Lately, Bruce Greene has noticed some familiar faces entering his showroom.
Over the course of a recent week, the sales manager at Gulfstream Pools & Spas in Tampa Bay, Fla., inked contracts with at least half-a-dozen homeowners who had initially approached him for a new pool anywhere from 18 months to three years ago.
“A lot of people are just tired of waiting,” Greene said. “Plus, they know they aren’t moving into another home anytime soon. [Getting those jobs] makes you feel especially good, too, because [it means] you didn’t waste your time with them before.”
Builders across the country are reporting similar experiences — namely, a steady increase in the number of signed contracts from customers who had originally planned for a pool years earlier.
Some homeowners are requesting the same projects that were agreed upon previously, while others have downsized their plans in response to difficulties obtaining financing.
At Shasta Pools & Spas, Steve Ast has seen a noticeable uptick in returning customers. The vice president of sales and marketing at the Phoenix-based Pool & Spa News Top Builder said he signed contracts with two such homeowners in a single day in early June.
“I think it’s a function of consumer confidence improving,” Ast explained, “as well as customers coming back and revisiting those purchases they really wanted. People have worked hard to get their personal balance sheets in order, and a lot of them are doing everything they can to get themselves into pools.”
Over a 10-day period in late May, Mark Reed secured signed contracts on three projects that were at least two years in the making. Reed, president of Memphis Pool Supply in Memphis, a Pool & Spa News Top Builder, is currently working on two other proposals for returning prospects.
If those come through, the five total returnees will represent approximately 10 percent of his new construction for a typical year, he said.
“I’m very encouraged right now,” Reed added. “What happens is, savings fatigue sets in — homeowners are sitting on [this money] for two years and, eventually, they want to spend it on something they can feel good about.”
Even a bump in the prices of previously quoted projects — thanks to rising fuel and materials costs — hasn’t deterred buyers.
“Yes, there is often a little sticker shock,” Reed said, “but it’s usually not insurmountable. The bottom line is, we’re getting a lot more calls from people coming back this year. You typically have a little of that anyway, but now they’re saying, ‘We’re ready.’”