Service technicians have largely withstood the economic storm that has battered Florida’s new-pool construction industry.
As a result, the Sunshine State’s trade associations are
launching a renewed campaign to bring as many service companies as
possible into the fold.
“[Service has become] a very significant component, and one
that probably employs the greatest number professionals in the
Florida pool industry,” said Wendy Parker Barsell, executive
director of the Florida Swimming Pool Association.
While pool-building statewide (based on permits) remains down about
70 percent from five years ago, service — including repairs
and remodels — continues trending upward. Florida has
approximately 1.2 million existing pools.
A study commissioned by FSPA in 2006 found the state’s
service technicians numbered nearly 15,000. “If anything,
that’s probably gone up,” Parker Barsell added.
“So there are literally thousands of people out there running
service routes, and a number of them, we believe, came from the
larger building companies.”
This month, FSPA is contacting and mailing thousands of
informational fliers to licensed and non-licensed service firms
alike across Florida, especially those with no more than a few
employees, officials noted.
The group hopes to attract members through preferred rates on
insurance, as well as other benefits such as government relations
advocacy, Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), debt collections and
The push by FSPA comes as another service group, the Independent
Pool & Spa Service Association, prepares to widen its own
membership across the state. In addition to six chapters currently
in Florida, IPSSA is ramping up operations in Sarasota, and soon
plans to establish a foothold in Longwood, just north of
The group entered Florida in 2006 and currently has 127 members as
of July 1, according to Todd Starner, director of IPSSA’s
Region 11, which includes Florida and Georgia. Chapters have added
a member a month on average over the past quarter, he
“We’ve been changing up the criteria for membership to
help us better compete,” Starner said, noting the differences
between IPSSA and FSPA. “We’ll always have our sick
route coverage. And I like the fact that we require attendance at
meetings [because] I think it helps build camaraderie.
“But, ultimately, I’m happy that FSPA is opening its
doors,” he continued, “and that they’re going out
and acting on behalf of
Meanwhile, service professionals such as Bonnie Boeren welcome the
added attention from the state’s trade groups. Whether it
results in membership remains to be seen, but it certainly provides
food for thought, said the vice president of Michael’s Pool
Service & Repair in Tampa, Fla.
“You just get so busy,” she added. “But
I’ll have to look into it. I believe you should be a member
of a professional organization.”