After nearly 25 years, SpaDolly still lifts, tilts, moves and delivers
By Andrew Lisa
The always-evolving spa industry is driven by innovation: upgrades, advances and product improvements are the norm. Yet one device continues to stand out as the apex in its niche no matter how much it stays the same. The SpaDolly is a lot like the great white shark. The ages pass by, yet it remains at the tippy-top of the food chain despite only minor evolutionary adjustments — and the industry seems to like it just the way it is. In the words of Brandon Bultman, manager of SpaDolly and son of the man who invented the ubiquitous hot tub trailer in 1994, “If you own a pool and spa store and you’ve been in the game for more than just a little while, then you know who we are and what we make.”
Making Light Work of Heavy Lifting
The SpaDolly system allows a single tech or two to quickly do a job that would otherwise require heavy machinery.
“SpaDolly makes it much easier for one or two people to deliver a hot tub without any kind of crane or a forklift,” Bultman says. “This reduces cost, but also saves time and limits intrusion on the customer.”
Large but surprisingly maneuverable, the SpaDolly can handle hot tubs up to 10 feet wide. When you include the SpaCart, which is a standard part of the complete SpaDolly package, you have the option of moving from flat to vertical to squeeze through tight spaces.
“It’s a handy way to get through a gate to move a spa on-end into a backyard,” Bultman says.
In a Class Almost By Itself
When asked about his competitors, Bultman brushed off the notion.
“We’ve been at it a long time and people know who we are,” he says. “We’re at the point where we don’t even really spend too much on advertising.”
That sentiment is echoed by Louis Klipper of New England–based Crocker Sales, who during a discussion about spa delivery procedures offered his strong opinions about SpaDolly without any prompting.
“The biggest piece of specialty equipment is the trailer that you’re using to bring the spa to the house,” Klipper says. “The No. 1 trailer that’s purchased from spa companies is the SpaDolly. It’s an expensive trailer for what it does. It’s probably two to three times more expensive than a snowmobile trailer, but it becomes your mobile platform for integrating all types of deliveries.”
That versatility is a big part of what separates SpaDolly from its distant competitors.
“You can disconnect it from the truck, put a set of wheels in front of it and use it like a dolly to roll it into a yard for what we call a slide-off delivery,” Klipper says. “That’s when you roll it to a ground-level deck or patio and the spa slides right off the trailer and you’re done. That’s the easiest delivery there is.”
The other key to the SpaDolly’s popularity is its sturdy build, craftsmanship and proven reliability. Klipper relayed a regrettable experience from when he rolled the dice on a cheaper SpaDolly competitor.
“I bought one of their trailers and it’s all aluminum,” Klipper says. “It failed miserably. The aluminum welds cracked on it. The delivery crew had such miserable luck that they didn’t want to use it. It sat idle for a couple of years and I eventually sold it to one of the reps, who uses it to haul hot tubs around to local events.”
In the end, he reverted back to the original.
“I have three SpaDollys that I use all the time,” Klipper says. “They’re steel.”
The SpaDolly Gets a Little Help From Its Friends
The SpaDolly Trailer is the central piece of equipment in the suite and the device that comes to mind when people think of SpaDolly. But that’s just one component of the Complete SpaDolly Spa Handling System. Each product in the system is designed to work with all the others, and if you don’t need the whole package, the other two devices can be purchased à la carte.
When you encounter a tight squeeze, you can easily offload a hot tub from the SpaDolly — or from the ground — to stand vertical on the SpaCart. It has a tight turn radius, can be steered from both ends and can easily handle soft lawns or gravel.
The SpaJack employs simple leverage and two wheels to allow anyone to lift a hot tub from a flat position on the ground to casters or onto the Spa Cart.