If you have or have wanted a new swimming pool, you’ve felt the shockwaves of higher prices and shortages of products over the last two years. A combination of factors have created an imperfect storm that continues to hang over the industry, with no concrete end in sight.
BRIEF TIMELINE OF EVENTS THAT HAVE SWAYED THE SWIMMING POOL INDUSTRY FOREVER:
LATE 2019. The Covid-19 global pandemic which began to manifest itself in late 2019, forced pool owners to stay home and use their pool! Or renovate their existing pool. Or build a new pool. The demand for chemicals, equipment, and services multiplied daily to the point of putting a strain on the availability of these goods and services.
AUGUST 2020. A critically important chlorine manufacturing plant in Louisiana burned down as a result of Hurricane Laura. The extremely dangerous chemical fire halted chlorine production, creating further pressure on increasing chlorine demand due to the pandemic. Force majeure from manufacturers went into effect. Immediately, chlorine prices skyrocketed. Shortages occurred. Pools began to turn green. Some service companies struggled to stay afloat. The increases have not slowed, and it’s anyone's guess where prices might stabilize. A new chlorine manufacturing plant is under construction, however not expected to be in production until late 2022 (tentatively).
2020-JANUARY 2022. The demand, shortages, and reduced global workforce created the next “buzzword”: Supply Chain Issues. Overseas pool goods, parts, and chemicals backed up at our ports of entry, sitting on cargo ships for months. The manpower necessary to get these goods from the ships to the consumer is nowhere near peak capacity. The backlog has created MASSIVE supply issues for retailers and homeowners. All the while, manufacturers have implemented double-digit price increases multiple times per year on all goods and chemicals.
2 MAJOR POOL INDUSTRY SECTORS THAT HAVE BEEN AFFECTED:
DEMAND FOR POOL SERVICES. The demand for professional service companies that actually have the necessary chemicals to keep pools sanitized and oxidized correctly is at an all-time high. However, supply of chlorine and chlorine alternatives have been perilously low! ALL companies have been forces to raise rates on all phases of service, chemicals, and supplies. Pools still need proper amounts of chemicals or we’ll have an entirely new disease issue on our hands!
DEMAND FOR NEW BUILDS AND RENOVATION. Low interest rates combined with peak demand for backyard living has pegged the trades involved with construction to their limits. Important materials such as steel, concrete, shotcrete, tile, equipment, interior finishes, travertine, and anything else involved with construction has caused ripples in the completion timelines. Not only are these materials inconsistently available, pricing has pushed the costs of construction higher. If product becomes available, slots are immediately filled due to the increased demand, pushing some projects multiple months out from a projected initial completion date.
The supply chain challenges have taken an exhausting stranglehold on the goods and services we purchase and provide!
RELIEF IN SIGHT?
There is GOOD NEWS! Although pricing will likely never drift back down to prices of 2 years ago, the availability of goods and chemicals are showing signs of (small) life. Manufacturers, distributors, and service providers have been forced to innovate and be better!
Forecasting, planning, and finding ways to take care of our customers is more important than ever. The changes Love Pool Company and many other companies have made will make us more efficient, all the while driving home the importance of delivering the best customer service and communication we can possibly provide.
OUR RESPONSIBILITIES AS A SMALL BUSINESS
Our daily task is to help our clients navigate through the issues presented to us. To find ways to be more efficient, proactive, and unique ways to offset our dependence on chlorine and other chemicals and goods.
We’re proud to say that we’ve met the tasks head-on and successfully with the help of caring clients, employees, and representatives in all phases of the pool industry.
Here’s to a better, smarter, safer 2022 for all of us!