Why an Op-Ex Model Makes Sense for Water Management?

Yasaswini S
Jul 26, 2022

Many people raise questions about our business model. We give away our high-precision ultrasonic sensors for free, and charge a monthly fee for the use of our services. Why did we choose this strategy? And how can our customers benefit from this approach?

We understand the confusion, so here is a summary of some conversations we have had on this issue.

A monthly recurring expense for water metering? The idea of a recurring cost makes me uncomfortable.

That’s a valid point. In an era of heavy EMIs, it’s reasonable to want to avoid yet another recurring plan. And what value could you possibly get? You are already paying such a heavy amount for monthly maintenance. Why would you want to add to this cost?

That’s exactly right. So why do you have this model?

When we started out, we approached this very differently. Our solution was available for outright purchase. But ultrasonic, high-precision devices are expensive to design and manufacture. The cost reflected this reality.

Additionally, as a new and growing start-up, we were constantly improving the app, and upgrading the hardware. And we have a specialised product and service, so we also hired and trained in-house customer service representatives instead of outsourcing this to a call centre.

In a single-point sale, all of these costs get tacked on to the purchase price.

It’s hard for Residents’ Welfare Associations to spend that kind of money in one go.

Hmm.. That’s true. Managing the books for an RWA is challenging. So how did you solve this problem?

We know that our solution will be worthwhile in the long run. When residents are billed according to usage, they become better and more sustainable users. 

Demand comes down. 

Money spent on water and water infrastructure comes down. 

Most of our clients save more money than they spend on our subscription. 

They recover costs in about 1 year.

But we decided to make it easier. We overhauled our entire business model.

Now, we provide the sensor – the hardware – for free, even though it is the cornerstone of our service and we spent years perfecting it. It’s a high-quality product and has been certified by the FCRI for having >98% accuracy in measuring water.

If it is free, what are you charging for?

We charge for installing the sensors in your plumbing lines because it is a high-skill job that requires boots on the ground.

The monthly fee is for the use of our services – for access to the app and the dashboard, to generate bills, for servicing and support. But this is truly a very nominal amount. On average, it costs less than many OTT subscriptions.


I am still worried. If I install your system, and agree to this model, what stops you from suddenly increasing your rates?


Except the fact that we are an intelligent business. We don’t want to annoy our customers or make them feel they haven’t received value for money. We want to become your trusted partners in sustainability. One day, we hope you will come to our blog or reach out to us for any questions about water usage.

This is the biggest advantage of a OpEx model. It makes the company and the client teammates rather than adversaries.

Customer satisfaction is completely tied to our bottom line. So, we won’t sell you a product and then disappear. You are assured of dedicated service.

In addition, you don’t get stuck with an older version of the service. You get quick access to all upgrades and updates developed by our technical team.


That’s all good to hear. But …

Think of it this way – your television is an outright purchase. Your set-top box is on a monthly subscription.

If something goes wrong, where do you get better service?

The television company rarely invests in post-sales service and support. If you want better services, you have to buy a better model.

On the other hand, issues with the set-top box are resolved in minutes. One call to the dedicated helpline number run by the company. Physical replacement of the device usually comes with an upgrade.

This is the experience we want to give you. We are here to be your partners in sustainability.

Yasaswini S
Head of Content

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