Most of the difficulties that you will face in a rebate program we saw in a rebate program for smart timers that got a 3 month boost at the end of 2005. A wealthy neighborhood over-looking the Pacific was targeted with mailings in their water bills for 2 months and finally with doorknob hangers. The 3 month program was urging homeowners to participate in a program which included free installation and free smart timers for anybody that called.

Andrew Davis took the phone orders from more than 140 homeowners in this special program. I learned the following facts. As more calls come in, we expect that the same facts will prevail.

My conclusions

Money is NOT the primary obstacle to retrofit programs for homeowners. These people can afford to buy anything that they want for their gardens. Discussions of $20 or $40 per valve, or paying only half the cost of the controller miss the main obstacle. They did not even know about rebate program that had been available to them for over a year and that would have given many of them a free smart timer.

There is tremendous inertia in people and ANY obstacle will divert them. While I have said the money is NOT the MAIN obstacle, I think that programs that limit the rebate to 1/2 the cost of the controller are making a mistake.

A clearer water pricing message to manufacturers and homeowners is "per home or per valve" rebates based on YOUR cost for NEW water. This price is the real value of ET controllers to you. Send the strongest message to manufacturers to meet YOUR water pricing objectives.

Retrofit are difficult because homeowners
are too busy to pause and act.
Any obstacle or inconvenience will divert them.