• Beating The Big Box

    by Scott Webb July 2004

    Mass merchants are considered the bane of the pool dealer's business, but there is much to be learned from the big box about selling pool chemicals — particularly the problem solvers. The lessons taken can help shore up your own store's competitive approach.

    Yes, even with no actual understanding of the product, mass merchants sell problem-solving chemicals....

  • Spa Broker Benchmark

    by Reid Creager July 2004

    Your business isn't in a great location. It doesn't have much product diversity. Your attempts at expansion haven't worked out so well, and you don't plan on trying it again.

    Sound like a struggling business? Not if you're the Spa Broker in Chico, Calif., which recently celebrated its 25th year in business and did $1.3 million in sales last year while selling 224...

  • In Praise Of Plastic

    by Phillip M. Perry June 2004

    On sales counters everywhere, gift cards are popping up like mushrooms. And no wonder: They are great vehicles for generating cash and attracting new customers.

    Retailers also benefit from the third-party endorsement implicit in every gift card purchase. "Word-of-mouth advertising is one of the most powerful ways for retailers to extend their brands," says David Ehrlich, president of Track Marketing Group, an Alexandria, Va.-based consulting firm....

  • Enclosure Exposure

    by Karen Erstad June 2004

    Gazebos provide protection and privacy in an aesthetically pleasing package. But perhaps the best benefit of gazebos — at least from a dealer's point of view — is that you can make good money selling them. They're not spa accessories that get "thrown in" with the purchase of a hot tub. In fact, the margin on some gazebos is as much as the spa it's...

  • 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 Home...

  • 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...

  • A Sale For All Seasons

    by Elissa Sard Pollack June 2004

    Ask anyone who sells a lot of winter safety covers when the best time to sell them is, and the answer will be "anytime." Sure, some companies promote end-of-season purchases, while others push them when pools are being opened in the spring. But the truth is, you can sell a safety cover any day of any month.

    For builders, this might mean including a cover...

  • Some (Don't) Like It Hot

    by Barrett Kilmer May 2004

    It's a wonder saunas aren't more popular in the United States. They've been used in Finland for more than 2,000 years, caught on in much of the rest of Europe some time after the Middle Ages and have been found in North American hotels, health clubs and pool stores for about as long as hot tubs have. Still, many Americans view saunas as mere...

  • Spreading Sunshine

    by Reid Creager May 2004

    The pool and spa industry is one of new frontiers: Ever-evolving technology and equipment that make for quicker installation, convenience and easier upkeep. Lavish landscape creations that virtually replicate nature, whether majestic waterfalls or complex rock formations. Futuristic computer technology that allows precise and nearly instantaneous design while...

  • Purely Portable

    by Emily Fuger May 2004

    The dream of spending hot summer days lounging on a raft in a cool, pristine swimming pool beckons nearly everyone. Until recently, however, many average-income families had to put this dream on hold because they couldn't afford to install a swimming pool in their own backyard.

    In the late 1980s, affordable portable pools began to be manufactured in the United...