It is normal for plaster sub-contractors to venture into renovations. This is especially for minor renovations. For major renovations, it will take time as a contractor needs to learn the skill. Transforming the current architectural design or adding new styles to it will increase the amount of work and skills required. Replumbing, pulling out decks, and adding new gadgets requires knowledge as a pool builder. Rob Burkett, president of Burkett’s Pool Plastering in Ripon, Calif, adds that the contractors also require knowledge on what to do during the demolition process. It will take a while to familiarize myself with the works and skills of the new business. Knowledge of pool remodeling, building contractors, and plastering are important for success in this business.
To execute a major pool remodeling, a builder needs a wide scope of information and expertise. This can be overwhelming for contractors. At this point, it is okay to decline the job. Most challenges in the industry are by contractors who take up work that they can’t handle. Contractors need preparation for the amount of work they will face. This is because they are switching from their area of expertise to a new one. Shawn Goldberg, plaster division head at Burketts, states that they never take up new projects if they have no equipment, personnel, or any other requirement.
Sometimes, it is the client who refuses the job and the investment required. The contractors should provide an assessment of the work required to make the job secure. This will include fixing electrical issues or unsafe drains. If the homeowner does not oblige to this, it is safe for the contractors to reject the job. If the customer’s job offer is to make small temporary repairs that do not have a long-term solution, the contractor should decline the job. It is also considered wise to spend on plumbing instead of plastering. The reason being, the surface of the material will discolor if the latter isn’t dealt with.
A variety of offers in major renovations expand opportunities for a company, and the opposite happens when the renovations become problematic. This brings to life the idea that companies must give disclaimers to save them from future problems. It is possible to find a problem beneath the pool that they were unaware of. These can be existing plumbing issues or destruction of pipes during demolition. For Burkett, he gives specific warnings. For example, he cannot guarantee the functioning of an old light after it was removed and reinstalled after renovations.
The inclusion of disclaimers prepares customers for issues discovered during the process.president of Burkett’s Pool Plastering, Rob Burkett
Some contractors fear that if they provide disclaimers, they will discourage customers, says Goldberg. In reality, it shows professionalism. It builds a good reputation for a company because it shows they are only interested in an effective, long-lasting product.
Importance of pool remodeling
Pool remodeling may bring an opportunity to add or change something to better the outcome, purpose, and security. Paolo Benedetti, principal & designer of Aquatic Tech Pool & Spa in Morgan Hill, Calif, notes that the majority of the pools are incorrectly plumbed. Contractors have a duty to replumb, improve machine safety and energy quality. For instance, lifting the deck can unveil plumbing problems. These may require contractors to replumb. They can fit in huge pipes to increase efficiency and needs a few features such as different speed pumps.
They should also check on the dual drains, and that the speed is fine to prevent entrapment. The contractors should make the most out of it for a quality, long-lasting product. This is because the chances for a client to redo the renovation is almost impossible. Lee Valenzuela, president of New Image Pool Interior in Clovis, Calif, adds that contractors should upgrade everything and make them secure. Benedetti says they should pass a rebar scanner, to ensure steel has enough Shotcrete or gunite cover. If inadequate, more concrete should be added, though this will affect the perimeter of the pool. Contractors should identify the problems early and include the cost in the initial bill to avoid customer suspicion.
Call for help
If, as a contractor, you notice any signs of future problems that are not within your area of expertise, ask for help. In case you notice cracks on the pool, refer the problem to a geotechnical engineer. If it’s a problem with the electric system, contact an electrician. It is also important to check on the attitude of your contractor. Have a feel of the expectations in his field of work and dance to their tune to get the job done perfectly. In some areas in the country, contractors do not hire subcontractors for fear of competition.
As a subcontractor;
- Do not use builders to give you leads to customers. This happens when a builder calls in a subcontractor who starts dealing directly with the homeowner sidelining the builder.
- Avoid unfair play; this involves quoting a lower price to the customer than the general contractor. It is better not to get involved in maintaining a good rapport.
Consumer relations and administrative operations
Renovation is not all about providing a range of products to the consumer. It also involves how you deal with a client. For a subcontractor, he reports to work, does his part, leaves, and sends an invoice. For a general contractor, he oversees the whole project and keeps in touch with the customer. Most companies have customer service personnel who connect the client to the job personnel. A customer has to deal with only one or two people throughout the project.
Scammers Cash In On Pool Craze
Avoid getting scammed on your pool installation this summer
This year has proved to be a repeat of 2020 in terms of consumer demand for swimming pools. A vaccine is out but with less than half the country fully vaccinated, folks are still looking for pools to fill the void in creating lasting summer memories. Instead of packing up the family SUV or booking a flight to the beach, many consumers are looking forward to spending time in their own backyard.
The swell in demand has attracted many new pool companies looking to cash in on homeowners that are desperate for a swimming pool. This includes a fair amount of scammers that are ready to take advantage of a surge in consumer interest in swimming pools.
We offer some sound advice on how to avoid getting scammed for a swimming pool installation.
How are scammers targeting consumers interested in swimming pools?
Whether homeowners are interested in an inground pool or an above ground pool, we’ve seen scammers taking advantage on multiple levels with a variety of shady tactics.
- Pool companies performing pool construction without a license and only a website and no license number listed or a fake one registered to an entirely different company. Certain states specifically mandate that contractors display a valid license number for consumers to check.
- We’ve also seen instances where pool builders have had their entire design portfolio lifted from websites like Houzz and Facebook only to be copied to a competitors website where they claim the work as their own. These companies often have no track record for completing pool projects and no intention of doing so once they’ve parted the homeowner from their money.
- Bait and switch tactics applied to online retail scams where the pool advertised in no way shape or form resembles the actual product the consumer receives. Consumers need to be especially careful about buying swimming pool kits from overseas suppliers, particularly on websites like Ebay, Craigslist and Wish.
What should consumers watch out for when looking to buy a pool?
- Prices that appear to be too good to be true usually are and should be avoided.
- People are frequently enticed by low ball pricing they can’t refuse, but they end up paying for a pool that simply doesn’t exist.
- Read customer reviews carefully and only buy from reputable sources.
- Verify the company’s physical location really exists. Doing a simple Google search can help consumers avoid the frustration of getting scammed.
- Check the companies website carefully if a fake address or no address is shown. It definitely could be a scam if the company’s actual address cannot be easily verified.
- If purchasing online, pay with a credit card or another safe means of payment. Using a secure payment option, such as a credit card, gives you extra protection and increases your chances of successfully challenging the charges.
- If purchasing an inground pool, a reputable builder will base your payments on realistic milestones in the pool construction process and avoid front loading the majority of the project before any construction actually occurs.
How can homeowners locate a reputable pool builder?
- Reviews are great for making a buying decision but often don’t tell the whole story. When considering which pool contractor to hire don’t just read online reviews. Ask for references and a pool tour in the course of doing your due diligence.
- Google a pool companies name and type in the word “complaints” to see what comes up.
- Carefully review your pool contract before making signing it and making a deposit. If you notice anything odd or misleading, don’t just sign out of sheer desperation to own a pool.
The Pool and Spa Industry: Dealing With Rapid Expansion of the Industry
The global pandemic negatively affected almost all economic sectors. Conversely, the pool industry came out in one piece. In fact, experts say that the covid-19 pandemic led to the expansion of the pool and spa industry. Amid the travel restrictions, homeowners were looking to create mini staycations in their backyards. As a result, there was an increased demand for pool services.
Currently, pool contractors have a lot on their plate. Everyone wants to revamp their pool and outdoor spaces. Owner of H&H Pool Services in Dublin, David Hawes, says, “We’ve never had a high demand for our services before. Indisputably, this is going to be our best year.” Moreover, the Owner of Payan Pools, Payan, states, “December has been the best month we’ve had since we started the business.”
However, pool business owners say that a surge in demand leads to increased risk in the pool and spa industry. As much as it’s tempting for firms to hike prices, not all companies qualify to do so. It would be best if you considered several factors before you think of capitalizing on the surge.
Pool and spa industry: Will hiring more employees pay off?
One of the major challenges brought about by an increase in demand in the pool and spa industry is a labor shortage. Increased demand causes a shortage of labor. In turn, it forces pool companies to employ more people. But employing more people is very costly. Remember, you have to consider all the taxes, compensation, and insurance costs attached to each employee. So, is hiring more laborers worth it?
Well, hiring is worth it in the long run. But it will take some time before you benefit from it. Generally, employing more people is a considerable risk, but it will definitely pay off at the end of the day. So, if possible, hire more employees.
Nevertheless, it can be challenging to find someone passionate about your business as much as you are. Nowadays, finding someone willing to deliver their best efforts in your company is challenging. Moreover, there are few qualified people. A good percentage of people are still getting paid well while working from home.
Payan, therefore, says that company owners have to devise a strategy to be more productive. For example, they can deal with more extensive and complex projects during off-peak seasons. At this time, there is not much going on. Thus, pool contractors have more time to concentrate on larger projects. You can always ask the client if it is possible to do this. Most of them will be perfectly fine with this.
At the end of the day, it’s all about working smart to achieve all your goals. You can always keep up with the demand, even with a few laborers. However, give all your team members’ adequate time to rest. Otherwise, they would burn out. In turn, they will have low energy levels and perform poorly at work.
Devise a strategy to grow your business
All pool company owners should develop a strategy to expand their business at this time. Below are some of the questions you should ask yourself if you plan to grow your company.
- Do you have enough trucks? Or do you need more?
- Is your warehouse spacious enough to accommodate all your equipment? Is it necessary to have a second or third, or fourth warehouse in a different service area due to increased demand?
- Should you recruit new team members to deal with the increase in inquiries?
- Should you incorporate advanced technology to monitor your stock, sales, and revenues?
Every question comes with an opportunity and a risk. For instance, if you need another warehouse, this will mean more costs and more business at the same time. Therefore, it is vital to ensure that the returns supersede the risk.
How long will the surge in demand last?
More often than not, independent contractors receive more returns. Come to think of it. They only need to pay their suppliers and a few laborers. This justifies that sometimes, bigger is not always better.
However, the increased demand is now forcing independent pool builders to grow. Since they have to deal with multiple projects, they have to employ more laborers. Although it’s relatively risky to expand their business, it is beneficial in the long run.
But before expanding their businesses, is it worth it to go the extra mile? Remember, this surge in demand in the pool and spa industry arose from the covid-19 pandemic. What happens when the global pandemic is over? Will things go back to normal? Well, there’s a good chance that things will remain as they are for a pretty long time. Employers say that employees are still productive even when working from home. Besides, children are now used to having swimming pools around; it is undoubtedly hard to take their minds back to the old norm.
Everything You Need To Know About Hardscapes
From the early years, pool owners used hardscapes to make their pools more appealing. The expansion of the pool industry has led to the development of different hardscaping material designs. Due to the covid 19 pandemic restrictions, there is currently an increase in demand for pool decking services. Therefore, pool contractors should do their best to keep up with this high demand.
Hardscape myths: Truth vs Reality
Certain myths revolve around hardscapes. As a result, a good percentage of qualified pool contractors avoid providing hardscaping services.
More often than not, pool builders are unsure of how to go about hardscapes. They prefer not to offer these services. Once they cope the pool, they render the project complete.Hardscape’s product manager at NPT, Paul Golomski
What is the reason for this uncertainty?
Paul continues to say, “The uncertainty usually stems from the installation process. Pool contractors don’t want to install a pool deck that won’t offer high longevity. They are afraid that the pavers will start wearing out after six or eight months.” Contractors don’t want to destroy their reputation and credibility. However, if you use the right installation technique, pavers can last for decades.
Moreover, very few builders don’t include the cost of additional material. And this affects their profits at the end of the day. For example, when dealing with a pool deck of 800 sq., you cannot use pavers measuring 800 sq. Typically, you’ll use more material because some squares are not even.
Manufacturers provide the necessary help
The increase in demand for outdoor space renovations should prompt new contractors to provide pool decking services. However, the biggest challenge that prevents builders from providing this kind of service is education. Fortunately, hardscape manufacturers are doing their best to help builders with installation. Once you purchase a hardscape material, manufacturers are willing to guide you on the installation process. Before the covid-19 pandemic, hardscape manufacturers would even come onsite to guide contractors. Due to covid restrictions, they now offer tutorials virtually. And they don’t charge anything for this.
Different designs and customization options
At present, there is a broad spectrum of deck materials, and each offers unique aesthetics. So, there’s something for every pool type and design. Golomski states, “Pool owners prefer natural stone to conventional concrete pavers.” Typically, natural stone provides more aesthetics compared to concrete. Nonetheless, the best pick for NPT is travertine. Travertine provides exceptional and distinctive aesthetics. If you want your pool to stand out, travertine is the best deck material to choose from. Besides, you can customize it to your preferred shape and size.
Maximum longevity and fewer maintenance costs
Hardscape materials carry a wide array of advantages. One of the best things about these materials is that they are long-lasting. Hardscape materials can look good for decades. Furthermore, they incorporate fewer maintenance procedures and costs. For example, natural stone does not need any maintenance. All you need to do is sweep it using a traditional broom to keep it clean.
Light-colored hardscape materials are better
It would be best to install a lighter-colored hardscape material for your pool. Most hardscape materials feel hot or even burn when you step on them using your barefoot. Lighter-colored materials do not absorb as much heat as darker-colored hardscape materials because they have a high Solar Reflective Index (SRI). It is much more comfortable to step on a lighter-colored hardscape material.
Experience your outdoor space virtually
Fortunately, you can visualize the hardscape material in your yard before installation. Remember, there is a wide range of hardscape materials. And selecting the right one that complements your backyard can be challenging. The NPT Backyard App helps you see the outcome of the project through a virtual pool design studio.
Golomski states, “Our company is currently bringing new additions to the market. Some of them include porcelains, marbles, and flagstones.” Once you get access to the Backyard App, you’ll see how your pool area will appear. The app allows you to customize your pool with different deck materials, from natural stone to concrete. Then, it gives you a clear virtual presentation of how the pool is most likely to turn out.
Hardscapes: A promising future ahead
During the first few months of the pandemic, there was a lot of uncertainty. But after some time, homeowners started upgrading their backyard spaces to make summer holidays more worthwhile. Subsequently, there was increased demand for hardscaping materials. Golomski states, “We have never experienced such high demand for hardscapes. We expect the same demand within the next two to three years. So, 2021 will most likely be a busy year.”
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