Panelists’ Take On Swim Spas

Dealers talk benefits, challenges

Scott Clark
Owner, The Spa and Sauna Co.
5 locations in Nevada and California

We started carrying swim spas seven or eight years ago.

Our entry into swim spas started with a request from a customer. One of our elderly spa customers came in and told us her doctor had suggested that exercising in a low-impact environment, like a pool, would help with her mobility. The spa she had from us was a small two-person model, designed more for a soak than for exercising. The discussion turned to this hybrid, half pool, half hot tub product that might be well suited for her small backyard and the cold winter months of the Eastern Sierras.

We had been performing warranty service for a hot tub brand that had seen its dealer in our area close during the economic downturn. In addition to hot tubs, they offered a couple swim spa models. After some back and forth with the customer and a site check or two, we closed the deal, taking her small hot tub in trade. For the next few years, we sold one or two swim spas a year, essentially from brochures. In 2015, we purchased a much larger showroom and we were able to display both a wet and dry swim spa model on the floor. Like most of the products we sell, when you look like you’re in the business, you sell more.

In 2016, we became an exclusive Endless Pools dealer. Hot tubs are still our primary revenue driver, but swim spas have grown to be a valuable addition to our business. We now display at least one and up to three swim spa models in four of our five showrooms.

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Swim spas offer obvious appeal in their high price point. Very few units, in comparison to hot tubs, are needed to generate significant gross sales dollars. But with that price point, there are higher customer expectations as well. With prices from $20,000 to $60,000 or more with options, installation costs and taxes, the customer-service fallout can be challenging if your infrastructure is not prepared to act quickly to address installation issues, operating questions and warranty service. Delivery logistics also have an impact on operations. The time required to fulfill a swim spa order is significant. Three to four hot tubs can be delivered in the time it takes to properly set up some swim spa models and automated covers.

Overall, we have found the category has complimented our existing business and helped us toward continued revenue growth.

David Ghiz
Owner, Imagine Backyard Living
Scottsdale, Arizona

We added Hydropool swim spas to our offerings when we opened in 2014. I felt the category was in its infancy in our market and there would be a good opportunity to be in front of it. We have a pretty experienced staff and team that make things go very smooth. It’s critical for this to happen with a product like this. We have success with the Hydropool line due to its premium quality and excellent swimming and exercise features. It’s the only self-cleaning swim spa on the market, which is another important benefit to
the consumer.

The pools do create a challenge for the consumer due to the big, heavy covers they come with. There are some nice options today with rolling covers and Covana’s automatic cover, so things are improving from that standpoint.

There seem to be more manufacturers getting in the category, which can be a bit scary due to quality issues. I have seen/heard of customers in my market having a bad experience with other swim spa products and dealers. The last thing the industry needs is the consumer having a bad ownership experience with an expensive purchase.