Survey Results

2010 IA Member Opinion Survey

Turf and Landscape Standards Survey Highlights

Contractor Business Climate Survey 2010

SmartWater Forum/SWAT survey


2010 IA Member Opinion Survey

The 2010 membership survey was distributed to all 1,953 members comprised of primary decision makers within companies and individual members (i.e., technical members, retired members, etc.). More than 400 members completed the survey.


About the members who responded…

  • Of the survey respondents, 75 percent indicate they work primarily in turf or landscape and 21 percent classify their primary focus as agriculture.
  • Across nearly all questions, responses between agriculture and turf/landscape professionals are similar and nearly identical in many cases.
  • When variances occur, they are minor, usually with less than a 10 percent discrepancy and not significantly changing the group’s overall input.

A summary of members’ answers is as follows:

  • “Support of the irrigation industry” is the most-named reason for being an IA member, cited by three-quarters of respondents. IA’s certification programs and promotion of certified professionals is the second most-given response.
  • Four out of five members rate IA as very effective or effective on offering irrigation-focused continuing education and certifying irrigation professionals.
  • Members indicate that IA’s top priorities in the next three years should include certification, promoting the use of irrigation professionals, identifying irrigation best practices and offering irrigation-focused continuing education (classes/materials).
  • When working with IA staff, 85 percent of members reported that staff acts professionally and 80 percent felt staff delivered good customer service.
  • Three out of four members believe that IA’s leadership is making good decisions on behalf of the association’s members.
  • Approximately three out of five members report that IA’s federal and state/provincial/regional advocacy efforts are beneficial to their businesses.
  • IA’s education and certification programs are considered important and effective by more than 70 percent of the respondents.
  • More than 70 percent of members believe association services are a good value for membership dues, while 85 percent believe membership has a positive impact on the member’s business.
  • When respondents are asked to name the two largest issues facing the company over the next 24 months, nearly all indicate the economy or other budget and business issues as a top concern.

Turf and Landscape Standards Survey Highlights

Distributed to more than 1,200 IA members in the turf and landscape segment, 270 individuals responded. The most represented member types (respondents were allowed to select more than one) were:

  • installation contractors
  • maintenance contractors
  • consultants/designers
  • university/government
  • manufacturers

Result Highlights

  • The survey found that a majority of professionals feel that systems:
    • Are not being designed properly (72 percent).
    • Are not being installed properly (78 percent).
    • Are not being maintained and operated properly (88 percent).
  • 85 percent agree that the quality of irrigation products is improving.
  • Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) agree that regulations impacting irrigation (which vary between locations) are already a challenge to their businesses.
  • 88 percent have experience with codes and standards.
  • Nearly 92 percent agree that the development of product and system standards would be positive for the irrigation industry overall.
  • Nearly 83 percent felt that irrigation code development is positive as long as it incorporates science-based best practices.
  • Do the following support IA's mission to promote efficient irrigation technologies, products and services?
    • Best practices – 95 percent agree they do.
    • Product standards – 90 percent agree.
    • Model codes – 87 percent agree.
  • Which products were ranked highest as having a positive impact on the industry if standards were developed?
    • weather-based controllers (88 percent)
    • rainfall sensors (88 percent)
    • pressure-regulating devices (87 percent)
  • Respondents said that SWAT should next pursue:
    • high distribution uniformity nozzles
    • flow sensors for main line or valves
    • self-learning or programmable sensors
    • sprinkler head check-valves
    • low precipitation rate nozzles
    • pressure-regulating device valves

Contractor Business Climate Survey 2010

IA surveyed member and nonmember contractors in late 2009 and early 2010 to determine the impact of the current business climate. A total of 151 contractors completed the survey, 92 members and 59 nonmembers.


About the companies who responded:

  • A majority of member respondents (65 percent) and 33 percent of nonmembers reported a total gross revenue stream of more than $1 million.
  • Among all respondents, 38 percent reported a gross revenue stream of under $249,000 for their irrigation related business.
  • Only 20 percent of companies listed 50 employees or more.
  • Healthcare was offered at 65 percent of member companies and 48 percent of nonmember companies.

A summary of the results is as follows:

  • The economy was rated as the top issue currently impacting businesses by more than half of those surveyed. Competence and professionalism were the next most important issues.
  • More than 90 percent felt the recent economic downturn significantly or moderately impacted their business’ profitability. In response, four out of five respondents reported reductions in spending with three-quarters also reporting workforce reductions.
  • Respondents were divided on whether or not the business climate would improve in 2010, though a slight majority thought it would.
  • Contractors reported that consumer purchase decisions were driven primarily by price more than quality or an equal mix of price and quality.
  • Forty percent of contractors report that state or local jurisdictions require an irrigation specific license, certification or similar qualification. With regard to irrigation systems, 45 percent of members and 54 percent of nonmembers reported the need for a permit or inspection.
  • Approximately 70 percent of all those surveyed reported that they or one of their employees were certified through IA or another program.
  • The vast majority of respondents (82 percent) agreed that irrigation installers should be required to pass a formal assessment of competence in order to practice.
  • On the job training was reported as the most frequently used training method for employees.
  • More than 40 percent reported that water availability issues impact the way their company operates and expect that to continue in 2010. Two-thirds expected availability to impact their businesses in 2011-2013, and 84 percent expected their company to be impacted in 2014 and beyond.
  • More than half reported that customers were rarely concerned about the amount of water the system would use, but another 40 percent said customers were frequently or always concerned.
  • A majority (73 percent) responded that they do not monitor customer landscape water use or monitor it very little. Two thirds serve customers in areas where landscape water use is restricted by days or hours.
  • Respondents rating their awareness of sustainability initiatives reported highest levels of awareness for the U.S. Green Build Council’s LEED program and three EPA WaterSense programs (the landscape irrigation professional partner program, weather-based irrigation controller labeling and the water-efficient single-family new home specification).

SmartWater Forum/SWAT survey

Following the SWAT forum at the 2009 WaterSmart Innovations conference, the IA surveyed participants on irrigation technology and consumer marketing and education. While only a small sample (41 respondents), the results have helped shape SWAT’s direction.


Who responded:

  • Nearly half of respondents were from California with a total of 34 respondents indicating they were from states in the western half of the U.S.
  • While only half of respondents disclosed demographic information, 40 percent of these reported their businesses were retail water suppliers; remaining respondents were classified in a broad category encompassing manufacturers, distributors, designers, maintenance contractors, etc.

A summary of the results:

  • Respondents indicated that the landscape irrigation technologies they would most like to see used by customers were smart controllers, drip and microirrigation, and multi-stream rotating nozzles.
  • Respondents wrote that messaging for such product education should focus on why the products are needed, effects (i.e. statistics on resulting water conservation) and system maintenance.
  • Participants requested high level messaging rather than technical details with an emphasis on verified data rather than costs.

When asked about their marketing outreach to residential customers:

  • A majority (45 percent) indicated that outreach messaging usually focused on specific types of equipment that would increase water efficiency. Preferred formats varied, with leading methods including handouts, direct mail and Web site content.
  • The SWAT initiative has proposed creating marketing collateral templates, which many respondents said they were interested in using (34 percent indicated “definite” use while another 53 percent indicated approval by a supervisor would be required). Customizable, four-color templates were preferred.
  • When queried regarding potential financial contributions for usage rights, participants were divided on whether a standard rate should be offered versus a fee based on business size or revenue.
  • Survey results indicate that irrigation professionals not only see a need for consumer education on irrigation technology but also welcome customizable marketing materials highlighting the purpose and effects of such products.