Family Affair

Rio’s highly trained service engineers maintain some of the Cotswolds’ most prestigious pools.
Rio’s highly trained service engineers maintain some of the Cotswolds’ most prestigious pools.

Family values are at the heart of Gloucestershire-based Rio Pools’ philosophy, which has proven to be a winning formula. The company specialises in swimming pool installations and refurbishments, commercial and domestic servicing and maintenance, chemicals and accessories.

The close-knit Rio Pools team is headed up by managing director Rob Bateman, a larger than life character, who established the company in 1978. Rob recalls a landmark moment for the business came in 1982 when he was working on a pool in Spain. Rob needed to mark a pool out but couldn’t find any marking materials as it was all rock. Using his initiative, he used some silvery-looking ‘sand’ from a box on the patio. Rob was extremely concerned when the Spanish property owner seemed hysterical and very angry, but he couldn’t understand her. Later that day Rob was told of his mistake; the marking material he had used was in fact her husband’s ashes. “An awful but rather landmark moment,” he recalls.
Rob leads Rio’s building team and is supported by site foreman Pete Elliot.  Rob’s wife Sue is the financial director and their daughter Shelley, who is ISPE trained, is the contracts manager for new pool contracts. The couple’s son, Wayne, is the service manager and oversees a four-strong team of service engineers. In the office Ian Mills controls the engineering schedule, along with Kath Lock, Tracy Walker and Rob and Sue’s other daughter Gemma Workman who is the hot tub sales manager.

Completing the team is warehouse storeman Paul Trew and latest recruit Jordan Freeman, who was originally employed as a Family Affair service engineer and has now become a valued member of the build team. “Due to our loyal team of employees, each member of staff has many years’ experience behind them.

Across the team, there are a combined total of 203 years’ experience in the swimming pool industry,” says Rob. “If any team member finds a new product or service that they think will benefit the company it is discussed, usually at the fortnightly team meeting, and implemented where possible. By keeping on top of the latest training and equipment we can offer an extremely broad range of services to our clients.” Suppliers of the Bayrol brand of chemicals, Rio’s highly trained service engineers maintain some of the Cotswolds’ most prestigious hotel pools.

To date, Rob along with his build team have completed well over 2,000 pools. “Our client base has changed dramatically since we started in the Seventies,” reveals managing director Rob Bateman. “In the Seventies it was predominantly farmers but in the Eighties and Nineties we saw a lot of bankers and entrepreneurs.
Since the recession our client base is extremely varied. We still see a lot of entrepreneurs and in fact, across our entire trading history many of Rio’s clients have been Lords and Ladies.” The company was founded by Rob in 1978 and became a limited company in 1985. Among other projects, Rio Pools are in the process of completing a 20m one piece pool installation and have begun a large indoor pool and spa in Malmesbury, Wiltshire.

Rob concludes: “My long term goals are to ensure the happiness of our amazingly loyal members of staff and to ensure that our staff are always highly trained and able to provide an outstanding service. Client satisfaction has always been a top priority for us.” Ever the joker, he adds: “The recession was a blow as I haven’t been able to fly the helicopter since! So another long-term goal is to make enough money to fly again…if I’m not too old at 64!”

Rio Pools Tel. 01453 521101 www.riopools.co.uk