Homeowners JUMPING IN to swimming pools BIGTIME!
Dealers - We're SOLD OUT Thru to 2021!!
Latrobe, PA - Sept 4, 2020
According to a recent Business News article
"Across the United States and Europe, manufacturers and distributors of swimming pools and hot tubs are scrambling to meet a wave of demand as consumers cocoon at home to escape the coronavirus pandemic.
Frustrated by the long lead times and worried about a second wave of infections, some U.S. consumers have even resorted to fashioning home-made pools out of metal livestock tanks despite the health and safety concerns.
“I’ve been in this industry for 35 years and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Thomas Epple, chief executive of Only Alpha Pool Products in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Epple said orders for its steel and composite pool walls surged 200% in 60 days after a lacklustre March and April and he has now doubled output by taking on more workers, adding shifts and paying lots of overtime. The shortage of materials in the industry is great - pumps, heaters, above-ground pools have been sold out for some time.”
The swimming pool boom illustrates how the health crisis has altered consumer habits in favour of stay-at-home businesses as the world struggles to contain new outbreaks and some people avoid beaches, pools and lakes to vacation at home.
In Indianapolis, Tyler Hermon, sales director at Pools of Fun, said his phone hasn’t stopped ringing after an initial lull and sales are now up 43% from a year ago.
“I 100 percent attribute this to people quarantined at home,” he said, adding that customers faced a three-week wait for an appointment just to talk about installations for 2021.
“The race is now on to get on the schedule for next year because everyone’s anticipating there will be another round, another wave.”
About 45% of members of the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance, the main U.S. industry trade group, forecast revenues would rise 10% or more this year.
“We’re hearing from members that have contracts booked out to late 2021 and even into early 2022,” said the alliance’s president Sabeena Hickman.
EVERYBODY WANTS A BACKYARD POOL
Pittsburgh Press - MARIA SCIULLO
Eric Faulkner and his family — wife Stacy and sons Trevor, 17, Peyton, 16, and Maddox, 8 — are about a week away from being able to swim into their new in-ground pool in Kilbuck. Guess who will be the first one in?
“We are all excited, but [Maddox] is the most excited,” Mr. Faulkner said last week, a few days after concrete was poured.
With many public pools closed for this pandemic summer, lots of families would like to plunge into their own pools. But unless they were on a waiting list before COVID-19 struck, they’ll have a long wait. Even some on that list are waiting and sweating, because the factories that make the pool parts they need are just starting up again. And installers? Well, they’re just trying to keep up.
“You can’t go to the bathroom, you can’t get something to eat. It’s just crazy here,” Paradise Pools owner Randy Beals said.
When the new coronavirus hit Western Pennsylvania in mid-March, some area pool/spa companies were worried. Above-ground pools cost $3,000-$10,000, depending on size, and in-ground pools, including the finish work, fencing, patio and equipment, can easily cost $50,000-$100,000. Could anyone afford one with the stock market plunging and unemployment rising?
Yes, as it turns out. Some installers are estimating a 200% bump over 2019 sales.
“Everybody has lost their minds this year, and I can totally understand it,” said Ellen Cole of family-owned King Cole Pools.
The Irwin-based company has been around for 44 years. In a typical year, it might install 20 in-ground and 125 above-ground pools, with perhaps 75 liner repairs. By the second week of June, King Cole had done 40 above-ground pools with an additional 30 in the works.
At Paradise Pools, Mr. Beals said he could tell the surge was coming. “I think I was the only one saying this winter, around March or February, ‘This is going to be one hell of a busy year,’” he said.
The company has seen a 200% increase in business, he said. “That doesn’t mean by the end of the year I’ll be 200% ahead, obviously,” Mr. Beals said. “My goal is if I can say by the end of the year we have a 20, 25% increase, that would be great.”
Paradise Pools installs between 75 and 100 above-ground pools a year, and between 50 and 60 in-ground. The company has already sold and scheduled 50 in-ground pools this year with four more on the books for 2021. Mr. Beals said he’s not taking any more orders.
Tom Esser, sales manager for Alpine Pools, has been with the company for 47 years. He said working 16-hour days is not unusual this year at the company’s five locations because people are clamoring for pools. “People are trying to buy summer. That’s all there is to it,” he said.
The common notion that having a pool in Pittsburgh means only three months of swimming is a fallacy, he said. “I don’t want to sound like an old [person], but when I was growing up, [pool season] was Memorial Day to Labor Day,” he said. “Honestly, with climate shift, we are something like six weeks later into the season.”
At his home in O’Hara, Mr. Esser’s family has a ritual of swimming on Halloween before closing the pool for the winter. Alpine’s five crews install around 120 in-ground pools a year, he said, and most of the construction is in late summer through October,
Katherine Longwell — who owns Sewickley-based Pool Girl — services high-end pools and spas. “I’m finding my clients are staying at home and wanting to either fix, spruce up or improve their backyards and their pools,” Ms. Longwell said.
In a normal year, her company might replace or upgrade two or three heaters, she said. “I’m on heater No. 6 for the season, and it’s only the first week in June,” she said. Some people are asking for apps to allow them to control their pool’s filter and heater on their smartphones. “So we are doing those kinds of upgrades in addition to weekly service,” Ms. Longwell said. Pool Girl began opening pools in March and will be closing them until Thanksgiving, she said.
She draws the line after that: “No more snow days for me.”
Better Days are On The Way!