Jody Anderson spearheads Well Done Pro, a provider of business solutions for water well contractors.
By Mike Price
Tired of using piecemeal technology to manage his company, Jody Anderson is spearheading an effort to provide business solutions for water well contractors with Well Done Pro.
The aptly named company offers website design and a comprehensive web-based app that manages the day-today operations of scheduling, servicing, drilling, and treating a water well. For estimating and invoicing, Anderson hopes to be a programming partner with QuickBooks in 2021 so the app can offer that service and possibly other accounting software packages.
“When you start looking at our industry, you realize we’re still working in the 1980s,” says Anderson, owner of J.P. Anderson Well & Pump LLC in Ravenel, South Carolina. “Most don’t even have websites. Pencil and pen still work, but it’s tough to be on time and organized. But to each their own.”
In fact, Anderson estimates 90% of today’s water well drilling companies still operate by pen and paper while the other 10% operate the way he’s done over the years—juggling various business apps to make do.
“Those of us using technology have been saying there’s got to be something better,” says Anderson, who served as president of the South Carolina Ground Water Association from 2018-2020. “That’s where I’ve decided I’ve got to lead the change.”
Partnering with web developer Robert Velarde, Well Done Pro will build websites for companies in the groundwater industry to bring them into the 21st century. Well Done Pro’s website states “we build websites that can be found” and “build operational efficiencies that increase profitability.”
“Robert is really good at the business design side of anything you want to do with a website,” Anderson says. “He can bring the business to you.”
Anderson, who has also served on various committees for the National Ground Water Association, quickly discovered the advantages of being online in the early 2000s. He and his late father, Andy, then-owner of Anderson Well Drilling in Hollywood, South Carolina, split off on good terms and competed for business in a respectful way. Jody created company websites for himself and his father’s company. Jody saw how business was generated through the basic website he created, but once mobile devices came on the market, he handed the reins of it to Velarde in 2012.
“My dad passed away in 2019 and he used to come to me all the time asking me how I got his business,” Jody says. “He’d say, ‘I used to service that person’s well, how did he end up contacting you?’ And I said it came over the website and I would show him.
“I didn’t know it was my dad’s client until I went out there to talk with them.”
Technology aside, Jody credits his father for the contractor he’s become today. Andy was instrumental in the South Carolina Ground Water Association (SCGWA), serving on the board of directors in various roles and president (2001-2004) while helping solve legislative and regulations issues throughout the 1990s and 2000s. For his decades-long involvement in the groundwater industry, Andy received the George McCall Award from the South Atlantic Jubilee before serving on its board of directors from 2013-2019. He was elected to the SCGWA Honor Roll in 2007.
Well Done Pro’s App
The app developed by Well Done Pro was intentionally designed to be a web app so the user app can work off any internet device rather than being something downloadable from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. It is expected to be released to the general public in the December-January 2021 timeframe.
The app streamlines a company’s internal workflow system and customer information. Anderson likens the app to one’s file cabinets that can be accessed online at the office, at home, or elsewhere.
“We’ve made sure it’s very user-friendly no matter what someone’s tech level is,” he says. “You can quickly put information in there and then obviously that’s where the ball gets rolling. Customer information is at your fingertips.”
Anderson and Velarde were busy working on the app this summer-fall and recently designed a survey/questionnaire that acts as a prompt/checklist for service technicians who have been dispatched on service calls.
“This will allow the manager of the app to send questions that are easy to fill in for workers in the field,” Anderson says. “Data is then recorded, and if there’s no internet, it logs it when it gets back to connectivity.”
Another new wrinkle added to the app in the fall was including each state’s respective water well report forms.
“We will offer some basic forms that we think will help the industry and offer customized forms for each state,” Anderson says. “Each state has different forms for well reports, formation information, and permitting. There will probably be some fees associated with setting up each form, but once the form is inputted, the user has access to it from there on out.”
In addition to these improvements, the app now has a mapping function for all scheduled jobs, which took significant time for Anderson and Velarde to program.
The app continues to evolve as Anderson is seeking feedback from industry colleagues by having them trial test it in the field. A light version of the app (limited functionality) will be available for free to those who want to trial it; there is a monthly fee for the full functioning app.
“As you know, that’s what apps are good at—constantly changing on the fly,” Anderson says. “We wanted to build it from the water well contractor’s perspective, so they use it. If they don’t use the software, it’s not going to be meaningful for the industry.”
Small business owners in the groundwater industry have enough to manage on their plate. Anderson understands this firsthand and has geared the app for the owner who doesn’t employ a full-time office staff.
“I want to be able to manage it (the business) from the crawl space just like the QuickBooks commercial where the plumber is under the house and sends the invoice and gets paid from the crawl space,” he says. “I’ve had that happen, just like the commercial.
“From the beginning of our app, my goal was to make it so that well drillers don’t have to struggle to record information and also have a record of what’s going on at a job, so a manager doesn’t have to be at multiple places at once so to speak. You can just do it online.”
The template of the Well Done Pro app has been adapted from an app that Velarde previously built for electricians. Anderson and Velarde are open to continuous feedback on the app.
“With Jody’s knowledge of the industry and his understanding of technology,” Velarde says, “it’s a nice little blend to make an application that can be very impactful for the customer experience, internal workflow of different well organizations, and the most important thing for the industry is for them to make better decisions. The app schedules jobs in the future with the customer right there.”
Building Customer Trust Online
As Well Done Pro’s website points out, it used to be that the size of the yellow page ad gave a reference to how successful a business had become. Today, customers look to website design as a sign of the company’s strength and success.
Water Well Journal Unbound Sales Growth columnist Carole Mahoney would agree.
In Mahoney’s October WWJ column, “Where Your Customers Are,” she writes how today’s customers are online. Therefore, it’s critical that businesses in the groundwater industry have a website presence.
Once the company website has been created, Mahoney writes it’s time to start building trust with customers.
“A simple website that gives contact information (email and phone), customer testimonials, services offered, and a frequently asked questions page is an inexpensive way to start building that trust,” she writes.
Customer testimonials, also known as online reviews, influence today’s customers.
“Unlike a generic Facebook post that fades the very same day, online reviews have enduring value,” writes Brant Scheifler in “What Is Our Fool’s Gold?” in October’s issue of WWJ.
“They are today’s powerful version of word-of-mouth referrals. In fact, 76 percent of consumers now treat online reviews as personal recommendations from friends and family.”
Anderson, who turns 47 on November 23, gets it. Following his email signature is a link and request to “Leave a review.”
Technology is in Anderson’s wheelhouse. Before taking water well drilling on as a career in his 20s, he attended computer school in Charleston, South Carolina, acquiring helpful future-business skills in computers and programming. He relies on his various Apple devices to help run his business by wearing his iWatch to monitor phones and messages while drilling, wireless earbuds (Plugfones Basic Pro) to answer phone calls off the iWatch, and iPhone nearby to take notes.
“When my hands are dirty, I’ll answer the phone with my nose,” he says with a chuckle. “It’s kind of comical. My guys laugh at me when I do it. You know how you fumble your phone with dirty hands, this thing makes it so you can answer it with your nose if you had to.”
Anderson’s top revenue generator is water treatment, skills he learned to market and pursue from his father. His interest in it led him to create a Facebook group (Water Conditioning Worldwide). He also created another Facebook group, naturally one focused on technology (Jody’s Office Technology Group).
Besides traditional water wells, Anderson drills cathodic protection, irrigation, and dewatering wells—all three which produce enough revenue for him to maintain the type of quality equipment he prefers to run. He’s also working with Clemson University to develop a mapping/reporting system that tracks abandoned wells.
Anderson is looking to pass his knowledge amassed over the years to his son and employees by recording short video segments explaining the different phases of the drilling process. It serves as a reality check of how technology has shaped the way learning is done today.
Like learning online, Anderson has found technology to be impactful for his business. He senses the timing is now to help his fellow contractors achieve business success with it like he has found.
“I’ve overheard drillers talking about when the ‘interweb’ crashes,” Anderson says. “It’s possible, I guess, but I think we’re completely dependent on the internet at this point. This app just makes use of the best the world has to offer. I compare it to what happens if oil dries up . . . not good at that point.”
Mike Price is the senior editor of Water Well Journal. In addition to his WWJ responsibilities, Price contributes to the Association’s scientific publications. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at (800) 551-7379, ext. 1541.