Category Archives: Love Pool Industry

By FSPA President Brian Kelly, Shamrock Pools / shamrockpls1091@aol.com 

This time of year we start to see print and television ads reminding us that it’s time to start thinking politics. While many of us are consumed by our businesses in our busiest time, we cannot forget to exercise one of our greatest rights in this country. Our right to vote. Millions and millions of people the world over unfortunately do not have the same rights and standards that we, as Americans, hold dear to our hearts. At the top of that list is our right to vote for our leaders and representatives. It is a right guaranteed to us by our forefathers in the United States Constitution, and the one right that separates us from millions throughout the world.

The FSPA understands this privilege and the process that is associated with choosing our leaders. We spend a great deal of time and resources vetting our future leadership and supporting candidates who hold the same priorities as we do.  Many in our association feel that government relations is one of the most important benefits offered to our membership.

With this process in mind, the Executive Committee recently has voted on expanding our government relations initiative to include an additional staff person to help with coordination of meetings and events to give us and our members greater ease in which to meet with potential leaders.  We have also retained Bruce Kurshner, former lobbyist with UPSA, to help with our regulatory presence at CILB and DBPR meetings. Bruce will also assist our current lobbyist, Jen Hatfield, with her lobbying efforts in Tallahassee and at the FBC meetings. These additions, along with outside consultation on PIPAC and PIC contributions will hopefully prove fruitful for our FSPA initiatives.

But at the end of the day, the real movement and greatest contribution comes from you, our local membership. It is the grassroots actions that truly make a difference in vetting our future leaders. Meeting these legislators on their home turf, actually YOUR home turf, is where we get the most bang for our buck. Talking with these representatives and senators in their own districts in a relaxed environment helps clarify their direction, identify their stances on important issues and helps us determine the FSPA’s future support. Visits to their home offices with a few members of the FSPA in tow shows them our strength and unity as an association.

Each of our local chapters will be asked to meet with the local candidates in the near future. Many will be asked to hold a GR meeting where multiple candidates can attend. Please do your very best to engage these hometown politicians and show them our commitment to the process. The grassroots approach to government relations is the root of our political process. And now is the time to start meeting our future leaders. Please do your best when called upon to help us make good decisions on supporting these candidates.

By Brett D. Holland, Treasure Pools / brett@treasurepoolsfl.com

Over the last three months I have been asked a few times on my approach to new potential clients.  So for this month’s article I have decided to share my design schedule.

When a new lead first makes contact with our office we ask for the typical information:  customer name, address, phone number, email, and what type of watershapes they are interested in, pool/spa, features, etc.  This information is then passed on to the designer to make first contact.  This is the first of many opportunities in the design schedule for you to separate yourself from the competition.  The sooner you are able to make contact the better.  The old saying of “the first impression is the most important” definitely comes into play here.  It is imperative to make contact that first day even if its an e-mail at the very least that you received their info and will be in touch the following day due to appointments etc. 

During the initial contact as a designer it is important to “pre-qualify” the customer.  Making sure the client has realistic expectations of what pools cost prior to your site visit will save you time and money!  Most designers in today’s market are pretty busy.  The last thing you want to do is block a day/time out for someone, spend several hours designing their project to then find out they have a $20K budget.  However, you have to be careful not to sell yourself short and scare them with price.  You don’t want to waste a lead that you may have been able to close by getting in front of them.  This is a delicate process, and if done correctly will be extremely useful.  I suggest focusing more on starting price and not address any options at this time.

The site visit…. If you’re not 10 minutes early you are LATE.

Upon pulling up to the site, I am immediately looking at access/obstacles etc.  I will inspect both sides of the house from the front prior to walking up to the door.  The appointment will often start with a conversation in the rear yard, listening to the client on how they envision their outdoor living experience.  While listening I am usually already designing on my tablet.  Creating a design based on if they are leaning towards geometric or a freeform watershape.  This is yet another opportunity to give a lasting impression.  Being able to show a customer a rough draft of a design before even sitting down at the table will separate you immediately.  There are programs available for this.  Look into “Augmented Reality.”  This is the way of the future for many different industries, and in the next 3-5 years will be used by most consumers on a daily basis. 

Prior to going inside the home I make sure to take several photos of the site:  both sides of house, pool equipment location, back of the house etc.  I then will transfer the rough design from my tablet to my laptop for the main design consultation inside.  Designing “with” the customer not “for” the customer is the single most important part of the design schedule.  It is our job as designers to share our experiences with the client and give them different scenarios to think about.  Leading them to decisions and making the design “their” design is critical.  Pay attention to the house orientation, north, south, east or west.  Where will the sun be in the morning/afternoon?  This is important for sun bathing placement,  either in the pool or on the deck.  Discuss if and how they plan on entertaining on the deck area.  This question needs to be asked to make sure the proper amount of deck is provided for their needs.

It is not uncommon that only one out of four designers will actually design with the customer.  If you find yourself spending 5-10 minutes on a site visit, then sending a design “for free” along with an estimate to your clients, you may want to consider a different approach.  In most cases, your design is being shopped out to other builders.  Rather than spending your quality time doing designs/re-designs for free, I would recommend spending your time learning your tools so you are able to design “with” the customer. 

The relationship built with your clients during this design schedule will place you in the best possible position to close the sale.  They will appreciate you spending the necessary time with them and covering all the aspects for their project.  We are one of the few industries that sends out designs for free.  In my opinion we need to work towards not doing that and spend more time designing with the clients. 

Your hardwork to build an awesome pool deserves some recognition!  Customers will love to hear that you are an award-winning company.  Prepare now for the 2019 Design Awards.  Entries are due October 31, 2018.

Design Awards entry form 2019

The annual Florida Swimming Pool Association Design Awards program gives members an opportunity to enter their pools, spas and water features for judging on workmanship, soundness of design, beauty, practicality and safety. Categories customized for Florida pool construction divide the entries by size, type of construction and features.

Pools are awarded a Gold, Silver, Bronze or Award of Merit based on a panel of industry judges’ review.  Each award winner receives a plaque with a mounted photo of the pool or spa so they may display their accomplishment to prospective customers.

Award winning pools are submitted to national industry magazines for publication and also distributed to the winners’ local media.

A special logo is available for the winners to use in ads, business cards and on company letterhead.

*FSPA membership must be paid in full to participate in Design Awards.
osha

This rule reduces the limit of respirable crystalline silica to 50 mg per cubic meter of air averaged over 8-hour shift.

Compliance dates
Construction industry September 23, 2017 (fully enforceable 30 days later, October 23)
General Industry June 23, 2018

Requires employers to:

  • Use engineering controls (such as water or ventilation) to limit worker exposure;
  • provide respirators when engineering controls cannot adequately limit exposure;
  • limit worker access to high exposure areas;
  • develop a written exposure control plan;
  • offer medical exams to highly exposed workers; and
  • train workers on silica risks and how to limit exposures.

Where to get more information:

Paperless Licensing, effective 05/04/2018

The Department of Business and Professional Regulation is excited to announce an advancement in how we license construction contractors in the State of Florida.
The Department has implemented an innovative way to expedite the licensing process for construction contractors. The Department will no longer be mailing licenses upon issuance, as licensees can now print their licenses by logging into their secure online account with the Department. This will allow new licensees to enter the work force at least 7 to 10 business days early, whereas, in the past, they would have to wait for the license to arrive in the mail. In addition to new licenses, this process will allow licensees to renew online and print the license at their convenience, as well as print duplicate licenses as needed without paying a fee.

http://www.myfloridalicense.com/DBPR/construction-industry/#1489159936159-f5999a2f-2160

By Terri Payton, Aqua Blue Pools / tupayton@gmail.com

Do you want the latest secret on how to increase your pay without having to work longer hours? With a little pre-planning and some extra time in front of the mirror each morning you can easily increase your sales. Despite what we all see in the public today with tattoos, piercings and casual clothing, your appearance still weighs heavily in the sales process. In a sales transaction the pre-planning of your appearance and grooming is critical because you are judged almost immediately.

According to a Forbes Magazine article “These computations are made at lightning speed.” Researchers from NYU found that we make 11 major decisions about one another in the first seven seconds of a meeting.  Surprisingly, the nonverbal cues weigh just as heavy as the verbal. Studies have shown nonverbal cues have more than four times the impact on the impression you make than anything you say. Given the fact that you may only meet your given prospect once or twice your appearance is crucial from the start. Many times you will not get a second chance!

I have noticed in our industry that many of my colleagues dress very casually because our work environment is outdoors and it is hot. That does not mean you need to look sloppy. You can still keep a business casual appearance which most consumers in Florida will respond to well. Simply dressing in clothes that are clean from stains, bleach marks or tears and are pressed will make a big difference. Think about when you are a consumer of a large ticket
item. How are the sales staff dressed? How do they appear? Doesn’t this help you trust them?

“The goal of a reputable business is to project a professional image that describes the nature of the business, its product and/or services and the people working in it. A goal of a professional image is to maintain the integrity of your brand and build credibility.” – Cynthia Bull, internationally published editor and writer, including a column called The Importance of a Professional Image.

So think about it tomorrow morning when you go to grab the first thing in your closet or drawer… People still judge a book by its cover! What does your “cover” say about you?

By Brett Holland, Treasure Pools /  brett@treasurepoolsfl.com

 It is 2018 and the demand for ozone is continuing to rise for residential swimming pools.  Consumers and industry professionals are both becoming more aware of the downsides of traditional sanitizers, such as salt chlorine generators, liquid chlorine and stand-alone tablet feeders. 

Ozone was first discovered 170 years ago, and then in 1937 the first ozone system was introduced into a commercial pool in the United States.  Since then, ozone has been mandated for use of all Olympic training and competition swimming pools, due to its disinfection and oxidation capabilities.  Ozone can change the molecular structure of organic and inorganic compounds, destroy them completely, and allow them to be easily removed from the water by the pool filter.  These compounds (sweat, urine, body oils, lotion, saliva, etc.) are what causes red/irritated eyes when combined with chlorine.  Traditional sanitizers, such as salt systems are not an effective alternative if you wish to eliminate these chlorine by-products also known as chloramines. 

Unfortunately, there is little to no knowledge by most industry professionals when it comes to sizing a proper ozone system.  Due to this, there has not been much success (unless you know how to properly size one).  Ozone is often presented as a cure-all, however typically undersized.  Whether you are a builder or a service professional that would like to offer your customers the cleanest, clearest water available in today’s industry, there are a few factors in sizing your ozone system I suggest you consider.

The three big factors for an ozone system are:  The output of the generator (Grams per hour/gph), contact tank, and oxygen concentrator.  I am going to provide you with a formula on the gph needed for your project at the end of this article.  Most common ozone systems produce (.5 gph-1.12 gph) and do not have a contact tank.  Some units have a mixing vessel which has minimal contact time, 20 seconds at best.  The most common size contact tanks I use are between 30-40 gallons and on average provide 4-7 minutes of contact time.  Oxygen concentrators are imperative here in Florida due to the moisture in the air.  They are important with corona discharge systems because without them you will have nitric acid build up within the unit.  This happens when moisture from the air (unfiltered ambient air) is struck with the electrical arc from the corona discharge.  This will cause premature failure of the ozone generator and require frequent unnecessary maintenance. 

Ozone dosage rates: Rates will vary from 0.1 – 0.5 ppm based on conditions such as:  water temperature, indoor/outdoor pool or spa, covered or uncovered, bather load, filtration type and chemical-use reduction.  I recommend using 0.5 ppm due to most Florida pools being uncovered and having a high water temperature.

Calculating the water shape’s flow rate:  Volume/360 minutes (six-hour turnover) = full flow gpm.
Example: 15,000/360 minutes= 41.7gpm
Ozone Output required, gph (grams per hour)
*Note that 0.228 is a multiplier used to calculate pounds per day of ozone to gph.  This is a fixed value.
Example: 0.5ppm ozone x 41.7 gpm x .0.228 = 4.75 ozone gph

Calculating the ozone loop flow rate:  The ozone loop flow rate will range from 15 – 30% of the full flow gpm, 20% is typical.
Example:  41.7 gpm x 20%= 8.34 gpm

Calculating the contact time divide the volume of the tank by the SS flow rate:
Example:  30 gallon tank/8.34 gpm= 3.59 minutes
*Calculating the CT value (concentration multiplied by Time) is based on the SS flow rate.

 As you can see on a standard 15×30 pool here in Florida, there is approximately 4 gph needed of ozone.  If the goal in your project is to get a maximum chemical reduction, a unit that produces between 0.5 – 1.12 gph will not meet your required ozone output.

I hope this article helps you when sizing your next ozone system.  If you have any questions please feel free to email me, and I will be happy to assist you with your project.

 References:
1.  Marc Debrum, “Ozone is Not Just for Residential Potable Water Treatment”, 2010
2. Marc Debrum, “The Ultimate Swimming Experience”, 2014

The scholarship application for the 2018-2019 FSPA Scholarship Program is ready!  Dependents of owners or company employees (of 2+ years) are welcome to download the application.  All materials are due in the office by June 29.  Spread the word to any company staff with graduating high schoolers or college students.

A situation a Florida business ran into recently made us believe that a short article on this subject might be of value.  The US Department of Labor contacted this business as a result of a former employee complaint.  The individual was a pool service technician who was paid per pool serviced vs. by an hourly wage.  When the Department of Labor contacted the business they asked for copies of the employer records demonstrating hours worked, etc.

The employer explained how the technicians were not paid hourly, how the hourly wage equated to well above minimum wage and that none of his technicians worked overtime (in fact they often worked far less).  Still, the failure to have detailed records on how many hours each employee worked was a failure in compliance according to the department.

Below are some of the basics on FLSA.  The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and child labor standards affecting full-time and part-time workers in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments.

Nationally, nonexempt workers are entitled to a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009.  Florida has a $8.25 minimum wage.  Nonexempt workers must be paid overtime pay at a rate of not less than one and one-half times their regular rates of pay after 40 hours of work in a workweek.

Workweek – A workweek is a period of 168 hours during seven consecutive 24-hour periods. It may begin on any day of the week and at any hour of the day established by the employer. Generally, for purposes of minimum wage and overtime payment, each workweek stands alone; there can be no averaging of two or more workweeks. Employee coverage, compliance with wage payment requirements, and the application of most exemptions are determined on a workweek basis.

Hours Worked – Covered employees must be paid for all hours worked in a workweek. In general, “hours worked” includes all time an employee must be on duty, or on the employer’s premises or at any other prescribed place of work, from the beginning of the first principal activity of the work day to the end of the last principal work activity of the work day.  Also included is any additional time the employee is allowed (i.e., suffered or permitted) to work.

Some employees are exempt from the overtime pay provisions or both the minimum wage and overtime pay provisions.  Because exemptions are generally narrowly defined under the FLSA, an employer should carefully check the exact terms and conditions for each.  Detailed information is available from local WHD (Wage and Hour Division) offices.  Following are examples of exemptions which are illustrative, but not all-inclusive.  These examples do not define the conditions for each exemption.

Exemptions from Overtime Pay

  1. Certain commissioned employees of retail or service establishments; auto, truck, trailer, farm implement, boat, or aircraft sales-workers; or parts-clerks and mechanics servicing autos, trucks, or farm implements, who are employed by non-manufacturing establishments primarily engaged in selling these items to ultimate purchasers;
  2. Employees of railroads and air carriers, taxi drivers, certain employees of motor carriers, seamen on American vessels, and local delivery employees paid on approved trip rate plans;
  3. Announcers, news editors, and chief engineers of certain non-metropolitan broadcasting stations;
  4. Domestic service workers living in the employer’s residence;
  5. Employees of motion picture theaters; and
  6. Farmworkers

Recordkeeping
The FLSA requires employers to keep records on wages, hours, and other items, as specified in DOL recordkeeping regulations. Most of the information is of the kind generally maintained by employers in ordinary business practice and in compliance with other laws and regulations. The records do not have to be kept in any particular form and time clocks need not be used. With respect to an employee subject to the minimum wage provisions or both the minimum wage and overtime pay provisions, the following records must be kept:

  1. Personal information, including employee’s name, home address, occupation, sex, and birth date if under 19 years of age;
  2. Hour and day when workweek begins;
  3. Total hours worked each workday and each workweek;
  4. Total daily or weekly straight-time earnings;
  5. Regular hourly pay rate for any week when overtime is worked;
  6. Total overtime pay for the workweek;
  7. Deductions from or additions to wages;
  8. Total wages paid each pay period; and
  9. Date of payment and pay period covered.

Records required for exempt employees differ from those for nonexempt workers. Special information is required for homeworkers, for employees working under uncommon pay arrangements, for employees to whom lodging or other facilities are furnished, and for employees receiving remedial education.

Action by the Department
The Department is authorized to supervise the payment of unpaid minimum wages and/ or unpaid overtime compensation owed to any employee(s).  In lieu of litigation, the Department may seek back wages and liquidated damages, through settlements with employers. Liquidated damages can be as much as the back wages.  Civil money penalties may be assessed for child labor violations and for repeat and/or willful violations of FLSA minimum wage or overtime requirements.

Employers who willfully or repeatedly violate minimum wage or overtime pay requirements are subject to significant civil money penalties per violation.  Owners of a company can also be found to be personally liable.

Employers who violate the child labor provisions of the FLSA are subject to a civil money penalty of up to $11,000 for each employee who was the subject of a violation. These penalties may be increased up to $50,000 for each violation that caused the death or serious injury of an employee who is a minor, and may be doubled to $100,000 if the violation was determined to be willful or repeated.

All of this information was obtained form the US Department of Labor website.  Access to the specific site is http://www.dol.gov/whd/foremployers.htm. You are encouraged to contact the Department of Labor direct with any questions, comments or concerns.

By Mickey Sigmon, Pool Pro, Inc. / poolproinc@yahoo.com

Swimming pool season in Florida is year round as water temperatures only vary slightly from month to month. On the service side of the pool industry, the “winter” months provide the opportunity to get caught up from the busy fall season, experiment with new ideas, and plan our spring/summer attack for algae season – the poolkeeper’s nemesis.

Algae can sneak up on even the most diligent pool professional at the first sign of rising water temperature. The problem usually starts in the shaded, southern side of the pool. It can take days or even weeks to deal with this mess. It’s no picnic.

There is hope, however. A few simple preventive measures can reduce or eliminate our algae woes before they even begin. These three simple tips will save you time and money to enjoy springtime (and maybe even visit a few of those lush, green fairways).

  1. Change your pool filter. Algae grows in cold, dark filter canisters at night and is dispersed into the pool when the pump activates the following morning. Remember, a dirty filter makes a dirty pool. Make sure to clean it at least once a month.
  2. Brush tiles and walls at least once a week. This practice releases algae from its base preventing further growth. The chemically balanced pool water will finish the job before the pesky algae is sent to its watery grave in the pool filter.
  3. Test your water for phosphates. The magic number for phosphates is 0.0. If you have anything higher, you will grow algae. Phosphates are for lush, green fairways not sparkling, blue pools.