By Brent Handy, Paragon Pools of Lake City, Inc. / firstname.lastname@example.org with
Larry Losciale, Easy Modern Living, Inc. / email@example.com
Most of us would agree that finding good employees and subcontractors is one of the single largest challenges facing the construction industry today. So, maximizing the efficiency of the crews we all work with is more important than ever. In our business, we have found the most efficient swimming pool construction method to be installing fiberglass shell pools.
By far, the greatest percentage of residential swimming pools installed in Florida today are concrete shell pools. And with good reason! Concrete pools have many things going for them. But, there is also lots of labor (typically both employees and subcontractors) involved with installing the concrete pools. As we are all challenged by a dwindling qualified labor pool, and good subcontractors are spread too thin, this can make scheduling a nightmare! Add in the Florida weather challenges, and this can quickly turn into a situation that costs us (the pool builder) real money that we did not have in the budget.
Let’s explore fiberglass pool shells for a minute. I know that fiberglass pool shells have their drawbacks. They have their strong points too! The single biggest drawback is that your customer will have to choose from the sizes, shapes and colors that the manufacturers offer. But, for the vast majority of homeowners’ situations, this is not too great a challenge to overcome. And you still have all of the decking options available that you have with concrete shell pools. In fact, with the same waterline pool tile and decking options, all of the fiberglass gelcoat finish is below the waterline just exactly the same way the plaster finish is on a concrete shell pool.
All of that being said, here is the main point of this article: I have found that we can install more residential swimming pools, with less employees, and less subcontractors, and finish in significantly less time when installing fiberglass pool shells than we could when we focused on building concrete pool shells. Ultimately this puts more money in the company pockets with less frustration than when we focused on concrete pool shells.
In fact, our front end crew is a four man crew. These four will typically install a fiberglass pool shell in three workdays. The front end installation consists of: digging the hole, setting the pool shell, rough plumbing and pressure test, and backfill and compact to be ready for the decking crew.
Imagine literally being ready for the pool deck crew the fourth day you are in the backyard! Imagine never having to send a crew out to dig mud that caved in from between the steel, and scrambling to reschedule the concrete and shell crew. Imagine never again having to delay the plaster crew because of inclement weather. All of these are realities for builders that focus on fiberglass pool shell installations. How much easier would this make the front end construction for the person responsible for the construction schedule?
Of course, one of the primary factors for the quick jobsite installation is that the shell is already constructed in a factory where trained technicians work in a climate controlled environment. The pool shell arrives at the jobsite structurally sound, and with the finish already installed.
Speaking of the pool finish, imagine not having to monitor the pool and water chemistry for the first 30 days. Imagine being able to put salt in salt water pools immediately. Imagine not having to brush the pool multiple times per day to help the fresh pool finish settle in. How would this change the pool start-up? How much more quickly will the already excited customers be able to enjoy their new pool?
At the end of the day, the success of business is ultimately its ability to turn a profit. We have found that we can make approximately the same profit margin installing fiberglass pool shells that we were making installing concrete pool shells. But, we can do this with significantly fewer employees and trucks on the road. We can install significantly more pools in significantly less time. Both absolutely increasing the net bottom line!