VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer, and for many, that means fun at the pool. This year, some families are enjoying a new pool in their own yard, during what one pool company owner is calling a “pandemic pool rush.”
John Mackay, the owner of Resort Pools and Fences, says he’s been in the industry for about 40 years and has never seen anything like this.
“I can say that I have never experienced anything like the frenzied rush we have seen these past 12 months,” described Mackay. “We are booked until next March, despite throwing on the brakes late last summer. We only want to build one pool per week.”
Mackay says they built about 50 pools last year and are on track to do that same number again this year. He said that’s double what he has done in past summers, and he said he made the tough decision to limit their work area close to their home base.
“Looks like we’ll do those 50 pools within five miles from where we’re standing right now. Volume is that high,” Mackay stated. “There are companies here that do 150-250 pools a year, but I purposefully tried to control the growth because we want to keep it manageable.”
Resort Pools is also dealing with shortages of certain raw materials.
“A lot of manufacturers got caught, unaware of what was going to happen with the pandemic. And they’ve been trying to catch up production. It feels like we probably ought to catch up this winter on production, and now we’re getting hit with shortages of raw materials,” Mackay explained. “Aluminum is a problem for many industries. And right now, we’re waiting for parts for the top of this pool that are aluminum. We’ve had several products in the last six months that we’ve had to wait on.”
Mackay added that current pool owners wanting a new liner or a new winter cover might also have to wait. He explained that one manufacturer that makes both of those products were so busy making liners that they slowed the production of covers.
As for keeping the water clean, chemical supplies have also been affected. Last summer, there was a massive fire at a Louisiana plant that makes the majority of the country’s chlorine tablets. However, experts say you can still easily get liquid or powder chlorine. Mackay said nearly all pools he’s installing are equipped with a salt cell system.
As far as pricing, Mackay says ,“I think pool prices have gone up about 20% in the last year, maybe a little more depending on the product. In the door, to get a nice pool you’re going to be in at 40 [$40,000]. He added that some customers are going with exotic pools and add paver patios, pool cabanas, trellises, and more. “Customers are spending 75 to some cases $100,000 in their back yard on their pool projects with accessories.”
Resort Pools is currently booked until March 2022 but says they can make appointments to discuss installation next spring.
“Be patient. I think all the good companies are going to be booked up until next year as I am,” Mackay concluded.