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Here's some good news: The hot tub industry has finally regained some of its swagger.
An infinity edge. An all-tile surface. Laminar jets. A rainbow of LED lights. Everyone loves dazzling high-end features in their swimming pool, but beyond a small percentage of upscale clients, few can afford them.
But who says the mid-range pool can't be uniquely stylish?
From unique diving boards and vinyl liner patterns to modern rails and fountains, manufacturers these days offer a slew of products that make it easy to make a backyard poolscape beautiful without breaking the bank. And some dealers, like Glen Bullard of Fort Worth Custom Pools (Fort Worth, Texas) find customers flocking to these items.
"When we start showing them some of the products and accessories they can add to their pool to update the look and functionality — that is what gets them really excited," he says.
As the following photos show, your customers clearly don't need to settle for anything less than a picture-perfect backyard.
There are dozens of ways to dive in a pool, and there are also dozens of ways to revamp the diving board. Try swapping out the base for a newer look: Inter-Fab offers sculpted La Mesa, and also the Boulder Springs, which lends a naturalistic look. Diving boards also make great multitaskers these days - the Duro Beam aquaBoard, for example, doubles as water feature with accent lighting.
"Since salt-chlorine pools became very popular in the last five years, we get a lot of calls for renovations related to the corrosion caused by the salt. The Interfab polycoat spring board is a No. 1 seller for us. It is easy to remove the old, corroded diving board and install the new diving board without having to rip up the deck. In less than two man-hours you can make a minimum of $500 profit just on replacing the diving board." — Glen Bullard, Fort Worth Custom Pools | Fort Worth, Texas
"Most of my customers have seen HGTV with the pools that have big, beautiful custom water features that go for $10,000 to $20,000. So my customers are pleasantly surprised when I introduce them to the WOK water feature by Inter-Fab. It isn't a scary price, especially in the scope of the $20-$30K pool project. The WOK is great because it's easy to maintain, no plantings are required and people like the shape. They are easy to put on AND easy to take off in the winter when you want to close and cover the pool with a safety cover. It takes less than an hour to install." — Martin Rowland | Bama Pools | Florence, Ala.
Fountains are a great way to update the backyard. Not only are they visually striking, they also offer a great auditory experience that can be enjoyed both in and outside of the pool. And because they're available in so many styles, it's easy to find one that perfectly meets your customer's design needs.
The swim-up bar is a trendy pool concept that's only growing more popular. But customers who already have a pool aren't likely to ask for a renovation to get one, right? In that case, turn them onto products that can recreate the look, like The Pool Stool. These seats can be placed anywhere the homeowner wishes and, with water intake holes, they just sink to the bottom. And as a bonus, they're available with remote-controlled LED lights, making them an easy way to add those much-sought-after light effects, too.
Whether we're talking a towering grotto or a modest boulder fountain, people love to incorporate natural textures into their poolscape. But natural rock, especially boulders, can be very costly. For a wallet-friendly alternative, turn to artificial rock. Rico Rock, for example, offers anything from modular waterfalls to full-blown caves that are far less expensive and labor-intensive than their natural stone counterparts. Even coping is available for customers who want to carry the natural look to the water's edge.
"Everyone really loves the in-pool table with umbrella. Having an area to place a book, something to drink and the bonus of some added shade really gets people excited. The table really makes the pool feel like a mini-resort. And for parents watching kids in the pool, it's especially great to have an area within the pool to sit and watch — so they are closer to the kids, but still comfortable. We sell a lot of Ledge Lounger chairs for the sun-ledge areas of the pool where we install the table with umbrella." — Scott Birkmaier | Big Splash Pools| Setauket, N.Y.
The big umbrella is an iconic element of the pool lifestyle. However, when your customer doesn't have space for a full-blown patio set (or when one umbrella just won't cover it), there's always the in-pool umbrella.
For an even easier option, turn to the Pool Buoy, a floating pool umbrella that promises to offer shade for swimmers and their beverages.
"Rail goods are often overlooked. They get rusted out because of salt-chlorine systems and make the entire pool area look terrible. Replacing rails and ladders with new powder-coated rails really improves the overall look. Replacing rails takes less than an hour each with a profit of up to $200 per rail and similarly, ladders might take one hour to replace with profits up to $300 to $400 per ladder!" — Dan Lenz | All Seasons Pools | Orland Park, Ill.
While rails serve a fairly utilitarian purpose, they're a great target for a backyard upgrade. Shape-wise, they're available in any number of modern configurations, from modern angles to elegant curves — and even a swirl or two. In addition, manufacturers typically offer powdercoat treatments in various colors that fight against saltwater corrosion while blending with your customer's decking treatment.
And better still, most of these designer rails are configured to fit into preexisting anchor sockets, making it easy to upgrade the entire backyard in just minutes.
Spa and pool retailers aren’t the only ones getting beat up by online competition. In fact, most retail categories fare far worse than we do. Few, however, have suffered like the local record store.
There was a time when every decent-sized city across the country had several record stores, but today the number has dwindled. Etail giants like Amazon struck the first blow by selling on low margins and delivering to doorsteps, then streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music...
For some products, form and function can be difficult to marry, and for years, waterslides have largely fallen into that category. While slides add big fun to many an aquatic environment, they also typically rank among the more visually awkward features.
Enter Splinter Works, a British manufacturer that has introduced a line of waterslides that completely reinvents the concept. The company was formed in 2009 as a collaboration between design pioneers Miles Hartwell and Matt...
Hot tub design has come a very long way from the days of wine barrel tubs and the early portables. The industry now features vessels that complement and harmonize with architecture and landscape design in ways once reserved for their concrete counterparts.
Back in our July issue, Senior Editor Eric Herman discussed how portable and pre-manufactured hot tubs have evolved in aesthetic design in recent years. The main point was simple: Where in-ground concrete hot tubs have...
Urgent update: The deadline is just over two weeks away. Enter today!
After sharing the winners of the first-ever Truck & Van contest, we were flooded with feedback. In particular: “When is this contest coming back so I can enter?”
Now, in fact — we’re excited to announce we’re bringing the Truck & Van contest back for another spin.
This year, entries will be...