Only a short 14 years ago when I started in the pool business, needing to know about fire bowls, fire pits, fireplaces, outdoor kitchens, sunken seating areas and sunken bars, just to name a few, would have made me laugh. We build swimming pools. Let someone else worry about those items, if anyone even asked for them back then. Well, now if you aren’t thinking about those items and more, you are missing out. We are no longer swimming pool builders, we are backyard providers.
The term backyard experience is everywhere. Lucas Lagoons, out of Osprey, FL, has its own reality series called Insane Pools – Off the Deep End. The pools they are building cost the same as a house did 14 years ago. They build a backyard oasis, not just a place to cool off. HGTV has highlighted pool builders from around the country and the backyard experiences these builders are creating for the customer. When people start thinking about a pool, they put more thought into the items surrounding and attached to the pool than ever before.
When the trend started and people began asking for other items besides pools, I know our salespeople weren’t comfortable with selling or even discussing anything but a pool, deck and screen. We mostly referred outdoor kitchens, fire pits and fireplaces to small GC companies. Now it is a must to not only be able to discuss these items, but to be able to provide them yourself. The money left on the table if you do not offer these services is significant. Do not miss out on these opportunities; if you haven’t started getting into other outdoor backyard items, start tomorrow.
Pool builder show rooms used to be tile, acrylic deck colors, some pavers and interior colors. Now they are starting to resemble home design centers. Options are what make the pool. People don’t want to just swim, they want to feel like they are at a resort. They want the experience of the backyard. Our job is to provide that. You can see the other trends just from walking the Florida pool show last month. The number of suppliers and manufacturers carrying fire bowls and water bowls has gone up. Glass tile is more widely asked for. Arbors or pergolas around the pool area are increasing. Connecting a sunken kitchen and bar area to the pool is increasing. Sunken seating areas attached or even in the middle of the pool are increasing as well. This is why the Florida Pool Show name is now “Everything Under the Sun Expo”. We provide it all and if you don’t, you will fall behind.