Summer Rain Sprinkler Systems started off as solely an irrigation business and eventually got into lighting services, as well. Today the business is about 90 percent irrigation and 10 percent lighting – including a holiday lighting service. Company President Bill Gallagher shares why he decided to add this segment and how he’s working to fight the price wars while still maintaining the company’s strong integrity.
Gallagher says that lighting was a natural transition. “We were in the ground to begin with, so it just made sense to get into the lighting segment,” he says. “We already had the machinery and had been thinking about hiring an electrician for years because we don’t just plug-in our controllers – we hardwire them.”
It’s been about 10 years since the company started offering the service and Gallagher says the add-on has been a good fit for his business. However, since the economy has turned downward, and price competition has grown steep. Gallagher says it’s become increasingly challenging to hold his prices. He says it comes down to customer education.
“We do everything to code and we use good, quality high-end fixtures that really complement a property beautifully,” Gallagher says. “But we find more and more that other contractors aren’t following code. They don’t care about the principles or the rules. Unfortunately that can be challenging when it comes to price. They are cutting corners but offering an extremely low price that we can’t match. And sometimes the homeowner only sees the price. So it comes down to us to educate – to make sure the customer knows why we price the way we do.”
Maintaining high standards and educating the customer has paid off for Gallagher. To date, the company continues to keep busy. And in order to compete better in this tough marketplace, Gallagher says he’s started putting some pressure on his suppliers from a pricing standpoint. But in the end, Gallagher says that part of the job is also knowing when to accept that some customers aren’t going to be a match for his company.
“Even with good education on why we price the way we do, some customers can only afford so much and we have to let them go,” he says. “Our goal is to continue focusing on strict standards of professionalism and quality – even if it’s not for everyone.”
This is one of three stories that appeared in Lawn & Landscape’s Water Works e-newsletter. To continue reading about Bill Gallagher and Summer Rain Sprinkler Systems:
A reliable force: Bill Gallagher says that building his $10 million business upward has come down to having a good base of quality employees.
In the field: Why Bill Gallagher spends his days beside his employees and customers.