Spa pads can close and increase the sale
By Keith Loria
Many people buying hot tubs don’t know about spa pads. Pouring concrete or building a deck to support the new purchase can be expensive and troublesome, so hot tub dealers should be championing pads during their sales pitch. Spa pads not only work on any well-drained area — such as grass, dirt, sand or gravel — but they can also be moved if an owner wants to relocate a hot tub.
“A lot of people don’t realize it’s available, so this is something we teach our salespeople to bring up in conversation,” says Christian Staples, owner of Arctic Spas in Salt Lake City, Utah. “When talking with a customer, we go over the simplicity of it all, and tell them we will just bring it out with the tub. We can snap it together and then your tub has a great foundation for it. It really makes it easy for the customer to not have to pour a concrete pad.”
Ken Noble, CEO and president of EZ Pads Inc., in Vista, California, says the company has experienced an average 24 percent growth year over year for the past five years with its EZ Pad-brand spa pads, thanks to expanded distribution to Canada and Australia.
“We have seen increased expenditures for EZ Pad brand awareness via Google and Microsoft searches on the internet,” he says. EZ Pad has been in business since 1999 and has more than 50,000 installations to date.
Noble believes hot tub dealers should be using spa pads as a selling tool and to help, the company offers point-of-sale brochures, a POS display box with bullet points for the showroom and volume pricing. They are also available to answer questions by email, text or an 800 number.
“Let customers know they make it easier and less expensive to install a hot tub/spa, and you’ll sell more hot tubs/spas,” he says.
The company has also adopted minimum advertised pricing to support and protect brick and mortar dealer/distributor margins.
“We are able to guarantee our dealers a level playing field without them worrying that consumers will find the EZ Pad for less on the web,” Noble says. “Salesmen often offer consumers the ability to receive advice direct from the manufacturer while in the dealers’ store.”
Mike Genova, president of Spokane, Washington-based Leisure Concepts, Inc., makers of the SmartDeck, says retailers should offer spa pads as a value-add opportunity for their clients. Genova says it’s cheaper than using a local contractor to create a concrete base, and the end user doesn’t need to worry about the weather or the contractor’s schedule to get a hot tub installed.
“Our push to dealers is that when selling a hot tub, they need to go through a checklist of things consumers should have or may need, and that includes the spa pad,” he says. “Everyone wins. The consumer gets a better product and the retailer can make the sale.”
Jack Gawrys, proprietary sales coordinator for Confer Plastics Inc., in North Tonawanda, New York, makers of The Handi-Spa Pad, says many retailers are taking the wrong angle on selling pads and are missing an opportunity trying to make too much money off the sale.
When people bring up that they have a concrete guy, Gawrys suggests this is a perfect time to explain how a spa pad can save money with minimal surface prep.
“It might save someone a couple of grand, and concrete work can be quite a process,” he says. “Explain that, with spa pads, all you have to do is excavate and then you put your hot tub on top of it. Hardware-free construction gets the hot tub in a customer’s backyard.”