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Well it looks like spring is starting here in KY, it was around 70 degrees today ( this just might nbe a tease though but its getting people thinking about pools and acessories)

 

I was just going to see how you guys fight the big box stores on your chemical pricing.  What do you sell your 3" Tabs for, do you do any value kits, give a discount on your shock if they buy so much.  Just trying to get some ideals together for the start of the chemical season.

 

Thanks.

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I find it interesting how many people talk about competing with the "big box" stores like WalMart or Home Depot but then buy from their equivalent in the pool industry...Pool Corp.  Pool Corp IS the WalMart of our industry!!
the difference is Pool Corp does not sell to the public at low prices.  They give all of their companies discounts off of list price and are competitive.  Who cares if they are big, they are not competing with us the company. 
You are not competing with the big box stores.  They sell an inferior product and have ZERO knowledge of that product.  Try SELLING your experience rather than worrying about whether or not to cut prices $1 to match the big box guys.
I agree Scott, informing the customers of the difference between the chemicals that we sell and deliver versus what they can get at the big stores is crucial.  I tell all of my customers that our prices are higher, but that is because it is a better product that we have researched and we know what is in it.  We are also bringing it to them, saving them time and money to go get it.  Unfortunately, there are still those out there that only focus on price, and nothing you can do about that.  Soon they will realize that those prices are low because the product is not as good and they are using more, and now they will soon see that those prices are for less product as many of these stores are going to less product in the same container to keep prices low. 
Matt, you speak the truth. As an industry, if we quit racing each other to the bottom we will all benefit.

I agree with this 100% There is enough business to go around. And if Pool builders that do not do Weekly Services or any other services they should pair up with a local business to help them out. They can refer other customers to build while the builders can refer the other pool companies once they are completed with the new build.

You can legitimately talk about a better product for some items like Trichlor tabs that might not be manufactured well so fall apart too quickly or that contain copper in them that can lead to staining and you can possibly talk about a better Cyanuric Acid you have that is more pure (we've heard complaints of some CYA products being severely diluted or degraded), but any such claims for products that are identical to common household (i.e. grocery store) products would not be telling the truth.  Such products include the following:

 

Alkalinity Up -- sodium bicarbonate same as Arm & Hammer Baking Soda

pH Up -- sodium carbonate same as Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (not the laundry detergent)

Calcium Hardness Increaser -- calcium chloride same as Peladow, Dowflake, Tetra Flake, Tetra 94

Pool Salt -- sodium chloride same as some (not all) water softener salt of at least 99.4% purity (e.g. Diamond Crystal® Solar Salt Extra Coarse Crystals in blue bags, Morton® White Crystal® Water Softener Salt in blue bags, or Diamond Crystal® Sun Gems® Crystals Water Softener Salt in yellow bags)

 

If the manufacturers are not selling you such products at wholesale prices that let you at least roughly compete with other stores, then that's a fault of the manufacturers, not yours.  If the "pool" labeling of such common products increases the cost that much (or the manufacturers just want higher margins for themselves), then it's not worth doing, or at least you can't complain if sales of such products are much lower.  You could consider the value of telling customers about the grocery store equivalents.  Though you'd lose in those products, you might gain in trust for higher margin products including enzymes, clarifiers, phosphate removers, pool cleaner bags, miscellaneous equipment parts, etc. and could also win some back for chlorine as well.

 

Every time I go buy 12.5% chlorinating liquid or Muriatic Acid from my local pool store, I thank them for their reasonable pricing compared to bleach or acid from hardware or big-box stores.  They sell a good product at a reasonable price, but they do have a fairly large volume.  They also balance their business by being a pool service with >1000 customers so the retail shops (they have two) are part, but not all, of their business.

Please remember that if you sell a product for use "off labeled directions" then you are going to be the one absorbing the liability for that product.  This is why I stringly discourage people from buying pool chemicals for use in their spa.  Most people can't convert the dose from pool to spa sized volumes.  For me, sure, for the average Joe, I don't recomend trying this at home.

Richard A. Falk said:

You can legitimately talk about a better product for some items like Trichlor tabs that might not be manufactured well so fall apart too quickly or that contain copper in them that can lead to staining and you can possibly talk about a better Cyanuric Acid you have that is more pure (we've heard complaints of some CYA products being severely diluted or degraded), but any such claims for products that are identical to common household (i.e. grocery store) products would not be telling the truth.  Such products include the following:

 

Alkalinity Up -- sodium bicarbonate same as Arm & Hammer Baking Soda

pH Up -- sodium carbonate same as Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (not the laundry detergent)

Calcium Hardness Increaser -- calcium chloride same as Peladow, Dowflake, Tetra Flake, Tetra 94

Pool Salt -- sodium chloride same as some (not all) water softener salt of at least 99.4% purity (e.g. Diamond Crystal® Solar Salt Extra Coarse Crystals in blue bags, Morton® White Crystal® Water Softener Salt in blue bags, or Diamond Crystal® Sun Gems® Crystals Water Softener Salt in yellow bags)

 

If the manufacturers are not selling you such products at wholesale prices that let you at least roughly compete with other stores, then that's a fault of the manufacturers, not yours.  If the "pool" labeling of such common products increases the cost that much (or the manufacturers just want higher margins for themselves), then it's not worth doing, or at least you can't complain if sales of such products are much lower.  You could consider the value of telling customers about the grocery store equivalents.  Though you'd lose in those products, you might gain in trust for higher margin products including enzymes, clarifiers, phosphate removers, pool cleaner bags, miscellaneous equipment parts, etc. and could also win some back for chlorine as well.

 

Every time I go buy 12.5% chlorinating liquid or Muriatic Acid from my local pool store, I thank them for their reasonable pricing compared to bleach or acid from hardware or big-box stores.  They sell a good product at a reasonable price, but they do have a fairly large volume.  They also balance their business by being a pool service with >1000 customers so the retail shops (they have two) are part, but not all, of their business.

Scott Heusser said:
Please remember that if you sell a product for use "off labeled directions" then you are going to be the one absorbing the liability for that product.  This is why I stringly discourage people from buying pool chemicals for use in their spa.  Most people can't convert the dose from pool to spa sized volumes.  For me, sure, for the average Joe, I don't recomend trying this at home.

See this link where Arm & Hammer explicitly states "Larger sizes (our 4 lb. box and 12 lb. Resealable Bag below) are perfect for your piled-high laundry, pool and head-to-toe "spring" cleaning chores" where I put the word "pool" in bold underline for emphasis.  The off-label usage restriction you refer to is only for registered pesticides regarding FIFRA regulations -- it does not apply to relatively benign products such as sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and calcium chloride.  However, even in the case of registered pesticides, 6% Clorox Regular Bleach has "5.7% Available Chlorine" printed on the bottle precisely because it is EPA registered for use in swimming pools with EPA registration number 5813-50.

 

For dosing in pools, one can use The Pool Calculator though I agree with you that it's trickier to use for spas since you need to convert ounces to tablespoons (multiplying ounces by 2) or teaspoons (multiplying ounces by 6).

Richard,

These salts that you have presented us with, do you know in what form they come in?  The reason i ask is that i have had multiple clients use water softener salt, and while it may be the same chemical makeup, it does not dissolve as fast as pool salt or food grade salt.  What then happens is that the pellets sit on the bottom of the pool for a week and therefore do not add to the salt content of the pool, therefore making it worthless until if dissolves and actually enters the system.  Just another FYI and warning on the usage of "non"pool chemicals. 

If it states for use in a pool on the Arm & Hammer box it wouldn't be an off labeled use would it? 

 

I'm not arguing that the chemicals are the same or should be used.  My problem is in selling chemicals to a person who is unqualified to use them without the written instructions on the label

 

The off label applies to anything you send out the door Richard.  Whether or not it is a criminal offense is not the point of the conversation.  In the civil realm selling chemicals without labeled directions opens up your company to litigation.  If the directions are on the label, OK, but no directions for use equates to problems for the client.  Contact my insurance company and business attorney, they'll tell you the same thing.

 

Richard A. Falk said:

Scott Heusser said:
Please remember that if you sell a product for use "off labeled directions" then you are going to be the one absorbing the liability for that product.  This is why I stringly discourage people from buying pool chemicals for use in their spa.  Most people can't convert the dose from pool to spa sized volumes.  For me, sure, for the average Joe, I don't recomend trying this at home.

See this link where Arm & Hammer explicitly states "Larger sizes (our 4 lb. box and 12 lb. Resealable Bag below) are perfect for your piled-high laundry, pool and head-to-toe "spring" cleaning chores" where I put the word "pool" in bold underline for emphasis.  The off-label usage restriction you refer to is only for registered pesticides regarding FIFRA regulations -- it does not apply to relatively benign products such as sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and calcium chloride.  However, even in the case of registered pesticides, 6% Clorox Regular Bleach has "5.7% Available Chlorine" printed on the bottle precisely because it is EPA registered for use in swimming pools with EPA registration number 5813-50.

 

For dosing in pools, one can use The Pool Calculator though I agree with you that it's trickier to use for spas since you need to convert ounces to tablespoons (multiplying ounces by 2) or teaspoons (multiplying ounces by 6).

Pellets dissolve more slowly so it is much better to use the non-pellet form aka solar salt.  This link is an example of pellets while this link and this link are examples of solar salt "coarse crystals" which dissolve much more quickly than pellets.  This link shows large crystals, but be sure to use the yellow bag, not the red one, since you do not want the rust remover chemicals.

 

Some of the same companies that make water softener salt also make pool salt which is actually LESS pure, though still reasonable because they do not contain too much metal.  The pricing is not cost-based, but market-based.

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