RECENT ARTICLES
  • Get Smart

    by Barrett Kilmer June 2004

    In theory, selling water testing products and chemicals should be a breeze. Your customers need them and you carry them. But both you and your customers know many of those products can be purchased for less elsewhere — whether that's at the cut-rate pool dealer across town, or worse, at the Home Depot on the edge of town.

    The temptation to buy from places like...

  • What's The Plan?

    by David Cohn June 2004

    So you realize that you need a buy/sell agreement. You want to make sure that your spa and pool business carries on to your second and third generations without any hitches. That's a noble gesture, but have you done all the prep work necessary to draft a useful buy/sell. If creating a buy/sell agreement is like writing a novel, then most businesses write just the final chapter and hope that the foregoing chapters will just be understood. In other words, partners...

  • Pleat Smarts

    by Kirstin Pires February 2004

    The more things change, the more they stay the same. Hot tubs have changed a lot over the last few decades. Simple, rustic, tubs have evolved into high-tech, multi-featured spas. Materials such as acrylic, Lucite and fiberglass have replaced redwood or cedar. Jets are fancier, more plentiful and more complex. Sanitization has evolved to include more ozone and UV and less...

  • Efficiency Equation

    by Karen Erstad February 2004

    Ask any pool owner if she'd like to spend less money operating her pool by installing a more efficient system, and the answer will be a resounding "yes." No one enjoys spending money unnecessarily on energy bills.

    Furthermore, an efficient system tends to be one that preserves pool equipment. "What's critical for builders is the longevity of their...

  • E-newsletters - Harness the power of the Internet to drive customers

    by Phillip M. Perry January 2004

    As retailing — along with the rest of the world — continues on its journey toward the land of the digital, resourceful marketers are finding new ways and refining old ways of targeting customers. These days, everyone has a Web site. But electronic newsletters, in particular, have become popular vehicles for cajoling loyal shoppers into opening their wallets wider and handing more dollars over the sales counter.

    Maybe you're thinking of starting...

  • Salt Solution

    by Barrett Kilmer January 2004

    Salt has many uses around the house. Besides enhancing baked potatoes, making bland burgers better and coating the rims of margarita glasses, it can be employed in gargling, stain-removal and de-icing the driveway. Historically it's been used as currency, its taxation financed the building of the Erie Canal, and it's one of the most effective food preservatives in the...

  • Service Recovery

    by John Tschohl November 2003

    Show me a company that has never made a mistake in serving a customer, and I'll show you a company that is in deep denial. Every company — no matter how excellent its products or employees — occasionally makes a mistake. How those companies and their employees respond to those mistakes, however, is what separates successful, customer-service-driven organizations from the rest of the pack.

    Companies that are committed to service recovery know they...

  • Service Industry

    by Kirstin Pires September 2003

    In preparation for this year's edition of the AQUA 100, we sat down recently to go over just about every detail of our awards program, now in its 14th year.

    We looked at everything from the layout of the entry form to the deadlines and staff allocations for the project. And most importantly, we considered the questions we ask and the kinds of information we gather. We spent a lot of time talking about customer service — what questions should we ask so...

  • Special Challenges? Specialty Chemicals!

    by Scott Webb July 2003

    Pretend we're at the AQUA Show in Las Vegas, where, you know, wagering is allowed. You get a call on your cell phone. It's one of your customers, and she's got a big pool problem. What's your bet. Stains. A 20,000-gallon fiberglass bowl of orangeade. Backyard pool now a backyard pond?

    You might make a little money here, because each dealership has its characteristic pool problems. That's because although algae is basically algae, and dissolved iron is iron,...

  • Keeping Your Employees Motivated in Turbulent Time

    by AQUA Editors January 2002

    Keeping Your Employees Motivated in Turbulent Times

    By Ed Rigsbee, CSP

    Ed Rigsbee, CSP, author of PartnerShift — How to Profit from the Partnering Trend, is a freelance columnist. His Partnering University Web site is located at rigsbee.com.

    As a business owner or manager you are currently dealing with two crucial...