Contractors and Builders
Installing an Outdoor Kitchen in your Backyard Space
Over the years, the target population in the pool industry has been looking for something unique. The majority seek contracting companies that offer backyard deals with a swimming pool, a spa, an outdoor kitchen area, and a relaxation area.
Similarly, most pool contractors desire to offer this total package to their customers. They no longer strive to construct only pools; they aim to fulfil all their customers’ requirements and increase their satisfaction.
Nevertheless, construction of an open-air cooking area disqualifies pool contractors who are apprehensive in installing kitchen appliances, building BBQ isles, among other activities they do not have a specialty.
If you are one of these companies, there’s no need to worry. Contrary to popular belief, constructing open-air cooking areas is less complicated. We have some tips for you if you would like to venture into this thriving market.
1. You can do it yourself, from start to finish
Fortunately, like a pool building company, you can conduct the construction process from the start to the end. Suppliers have made it easier for pool builders since they provide premium built-in outdoor kitchen appliances. Based on the nature of the project, you can install them within a few days. Almost all these appliances are custom-built or personalized, manufactured by orchestrated stone boards that can imitate any form of material like stacked stone or rough-cut granite. Moreover, the foundation and layout are not needed. As a result, you do not have to encounter craftsmen or designers who do not have the selected design in mind, during the construction process. Thus, you are in charge of the entire process, and you can make the best out of it.
2. You can bundle
It is essential to train your sales team to lure clients with an all-inclusive pool construction package. Most customers will buy the service because it is likely to cost them less. Building a cooking area during pool construction also saves you money. An estimate of an additional $10000 to $15000 is needed to construct the kitchen. Nonetheless, if they do not accept your offer, strategically leave out a kitchen space when creating the pool. They will surely want a kitchen area sooner or later, and chances are high they will contact you.
3. Outdoor Kitchen design is pretty straightforward
First, having background knowledge in interior design is not compulsory in constructing an attractive outdoor kitchen. Before planning the design, consult your client on their preferred type of cooking area, its uses, preferred size, and how much room they are willing to give up. This information will assist you in setting the foundation. Furthermore, it will help the customer to select his/her preferred kitchen design among the four original designs as outlined below:
- U-Shape: In this kitchen design, the chef area is centrally located. It works well for customers with a relatively bigger space to work on and desire to create a glamorous kitchen space. Some consider it the ultimate design hence the name U-shape. The plan provides excellent preparation and cooking areas.
- L-shape: If you have medium-sized space, this design is the perfect match. Chefs cook and grill in an open area with customers on the left or right side. Building split level countertops in this design is ideal for bar service.
- Galley: The galley design is suitable for customers with limited space. It contains an isle and an enjoyment area; say a bar, constructed parallel to each other.
- Straight or island: Do you have limited space? There is no need to worry since a straight kitchen design or BBQ island will be your perfect solution. A straight model is constructed adjacent to an outside wall. Barbecue islands do not occupy a lot of space; they are as tiny as 39-by-39-inches and allow for a 21-inch electric grill with an extension for barstools to fit.
4. Pricing is easy
Once you contact your supplier, they should have an outline of their prices and any additional costs. You can, therefore, strategize on your expenses and profits respective to your budget. When dealing with a sophisticated design that requires additional construction, factor in the additional costs and present them to your client, if a client desires more services, factor them in your total pricing.
5. Huge retrofit market
In the current market, there is a high demand for renovation services compared to construction services. Lightweight concrete is ideal on any solid surface. However, you may encounter utility connections problems. Customers can use liquid propane in managing the grill as an alternative to water and electricity. As a result, soft drinks, among other beverages, will be kept more aloof even without power.
As a pool contractor, your job is to develop unique, beautiful, open-air spaces where people can not only swim but also eat, relax, have fun, and enjoy breathtaking views. The latest building designs even make it easier for homeowners to build everything within the house environment.
Contractors and Builders
Deckorators Deck Designer Lets You Start Dream Building Immediately
Deckorators, a leading manufacturer of outdoor living products, has recently launched a new deck designer software that allows users to quickly and easily design their dream deck.
With this cutting-edge tool, users can start designing their ideal deck within seconds. The software features a user-friendly interface that makes it easy for anyone to use, regardless of their design experience.
To get a better understanding of the full capabilities of the software, Pool Magazine spoke with Michelle Hendrick of UFP Industries and Jason Varney of Dock and Deck.
“It’s a consumer tool, but contractors can also utilize it as well to really plan out the project that they’re working on and work with a homeowner on ways to look at different colors and how that pairs well with the siding of their house,” explained Michelle Hendrick.
One of the standout features of the Deckorators design software is the ability to choose from a wide range of customizable options. Users can select from a variety of decking materials, including traditional wood and composite options, as well as different colors, styles, and patterns. They can also add railings, stairs, and other features to their design, allowing them to create a truly personalized outdoor space.
Another helpful feature of the software is the ability to visualize your design in 3D. This allows users to get a realistic idea of what their finished deck will look like, making it easier to make design decisions and ensure that their deck meets their needs and preferences.
“You can even pull in a photo of your home into the software as well,” explained Hendrick, this really gives you a good feel for what that deck could look like.” Hendrick claims the software gives users the “design flexibility to really look at different pairings and ways to really accentuate the backyard”.
In addition to the design capabilities, the Deckorators design software also includes a project cost calculator which is exciting to contractors like Jason Varney. The software allows users to see how much their dream deck will cost, making it easier to plan and budget for their project.
“I think it is a tool that a contractor can use too,” said Varney, “DIYer’s will definitely use this to get a basis of an idea or a plan and almost kind of see where their cost price points are going to be before they contact a general contractor to come out and either give them a full rendering.”
“It’s a great start of letting a customer kind of figure out where they want to start out price-wise and get a budget in mind of where they think they need to be as far as materials,” said Varney.
We had the opportunity to experiment with the Deck Designer software ourselves and can see the potential in software that allows homeowners to dream build right there on the spot. We rated the Deck Designer one of our top pool products of 2022. Ease of use, easy-to-apply options, and a simple-to-navigate interface are guaranteed to make the platform a winner for homeowners and professionals alike.
Overall, the Deckorators design software is a powerful and convenient tool for anyone looking to design and build a new deck. Its customizable options, 3D visualization capabilities, and project cost calculator make it easy to create the perfect outdoor space for any backyard. So, it can be a great help for homeowners, contractors and designers to create their dream deck.
To take a deeper dive into what the new software is all about, listen to the Pool Magazine podcast and our interview with Michelle Hendrick and Jason Varney. During our discussion, we talked about the new Deckorator design software as well as some other exciting new additions that you’re bound to see while making the rounds at this year’s trade shows.
Ready to try Deckorator’s new Deck Designer? Visit https://bit.ly/deckoratorsoftware
Contractors and Builders
Avoiding The Negative Spiral
Avoid the negative spiral by adhering to 4 fundamental principles.
A lot of builders compete on price and operate on narrow margins. This leaves little revenue to perform warranty repairs or to correct errors made during construction.
These builders oftentimes rely on the profit from the next job to fix mistakes from the last project. As the economy slips into a recession, these revenues shrink even more and the pool of funds available to remediate mistakes dries up.
Delays in performing repairs increases and customer frustration grows. As customer complaints intensify, the quantity of lawsuits rise.
The solution is simple, but multi-fold:
- Fix your errors and warranty call backs promptly.
- Maintain open lines of communication – don’t ghost clients or feed them BS.
- Increase the contingencies built into a project. Set them aside into a separate account, and don’t spend them upon each project completion.
- Improve quality control and reduce errors & mistakes.
Now, more than ever, as the economy constricts, clients will become more frugal and conscience of what is occurring in their yard. They will be less tolerant of delays and excuses.
Avoid the vortex.
This was a post originally published on Facebook that received an enormous response from peers within the industry.
Thoughts from some of my followers:
I don’t play the race to the bottom game to get the job. I have my margins and if someone goes cheap, they can have the job. If I don’t make what I need to, I walk away.
Another way to remediate this is to ensure that your profit margins are adequate enough that you don’t have to rob Peter to pay Paul. If you’re actually performing quality work, the customer should be charged accordingly. Quality work costs money; most reasonable customers understand that. Michael Calore
Great advice. As a a 40+ year pool builder I wish just one of ex employees that decided to go into business for themselves would take the time to learn the business. I wouldn’t have made a career of repairing (and being paid well) for repairing others mistakes. JA GROW
Contractors and Builders
Surety Bonds For Pool Construction & Outdoor Improvements
What Swimming Pool and Outside Improvement Contractors Should Know About Surety Bonds
If you are a contractor who is involved in pool construction or making other outdoor site improvements, you might be required to obtain a contractor’s license and a license bond. Swimming pool contractors in some states are required to obtain specialized licenses, and bonds are frequently required as a condition of licensing. For example, California requires swimming pool contractors to obtain a swimming pool contractor license, which carries a bonding requirement as a licensing condition. Other states, including Florida and Texas, also require bonds for pool contractors who perform electrical work on pumps and other components of pool installation.
Even if your state does not require you to obtain a specialized license for pool construction work, you might have to get a general contractor’s license and post a bond to perform work above a certain amount. In addition to license bonds, there are other types of contractor bonds that you might need based on the size of a project or the requirements of the project owner. Here is some information about contractor bonds for pool contractors and those who perform work on other outdoor improvements.
What Is a Surety Bond?
A surety bond is a legally binding agreement between the following parties:
• Principal – The individual required to post a bond
• Obligee – The party, which might be a governmental licensing authority or private project owner, that requires the bond
• Surety – The bond company that approves and issues a bond as a guarantee the principal will comply with its legal and contractual obligations
About Surety Bonds
Surety bonds are not a form of insurance. Instead, they protect the obligee and the public against potential misconduct on the part of the principal. When a bond company approves a surety application, the principal must sign an indemnity agreement through which it agrees to hold the surety harmless in the event of a filed bond claim and loss. Ultimately, the principal is the party who will be responsible for paying valid bond claims that might be filed.
Types of Bonds
License bonds are bonds that might be required as a licensing condition before a contractor can secure a license. These bonds might be required by a state licensing body or by a city or county before a contractor can obtain a license or certificate to perform work in the jurisdiction.
Many contractors who perform work on outdoor improvements or construct pools might also be required to post contractor bonds. A contractor bond is a type of surety bond that guarantees the contractor will perform work that meets the provisions called for in a contract.
3 Most Common Bonds
These bonds might be required for public projects valued at $100,000 or more. Many private project owners also require bonds before they will enter into contracts with pool contractors and those who will perform work on other outdoor improvements. The following three types of contractor bonds are common:
• Bid bond – A bond that might be required as a condition of bidding on a project that guarantees the winning bidder will follow through and perform the contract at the bid price even if the contractor forgot to include something in the bid.
• Performance bond – A bond that might be required by a public or private project owner that guarantees the contractor will perform according to the provisions called for under the contract and will not complete substandard work.
• Payment bond – A bond that guarantees the general contractor will pay its subcontractors and suppliers for their labor and materials that protects the subcontractors and suppliers as well as the private project owner. Payment bonds protect private project owners from potential mechanic’s liens that might otherwise be filed by parties that have not received timely payments for their work from the general contractor.
Public-funded projects worth more than a threshold amount might require contractors to post all three of these types of bonds since they guarantee the completion of the project to specifications, prequalify contractors before they can submit bids, and provide payment protection.
Savvy private project owners likewise might require contractors to post performance and payment bonds to guarantee the contractors they choose will perform the work as promised and will pay their subcontractors and suppliers.
How Do You Get Bonded?
To get bonded, you can apply for the specific types of bonds you need by applying to a bond company. The surety bonding process involves an extension of credit from the bond company to the contractor, so the application will be sent through an underwriting process. The factors that a surety will consider to determine whether or not to approve a bond application include the applicant’s credit, business experience, working capital, stability, reputation, and others. Evaluating these factors helps the surety determine the degree of risk it would face if it approved the bond application.
If you have a great credit score, substantial experience, strong working capital, and a good reputation, the surety company will likely determine you pose little risk and provide you with a bond quote of as little as 1% of your required bond amount. For example, if you are required to post a $25,000 surety bond, you won’t have to pay the full amount of the bond. If you are quoted 1%, you will instead need to pay 1% of that amount of $250. By contrast, if you have poor credit, your application might be denied, or the surety might provide you with a higher quote of up to 10%. In that case, you would have to pay $2,500 to secure your bond.
Bonds are not permanent. Instead, they must be renewed. Once you have posted the bonds you need, you should make sure to pay attention to when they expire and apply to renew them before they do. If you avoid bond claims and maintain good credit, you can anticipate continuing to receive low bond quotes. If you had to post a larger bond premium because of a low credit score but have worked to build your credit since you originally posted your bond, you might find that you receive a better rate when it’s time to renew.
Surety bonds are a common requirement for contractors who construct pools or complete other outdoor improvements. Making sure that you understand your requirements and that you always comply with the law and your contractual obligations can help you secure better rates and also build a strong business reputation.
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