Welcome to the 7th annual Top 50 Builders issue.

I wish I could fill this year’s edition with news of prosperity and growth, but even if I did, you’d know better. The truth is, 2007 was rough — and 2008 looks to be even rougher.

But rather than only report on how miserable everything is, we decided to take a more solution-oriented approach and examine what pool builders are doing to increase revenue and cut expenses during this historic downturn.

For example, Adams Pool Solutions opened shop in three resort locations in Mexico, where CEO Tony Adams saw weak competition and plenty of growth potential.

Back in the states, Patio Pools & Spas adopted a four-day work week, and though it seems counterintuitive, President Mark Ragel has seen significant savings with this new arrangement, and no loss of productivity.

On a different note, Mission Pools Inc. wanted a quick, easy way to cut costs, so it invited different health-care providers to bid on its benefits package. The result was an $150,000 annual boost to the bottom line.

Granted, many of these tips are custom-made for specific firms and may not work for your needs. Still, one idea could provide inspiration, resulting in much-needed relief during a challenging time.

Letters to the Editor

Pool & Spa News welcomes feedback from readers. All correspondence may be edited for clarity and space considerations. Please include your complete name and contact information.

Letters may be sent by mail to Pool & Spa News, Attn: Editor, 6222 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 600, Los Angeles, CA 90048; by fax to 323-801-4986; or via e-mail to etaylor@hanleywood.com.