Every worker in the pool building business loves the artistry and innovative sector of the job. It is interesting to imaginatively recreate a bare backyard with a spa, decorative lighting, a pool, and a cordial landscape. This continues down to the designer who presents the client with a plan by considering the client’s hypothetical ideas as well as financing pool construction. After that, they put it in a drawing or on paper. Isn’t it delightful working in the pool building industry?
Ultimately, it is time for business. Regardless of how definite and slow you explain in detail the nature of the job, a number of people are still surprised by the cost. Marcus Gentry of Sunshine Fun Pools in College Station, Texas, concurs with this fact. For him, he designs practical expectations before the process gets serious. In case of failure, he knows what to do to prevent consumer rage.
For the past eight years, Gentry and his colleagues in Sunshine Fun Pools have been working with a pool and backyard loan broker that processes credit applications. In addition, they look to other financial institutions to finance and service the loan. A pool is a great investment; hence financing pool construction makes the client comfortable commencing the project. They don’t have to put the whole amount at once but pay for it in installments.
What can you term as good financing pool construction?
Gentry and Daniella Rodriguez of Silver Springs Pool & Spa in El Paso, Texas, agree that it is more than a bank just willing to give us a lump sum of money based on a credit application.
Daniella advises contractors to look for a lender that is straightforward about the figures. The lender should avail information such as interest rates, monthly payments, fixed or adjustable rates, and prepayment penalties, if any. Get the right lender to respond to questions a client may ask when presenting the financing option to them.
According to Rodriguez, clients often don’t want to talk about the cost right off the start. She tries to get a clear idea of what the client wants and provides them with a rough budget at the inquiry level. The majority of the times, clients are clueless about the cost and their financing pool construction options.
A number of customers will opt to work with Traditional banks to cater for some expenses. Others are lucky and can pay off with their current financial account. Nonetheless, this adds up to only 15% of Silver Springs clients. The remaining percentage would require some assistance. For this reason, Rodriguez comes in to explain the benefits of indulging a loan broker for the pool and backyard industry.
Most customers want to establish ways to afford a pool and are pleasing to discover the project is affordable. At this point, Rodriguez assists them in filling the application form. This is a simple process, and she pushes for the application until they get a go-ahead to start.
Rodriquez believes in maintaining good communication between every involved person. With this, she maintains good communication with Sarah Bess, manager at Lyon Financial, Silver Springs’ loan brokerage. She believes the financiers need a regular update on the progress of the project. Also, Sarah calls Rodriguez to assist her clients and, in this way, strengthens their relationship.
As Gentry states, how his broker manages finances has been helpful to his firm. Instead of giving the client huge amounts of money at once, the broker keep the money, dispatching it in stages to the contractors. This seems to be a great deal for the broker, but do the clients ever get frustrated after transferring their financial control.
According to Gentry, their answer is based on the following reason. The client signs off on everything before dispatching payment to the contractors. Moreover, the brokers do regular checks on the clients concerning the project. If the customer is fine with everything, they release the funds, but they withhold the funds if they have complaints.
After that, the lender confirms with the contractors to hear them out as well. The majority of times, it is always a simple misunderstanding. If they can’t reach an agreement, the brokers inform the builders that the cash the client is withholding is not within their limit. Also, it isn’t part of the contract to resolve the issue. Such resolutions are important to protect the broker’s reputation.
When discussing people’s pools, emotions can run high. At times, a client may have a problem with the aesthetic, which is irrelevant to the construction phase. At this point, the release of funds is acceptable if there is an explanation and pictorial evidence by the builders.
Terms and Conditions
Gentry advises that when selecting a lending partner for financing pool construction, consider favorable interest rates for your clients. Also, one who will approve most of their loans rather than decline, especially those with lower credit scores, will not limit your business.
Even though it is vital to have a fast approval process, interest rates and payments are crucial for clients. Therefore, getting a partner with competitive rates is important.
Rates like 15% may seem ridiculous and have many consumers shun off. But a rate like 3% for 3 years is attractive to consumers who don’t have immediate cash there and then but would like to invest in a pool.
Chlorine Shortage Has Public Pools Feeling The Pinch
It’s been over a year since many public pools across the nation were forced to close due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Now some are being forced to close all over again due to ongoing chlorine shortages.
Those that have managed to stay in operation are watching the soaring cost of chlorine prices closely, which has nearly doubled in many areas of the country and is expected to continue to increase through the summer.
Public Pools Losing Money On Chlorine
When it comes to public swimming pools, most facilities usually charge a fee for entry. Many community pools are considered a public service, consequently they often wind up spending more on pool maintenance than they actually get from the guest fees. The fact is that the rising costs of chlorine are a growing cause for concern for the nations public pools and aquatic centers.
The chlorine tablet shortage began last August, when Hurricane Laura triggered a fire at the BioLab chemical plant that produces the majority of the country’s dry chlorine tablets. The rise in demand for backyard pools as a result of the epidemic has aggravated the problem by increasing costs on limited supplies.
Chlorine Prices This Year Versus Last Year
“We used to pay $75 for a 50-pound bucket of chlorine tablets,” Steven Fox of Fox Pools in Virginia informed us. “The prices have gone crazy this year. You’re looking at $150 now for the same thing, if distribution even has stock. It’s getting crazy now with acid, DE, grids, you name it… prices have gone up across the board.”
Openings in many cities were postponed partly because chemical cleaning supplies took months to arrive. One neighborhood pool in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, was cleared to open after the municipal council voted to spend up to an additional $60,000 on chlorine for the rest of this season and the pool season in 2022 (about $12,000 per month).
Public Pools Closing Early This Season
More and more financially strapped communities around the country have decided to close their pools early or close parts of their pools for the season. With many facilities stating they simply can’t afford the chlorine.
The majority of city-run pools in Los Angeles have had to close less than a month after being allowed to reopen by the Department of Public Health, which disproportionately affects minority children who don’t have other access to swimming lessons.
“This chlorine issue is just exacerbating what is already an existing disparity,” Jeff Wiltse, author of “Contested Waters: A Social History of Swimming Pools in America, told the LA Times. “There’s been a significant growth in private swimming pools [in recent decades], whereas public swimming pools have been generally stagnant, and in many cities there’s been a significant decline.”
Olympics in Tokyo a Complete Bust
The Summer Olympics was postponed until this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. For marketing and branding purposes, they are still calling it Tokyo 2020 which is weird, but okay marketing is expensive and to be honest, most of us are just fine with pretending last year never even happened.
This does nothing to address the elephant in the room which is, no one is allowed to attend these Olympic venues and a huge percentage of viewers forgot they were even happening this year. By no means should this diminish the incredible effort the United States swim team is putting on. Already they have won 8 medals and are expected to dominate most of this years 18 different swim events on the program.
There is a stunning new aquatics arena in Tokyo Bay that was built specifically for the Olympics. It’s a brand new facility, that in the normal course of events should have been packed to the rafters with 15,000 fans during a typical Olympic year. Unfortunately, there is nothing normal about this Olympics and spectators are not allowed. The facility which was part of the tremendous $15.4 billion dollar investment Tokyo made in order to win the bid for hosting the Olympics, sits nearly empty for all of this summers Olympic events. In actuality, the final figure for this entire folly will probably be closer to $20 billion making this the most expensive Olympics ever.
A muted opening ceremony was televised to a dramatically reduced audience. With the stadium nearly empty, the momentus energy of the crowd was visibly missing. Most athletes wore face coverings and waved enthusiastically to tens of thousands of empty seats which further cemented the surreal oddity of all. Some athletes practiced social distancing, choosing to march alone, while others grouped together much to the dismay of event organizers. Despite the fact that its delegation has undergone several positive COVID tests since arriving, the Czech Republic joined the other countries in the opening ceremonies.
The opening event for the Olympics drew nearly 17 million viewers in the U.S. which may sound like a lot, but in actuality hit a 33 year low and was down nearly 36% since 2016’s Olympics. The reality is this Olympics has been a complete bust for Japan and the city of Tokyo in particular. The $500,000,000 dollar aquatics center is depressingly empty, and symbolic of the complete disinterest that has many diseffectionately refering to this Olympics as the Pandemic Games. To add insult to injury, the gleaming new insanely expensive facility probably didn’t even need to be built in the first place.
Experts who know the city of Tokyo well say that all of the swim events could have been hosted at the 45,000 seat Tokyo Dome, home of the Yomiuri Giants. Near by Yokohama stadium also seats 17,000 and could have easily hosted the events. The expenditure has been criticized as a needless waste of money. It is difficult to imagine a future for the facility, in fact it is scheduled to be downsized to accommodate 5,000 shortly after the Olympics are over.
The impression of being in a sterile, locked-down quarantine permeates this Olympics according to athletes and participants. There is no amount of simulated cheering and fake cardboard cutout fans that can assuade that feeling. Fans, who would ordinarily be screaming support for their countries and socializing with folks from all over the world in a carnival like atmosphere, have been barred, leaving just a highly vetted group of media, authorities, athletes, and staff.
There is an inescapable feeling of pity for the Japanese people, who will pay a colossal financial price for their government’s overzealous spending and a global pandemic which they had no way to predict would happen.
Feature Photo Credit: ABS / CBN
Too Big To Fail – Olympus Pools Implodes
We first began writing about Olympus Pools back in April of this year after investigative reports broke news that the Land O’ Lakes pool builder was in deep trouble. Allegations of unfinished pools, unpaid subcontractors and distributors and a long list of angry customers put Olympus in the spotlight and for all the wrong reasons.
In the past few months we have had numerous interactions with owner James Staten, James Judge (a PR representative Staten hired to represent Olympus a few months ago), and Jordan Hidalgo, a well known pool builder who had supposedly partnered with Olympus Pools to salvage the ongoing projects they had, as well as the firms battered reputation.
In late May, Olympus Pools had released a press release stating that Jordan Hidalgo, a well respected figure in the pool and spa industry would be taking on co-ownership of Olympus Pools.
However, this week after rumors began circulating about impending foreclosures on homeowners as well as another major blow due to unpaid workers compensation insurance causing a work shut down, Hidalgo released this statement to the media.
“During our due diligence period, it became apparent that the company was not in the same position as it appeared originally,” Hidalgo said a statement on Tuesday. “As a result, I have decided to cut my losses and am walking away from the opportunity. I am hoping the best for Olympus Pools and their customers.”
We reached out to Staten’s PR representative James Judge to get a comment to which he replied “We actually no longer represent Olympus Pools”. His leaving directly coincided with Hidalgo’s announcement.
James Staten responded to Hidalgo’s departure to investigative journalist Shannon Behnken in an email contradicting Hidalgo’s version of the story. Staten stated that Hidalgo was “never able to ‘buy’ even a portion of Olympus,” and said that, “there has been no ‘due diligence period’ and Mr. Hidalgo has failed to perform even his most basic obligations.”
We touched base with Hidalgo this week to get his side of the story to which he replied, “That is an absolute lie. I tried to be classy about this entire thing but I can see he (Staten) is not going to let that happen. There is more information coming out in the media, just wait.” To which Hidalgo eluded that this week there would be a major announcement coming.
Olympus Pools is Out of Business
This morning Olympus Pools officially announced that they will be shutting down operations after the Department of Business and Professional Regulation asked them to surrender their license. This effectively means that Olympus Pools will be unable to continue working on any current projects they have contracted for.
“Over the last several months at Olympus Pools, we have endured constant negative media coverage encouraging viewers to file complaints with Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation. As a result, the DBPR has forced us to voluntarily relinquish our license. This means we are no longer allowed to continue working for any of our customers. We have fought hard and would have continued to do so for as long it took to complete every project.”
“Although we are greatly disappointed in the decision, we understand the pressure that has been placed on the Department to act. We do not feel the decision is beneficial to our community or our customers, however, it was not our decision to make. If it were up to us, we would continue working for our customers.”
“We have enjoyed servicing the Tampa Bay area for close to 10 years. We are proud of the thousands of projects we have built and the work we have done for our community in that time. We are grateful for all of the support the vast majority of our former customers, employees, friends, family, and neighbors have shown us during this time.”
Sources close to the organization disclosed to Pool Magazine that Olympus Pools currently has hundreds of ongoing pool construction projects and anywhere from 50-100 open holes in the ground.
It is expected that a variety of agencies will now descend to perform a collection of assets however, the south showroom for Olympus Pools has been completely emptied out according to a source close to Pool Magazine. How this bodes for the unlucky homeowners who entrusted Olympus Pools with their swimming pool projects remains to be seen, however already many have begun to receive lien and foreclosure notices on their homes.
Featured Photo Credits: WFLA
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