There are not many pool companies who can claim to have built a swimming pool in Libya for a certain Col. Gadaffi. Guncast has built three.
Based in West Sussex, the company is currently completing
three swimming pools a year for clients overseas – mostly in
France and Northern Italy with a smattering in the Caribbean. One
thing these luxury pools have in common is that they are all high
ticket, state of the art installs with price tags between £250,000
“Over the last 30 years, Guncast has completed many projects
overseas but our foray into Europe has particularly delivered in
the past two or three years,” says Jack Harding, Guncast managing
director, who took on the business from his father, Bruce.
“When you work abroad you cannot compete at a mid range
level. You are only going to be competing for the very top jobs
where £20,000 extra to cover travelling fees is not significant if
you are the company the customer wants.”
Jack continues: “I believe you have to focus your market
because you cannot expect to be an expert in every country.
Most of Guncast’s projects are in the Cote d’Azur and Northern
Italy. These tend to be big outdoor pools,” says Jack. “We also work
in the French Alps where the projects tend to be indoor pools with
moving floors that are all the rage.
“When you forge a name for yourself as being a company that
is able to deliver, it will take you abroad, particularly to France
where the French builders concentrate on standard pools but are
more likely to struggle with the moving floor market.”
So regular is the overseas work that Guncast is now setting up
its own base in the South of France.
“Opening our own office is the next logical step,” says Jack.
“We will replicate what works for us here, keeping machinery there which means we will be able to fly in and out without having to drive there,” adds Jack.
“Faced with high unemployment, the French offer very attractive packages for foreign companies to open offices there.”
Products and equipment are not an issue as the majority of the company’s supplies are sourced from mainland Europe in any case.
Despite the European community, international building regulations still tend to vary from country to country.
Jack says: “Europe is supposed to be governed by the regulations for the European union but in France in particular, codes are slightly different. “French laws are very rigorously enforced because if you go to sell your house and have not had your pool protected properly, it
will prevent the sale of the house.”
Jack says communicating in the native language is paramount. “You do not go out there and expect people to speak English but have someone who must be versatile in the language.
“Be clear about what you want to achieve and how you are going to go about that.”
Guncast Swimming Pools Ltd
Tel. +44 (0)1798 343 221
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