When residential swimming pool building figures took a dip during the recession, UK pool companies worked hard to build up the servicing side of their businesses – and it’s still proving to be a lucrative area for many. In some cases, servicing accounts for as much as 40 per cent of their turnover. Pool servicing contracts are usually offered as standard from the completion of a new pool and most customers want that quality assurance.
For many pool companies, servicing business can be a great boost during slow building periods, not only on pools they have built themselves – but new service business on existing pools. “In our sector, it’s all about demand. For example, if you take an area where lots of footballers reside in luxury homes with pools, the demand for servicing will be high regardless of where the property is based,” comments Chris Walker, Head of Servicing & Small Works at London Swimming Pool Company (LSPC). Based in the South of England, in New Malden, Surrey, LSPC services pools and spas across London and the Home Counties.
For healthy, hygienic and safe bathing, LSPC recommends that indoor pools are serviced once every other week and outdoor pools are serviced every week during the season. During the winterisation period, the company advises clients to have their pools checked every couple of months to ensure that the water remains healthy, and there will be no problems to deal with when their pool is re-opened in spring. “Our engineers are trained to a very high standard which means that as well as conducting the typical servicing checks, they do a quick general inspection on their visits. They track and record all findings. During this process, they sometimes discover problems which the client hasn’t noticed yet. Because our engineers can tackle a diversity of problems, often they can fix newly identified problems on the spot,” says Chris. “Nipping a problem in the bud is more cost-effective for a client than a second call out. This level of service results in trust and client satisfaction and ensures we retain clients year after year,” he adds.
PRICE POINTS :Based in East Kilbride in Glasgow, Eagle Leisure services pools all over Scotland, including the Scottish Highlands and Islands. “We don’t vary our services based on basic versus top end – we offer the same comprehensive service to all our customers. However, as all our engineers are based in Glasgow, we have to vary our price points on distance from the Eagle Leisure HQ,” comments Deborah Ekins, Commercial and Communications Manager at Eagle Leisure. “In terms of a North/South divide, I wouldn’t say there’s a difference in terms of the level of service offered, but I would suggest that there is a pricing difference, mainly due to areas of Scotland being hard to access. “We do cover these areas, however we have to price our call outs accordingly, which can sometimes be cost prohibitive for those living there. I would argue that call out charges can be lower in other areas of the UK as the population is more tightly packed – making call out distances less, which translates to cheaper for customers.” Deborah adds: “This isn’t an issue in the central belt of Scotland, but can become an issue beyond that.” Eagle Leisure advise that residential pools should be serviced at least twice per year, as long as customer is aware that chemical balancing etc. has to be done by them in the meantime. “Our services are very flexible and customers aren’t tied into a contract,” says Deborah.
SCHEDULED VISITS : “We can schedule planned maintenance that suits the customer whether that be weekly, monthly, bi-annually, annually or just on an ad-hoc basis when they feel they need it. The benefit of them signing up for a flexible maintenance schedule with us is that we contact them when the next one is due to book in a date that suits, so it’s one less thing to remember.” Eagle Leisure maximise the added value of their service visits through chemicals sales. Likewise, if the engineers spot anything that may need repairing at the time of a service or in the near future they will offer to quote on the repair work. This not only maximises the value of the visit, but more importantly it could save the customer money in the long run. Says Deborah: “Most of our customers get us to bring along all the chemicals that they need, or have them delivered from the supplier if it is a bulk order. This adds value to our business, and also eliminates the hassle from the customer’s perspective. The service is done and their chemicals are delivered at the same time so they know they have everything they need – and their pool is running perfectly.”
To read more on this story, please Subscribe Online today.