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Surveying the Canadian pool/hot tub industry

Who are you?

Pool & Spa Marketing is dedicated to providing leaders in the pool, spa/hot tub and landscape industry with the latest news, products, services and techniques. The magazine has a huge following—from builders/contractors and service professionals to landscape architects/designers, retail sales managers, manufacturers and suppliers. Once again, the largest number of respondents selected ‘business owner’ as their job description, followed by ‘residential builder/contractor.’ Additional popular occupations included retail sales manager, service technician, aquatic facility manager/supervisor, and landscape/architect designer.

Who makes what?

As described earlier, the respondents to this year’s salary survey represent various sectors within the pool and hot tub industry and, as such, depending on your job description (e.g. full-time versus part-time), and the number of hours you work, your pay scale can also be reflected by your education and the responsibilities required of your position. According to Workopolis, the average wage for Canadian employees in 2017 was $986 a week (just over $51,000 a year), which represents a 3.1 per cent increase over the year prior. When look at the survey results, those working in the aquatics industry are doing quite well, as 41.5 per cent of respondents earn an annual salary between $60 K and $100 K. In fact, 24.5 per cent made more than 100 K.

While many seem to be compensated well, more than half of all respondents (54 per cent)—for the third consecutive year—did not receive a raise. Also consistent with previous survey results, 35 per cent got a cost-of-living increase (between one and five per cent).

Education

Just over half of all respondents (53 per cent) have earned a degree, but only 7.5 per cent are related to the aquatics industry. Nearly one sixth of all respondents (27.5 per cent) have some college education, but no degree. Those respondents who hold a degree that are unrelated to the pool and hot tub industry (92.5 per cent) are consistent with previous surveys.

For those employed in this trade, their education and education continues to come from within the industry, as 59 per cent of respondents said they have participated in specific manufacturer/dealer training courses. Thirty-six per cent said they have taken the National Swimming Pool Foundation’s (NSPF’s) Certified Pool Operator course and 25.5 per cent (an increase of five per cent year-over-year) have participated in courses through the Pool & Hot Tub Council of Canada (PHTCC).

Working hours and benefits

Due to the nature of this seasonal business, the unpredictability of the weather, and the deadlines for numerous projects, working long hours in the pool and spa/hot tub industry is the norm. In fact, 33 per cent of respondents (the largest group) say they work more than 41 hours per week, while another 24 per cent are on the job for more than 51 hours. Considering the fact only 20 per cent of respondents put in a typical 35-to-40 hour work week, while another 16 per cent work 61 hours or more, highlights the challenge some pool and hot tub employees have in finding that perfect work/life balance.

What is the biggest frustration with your job?
“Finding good, qualified employees.”
“Motivating employees to take initiative.”
“Customers not understanding what jobs truly cost, as they do not know what work is really involved on a project.”
“Dealing with customers who do the pay, or ignore your experience or advice.”
“Running into contractors with insufficient training and understanding of the industry.”
“Individuals that do not perform tasks within scope of responsibility.”
“Trying to get enough work to keep key people employed year-round.”
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