Last year the Auckland region experienced one of the worst droughts on record. Add to this there was a large film production in the area that was taking a lot of water, a couple of the main carriers were off the road for different reasons...it was the perfect storm (excuse the bad pun). Many rural residents were without water and were waiting a long time for their water delivery. Water carriers were completely over-whelmed and struggled to cope with the phone calls, texts and emails. Pretty much everyone just had to muddle through the best they could.
Water HQ was still a very new business, we only had two trucks and I was trying to deliver water, answer the phone and book jobs all at once. One morning I awoke to over 150 missed calls and more than 200 txt messages... it was crazy! We all did our best but simply couldn't cope with such a sudden unexpected demand. I'm picking that this year will be different for a number of reasons, let me tell you why...
1. MORE WATER CARRIERS
All the publicity that the drought received in the media coupled with the long wait times, has sparked a lot of interest in the Water Carrier industry and led to a massive number of start up water carriers. According to MoH there are at least an additional 49 water carrier companies registered this year. Considering there were only around 67 registered companies in total the year before, this is a huge increase. Also some of the new carrier companies are big operations from overseas and they run large fleets. Water customers now have more choice than ever and this should mean shorter wait times and at least some downward pressure on pricing. However many costs to the water carriers have also gone up so I wouldn't expect to see large price reductions...time will tell.
2. NO (severe) DROUGHT
This one I think is obvious. Last year's drought was reportedly a 1 in 25 year event. Although I think most will agree the trend has been for longer, drier summers in NZ, most weather commentators are not expecting this summer to be a repeat of last year's severe drought...it seems like we have already had more rain in Auckland than we had last summer.
3. MORE FILLING STATIONS
This one is a biggie. There is no point having a hundred million water trucks on the road if they can't get any water to bring you! And this year Watercare has stepped up early by installing more tanker filling stations in better locations and this should play a part in getting water to where it is needed.
4. MORE COMPETITION
They say competition is good for business and the consumer and this year there is more competition than ever before in the water business. For many years the water carrier industry has been run by family / mum and pop type outfits (which some people still prefer of course) but this year has seen some quite professional players enter the mix too. Some of the newer companies are determined to drag the water carrier business kicking and screaming into the 21st century and have introduced sophisticated online booking systems. All this extra competition means that everyone has to lift their game and hopefully you the customer, will see better service across the board as a result.
How about Water HQ?
Water HQ is still a fledgling company but we are doing what we can to provide even better service. We have setup a third 11000L truck and we have hired and trained two new experienced drivers. We also have our superstar customer service person working full-time (Jen) to take calls and answer questions so no more waiting for Shane to pull over the truck and call you back!
Despite all this, our aim is still to provide the best possible service so we are keeping our delivery area small so we can get to you fast.
As always thanks for your support, stay safe and hydrated from the team at Water HQ...bye for now.
PS: Are you one of those folks who have to wait weeks for your water, while the neighbors seem to always get next day service? See our next blog article - "Tips and Tricks to get your water delivered quickly every time!"