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Thread: R/G installer Mike Garcia ready to build his first Koi Pond

  1. #11
    Tosai
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    Carolina Girl Thanks for your observations. I have built hundreds of watergardens. In all my years of doing such, I have only been asked twice to build a traditional Koi Pond. I turned down the jobs because I did not want to get into settlement chambers and uv lights. In my experience, people don't generally ask for Koi Ponds because frankly, the number of water gardens to actual Koi Ponds is very lopsided. Tons of advertising is out there for water gardens. If there is advertising for traditional Koi Ponds, it is very little, In fact, I haven't seen any in my area! I have never tried to talk someone into a watergarden who had wanted a traditional Koi Pond. I can't speak for others. I can't see how a person (client) could pay thousands of dollars for something they they didn't want in the first place. The old saying "buyer beware" is true whenever a person is shopping, especially for big ticket items.

  2. #12
    Oyagoi CarolinaGirl's Avatar
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    The main reason people don't ask for a traditional koi pond is because they don't know that there is a difference between a koi pond and a water garden. Of those hundreds of watergardens, how many now have koi in them? The customer is for the most part, uneducated. They rely on the honesty of their builder to stear them in the right direction, thinking they are getting educated by asking their pond professonal for advise. When my pond was on a pond tour, you would be amazed how many people told me that a pond like mine is what they wanted, but the installers refused to do it. They tell people that bottom drains are a bad idea because they leak. They tell them that rocks are good for the fish and create a natural eco system. They offer to come back yearly and clean the rocks....for a fee....usually in excess of $500. They tell people that 18" to 24" deep is good enough....and sloping walls with plant shelves are fine. And the customers believe them because they don't know any better. Around here I could make a fortune desining and installing koi ponds because there is NO one here that knows how or is willing to do it right.

  3. #13
    Guest Nancy M.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikegarcia View Post
    Nancy Perhaps I should give you a little background. Please check out http://www.clca-lasgv.org. You'll notice mention of award winning landscape contractors and photos of their 2008 projects. Please notice that my company is named several times. I know how to run a business and how to do it well. I won't dignify your comment with a direct response, however, I am looking into joining my local chapter Koi Club. I've been told it's the ZNA. Is that correct? Are you and your husband Frank a part of this chapter? I would try and be nice because you and I might be spending time together on projects which will promote the hobby of Koi keeping. I intend on joining several Koi clubs (if they exist)in my area and I know our paths will probably cross and I want it to be pleasant for all of us. I live in Redondo Beach which is near Gardena. Perhaps you can give me some direction regarding our local Koi Clubs. I look foward to your response.
    Mike
    SInce most "koi Ponds you have seen look similar to bathtubs with liners, I thought you might enjoy these pond pictures that JR, was so kind to post on another board.. For My Friend Jan T - KoiShack now that's landscaping to perfection along with traditional koi ponds to perfection.

    I have a question why is it that all the water garden pamplets and Magazines, always picture koi swimming in these rock bottomed ponds, if they truely wanted to educate folks, then they would not show koi in R & G ponds.

    Sorry Mike I don't think we will be running into each other at any club activities, I do not belong to ZNA SoCal, and I believe Steve already gave you all the clubs contact information located in your area.

  4. #14
    Oyagoi CarolinaGirl's Avatar
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    Water gardens can be very beautiful!! I am a Certified Master Gardener and love gardening. My love for gardening is what got me into koi in the first place. The water garden was pretty and the koi were pretty. And then I went to my first koi show and saw what koi can be if they are given a proper environment. So I started researching everything I could about koi and their needs and built my self a nice 9000 gallon pond...and also a 3000 gallon water lily pond. Koi have since taken over the lily pond too....and the lilies are gone. I have an abundance lush vegitation all around my yard and pond, but the koi have the pond all to themselves. They are healthy and happy that way and the yard is beautiful.

  5. #15
    Honmei
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikegarcia View Post
    Carolina Girl Thanks for your observations. I have built hundreds of watergardens. In all my years of doing such, I have only been asked twice to build a traditional Koi Pond. I turned down the jobs because I did not want to get into settlement chambers and uv lights. In my experience, people don't generally ask for Koi Ponds because frankly, the number of water gardens to actual Koi Ponds is very lopsided. Tons of advertising is out there for water gardens. If there is advertising for traditional Koi Ponds, it is very little, In fact, I haven't seen any in my area! I have never tried to talk someone into a watergarden who had wanted a traditional Koi Pond. I can't speak for others. I can't see how a person (client) could pay thousands of dollars for something they they didn't want in the first place. The old saying "buyer beware" is true whenever a person is shopping, especially for big ticket items.


    ,
    That bolded section is so very true. But here's the rub, most "clients" don't really know what they want. Most R&G installers either a) don't know the differences or b) don't explain the differences between a koi pond and a watergarden. The "a" option can be dealt with through eduction but that "b" option is what can be really upseting, especially in light of the fact that many of the R&G marketing literature depicts koi in an R&G pond. I am sure you saw the ADI pamphlet regarding the 20 or so "Myths" concerning ponds? A few years back, I diseted every one of ADI's points showing how totally wrong each of their points were and this is a company (as you know) that has had the facts explained to them time and time again over the years and yet they were still putting out this very misleading literature as "marketing". That leaves the impression with those who actually know better that its an intentional misrepresentation and the uniformed buyer is the victim. Although "Let the buyer beware" may be true, "intentional misrepresentation" is the foundation for many legal actions.

    Here's a few questions for you to consider:

    Do you survey prospective clients as to what their "wants" really are? Do they want fish? If so, what types and size and how many? Then, based on those questions do you know what the actual capabilities of the proposed pond really are and give the "clients" a dos and don't list? Such as the numbers of fish (types and size) that the pond is designed for? Do you spell out the required maintenance program and any associated costs?

    Now, as for your own "koi" pond that you are planning, what depth? what structure? Have you gotten the plans certified by an engineer (I believe that is a California requirement by the way). As you progress, I would strongly recommend that you post your design and specifications for some review here. That could save you a lot of heartache later.

    Steve
    The views presented are my personal views and not that of any organization that I may belong to unless otherwise specified. [email protected]
    CKHPA

  6. #16
    Tosai
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    Help appreciated

    Steve I thank you for the suggestion and I intend to post progress of my pond construction on this website. You are right about ADI. I still have literature which is given to homeowners which comes with the pond-in-a-box kit. The ADI magazine shows giant Koi being hand fed watermelon in an ADI pond. The Koi look very happy. I know what you think about ADI, but did you know that ADI is NOT a sponsor of the IPPCA? ADI has one way of building ponds. The IPPCA promotes building all kinds of ponds, including traditional Koi ponds. I would imagine if you had to choose between the IPPCA and ADI, you would have to go with the association which is there to serve and promote trditional Koi Ponds.

  7. #17
    Guest Nancy M.'s Avatar
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    Mike
    Have you decided how you will construct your new "koi pond", gunite, cinder block, liner? what size plumbing, how many bottom drains? How far will the run be and the head height? What type of bio filter and Mechanical filter, will you have a settlement tank? will the water go to a sump which feeds to the sewer lines? Will you have a UV light? what will the length X width X depth be? Will you have a water fall or a stream, with this be a formal or informal pond?

    I think once you have decided on all of the above, it will give everyone a better idea for recommendations.

  8. #18
    Honmei
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikegarcia View Post
    Steve I thank you for the suggestion and I intend to post progress of my pond construction on this website. You are right about ADI. I still have literature which is given to homeowners which comes with the pond-in-a-box kit. The ADI magazine shows giant Koi being hand fed watermelon in an ADI pond. The Koi look very happy. I know what you think about ADI, but did you know that ADI is NOT a sponsor of the IPPCA? ADI has one way of building ponds. The IPPCA promotes building all kinds of ponds, including traditional Koi ponds. I would imagine if you had to choose between the IPPCA and ADI, you would have to go with the association which is there to serve and promote trditional Koi Ponds.
    Yes Mike, I know that there is no formal link between the two. But actually, if I had to choose nbetween the 2 for a Koi pond, I would choose niether (nor any contractor associated with either) for two reasons, the first ios my opinion on both's lack of integrity and ethics and the second being that niether has the knowledge base to construct such.

    As for your statement:

    I intend to post progress of my pond construction on this website
    It seems you are making a very HUGE mistake already. You have stated that you have wanted help from the knowledgeable on this project but based upon my previous suggestion to post you plans and specification, it would appear that you only intend to post actual construction progress. No plan/design review first? Oh well.

    Steve
    The views presented are my personal views and not that of any organization that I may belong to unless otherwise specified. [email protected]
    CKHPA

  9. #19
    Honmei
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    Quote Originally Posted by schildkoi View Post
    Yes Mike, I know that there is no formal link between the two. But actually, if I had to choose nbetween the 2 for a Koi pond, I would choose niether (nor any contractor associated with either) for two reasons, the first ios my opinion on both's lack of integrity and ethics and the second being that niether has the knowledge base to construct such.


    Steve
    I have been following this thread without saying a thing but this statement sums up how I feel about the whole situation. Here in the Bay Area the are several large irrigation supply companies that have started selling pond kits. They are essentially Aquascape type kits. I have accounts with these companies and, even knowing I have a Koi business, their sales people have tried to convince me to buy these products and install them saying that I could make a lot of money. I made the effort to explain to some of these sales people that they are not selling a Koi pond but rather a water garden. Upon further explanation of what a Koi pond really is I just got blank stares.
    The point is that it is just a product to them and they push it as an easy install to their lanscapers as a way to make a lot of money. As long as this mentality exists in that industry things will never change. It is OK to make money but you MUST deliver a product that is worth the money you charge and it MUST be what the consumer wants and expecxts. If they don't know what they want then you, as a professional, must take the time to educate them. Building a Koi pond should not be a get rich quick scheme.

  10. #20
    Sansai
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    I agree with Russell here. I've been to sales meetings with large landscape supply companies and heard instruction from the manufacturer (both left unnamed)where they talked about the "kits" and how the object was to make the sale to the landscaper as quickly as possible and get them taken care of within 10 minutes so they can move on the the next customer. I've also heard them say one of the reasons that external pumps and proper plumbing isn't promoted is because it takes too much time and most landscapers couldn't handle it anyway.
    This is unfortunately the prevailing mindset when it comes to pond equipment sales and marketing. It's a huge machine.

    The educational process gets in the way of sales.

    Proper pond building techniques get in the way of sales.

    Qualifying a customer into a higher dollar amount for something that will actually work gets in the way of sales.

    Selling better quality equipment at more marginal profits gets in the way of
    sales.

    I actually loose a lot of business because after talking with a new prospective client they realize they can't afford what they think they want.

    I would probably be looked at as a poor business model and there is a lot of money to be made in just slamming a rock lined hole in the ground and making it flow water. One of the problems is that anything with flowing water looks nice to some degree and "great" when collecting the check with the disaster being created not showing up for a few months after the check is cashed.

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