Tampa water softener company solves hard water woes with straight talk

Tampa water softener company solves hard water woes with straight talk

Angie's List member Robert Hesser of Trinity, Fla., has lived all over the country, and he makes no bones about his dislike of Florida water: "It's the worst for hardness, mineral buildup and crummy taste," he says. "A water softener is a must-have accessory."

So he hired Michael Crocker's highly rated Mr. Water Co. in New Port Richey, Fla., to install a water softener. "I decided to go with Mike because he's local, he's a no-pressure businessman and the company is truly family-based," Hesser says.

Crocker says customers appreciate a small family-run business. He and his son Scott handle all the company's work, and his wife Kay manages the office. "We're the prototypical family business," he says. "When someone hires us, they know the job and follow-up will always be done by me or Scott. They appreciate not having to worry about little things, like how we'll always call and remind them when it's time to change the filter. Kay is very diligent about keeping track of these things. A lot of our customers affectionately call her 'Mrs. Water.'"

Crocker founded the business in 1993. He and his son spent more than a decade carefully building a loyal base by focusing on new construction and service calls. "We did a lot of our initial marketing at home and garden shows, and many of our sales came from our low-pressure approach," he says. "We didn't try to sell them anything; we listened to their concerns and explained the various options. People felt we were knowledgeable and straightforward."

He credits that strong customer base and continuing service jobs for maintaining his business during the economic downturn. "We've been able to flourish when a lot of companies have gone out of business," he says. "New construction isn't what it used to be, but the service side has really picked up."

Crocker says the water softener field has expanded greatly since he opened: "Not many homes had a water softener in 1993, but most of them do now. Lots of homeowners feel they can't do without one, because of the dissolved minerals in the water. Now we have whole-house water conditioners that remove the taste and odors and eliminate hard water, giving you bottled-water quality throughout the entire house."

He's been well-served by a memorable company name. "A lot of people may not remember my name, but I'll see them in the store and they'll say 'Hello, Mr. Water!'" he says.

Mr. Water is highly rated by Angie's List members and has earned the Super Service Award in 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2010.