• Hot tub Q&A with two dealers

    by Barrett Kilmer May 2009

    James S. Johnston
    vice president, sales & marketing,
    Marquis Spas
  • Strategies to boost spa cover sales

    by Karen Erstad May 2009

    While new spa sales have become more challenging, customers still need to maintain their existing equipment, an imperative that pulls them through a retailer's doors in search of chemicals and filter elements on a regular basis.

    Among these maintenance necessities are spa covers, which need to be replaced every few years - indeed, many of your current clients will purchase one in the next few months....

  • Familiar customers aren't always the best customers

    by Jeff Mowat May 2009

    When I speak at conferences and corporate meetings about customer service I often hear managers reminding their team members about the importance of repeat business. The assumption is that if customers keep spending their money with you, they must like you. But is that really true?

    Many business owners and managers are unaware of the harsh reality that some folks who spend their money with your organization may not enjoy doing business with you at all. The...

  • Q&A with hot tub professionals

    by Barrett Kilmer April 2009

    Welcome to AQUA's newest column, "Hot Tub Monthly," which will feature the voices of industry insiders focusing on the hot tub business. Each month a new panel of manufacturing executives will connect with the industry and answer questions affecting business today.

  • Align sales with marketing to maximize ROI

    by Linda Bishop March 2009

    Dick Jerrod, president of ABC Pools & Spas, frowned as he addressed his team in the conference room: "I don't understand it. We're spending more on marketing, but not getting real growth in sales."

    Sherry Martin, the CFO, spoke up first: "We should look for ways to improve productivity. How can we spend less and get more?"

    Bud Shipp, vice president of sales, answered, "It's just like Joseph Wanamaker said a hundred years ago. Half...

  • Treating people well can be good business in a downturn

    by Phillip M. Perry March 2009

    With the recession wreaking havoc on revenues, business owners from coast to coast are reducing employment rolls to control operating costs. Too often, though, terminations are carried out in ways that spark costly litigation.

    "Given the increasing number of layoffs in recent months, there is bound to be an uptick in wrongful-discharge lawsuits," says Joseph P. Harkins, a partner in the Washington, D.C., office of Littler Mendelson, the nation's largest...

  • A look at some of the pool and spa industry's top retailers, builders and service pros

    by Barrett Kilmer March 2009

    AQUA PROUDLY PRESENTS THE 2009 AQUA 100, our list of the most-professional retailers, builders and service companies in the business. You’ll notice that the companies listed in the following pages build, retail and repair a wide variety of products. What you won’t see, however, is any information about how many pools a company built, how many spas a store sold or how much a service company billed for weekly maintenance. We don’t think professionalism can...

  • The franchise concept and its use as a pool and spa retailer's exit strategy

    by Scott Webb March 2009

    A good number of entrepreneurs in this industry have accomplished what they set out to do - build a successful retail business.

    They began with a dream - sometimes with little else - and grew their stores into healthy, profitable enterprises. With that dream fulfilled, and often with their golden years before them, they find themselves considering retirement, at least from the pool and...

  • Automatic pool cleaner buyers know what they are looking for

    by Scott Webb March 2009

    "What we're finding is that consumers are researching their purchases more carefully than they ever have before. They are just very cautious about where they're going to spend their money. It means more to them now than it did two or three years ago."- Kevin Braidic, product manager

    That observation, while intended to address the automatic pool cleaner market, may summarize the...

  • Facing the future in the pool and spa industry

    by Scott Webb March 2009

    Scott WebbIt never hurts to look ahead.

    Yes, at the moment the big economic indicators are still dropping, but the day is coming when the great American economic machine will roar to life again. It's good to keep that in mind, always.

    It may be this fall, or it may be next year, heck, it may be the year after that, but it's coming. The headlines will once again speak of hiring...