• Beat Winter Blues

    by Karen Erstad August 2006

    During the hottest month of the year, few of your customers will be looking ahead to closing their pools. But you should. Not every service is worth offering, but winterizing pools and spas is. "Winterizing is the most profitable part of servicing pools," says Larry Hayes, president of Anchor Spa & Pool in Huntley, Ill. "And it's because of the...

  • Weather Or Not

    by Lindsay Renick Mayer June 2006

    As pool designs become more and more complex — with vanishing edges, waterfalls and raised spas — so too does the homeowners' ability to cover them completely during the winter months in an effective and attractive way. Thanks to a host of innovative winter pool cover products, however, not only can homeowners open their pools in the spring with little...

  • Easy Enclosure Sales

    by Becky Strauss June 2006

    Competition to sell spa enclosures is coming from many places nowadays. For manufacturers, the competitive presence of China and Southeast Asia is beginning to have an impact. Dealers have chosen a variety of methods to deal with the competition, focusing on service and providing quality products chief among them. The Internet, too, has made sales easier for dealers just...

  • Go Solar

    by Barrett Kilmer May 2006

    Over the past several years American citizens and their elected representative have been focusing more on ways to reduce our country's dependency on foreign oil and other pollution-causing natural resources. The war in Iraq and Iran's recent saber rattling, in particular, underscore the danger in continuing to rely on what's historically been relatively inexpensive and free-flowing oil and its byproducts, including propane, from the Middle East. In addition, even if...

  • Cape Crusaders

    by Lindsay Renick Mayer May 2006

    It was only a matter of four weeks that determined whether Jim Treese was bound to sell copy machines or travel down a path that would lead to the 2002 opening of Cape Cod Aquatics, a pool and spa company that has doubled its sales every year since.

    After working for a fire and safety inspection company for 10 years and after a short stint with an Internet company,...

  • C'est Le Sauna

    by Becky Strauss May 2006

    It probably comes as no surprise that sauna sales in this country lag far behind hot tub sales. On the other hand, sauna sales have historically flourished across the pond, while hot tub sales have lagged. So why are saunas so successful in Europe while they stand in the shadow of other home leisure products (specifically hot tubs) here.

    What can dealers, and...

  • Cleaners 101

    by Becky Strauss April 2006

    Automatic pool cleaners have stormed the scene in a big way in the last few years, making pool ownership ever easier and more convenient. Cleaners run the gamut from in-floor systems, custom-designed and installed when the pool is built, to pressure-side, suctionside and robotic cleaners. With everything that's available on the market today, AQUA offers the following...

  • Funding Expansion

    by Mark E. Battersby April 2006

    Interest rates remain close to their historical lows but financing for many spa and pool businesses continues to be elusive. One problem: Lower interest rates mean lenders and investors can be more selective. How, then, can spa and pool business owners hope to fund the expansion of their operations?

    Any quest for expansion funding must begin with an understanding of the various types of financing, where that funding is to be found, and at what cost. Generally, there...

  • Head Of The Class

    by Virginia DeMoss April 2006

    "There's no other industry event that has the quality of seminars AQUA has," says entrepreneur Matt Gohlke, who attends every session he can squeeze into his schedule. In fact, the five-time AQUA 100 winner doesn't waste a single chance to learn something new, which is why he particularly appreciates the many opportunities the conference and show provide to...

  • Feeling At Home

    by Phillip M. Perry March 2006

    Do non-family employees feel like "outsiders" in your business. If so, it's a sure bet that their lower morale and simmering resentments are having a negative effect on your operations and sapping your profits. It makes sense, then, to take action that will make outsiders feel right at home.

    Workplace psychologists suggest two steps. First, foster a business environment that communicates respect for all players. Second, make a point of uncovering...