With 33 years in the business, brothers Tom and Bob Schaefer of Schaefer Lawn Sprinklers based in the Denver Metro area, have seen the irrigation industry evolve and change over the years. While the field looks much different than it did three decades ago, the brothers admit that some of the very biggest changes have only come in the last five years as the focus on water efficiency has heightened to a major level of importance. Tom Schaefer recently shared the key trends that he’s noticed over the years.
An Efficiency Focus. There’s no doubt that the biggest trend in Colorado has been the shift toward more efficient sprinkler systems, Schaefer said. As rebates have become available, helping encourage people to save more water, customers have also become increasingly educated. “The customer cares a lot more about how much they’re going to save and want to know what rebates are out there,” Schaefer said.
A Precious Commodity. The attitude towards water and the appreciation of it as a commodity has also drastically changed, said Schaefer. In 1980, people didn’t think much about their water usage. They paid a low, fixed rate, no matter how much they used. But with water prices increasing and water shortages developing, people are starting to realize just how precious water is, Schaefer said. Like so many other things in life, it often takes a financial impact for people to change. “Now that water is costing more, there’s no doubt people are starting to change their views,” Schaefer added.
Expanding Technology. Schaefer said that technology has come so incredibly far since he first started out in business in 1980 that it’s nothing short of amazing. The weather-based sensors and smart controllers are revolutionizing the industry. Of course that has also meant staying abreast of the evolving technology. “With this new technology comes great opportunity but you have to choose to stay on top of it,” he said. “We’ve really taken to heart how efficient these new products are and how promoting them is a great opportunity for our business. But that’s not always an easy task. We challenge ourselves to stay on the leading edge but that does mean being willing to change and evolve. It seems lately that every year we’re seeing something brand new.”