All members of our email list — and that’s most of you
— have been sent an invitation to enter the Pool & Spa
News Top 50 Builders
program. If you happened to read it, you might have noticed that we
made a significant change to the criteria this year. I wanted to
use this opportunity to discuss that change.
For the entire decade that we’ve been publishing the list,
I’ve heard similar basic feedback. First, business owners
complained that ranking companies solely by revenue isn’t a
true indicator of quality. They felt, quite rightly, that having
their firm’s name appear on a given spot on the list implied
that every company above them was better. However, in reality, all
it meant was that the higher ranked businesses obtained more
So last year, I decided to create a new scoring system that
included construction dollars as a major component, but also took
many other factors into account. Our revamped program was a huge
success and though we continue to fine-tune the system, everyone I
spoke with was happier with our more nuanced ratings.
The other piece of feedback that I heard over the years has to do
with companies that offer franchising and licensing. Many builders
argued that it was inaccurate to count such firms as one entity,
especially when it pertains to revenue. Through time, I’ve
come to agree with them.
This year, any pool construction firm that operates as a licensee
or franchisee is still welcome to apply, but only as a single
company. This will create an apples-to-apples comparison that will
make the Top 50 list serve as a better indicator of the qualities
This is a big change for us, and while I realize that a few highly
reputable builders will be affected, I also believe that it’s
the best way to improve the program.
Licensees essentially own and operate their businesses. In many
cases, they have simply purchased the rights to use a name and/or
marketing materials from a larger entity. They hire, manage and
fire their own staffs. They select subcontractors, oversee their
work and pay them. They develop customer service guidelines and
decide whether that irate homeowner should have her tile redone for
free. And unlike Starbucks, where the revenue from every branch
flows back to Seattle, a licensee largely keeps his or her
proceeds. They are business owners, and should be treated as
That’s not to say they can’t appear on the list. There
are many individual franchisees and licensees who would not only
qualify, but even place highly on the list if they applied.
So, turn on your computer and go to poolspanews.com/top50
to fill out the form today. This is an exciting time for the
Pool & Spa News Top 50 program and I look forward to
reviewing the entries.