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Certified Aquascape Contractor

Discussion in 'Water Features' started by jonesy5149, Oct 25, 2010.

  1. Twitchy

    Twitchy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 346

    I am a CAC since last yr. I've had problems w some ADI equipment, but my distributor makes good on everything. Aquascapes kits are readily available in my area and the service is great. So all my installs are ADI. My first ADI install will be 5yrs old this spring, and runs 9 months a yr with no problems. Original pump too.
  2. tadpole

    tadpole LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,221

    Do you honestly feel that being able to promote yourself as a CAC has or will help your business? I know that "Build-A-Pond" events have their value and I am sure some things can be learned at the Aquascape "Pond College", but this same knowledge is available through other venues.without incurring the cost of travel and lodging. Not to mention the fact that some of us are not, for one reason or another, able to be away from our business and/or home.
  3. just pondering

    just pondering LawnSite Member
    Messages: 51

    Ok here is my two cents. I was a CAC and it was a great time and it was the best trainning I ever had. The reason I left was pump issues and did not like the new Skimmers and did not want to get held back or in trouble if I used other manufactures. I will always be greatfull for the start they gave me. Being certified was a small feather in my cap it did help, but here is the thing as the economy got bad people did not care about that, they were looking at price, design, warranties and if you as good as you said you were. I have seen a lot of bad work out of people that said they were certified. All in all i think it is a good idea to have any type of certification just don't think you need to have it in order to sell a job it's going to be you and your tallents that sell the job.

    Pondering Waters, MI
  4. tadpole

    tadpole LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,221

    My feelings, exactly.
  5. ponddude

    ponddude LawnSite Member
    Messages: 38

    I have the same thoughts and feelings as you guys.. but recently have thought about it a bit more. I know being able to say I am a CAC or part of the IPPCA doesnt really mean much to a prospect and what really matters is price, past work, etc etc

    So for awhile I thought.. well then.. why should I become a CAC and be stuck on their products then?

    Now I am at the point where...even though I know the certification doesnt really matter.. what would help me grow my business?

    How does the support and training from the programs differ and will becoming a CAC help me the most?

    Correct me if I am wrong.. but putting the product aside.. its seems like Aquascape has more training and business support then any other group.
  6. tadpole

    tadpole LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,221

    You are likely correct. A quite sizeable amount of training material is available from Aquascape through print, CD, Video (YouTube) and on-line through their website WITHOUT becoming a CAC.
  7. ponddude

    ponddude LawnSite Member
    Messages: 38

    you bring up an interesting point.. maybe some CACs could chime in, because I dont have the answer as I am not a CAC.

    What are the benefits of being a CAC other then what any contractor could get without being a CAC?

    The one that pops into my mind is their forum..
  8. tadpole

    tadpole LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,221

    Which will certainly help with the installation and trouble shooting of Aquascape products, but is it worth the time and expense involved in becoming a CAC just to be able to access their forum?
  9. just pondering

    just pondering LawnSite Member
    Messages: 51

    There's nothing wrong being certified with any manufacture or group, just don't think you need that to sell jobs. Aquascape gave me my start and I'm very greatfull for that and so far yes they do have the best education so far. Like I said in another post the only reason i left ADI is the skimmer and being able to use other equipment. I am certified for the Rainexchange system but so far for my area it's been a hard sell and have not sold one yet. All in All go for it just remember the old saying don't put all your eggs in one basket, there are all kinds of products out there that help for certain applications just keep your options open.
  10. jp14

    jp14 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 24

    Let me pose a few questions:

    If I am certifed by Company A, does that mean I am not capable and knowledgeable enough to install products by Company B?

    If the "education" I am receiving to become certified by Company A is so valuable and industry specific and correct, wouldn't Company B, C and D value it also and accept it as proof of my talents, abilities and knowledge base?

    If a customer is going to value any certification from Company A, B, C or D wouldn't that be dependent on the customer understanding and being aware of what constitutes a qualified installer, a quality installation and the efforts and manner in which the knowledge needed to gain said certification was accomplished?

    If the knowledge and information presented and accepted as "proof" of the right way of doing an installation has no scientific backing and verification other than Company A saying that is the correct way of doing it, how much value does that have to an installer wanting to truly learn as much as possible about installing ponds?

    If Company A trains and certifies an installer in one specific method or technique and Company B trains and certifies an installer in the same technique but with a different methodology, which one is correct? Do you have to then have both certifications?

    If customers are uneducated and lack accurate information about ponds/water gardens/etc..., would it really matter what certification you present them and/or what organization/company/group issues the certification?

    My feeling is this: In the present situation we find ourselves, any and all certifications are nothing more than marketing tools used to encourage an installer to use the products of a particular manufacturer. I have no problems with that until the line is crossed and the implication is made that a particular certification indicates competence or knowledge or a degree of professional mastery has been gained. The certifications available to us through manufacturers and/or "trade groups" prove nothing more than the fact we have jumped through their hoops to achieve our little pieces of paper. As long as we pay their fees, attend their seminars, buy their products and go along with their line of thinking, we are "certified".

    But what are we really certified in? And if one installer attends a build a pond in a day seminar and gets some type of certification, does that mean he will be a better installer than a guy that spends days and weeks researching, visiting existing installs, talking with other contractors and setting up test ponds in his own yard? The degree to which we each demonstrate the knowledge we have gained and the level of professionalism we strive to attain is dependent on what we put into our jobs and not dependent on the pieces of scrap paper issued by manufacturers/trade groups.

    I will stick to that attitude until our industry has an unified and universally accepted certification program that actually has value to those participating in it and has value to those customers hiring said "certified" contractors. We still need to educate consumers far better than is currently happening and as contractors we need a means of communicating and sharing our thoughts, ideas and concerns about the industry as a whole instead of being treated as a big turkey primed to be carved up by Company A, B, C and D and put on their "platter" of thinking, methodology and marketing.

    Call me narrow minded because I don't want to listen to what these companies and organizations have to say....but the truth is that contractors like myself have opened our minds to listen to what hundreds and thousands of our fellow contractors have to say. The answers lie with the guys in the field experimenting and trying new things and taking risks that sometimes lead us to financial ruin. So no, I don't want to follow obediently along with what a few big companies have to say because they only care about protecting their bottom line and convincing as many contractors as possible to use their products and do things their way (and thus gain certifications).

    The way I see it (and the group of contractors I am associated with), until we all open our minds and demand something more than a silly piece of paper that says we are certified, nothing will change in our industry and we will forever be debating the pros and cons of marketing tools like "certifications". We need to move past this and work toward a real and tangible knowledge base that all contractors must comprehend, demonstrate and put into practice. Until then we will continue to be caught up in marketing hype that has aims to create a constant influx of new contractors eager to "jump into the pond market" and thus be dependent on Company A, B, C and D to "educate" and "certify" them. Take this for what it is, my opinion....and also the opinion of a college educated marketing major.

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