In December 2013 JB Water was featured as a dealer profile by the Water
Conditioning & Purification (WC&P) Magazine. Below is the completed
questionnaire used to develop the dealer profile article:
Our WC&P monthly Dealer Profile feature was invented to tell your story. Just answer a few simple questions and we’ll take it from there.
- Basic company info: Full business name, address, telephone, fax, email and website, number of employees and service vehicles.
1130 E. Main Street
Mesa, Arizona 85203
- Is the business family-owned? Multi-generational? A partnership? Are family members employed? In what capacity? (Give full names and titles if you acknowledge specific employees.)
The founder of JB Water, John Bevell, bought a water distiller for his wife’s health in 1981 and began marketing distillers to friends and neighbors. He steadily built his distiller business over the next 20 years to over 800 customers. John was an active member of Arizona Water Quality Association serving on the board of directors and he enjoyed educating his fellow members on the virtues of “steam distillation”. In 2001 John and his wife Betty accepted an assignment from their church as senior missionaries for one year. John left the business in the capable hands of their grandson, Dallan Randall. Upon their return Dallan continued as the general manager expanding JB Water into a full-service water treatment company providing sales and service of all forms of water treatment including water softeners, reverse osmosis, carbon filtration and related equipment. Dallan eventually purchased JB Water becoming the owner in 2008. Under Dallan’s leadership JB Water has evolved into a full service plumbing company in addition to the ongoing water treatment services. In 2011 with two full-time service vehicles on the road Dallan hired his dad, Rich Randall to assist with client relations, project management and marketing. Currently JB Water has seven service vehicles providing water treatment and plumbing services to all of Maricopa County and parts of Pinal County. The headquarters for JB Water was recently relocated from the barn behind the Bevell home in a rural setting to a refurbished office building on Main Street in downtown Mesa, Arizona. The key to success at JB Water is developing a culture of accountability perpetuated by hiring competent professionals.
- How did you get involved in the water treatment industry? Why have you remained in it? What do you find to be the most rewarding about your business?
I promised my grandfather I would take care of his distiller customers while he served a mission for our church. Once I got involved it didn’t take me long to realize there was a huge growing demand for pure water. Most people have heard contradicting information regarding pure water and find it difficult to know what is truth and what is fiction amongst the wide variety of claims and exaggerations made in the drinking water industry. I expanded our water treatment product line to include soft water, reverse osmosis, carbon filtration and other forms of water treatment so that our customers could make an informed choice according to their needs and desires. I have enjoyed being able to bring water treatment down to a common sense level that people can understand. It is particularly gratifying when a customer has what I call an “ah-hah moment” when the light bulb comes on and it all makes sense and they can make a choice based on reason.
- What were the motivating factors that led you to start a business in the water treatment industry? If not started by you, how long have you been with the business? What positions have you held?
Professionally Dallan has been active in the water treatment industry including the following notable accomplishments:
- Served a two-year term as youngest president ever for the Arizona Water Quality Association during 2008 and 2009 at the age of 29.
- Authored technical articles on Water Distillation for Water Conditioning & Purification (WC&P) an international trade magazine.
- Guest speaker for numerous venues including public radio discussing water treatment.
Giving service to the community has always been a priority for him including the following:
- Unit Commissioner for the Grand Canyon Council of the Boy Scouts of America from 2010 to 2013.
- Active board member of the La Fortina Homeowners Association for the past seven years with leadership positions of President and Treasurer.
- Has always actively served in his local congregation in numerous capacities
- What regions do you serve and what markets do you serve (residential, commercial)?
We have distiller customers located throughout Arizona and we provide plumbing services primarily in the Phoenix Metro area which includes most of Maricopa County and parts of Pinal County. We have always had a strong emphasis in the residential market because we view ourselves as the peoples advocate for clean healthy water. We will tell them exactly what the water treatment equipment will and will not do. We don’t have to exaggerate claims to sell equipment. In recent years we have expanded our commercial plumbing services and we find that are doing an increasing amount of work for property managers, contractors and other commercial customers. Our commercial customers like the fact that we can service most makes and models of water treatment equipment that we may encounter at their properties.
- What specific water treatment problems do you encounter? How do you overcome them? What are your best selling products, treatment options?
Very few people that we service depend on domestic water supply wells for water. The vast majority of our customers have municipal water that is a combination of treated surface water and groundwater pumped from municipal wells. The quality of the water at our customer’s homes covers a wide range due to the highly variable quality of the raw water sources and the different treatment methods used by the municipalities to produce potable water. There are three sources of surface water (Salt River, Verde River and imported Colorado River water) and hundreds of municipal wells pumping groundwater from numerous locations and at various depths. The two biggest reasons people call us is hard water and disinfectant residuals, primarily chlorine and the hazardous disinfection byproducts. Due to high summertime heat the Phoenix Metro area tap water temperatures entering peoples homes can reach the 90’s accordingly the municipal water providers add a lot of disinfectant, usually chlorine based, to help sanitize the water. Taste is also a big issue for our customers. It seems that nobody likes the taste of the tap water. Water softeners are always in demand by our customers to deal with hard water issues.
For those people looking for clean healthy water we provide steam distillation, carbon filtration and reverse osmosis systems. Our flagship water treatment product is distillers for our most discriminating customers who want the assurance that they are getting just clean pure water. The distillation units are typically installed in a utility room or on the back porch with the necessary storage tank (typically 10 gallon, but can be up to 80 gallons in storage), piping and demand pump to supply clean water to the kitchen sink and ice maker. Our distillation systems always include carbon filters for both pre-treatment and post-treatment water as added safety against pesticides, volatile organic compounds and other manmade contaminants. Groundwater contamination is a large concern in Phoenix Metro area due to the presence of several EPA Superfund sites and other smaller sites where cleanup of groundwater contamination is underway. Our customers tell us that the carbon filters also greatly improves the taste of distilled water. We can also provide automated boiling chamber dump valves to reduce maintenance requirements for the homeowner.
Customers who select reverse osmosis (RO) treatment for their drinking water rarely spend the extra dollars for UV disinfection of the product water. We do our best to educate them that while RO treatment removes most of the dissolved mineral contaminates it does nothing to sanitize the water against bacterial and viral pathogens and that if the RO system is not properly maintained the unit itself can be a breeding ground for pathogens. We have learned by experience to recommend installation of a leak detection and shutoff device with all RO units. Leaking water under a sink will typically cause a lot of damage before the leak is found and thus we find these units are a sound investment for the homeowner.
- Do you offer employees training? Are any employees WQA-certified?
Training and continuing education is an important element of the JB Water culture. Our staff selects books from the company library or other sources and someone is always assigned to give a book report at our bi-weekly staff meetings. Our technicians routinely attend training courses offered by industry and institutions to stay up to date on servicing the latest water treatment, tankless water heater and solar hot water equipment
- What are the best and worst situations you have encountered? What are or have been the major challenges your company has faced and how did you overcome them?
It is always gratifying when can provide solutions to difficult situations for our customers. We have a couple of families relying on a private domestic well with water of over 60 grains of hardness. We installed two softeners in series so the first softener takes the brunt of the load and the second softener polishes the product water. Than we installed a steam distiller to purify the drinking water. In this case the customers opted for the 25 gallon reservoir on their distiller which cost a little bit more than the standard 10 gallon reservoir, but provided some peace of mind knowing they have purified water stored in case of an emergency or malfunction with their well.
With both water distillers and RO treatment units it is important to change out the filters annually to maintain the equipment in proper working order. Fortunately with distillers, postponing routine maintenance does not affect affect the quality of water produced, but it can shorten the equipment life and result in expensive repairs. With RO treatment units the water production (flow rate) drops off considerably and the quality of water produced is degraded as routine maintenance is postponed for an extended period of time. Keeping our customers informed of routine maintenance requirements and getting those appointments scheduled is always a challenge. We are working on upgrading our customer database specifics and email contact information in order to better remind our customers of routine maintenance needs and making it convenient for them to schedule an appointment.
Increased use of digital communications has played an important role in serving our customers. All our technicians carry “smart phones” and use them in a variety of ways to upgrade the communication with our customers. Appointments made at the front office on Google Calendar are immediately available to our technicians for their timely response. Our techs call ahead to customer informing them of their ETA and use Google maps for driving directions to the customer’s home. In the field our technicians routinely take photos and scan documents followed by uploading them to job folders stored on the Cloud available for future emailing to customers. All our work is documented with time-date stamped photos. Documents such as project estimates and invoices are routinely scanned and uploaded in the field
- What is the five-or 10-year plan for your company at this point in time?
Our approach to business has always been to provide outstanding service leading to long term relationships with our customers. The JB Water caption: “The Choice of Reason” means we always educate the customer of their water treatment options available in an honest and straight forward manner and let them make an informed choice. Overall we want to be the most reputable water treatment and plumbing company in the Phoenix Metro area. Our slogan: “We look forward to spoilin’ you good!” means we always strive to go above and beyond in meeting customer needs and as Dallan has often said in our staff meetings: “We can afford to lose money, but we can not afford to lose customers.”
We are striving to maintain the JB Water culture while growing our business to 12 service vehicles over the next three years. Our goal is build our customer base without losing a losing a single one of our current customers. Certainly continuing to adapt to this information age by increasing the use of all forms of digital communications with our customers will be a part of that growth.
- What do you see on the horizon for the water conditioning industry overall? What changes do you wish or hope to see regarding the water industry? (Are there new challenges to the industry you see approaching, new technologies that will change the way our industry functions, continued consolidation that will change the landscape of the industry?)
Arizona is a water short region relying on imported water (Colorado River) and water conservation to manage a limited supply with continuing population growth. Consequently wastewater reclamation and reuse has played a key role for municipalities who manage both water supply and wastewater collection and treatment. Reuse in the form of using reclaimed water for landscape and golf course irrigation is a common practice. A trend of increasing salinity concentrations in the reclaimed water and the resulting negative impacts on turf growth has raised concerns about future viability of reuse. Many end users of reclaimed water including owners of the many world class golf courses around the State that use reclaimed water are particularly alarmed and have raised a stir at the Arizona Legislature. The sodium contained in the brine water from water softeners in homes has been labeled as a major contributor to the increasing salinity problem. Legislation is being proposed to regulate efficiencies and/or discharge limits on the brine from water softeners to combat the salinity problem. Legislation requiring homeowners to potassium chloride in place of sodium chloride is being discussed.
We see challenges approaching two fronts: First the combined efforts of water treatment providers like ourselves working through the Water Quality Association to make our voice heard at the legislature. It is important that the information regarding the salinity contribution of water softeners is accurately framed and that the potential for increasing equipment efficiencies is assessed fairly. Any proposed legislation needs to be reviewed and commented on regarding both technical accuracy and practical feasibility of implementation. The second front to be concerned about is combating the numerous claims from unscrupulous sales people promoting water treatment devices that claim to provide soft water without salt. In our industry soft water is defined as hardness less than 1 grain. It is a challenge for our industry to do all we can to accurately inform the public regarding the many water treatment choices they can make.