliness, in case you haven’t noticed, is all the rage right now. People are even directing attention towards aspects of cleanliness that have no proven connection to COVID-19 risk reduction.
Of course, that’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s a great thing for HVAC and water filtration companies, who are among the best-positioned firms to service this need for enhanced cleanliness.
Soft water interacts well with soap, causing it to lather and behave like one might expect when, say, washing their hands or showering. Hard water, on the other hand, forms a layer of film on your skin that traps contaminants and makes it much harder (pun intended) to achieve the clean you intended.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown many small businesses for a loop, HVAC contractors have a unique opportunity to thrive during these times.
Many companies will benefit from adding new products and services to their list of offerings. The ever-growing residential water softener market makes these systems a very worthwhile consideration in this regard.
I personally have lots of experience in the water softener industry – feel free to drop any questions below and I’ll do my best to answer them!