Editor’s note: Today’s above-ground swimming pools are no longer just for the price-sensitive market, as they are being sold as an architectural feature in the backyard. Although they can be much easier to install and maintain when compared to their inground pool counterparts, it is important that installers and service professionals follow a series of best practices when it comes to above-ground pool installation and winterization procedures. That said, Pool & Spa Marketing asked Mermaid Pools and Hot Tubs, a large retailer and installer of above-ground pools in the Ottawa and Gatineau, Que., regions, to share some of its techniques, which have proven to be successful. The technical procedures discussed in this article are those of Mermaid Pools and Hot Tubs and may not apply to every above-ground swimming pool installation/retail company.
By Brian Babb and Myrtle Myers
Mermaid Pools and Hot Tubs have trialed several above-ground swimming pool installation and winterization techniques since the company was established in 1965. This experience has provided the company with informed and unique perspectives on above-ground pool installation and service procedures that are still being used today. This article is not a step-by-step technical account of how the company installs its above-ground pools, but rather an opportunity to share some of the company’s best practices, observations, and lessons learned.
Pre-installation organization and preparedness are crucial for any pool company. In fact, project preparation is the most important aspect of ensuring a successful installation. As long as the homeowner follows the instructions in advance and the pool installers ensure proper levelling, drainage, base, and materials, the above-ground pool will be a safe, sturdy long-term investment, which the family can enjoy for many years.
The preparatory work, however, starts well before the installer arrives at the client’s home. It actually begins in the company’s delivery and installation departments, which plans and co-ordinates every project to ensure a smooth installation and a happy customer. Both departments should include expert delivery and installation personnel who are well versed in warehouse management, co-ordinating multiple deliveries throughout a large region, scheduling numerous installation crews, and understanding the company’s products and warranties. Staff in these departments also work behind the scenes to ensure above-ground pool installations go as planned.
Having an efficient delivery department helps facilitate the work of a company’s pool installers. For example, by delivering the above-ground pool kit in advance, the installer can start the project immediately upon arriving at the client’s home.
Equally as important is the information and customer service these departments offer. The installation department assists clients by preparing them prior to the start of a project so they know what to expect. And, should a client require assistance or have any questions or concerns, they can call the company directly, rather than the installer.
Another good idea is to use a comprehensive booking sheet in advance of the installation. This documentation provides all parties with important information to prepare for all eventualities. Not only is the booking sheet the company’s most important fact gathering tool, it can also help alleviate some of the client’s stress, which comes along with a new pool installation.
This documentation should contain all of the necessary information about the project (e.g. pool type, size, liner pattern, location of trees in the yard, ground conditions, etc.), which is obtained via a site inspection and/or from the customer over the phone. When everything is said and done, the booking sheet is then e-mailed to the client.
Another benefit of using a booking sheet as part of pre-installation best practices is it can be a helpful resource when educating the client about the installation process and what they are responsible for. For example, it will inform them about getting a pool enclosure permit, as well as finding and scheduling a water truck and electrician.