The Spa & Sauna Co. of Reno

Changes yield big rewards

Scott Clark has done it all in the hot tub industry. He started off working for a dealership in the Bay area, and after it closed he opened his own shop. The building where he leased was sold, so he decided to get out of retail and started working for the factory doing road shows. 

“To top it off, I have since married my former Caldera rep,” Clark says. That rep, Shelley Ingram, was none other than the daughter of David Ingram, founder of Caldera Spas. 

Eventually, the couple grew tired of Clark being on the road. “I was gone about half the time and home half the time — home with nothing to do,” Clark says. Having moved to Reno a couple years earlier, Clark delved into retail again, opening The Spa & Sauna Co. of Reno in 2004, where he sells Caldera Spas. He opened a location where he sells Hot Spring Spas in 2012. In 2015 Clark purchased an existing Sundance dealer, making that his third location. 

“Our goal is to have three separate storefronts where we can pitch the story for each brand and let people make their decisions from there,” Clark says. 2014 was a big year for the business, culminating in the Caldera Spas Dealer of the Year Award. 

“We made a conscious effort this past year to update our website, update our CRM programs, invest infrastructure money into improving our processes and trying to become a better company so that we can better serve our customers,” Clark says. 

Clark began the journey to those changes years earlier. He knew his company was good at finding leads, turning those leads into sales and delivering the product. But once the hot tub was out the door, it struggled with not only service but also keeping in touch with past customers — and getting them to be repeat buyers. 

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“We didn’t want to be that company,” Clark says. “We wanted to engage with our customers.”

To remedy those problems, Clark turned to software. He bought Evosus, point-of-sale and business management software developed for pool and spa companies. He also got InfusionSoft, a customer-relationship management system. Clark had a local developer customize InfusionSoft so all its email communication is automated. All the salesmen have to do is enter a customer’s information, indicating whether they are a lead or have already purchased, and then they will start getting targeted emails.

“It’s the best thing we ever did,” Clark says. They’re still building out all of the emails they want people to get, but some of those include a predelivery checklist; a postdelivery satisfaction survey; a thank-you card; the owner’s manual for the model they purchased; and reminders to clean filters.

Clark asked several dealers and factory reps about how they run their service departments, hoping to find a model to emulate. “Nobody has a real set game plan,” Clark says. “They all have little things they do. We decided we’re going to build out the infrastructure, however long it takes. Grow and fill in the people as that side of the business grows.”

Unsung Heroes

Clark says his delivery department deserves recognition for doing backbreaking work with a smile. You need sales to have deliveries, and Clark says he’s got one of the best sales managers in the business with Kevin Thompson. If the delivery team isn’t courteous and doesn’t do a nice job, he says, the entire sale is tainted. 

Clark says Daniel Call, who started at the business doing deliveries, was instrumental in getting the new software systems in place. “He’s now our office manager, and you definitely don’t get much recognition in the office manager department,” Clark says. “But we wouldn’t be live with Evosus; we wouldn’t have made that switchover successful without him; and definitely wouldn’t be where we are with InfusionSoft without his legwork to get us going.”