Water waste comes in many different forms. We’re sure you’ve seen broken or poorly timed irrigation sprinklers shooting off during a storm or spraying water all over the asphalt instead of the lawn. Or maybe you’ve seen a corporate groundskeepers or homeowner who continues to waste large quantities of water in an attempt to make their lawn look immaculate.
With mega-droughts and major wildfires appearing in the news more frequently, Conserva Irrigation hopes that consumers will start turning toward smarter watering options. Based in Minnesota, Conserva Irrigation is the industry’s first franchised irrigation company. Founder Russ Jundt is passionate about preserving the planet’s water resources, and since starting Conserv, he has learned that saving money is more important to Americans than anything related to environmental conservation.
To respond to this issue, Jundt partnered with Outdoor Living Brands and Toro’s irrigation team to pivot the brand’s marketing message. This has led to a substantial increase of franchise sales in both water-starved and lakeland territories.
Helping People Conserve Water
Most people are unaware that a malfunctioning sprinkler can waste 20 or more gallons of water in just one minute, or that the average homeowner wastes more than 33,000 gallons of water every month. As a social franchise, Conserva Irrigation uses its profit-motivated business to help solve global issues that activists and regional businesses could never do on their own.
According to Jundt, “I guess I could march on the capitol steps and become an activist and I could say, say no to irrigation—I would never see any effects of change in my lifetime. I can affect greater change by building a very large, profitable company that helps others have the same message and we could save billions upon billions upon billions of gallons of water.”
Russ Jundt acquired his franchising insight from Outdoor Living Brands as the first franchisee of its Mosquito Squad brand. To this day, he runs that franchise from the same office in the Twin Cities. Some Conserva franchises have generated a half-million dollars of revenue during their first year in operation. Investing in a franchise requires a comparatively small amount of money, between $40,000 to $80,000.
Conserva offers customers complete irrigation system checks with each service call, as well as historic weather data and some systems that can give a live read of soil moisture levels to help make sure that irrigation is effective during both dry and wet spells. Customers can save around $170 on their monthly water bills with Conserva.
Residential clients make up about 70% of Conserva’s client base. The other 30% is composed of commercial customers. Conserva estimates that it has helped customers conserve more than 100 million gallons of water.
Outdoor Living Brands bought a 60% stake in Conserva in 2017. The brand has more than 15 franchisees covering 32 territories throughout the country. Jundt claims that water conservation is in the early days of a “perfect storm” which will benefit water tables and his company’s franchisees alike. He says, “The green initiative has never been stronger and water, we’re understanding now, is a very precious resource—we’re finally as a nation embracing that concept. It’s also the first time we’re seeing technology enter the irrigation space from outside the industry…and this convergence of trends has brought together this special opportunity.”