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.
Pool Contractors Gift New Pool To Grandma After Disaster
A group of pool contractors are the answer to one homeowners prayers. For years, Kitty Smitth, an 80-year old resident of Indianapolis, had dreamed of having an inground swimming pool for her 29 grandchildren and great-grandchildren to enjoy. Smith had just recently used her life savings to purchase a home and property in South Indianapolis that she was hoping would allow her to finally realize those dreams.
Smith acknowledges that the home she purchased needed a lot of work inside, but held out hope of enjoying the backyard with her family. For Smith and her grandchildren, the backyard pool meant a safe haven from the dangers of the pandemic that was sweeping across the country last summer.
“They were here, swimming and playing. I can’t tell you how great that was. This has just been my dream my whole life,” she told reporters.
Future summer dreams would be put to an end this February when a winter storm caused her pool to collapse into a heap of disintegrating concrete and collapsed fiberglass walls. Smith was horrified to find that her backyard pool had collapsed in on itself in the night. “My whole body just started going numb and shaking. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” she told reporters.
An engineering report was conducted to determine the cause of the failure. Analysis determined that a leak may have contributed to its collapse. A new pool cover, which had just been installed, combined with the inadequate water level in the pool may have contributed to adding stress on the walls of the pool.
To add insult to injury, Smith quickly found out that her homeowners insurance would not cover the damage. Despite being a customer of the same company for over 40 years and having a policy that includes the replacement cost of an inground pool, her insurance company refused to pay a cent. They claimed her policy excluded any leak in the structure of the pool.
Smith was faced with an impossible problem. The cost of installing a new inground pool would be at least $60,000 plus an additional $20,000 for hauling away the debris from the old pool that had collapsed. “I just put everything into my house”, Smith told reporters, indicating that she didn’t have the financial resources to rebuild the pool. She stated that she felt like her insurance company had left her high and dry.
Smith contacted investigative reporters and discussed her problem with them. The reporters shared her story with some folks they knew in the pool industry that could help lend a hand. Ultimately, eight separate Indiana companies came together headed up under Automatic Pool Covers owner, Michael Shebek. Shebek pooled his resources and network to help put together a team that will help rebuild Smith’s backyard.
- Crone Customs Pools – Project Lead / Permits
- Only Alpha Pool Products – Donating Steel Walls
- Pools of Fun – Donating and installing the liner. Provide the water to fill the pool.
- Modish Pools – Donating concrete and labor to rebuild the decking
- Hendrick Pool and Lawn Service – Donating plumbing work for the pool
- C Ray Pools – Donating plumbing and electrical work.
- Automatic Pool Covers – Donating a new pool cover and providing other help.
- Cover Care – Donating installation of the pool cover
What is truly incredible about this story is that although some of the companies on this list are competitors, they are all united in the single goal to help one local resident recover the usage of her pool.
Shortly before the Thanksgiving holiday, Smith was greeted with the surprise of a lifetime. The contractors who have agreed to rebuild her pool at zero cost, showed up at her house along with the 13news team to break the good news. Overwhelmed with emotion, Smith hugged them all and said “I don’t know your names but I know your hearts,” telling the contractors, “I love you.”
Smith will hopefully have a new pool to enjoy with her grandchildren this summer. The contractors have all assured her that the unsightly mess in her backyard will be removed and a new pool installed. The entire cost of the project is estimated to cost approximately $90,000.
“Just no words. There aren’t words big enough to thank everyone,” Smith said. “I’m just so thankful.”
Las Vegas Pool Builder Receives Top Industry Award
Joseph Anthony Vassallo, CBP of Paragon Pools Named PHTA 2021
Builder of the Year
(Las Vegas, NV) Nov 21, 2021 – Las Vegan Joseph Anthony Vassallo, Vice President & Chief Design Executive of Paragon Pools was named the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA) 2021 Builder of the Year at the Awards ceremony held on Nov 15th in Dallas, Texas during the Pool, Spa, Patio & Deck Expo.
The PHTA annually recognizes prominent achievements and outstanding performers in the pool, spa and hot tub industry of which include the Individuals Awards and the International Awards of Excellence Design Awards.
The Builder of the Year Award is a peer-nominated award given to one PHTA builder member who has advanced the pool building profession through outstanding achievements and dedication to the industry.
Nominees must meet a strict set of criteria, including commitment to being a positive role model for the profession and peers, have a proven track record of meeting or exceeding industry standards in designing and building pools and spas, must have been employed in the pool, hot tub, or spa industry for at least five years, has actively participated with PHTA at a local or national level and must be a current employee of a PHTA member company in good standing.
Vassallo, who is often referred to as Joe Jr. began his career as a design apprentice in his teens (1989). He found enjoyment in the challenge of conceiving and developing pool and landscape plans to complement the home’s architecture and restrictive plot layouts while designing a stunning custom design for the homeowner.
Following high school, he studied architecture, marketing, and small business management. He has continued to further his professional and technical skills with PSI Leadership Seminars, Tom Hopkins Seminars, Auto CAD-2000, Structure Studios 3-D training, PHTA University curriculum, ART- Artistic Resources and Training, as well as CEU’s in industry business and technical topics.
In 2001, Vassallo joined his father in opening the family business, Paragon Pools in Las Vegas. As the Vice President, Vassallo has been instrumental in the success of the company and creating a high standard for design and construction for company projects earning an expansive list of international design awards and business accolades over the years, including Masters of Design Awards, International Awards of Excellence Design Awards, Aqua Choice Design Awards, Aqua 100 Hall of Fame, Nevada Business Journal Family Owned Business Honoree and Vegas Inc (formally InBusiness) 40 Under 40 Award to name a few.
In the nomination letter, Robert Blanda, CBP, PHTA Fellow, 2014 Builder of the Year submitted the following:
“Celebrating the 20th Anniversary Paragon Pools this year, Joseph Anthony Vassallo, CBP has had a long respected and celebrated career as a pool designer and builder in Las Vegas, NV.
He has been committed to ensuring and promoting professional development and the growth of the aquatic industry through a variety of activities including volunteering his time to serve on the Southern Nevada Chapter as well as the National Builders Education Committee (BEC) and Builders Manual Task Force…
Joe Jr. has always been very respectful of his fellow aquatic professionals. His high standards, design talents, knowledge of product and instincts are with true merit… He is eager to share his knowledge and elevate the skills of others. I and others have sought his advice on projects on numerous occasions. And his contributions to the 3rd and 4th edition of the Builders Manual was extremely valuable…
He is a fine example of what the BUILDER of the YEAR represents and has advanced the pool building profession through outstanding achievements and dedication to the industry.”
Established in 2007, the PHTA Builder of Year Award is previously known as the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals (APSP) Certified Building Professional (CBP) of the Year Award. Vassallo joins a short list of only 17 honorees that span the United States, including his father, Joseph Michael Vassallo, CBP who received the award in 2012.
The Vassallo’s are the only father and son to both receive the distinguished accolade. The duo also received an International Awards of Excellence Design Award for their unique design in the category of – Spa built in conjunction with a pool.
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ABOUT PARAGON POOLS Paragon Pools is an award-winning, custom, in-ground swimming pool and spa design/build construction company in Las Vegas, Nevada. The contractor specializes in new construction and major renovations of residential and commercial projects. Paragon Pools has received numerous accolades worldwide for its unique designs, trend setting applications and renovation projects. Their client list includes major hotels, casino moguls, sports stars, and celebrities. The company has been showcased in numerous TV, Cable and news profiles and featured on HGTV.com Designers Showcase. https://www.paragonpoolslv.com
Pool Industry Mourns The Loss of Grant Smith & Bob Lowry
The pool industry lost two of it’s best and brightest this week and was saddened to learn of the passing of widely respected professionals, Grant Smith and Bob Lowry.
This week many in the industry were gathering for the PSP Deck Expo in Dallas, TX. Colleagues were meeting after years of being separated by the pandemic and had been enjoying the opportunity to reconnect. The mood and energy were high at the Omni Convention Center. Pool Magazine editorial staff got to town early to help set up our own booth and cover some of the events being presented.
We were debuting our first printed issue of Pool Magazine, and I was personally excited to meet some of the industry professionals that I had been able to connect with virtually through social media. Over the past year, I had been corresponding with Grant Smith and engaging with him to become a contributor for our new publication. After a few easy-going conversations, Smith agreed to join our roster of op-editorialists.
I had published several of his op-ed pieces over the last year and was eager to get to meet him face to face and thank him for being a contributor. Shaking his hand and telling him how much I appreciated him being a part of our publication was something I was really looking forward to doing. I made sure to get one of his best op-eds in our first issue and wanted to hand it to him personally. Unfortunately, that never got to happen. Like many who got the sad news this week, I was on the expo floor when I found out that Grant Smith had suddenly and unexpectedly passed at the age of 50 years old.
His opinions were widely respected and from time to time would generate controversy on social media. Smith frequently inspired the type of intelligent debate that is the very lifeblood of our industry. A mentor and educator, he was eager to offer his expertise and help in any way he could. Evidently, that’s just the kind of person he was. The sort that have no compunction of giving their time and energy to help complete strangers.
For me, it was incredibly telling of the type of person he was and exemplified exactly what I’ve come to expect from those that lead our industry from the front. It should be of no shock to anyone that Smith was a United States Marine, they instill that type of character into their very best.
Bob Lowry, was equally greatly admired and respected throughout the industry. Known as a chemical service guru, Lowry was a thought leader on many issues pertaining to pool service. Many in the industry credit him with helping guide their career path and shape their approach towards water management. The author of a multitude of pool and spa water chemistry books, IPSSA manuals, and publisher of hundreds of technical articles and white papers over a 45 year span in the industry. He passed away in Lima, Peru on November, 17th after a long illness.
The news of the passing of both of these great educators in our industry leaves a hole in many of the hearts that knew and respected both of these incredibly warm and generous individuals. They will both be greatly missed.
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