Whether you’re celebrating Halloween this weekend, on Tuesday, or next weekend, transform your pool into a haunted spot. Here are some fun ideas for a Halloween pool party:

There are tons of ideas on how to use pool noodles for decoration. For instance, you can make a giant spider that greet your guests or trick-or-treaters.

Or you can have your giant spider tower over your pool!

Let’s face it: everyone loves a dip in the pool, even this skeleton.

Make it a pool game with this inflatable spider and rings.

Make it a night at the movies with a vintage horror movie pool party.

You can find these photos on FSPA’s Pinterest page. View our Pool Party Ideas board for pool party inspiration.

Happy Halloween!

*Always supervise children around the pool


Ray Kurilavicius
DART Pool Solutions

*The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the FSPA. Please confirm the work permissible under your license.*


That time of year is fast approaching; heating season will be here in no time. This long hot summer will fade away as the first cold front comes down and the snowbirds will start flocking south again wanting their pools and spas heated when they arrive. If your company works on heaters, it is time to get your service department in order and your technicians trained.

First things first, your company must have a Florida CPC or county RP license to install or reinstall any heater or any other pool equipment. Second, if you work on LP gas heaters you must have a state license to work on LP equipment, and if you work on natural gas equipment, several counties require licensing. Last but not least, if your company works on heat pumps your technician must have the proper EPA certification to hook up to or work on the refrigeration system. If you are not licensed and do not have the proper certifications, do not work on the equipment. If that piece of equipment fails, your insurer will not cover you for any damages and you and your company, along with the technician who did the work, can and will be held personally liable for any damages. So the bottom line is to get the proper licensing and training and life will be good.

The manufacturers have their training classes starting in September. Check with your local factory representative or go to their website and get your technicians signed up as class space is usually limited and fills up fast. If you work on LP gas heaters, the Florida Department of Agriculture will be able to let you know if a gas safety class will be held near you. The FSPA will have the EPA certification exam prep and exam at the Everything Under the Sunsm Expo in February along with the LP gas exam prep. I thank Mary Anderson at the FSPA state office for all her hard work in putting this together.

As you know, the pool industry and the air conditioning industry have been in a battle over heat pumps regarding who can work on them and install them. Under a pool contractor’s scope of work, we are allowed to do both. Many pool company owners are unaware that they can work on the refrigeration portion of the heater as long as the technician doing the work has the proper EPA certification. The company does not need to be licensed in air conditioning for the work to be done. An air conditioning contractor is only allowed to work on the refrigeration portion and cannot work on any portion of the pool plumbing, this incudes disconnecting the heater even at the unions or replacing the heater even if it is the same model. This being said, several of the heat pump manufacturers do not let pool companies work on their heat pumps even if the techs have the proper certification. They only allow air conditioning contractors to do this work which gives the AC industry a leg to stand on in their quest to sell and install pool heat pumps. I strongly urge all companies to get their technicians EPA certified and trained by the manufacturers or local VO-TEC or technical school so our industry can gain their trust and let us do the work instead of our competition.

The EPA Section 608 Prep and exam will take place at the 2018 Expo on Thursday, February 8, 2018. The exam prep will take place from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Attendees will return for the exam at 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Attendees will register for the course on the 2018 Everything Under the Sunsm Expo website, www.UnderTheSunExpo.com. The cost of the exam prep will be $99 and registration will open in October. There is a study book that each student needs to order prior to the exam, so they have time to study. Attendees will need to purchase the book at least three weeks prior to the class date to give themselves enough time to study and then bring it to the exam prep. The cost of the EPA Preparation book is $14.58+shipping and it can be ordered online or by calling the supplier. The size is limited to 35 students and the cutoff for registration will be January 18, 2018.

So to sum it all up, get your guys trained and certified, knowledge is power and with the proper training your customers will have confidence in your company and your technicians and our industry will look more professional.

*The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the FSPA. Please confirm the work permissible under your license.

Brett D. Holland
Treasure Pools

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.

Todd Koontz
Spies Pool LLC

In Florida, it is a criminal offense to engage in contracting work or to act in the capacity of a contractor without a valid contractor’s license. It can be tempting for individuals or businesses to hire unlicensed contractors or subcontractors. As licensed pool contractors, the following points can help us educate our customers to help them avoid the potentially disastrous consequences of hiring unlicensed contractors.

Unlicensed contractors often lack general liability and workers’ compensation insurance. Some unlicensed contractors may try to fool a customer by providing a certified pool operator certificate instead of a contractor’s license. They may only provide an occupational license which is not a regulatory license or certificate of competency but a local tax paid for the privilege of engaging in or managing a business.

Unlicensed contractors are often poorly trained, the work they do can be shoddy, and they may use inferior materials and violate federal/state/local building codes. This can result in your customer having to hire a licensed contractor to complete the repairs correctly and pay more money for the job than if they hired a licensed contractor in the first place. If the unlicensed contractor fails to pay his or her subcontractors or suppliers, the customer may be legally forced to pay them, even though they have already paid the contractor.

According to Florida Statute 455.228, if your customer knowingly hires an unlicensed contractor they become the general contractor and the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) may issue a cease and desist order which could result in your customer being taken to circuit court and being fined up to $5,000 for aiding and abetting an unlicensed contractor.

If your customer hires an unlicensed contractor, any damages during a repair are the customer’s responsibility. Also, if a worker gets injured on the job and can’t work there is no workers’ compensation so the customer may be responsible for any medical bills or lost wages. Most insurance policies won’t cover damages when a customer knowingly uses an illegal or unlicensed contractor, so the customer could face unlimited liability.

Licensed contractors need to educate their customers on what a licensed contractor looks like and how to look up a contractor’s license to confirm it is legitimate. Often unlicensed contractors will advertise themselves as licensed and insured without either being true. A customer should verify a contractor’s license at www.myfloridalicense.com. They should also ask for a copy of their insurance and contact that insurance company to verify the policy is current and legitimate.

Licensed contractors must have passed examinations showing they have knowledge about their craft, carry licensure from the state and county where the work will be performed, carry workers’ compensation to pay for medical expenses due to injuries, carry liability insurance to protect your property in case of accidental damage, file building permits if needed, at which time their license is verified to be in good standing, and get inspections to ensure project complies with standards for materials and building codes for construction. All licensed contractors can be sanctioned by the local License Review Board of Florida’s Construction Industry Licensing Board when their actions don’t comply with building codes or accepted business practices.

As you can see, there can be many destructive consequences for your customers in hiring unlicensed contractors. Keep a portfolio of your credentials and qualifications as a licensed pool contractor ready to share with all potential customers. It is your job as a licensed contractor to remind your customers why using an unlicensed contractor to save a few dollars may be tempting in the short run, but the potential risks of entering into an illegal contract far outweigh the perceived benefits.