Pool renovation appears to be picking up in several major pool markets.
Company owners say the trend first became noticeable around the beginning of the year, and many report that business continues to increase.
“This year has just been off the charts,” said Ted Bilsky, sales manager at Claffey Pools in Southlake, Texas, a Pool & Spa News Top Builder. “We’re seeing a rise on everything from simple replastering work to jobs where we tear the whole pool out and rebuild it.”
Many are reporting an increase of at least 30 percent over May 2010 construction and renovation business, with some placing that figure as high as 60 percent.
“There’s always an upswing in the spring, but customers appear to be more confident this year than they were at this time last year,” said Mark Hannigan, vice president and general manager at Adams Pool Solutions in Pleasanton, Calif., a Pool & Spa News Top Builder.
The majority of company owners say this revenue increase mainly represents plastering and tile projects — work in the sub-$10,000 range — but others report seeing an increase in larger-scale remodels as well.
“I think the people who have some savings are feeling more confident [about the economy] at this point,” Hannigan said. “These are people with a lot of money, who were less affected by the downturn.”
Though none of these company owners feels confident predicting the future, the shape of the trend seems to be holding steady, or possibly picking up a bit more. “I can tell you, I personally am extremely busy, and I know all my salespeople are,” said Steve Santoro, sales manager at Adams Pool Solutions.
Others suspect the swim season may usher in a slight dip in construction and renovation, with the trend picking up again when temperatures start to cool down. “I think it’ll go one of two ways,” said Jeremy Smith, owner of Tadpole Pool Services in Dallas. “Either we’ll continue to get these jobs, or [customers] will ask, ‘Can we wait until after the swim season?’”
Either way, it seems clear that construction and renovation are on the rise again in affluent markets, despite the lack of pool-related financing. “Believe it or not, I think people are starting to realize that the economy might not be quite as bad as they thought,” Santoro said.