For pool and spa dealers, orange and white have become the new colors of money.
Retailers in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are the latest in a small but growing number of industry firms to offer moving equipment rentals through U-Haul.
The partnerships have effectively supplemented sales in a sluggish economy, not just in the winter months but year ’round, they said.
“It’s definitely helped pay the bills,” said Steven Lasoski, co-owner of The Pool Guys of Mountain Top in Mountain Top, Pa. “And it has certainly brought more business in, especially for spa supplies and chemicals this time of year. So we’re glad we did it.”
Lasoski began offering a full line of moving equipment and supplies in mid-August, when the local U-Haul dealer in his area closed.
A few months later, Bart and Sarah Heebink, owners of Splash Zone Pool & Spa in River Falls, Wis., became another of the firm’s 15,900 U.S. locations.
It’s a model that Marla Meseck knows well, having spearheaded the U-Haul business at B&D Pool and Spa Center in Norwich, N.Y., for the past several years. Meseck, the company’s store manager, said she averages three to four rentals per week since B&D added the service back in 2003.
Moving equipment, including trucks, trailers, vans, cartop carriers and tow dollies, are advertised on her firm’s Website. And the rental counter is located just inside her store’s front door.
Meseck typically sees her U-Haul business spike around December to accommodate the migration south for winter. Early fall is another busy time, she said, citing the flow of college students moving into dormitories, or simply transporting larger items such as appliances and furniture.
“[Our pool business] is hopping during the summer, no doubt about it,” Meseck added. “But when the season is over, it definitely slows down. So this absolutely helps the company. It’s been a nice addition.”
About four years ago, a representative from U-Haul approached Decatur Pool and Spa in Decatur, Ill. with a proposal to work together. Decatur employees underwent brief computer training in the rental company’s system for everything from fielding reservations to attaching trailer hookups.
So far, the firm gives largely positive feedback on its U-Haul experiences, a sentiment echoed by multiple companies.
“They’re very easy to work with,” said Decatur sales associate Kathy Crisman. “And besides, almost everyone needs a moving truck at some point.”