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The key to prosperity in the pool business is capturing profits beyond the ordinary and essential products: A pool owner has already made a large financial commitment to the aquatic lifestyle — accessories that enhance the fun and appearance of the pool are the next logical step.
Rails, ladders, slides and diving boards — and even games like basketball and volleyball — are all items that can be quickly installed without inconveniencing pool owners and impacting swimming time. Better still, they yield nice profits for the installers.
Dan Lenz of All Seasons Pool & Spas in Orland Park, Ill., says rail goods are often overlooked as a profit center, though they can instantly upgrade the look of the entire pool area.
"Rails get rusted-out because of salt-chlorine systems and make the entire pool area look terrible," he says. "Replacing rails and ladders with new rails, especially powder-coated rails, really improves the pool look because you can choose powder-coated colors that match the backyard color scheme."
Replacing rails takes less than an hour each with a profit of up to $200 per rail; similarly, ladders might take one hour to replace with profits up to $300 to $400 per ladder.
Customers interested in a higher-end look are sure to take interest in new designer rails, which feature elegant curves and arcs that lend a sophisticated splash to the poolscape. And, of course, the high-end look commands a premium price and a healthy profit.
"Pool professionals today are even carrying designer rails in their service vans and offering them to their clients when they service pools," says Kathryn Varden, western regional sales manager at Inter-Fab. "They simply offer to put on new designer rails in the same anchors as their old rails. It's a quick sale and a quick update to the pool."
In addition, pool pros looking for a larger profit margin should consider promoting slides, a product easily installed to an already open pool.
"We have had great success with the X-Stream slide by Inter-Fab," says Clark Pulliam of Pulliam Pools (Houston, Texas). "It's a terrific stand-alone slide that really makes a pool more fun and appealing to children. This slide takes less than 5 hours to install and at a sale price of around $3,500, pool renovators are looking at a profit of upwards of $1,400 just on that slide."
What's new in rails, slides ladders and lifts? Take a look at just a few options below:
FabcoteFabcote offers a line of powder-coated safety rails for swimming pools and spas. Fabcote's state-of-the-art, in-house powder coating facility produces an exceptionally durable finish to resist corrosion. The surface of the rail is evenly coated using an electro-static process that drives the coating material into and around all surfaces. Made of high-grade 304 stainless steel, these rails are ideal for increased safety in the pool area. Both standard and custom rails and ladders available. fabcote.com | (800) 815-6083
Dolphin WaterSlides For almost a decade now, Dolphin WaterSlides has provided the swimming pool industry with gorgeous and fun fiberglass water slides. All of Dolphin's waterslides are custom designed and built for your customer's individual pool setting and needs. Offerings include anything from one-piece slides to custom sectionals, from 20 feet to over 100 feet in length. dolphinwaterslides.net | (731) 632-1407
RicoRockRicoRock offers builders four pre-cast rock options for waterslide access, including "steppers" for use in hillside or mound applications and pre-cast staircase pieces that can be mortared to a concrete slab. Sleeves for handrail posts are provided in the system and an internal concrete column provides stability for the top piece. There are three configurations that meet the height requirements for the most popular fiberglass slide options, including 7-, 10- and 15-foot lengths. Available for immediate shipment. ricorock.com | (888) 717-3100
Aquatic AccessAquatic Access manufactures a full line of ADA-compliant water-powered swimming pool and spa lifts. For residential use, the company also offers lifts for inground and aboveground pools and spas, as well as decks, docks and porches. For rehab and aquatic therapy centers, the company offers custom designs to fit the pools — and the patients' needs. No batteries, daily charging, solar cells, remotes, contacts, actuators, motors, oils, pumps, expensive components or extensive maintenance — just fresh water flowing in and out. aquaticaccess.com | (800) 325-LIFT
Inter-FabInter-Fab has created the new BYOS 2 Custom Slide, a second generation "Build Your Own Slide" modular slide system that makes it easy for builders to create custom waterpark-style slides for residential pools. The new BYOS 2 waterslide is wider, deeper and delivers more water than the original BYOS slide. Available with 7 different sections that can be combined into endless design configurations. Seven colors to choose from including 4 granite upgrade colors that blend perfectly into today's backyard décor. inter-fab.com | 800) 737-5386
S.R.SmithThe Rogue2 slide from S.R.Smith has a retro look with a durable roto-molded flume that makes this slide the new standard for backyard fun. The Rogue2 is designed for quick and easy assembly and has an improved high-volume water delivery system that can be plumbed through the pool's return line or connected to a garden hose. All of S.R.Smith slides fully comply with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Standard for swimming pool slides. srsmith.com | (800) 824-4387
Aqua Creek ProductsAqua Creek's Solar Charging Station will allow you to 'Go Green'. This product will save energy and extend the life of your battery. Pair with any Aqua Creek lift for minimal maintenance and long lasting use. A great choice for smaller hospitality pools or for backyard enthusiasts who enjoy their independence. aquacreek.com | (888) 687-3552
ParagonParagon custom-fabricated, corrosion-resistant, stainless-steel railings are designed for safety. Custom rails can be used for any pool application including entry, ADA compliance, stairs, deck guards and diving towers. Available in both 1.9-inch outside diameter and 1.5-inch outside diameter as needed. Design and engineering support readily available. pentaircommercial.com | (800) 831-7133
Paradise SlidesParadise Slides designs and sells high-end, custom, commercial-grade fiberglass waterslides for residential homes. As a family-owned business, Paradise Slides has a commitment to quality and excellence in every step of the process, the company says. Made in America, slides include stainless steel brackets and fasteners and can be easily installed with minimal construction knowledge. With Paradise Slides, you can bring the waterpark to any backyard. paradiseslides.com | (855) 865-7740
SAFTRON SAFTRON manufactures the only rails and ladders in the industry that do not require grounding or bonding, the company says. All rails and ladders are made with a high-impact polymer coating; some residential and all commercial rails and ladders are fully reinforced with marine-grade aluminum inside for strength. Railings are made of specially formulated compounds to ensure longevity and unparalleled resistance to the elements, UV, chemicals and saltwater while requiring virtually no maintenance. Available in five different colors, with custom colors also available. saftron.com | (305) 233-5511
Pentair Commercial AquaticsPentair Commercial Aquatics offers the AquaTRAM 90 pool access lift, which rotates 90 degrees left or right for easy pool access. It anchors directly into the deck with the popular Quickset Dual Wedge Anchor socket, making it removable without tools and easy to retrofit into existing anchors. Includes dual flip-up armrests, comfortable seat with adjustable lap belt and footrest plus simple-to-operate controls. Complete with a rechargeable battery-powered operating system. Meets all ADA requirements and has a 300-lb. lifting capacity. pentaircommercial.com | (800) 831-7133
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