“I was thrilled to celebrate 20 years in February …” said Parker Barsell, “I think that, at this point, it is a great opportunity for me to do something a little different but still continue to always support FSPA.”
Parker Barsell started as business development manager for Pool Troopers on July 6. Her new role will encompass an aggressive effort to acquire service providers and grow their footprint throughout the Sunbelt region.
Parker Barsell began her career at FSPA in the role of Communications Manager, and worked to bring freelance newsletter production in-house. She also worked with the organization on handling tradeshow communication, and developing the group’s website.
Parker Barsell was quickly given the additional job of overseeing the group’s events, which was then known as the Florida Pool and Spa Show. She was moved up to the role of operations manager in 2007 to manage the team as it looked for an executive director. She was promoted to the top position the following year.
FSPA’s structure has dramatically changed during her tenure as Executive Director. In years past it was known as NSPI Region 7 and served as a local branch of the National Spa & Pool Institute (now known as Pool & Hot Tub Alliance). It was renamed the Florida Swimming Pool Association back in 2003. FSPA became fully independent in 2008.
The organization has definitely come a long way since its inception. The FSPA’s personnel grew initially from a few part-time employees to its present roster of eight full-time staff members, including an in-house government relations manager and a digital media specialist, once her tenure as executive director formally began. The organization also strived to improve education in the state of Florida by producing and delivering its own certification course.
The organization’s exhibition was renamed the Everything Under the Sun Expo during her tenure.
An executive search committee has been formed to find a replacement for Parker Barsell. Charis Tyson, a 14-year veteran of the organization who formerly served as senior director of marketing and communications, will take over in the interim until the position is filled.
NPP Adds 4 New Operations
Four additional operations have been added to the NPP (National Pool Partners) roster, a new national service roll-up. Primarily centered in Florida, NPP now has locations in Texas, California, Nevada and Arizona
Aquaman Pools, situated in Scottsdale, Ariz., has joined the firm. It will function as a regional headquarters, with Chad Nikkel elected regional president in Arizona, where he will be in charge of supervising expansion.
Another collaboration, with Pompano Beach, Fla.-based B&B Pools, resulted in the appointment of a new regional president. Bryan Banta, the company’s owner, will supervise regional expansion as well as the integration of two other recent acquisitions: Aloha Pool Service in Fort Lauderdale and Everclear Pool Service in Inverness.
Offering Pool Services amid the Global Pandemic
The Covid-19 pandemic brought about many challenges, especially in the economic sector. Businesses closed, and people lost jobs and their loved ones. However, the pool industry came out unscathed. Since most people worked from home, they looked for ways to revamp their backyards. As a result, there was a surge in demand for pool services from homebound homeowners. Although this was a good thing, increased demand was met by a shortage of supply and labor.
Everyone is home!
A member of Algae Busters Pool Service, Dick Abare, states, “Fortunately, a good percentage of our clientele wanted to renovate their yards amid the pandemic. This was the reason for the high demand for our pool services. Subsequently, we’ve been dealing with pool equipment installation and updating old pool systems.”
Unlike before, customers are now home 24/7 during projects. Gone are the days when pool contractors had the privilege of working alone on site. Clients are no longer going to work. So, they have enough time to monitor the project during their free time. Shannon Sellers of Jeff’s Pool and Spa can relate to this. He says, “There was this customer who had never bothered interacting with our pool service technicians before the pandemic. After the covid-19 restrictions, he kept monitoring the project closely. Unfortunately, he kept finding fault in everything our technicians did. In fact, there was one time he dropped a penny intentionally to see whether our contractors would take it.” Now, customers are monitoring every step of the project. And this does not have to be a bad thing. Consider using this as a source of inspiration.
Is the increase in prices caused by high demand?
Typically, increased demand usually leads to an increase in market prices. But this is not always the case. In 2020, shipping became twice as challenging due to travel restrictions. Moreover, communication with vendors was a huge challenge. All this led to increased prices. Even so, some companies like Aquatic Pool systems chose to retain their prices.
“Market prices keep fluctuating depending on the condition of the pool industry. But we decided to retain our prices, and we are still doing okay. But we plan to review our prices soon. The price of everything is going up; so, it would only be fair to raise our prices.”owner of Aquatic Pool Systems, Rich Tarricone
What causes the supply shortage?
Unquestionably, the global pandemic is to blame for the shortage in supply. Currently, finding the latest pool products is challenging. In fact, Tarricone reports that he lost a customer because he couldn’t offer a specific product. Manufacturers are trying to keep up with the increased demand, but at the same time, they want to avoid stockpiling in the coming year. Customers think that we are lying when we say we don’t have a product.
How can pool experts deal with the supply shortage?
Some pool companies, like Tri-City Pools, choose to limit the products they supply at a time. This helps them prevent waste and supply what is needed.
A rise in theft cases
The majority of pool owners need pool equipment replacement services. However, it is impossible to offer what is not available. Unfortunately, some people end up stealing pool equipment. A customer whose pool heater, pump, and other equipment were stolen before she moved into her new house. Her pool service technicians had to find a solution to this problem. But after a few days, the equipment got stolen for a second time. Since people can’t find pool equipment easily, they resort to stealing.
The pool industry needs more workers
Most pool companies are experiencing a shortage of labor. Nowadays, finding a qualified pool service technician is not a walk in the park. So, it is challenging to keep up with the surge in demand. Not to mention, it is hard to find someone willing to stick with you through thick and thin. Abare says that teamwork is essential. His company deals with large and complex projects as a team.
Consequently, they are able to be more productive. And they recognize that we all need each other. He says, “You never know that you need people until work gets overwhelming.”
Pool services: Training and educating future pool technicians
The shortage of labor has led to training and education programs. The Florida Swimming Pool Association is now training aspiring pool service technicians. They offer a broad spectrum of courses that help in generating more labor in the industry. They provide virtual classes. Anyone who wishes to improvise their skills can register for the course. This kind of training will expand the pool industry in the long run. With this increase in demand, it would be beneficial to bring in more pool service technicians.
Pool companies should devise a solid strategy for dealing with the surge in demand for pool services. Although hiring more employees is expensive, it could pay off in the long run.
Pool Trader App Review
New app taking the pool industry by storm. Pool Trader is the app that allows pool companies to connect to buy and sell pools.
We had a chance to check out the new app that has been taking the pool industry by storm. Pool Trader is an app that allows pool companies to connect to buy and sell pools. We reviewed the app for our readers on Pool Magazine and have determined that it’s a useful piece of tech for the pool industry.
If you are looking to expand your pool service route and pick up more pools closer to your primary service territory, this is the app you’ve been looking for. Likewise, if you are looking for an exit strategy for your pool service or pool construction business, pool companies are using this app to sell their entire route!
We speak with developer Joe Wilmot of Pool Trader
We had a chance to talk with developer Joe Wilmot recently. He discussed with us his original concept and what first drove him to create the app. Wilmot began his career as a pool technician in 2008, when he founded H2Joe Pool Service & Repair in Fountain Hills, Arizona. He had the idea to build a method that would assist weekly service technicians in tightening their routes.
“For years, I found myself driving all over the Phoenix valley area, often traveling 45 minutes in either direction to service pool accounts.”JOE WILMOT – POOL TRADER
“I’d drive by other pool companies all the time, or even park across the street from a fellow technician as he went into his customer’s yard when I went into mine.” Wilmot explained.
How Pool Trader got it’s start
He said that it used to frustrate him how far he had to drive to service his accounts. Wilmot said he was determined to develop an app that would simplify his efforts to grow his local service accounts. Up til that moment in time, the only methods available were through Craigslist, brokers, or through referrals. He envisioned a virtual meeting place where pool companies could connect without a broker to buy and sell routes.
Wilmot is very optimistic about the future of the app and it’s potential to become a major resource for pool service companies. “It’s growing every day and I have been in touch with numerous people and companies that want to be a part of what I’m trying to do.” said Wilmot.
We’re optimistic about it’s future too here at Pool Magazine and give it our recommendation. This app has enormous potential for making it easier for pool companies to connect. Download the app yourself and see why so many pool service companies have gravitated toward the Pool Trader app. The app is free to download and is available now on Google and Apple.
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