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  • cindy mills said:
    I was just informed that GE Money has dropped the aqua vanage financing program. that we used for above ground and hot tubs A few other co,s have or will be stopping. It will be a tuff season if ther isn't a few choices for funding. Does any one know of new co's. besides Wells fargo and american gen.

    Cindy,

    There is hope on the way. I am currently working with a financial institution to help draft up a financing programs for pools & spas as well as all after market products. This is a nationwide program and will be available for Manufacturers - Dealers and Dealers -Customers I should have some details available in a couple of weeks.

    James
  • I was just informed that GE Money has dropped the aqua vanage financing program. that we used for above ground and hot tubs A few other co,s have or will be stopping. It will be a tuff season if ther isn't a few choices for funding. Does any one know of new co's. besides Wells fargo and american gen.
  • Business is starting to pick up Middle Tennessee. Phones are ringing more and people are interested in installing pools. This is a good sign.

    Something I wanted to check with the rest of you is material costs. Concrete has gone up $15-20 per yard. Granted the fuel surcharge has been eliminated but still a large increase. Pool supplies from the local distributors have gone up on a majority of the materials and equipment we use by 7-12%. What are the rest of you experiencing? I know in the housing market I am told that lumber/ drywall etc has come down. Thanks in advance for your input.
  • How are you positioning with the salt sales being throught the roof? What value added salts and salt products do you offer vs. commodity so that profitability isn't lost?

    Brian & Jan McGarry said:
    I was speaking with my wife last week and told her that it seemed that our business was slow. She quickly reminded me that I sold and delivered one less project this year than last year and we're booked through the first quarter with projects. Our retail business is about $50K off of the previous year, and that has a lot to do with the addition of Sam;s Club down the street and the fact that every pool we sold in the last 3 years has a salt system. Our salt sales are through the roof! I will say that we have sold 80% gunite projects and that ratio has increased this year by 20% over previous years.
  • We do very high end custom gunite pools near Houston and most of our work is referred, so we still pretty much have a steady flow. We do a limited number but higher dollar, and then we have two retail stores. I have managers running my stores now and now I focus on selling my pool care book all over the country to other pool companies, and that is increasing steadily.

    I sold about 1253 to stock various SCP and SPP distributorships at their convention, and was pleased. I try to encourage the builders to buy them from distribution and build the book into their price, bumping it up about 25 bucks, and then tell the homeowner it is their "homework" to read before the turnover. This way they cut about half the time off it takes to turn over a pool and way back on questions, and they make a profit on the book too. There is lots more potential in that market and so far it is building every year. I do that whole business by myself though, so it is hard to get around to everybody. We give the books to our new pool customers and sell them in the stores, too, ourselves, and use them for pool schools. We also train new emplyees with them.

    So far each area of our businesses is doing ok down here. I'm glad to know about the business in different parts of the country to see where to focus my book efforts this year. I do think the high end is going to be where it's at in this recessionary time. We have survived the tough times before, having been in the business 38 years.
  • Business in the North Bay of San Francisco for me has been busy.
    We billed out in December close to what we would bill in July.
    I built my business by focusing on the highend clients.
    We have lost about 15 lowend clients but it has not been a problem.
    They all stated the they could not afford the cost and would be back when they could.
    We are still picking up highend clients.
    This Thanksgiving was one of the busiest ever for the highend rental properities.
    It would seem that people stayed in the US.
    These homes rent from $800.00 a night to $3450.00.
    Christmas and New Years are going to be just as busy.
    I'm looking forward to 2009 as being better than 2008.
  • I was speaking with my wife last week and told her that it seemed that our business was slow. She quickly reminded me that I sold and delivered one less project this year than last year and we're booked through the first quarter with projects. Our retail business is about $50K off of the previous year, and that has a lot to do with the addition of Sam;s Club down the street and the fact that every pool we sold in the last 3 years has a salt system. Our salt sales are through the roof! I will say that we have sold 80% gunite projects and that ratio has increased this year by 20% over previous years.
  • I have been consistently busy. Same amount of work over the last few years. Never, "OH MY GOSH, HIRE MORE BODIES!" but consistent with the repairs and equipment upgrades. It is getting harder to sell on the high end equipment and automation, but with the energy costs today, I have a significant increase in interest with the variable flow pumps. The rising energy costs have helped and will continue to help sell the efficient pool equipment.

    -Jeremy
    -"I fix broken pools, spas, & hot tubs."
    Florida Leisure Pool & Spa
    FLLeisure.com

    I'm now finally looking for a breather coming up Mid November, first paid vacation ever! Going to Vegas, take in some Grand Canyon, and enjoying the time away from the grind here.
  • Here in the Hill Country of Texas we are doing pretty good, as compared to the rest of the company. The pools have slowed down a little. with the weather so great here, people love to be outside. so here is what i think is happening. they are still wanting to live that outside lifestyle, so they are still doing stuff, such as outdoor kitchens, landscapes, patios etc, but cutting out the big ticket item which is the pool.
  • Hello all! Slow and steady wins the race :-) But sometimes I like being the Hare and not the Tortise!

    Last Fall when Jacksonville, FL had the Home and Patio Show - I sold 7 pools. Last Spring at the same show I set 15 appointments at the show. Sold 1/3 of them. Three weeks ago at this same show, attendance was down by 50% and I was only able to set 3 appointments at the show, one of those was just a "tire kicker," one canceled and the third one I sold :-). Thank God for that!
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