Due to the constant advancement in technology, pool contractors now have design tools made available to them that they did not once have in the past. Although there are a few designers who still design on graph paper, there are a few in the industry who are taking full advantage of the 3D software tools available. With 3D replicated products from pool industry vendors, landscape options, and the ability to fully customize the pool/spa, deck, and house stages, designers now can give a presentation to the client like never before. According to one source, 65% of all people are visual learners, which makes the approach of 3D design very powerful! We can now give the client a visual of their outdoor living environment from a click of a button.
Over the years I have found that designing in 3D “with” the customer has given myself and others an edge over the competition. It has provided the customer with an opportunity to feel a part of the design process, which they take ownership in. It is not uncommon that out of three or five companies a customer meets with, that I am the only one that designed in front of them. It is important that your customer’s input is heard during the design process. It is also imperative that you ask the right questions during your meeting. Tell me about your family? How do you plan on utilizing the pool (leisure, health, sports)? This way the design meets their needs and possibly gives a few other perspectives they may have not thought about.
There are a few different software programs available on the market today. I currently use Pool Studio from Structure Studios (www.structurestudios.com) which has a great tutorial library to assist with the learning transition. The way the workflow works is in stages. There are house, pool, spa, wall/fence, terrain, steps/benches, planter, and custom shape stages. Each stage has their own parameter where you can fully customize your project. This gives the designer endless options, where the only limitation is their imagination. It takes dedication and many countless hours to become fluent in the program. However, once you become comfortable designing in front of the customer, you will separate yourself from the rest instantly.
Besides the sales benefits, another benefit of having your project digitized is the ability to seamlessly convert it into a detailed construction plan. If the municipality you work in requires “site specific” engineering .ilo of a master file, you are able to export the project into a .dxf file. The engineer can take that file and import it into AutoCad and seamlessly create the site specific engineering plans for you.
So whether you are already using 3D software or if you just haven’t had the courage to make the plunge yet, have faith in yourself, continue to invest time and expand your knowledge. As “knowledge is power.” Take full advantage of 3D design and leave the rest up to your imagination! Feel free to email me if you have any questions on 3D design or how this tool can be beneficial to you and your company.