These days, with the proliferation of high-speed Internet, 5G, smartphones, tablets—and the growing array of smart devices that connect to them—home automation is more in demand than ever before. In fact, half of millennials in the U.S. already use smart devices. Up to 70% of those who do not yet own a smart home device plan to purchase one in the near future, according to TechJury.net, which offers 20 Eye-Opening Smart Home Statistics.
Pool and spa professionals who cater to this growing customer base with pool and spa automation set up and services can not only provide more streamlined service, but also a lucrative side business.
Today’s pool and spa controls are more powerful than ever and connect to existing wireless or wired home networks. Pros and their customers can access the systems through smartphones, tablets, wall-mounted panels, remote controls or web browsers. Controls are as easy to operate as regulating the thermostat or changing the channel.
Apps for pool and spa controls have fueled a new and growing demand for pool and spa automation. Such apps give pros and their customers an extraordinary amount of remote control over vessels. The best apps offer simple user interfaces and easy-to-understand controls.
Pros say once customers understand what automation can do—and the convenience it offers—they typically need little convincing to add the systems to their existing pools or projects in the works.
“While pool automation doesn’t eliminate all pool maintenance needs, it can be extremely helpful in reducing the need for pool services, not to mention taking care of the basic maintenance you’d otherwise do yourself,” says Allen Pool Service in Atlanta in a post to customers about automation.
Pinch A Penny Pool Patio Spa offers the following sales pitch—along with reviews of major pool and spa automation systems:
“Almost any type of equipment, from pumps to lights to heaters, can be controlled wirelessly through an automation system, allowing you to set the mood in your backyard before you get home.
- Pool pumps—control the flow of water to features or turn your pump on and off.
- Lighting—set the mood from anywhere by controlling the color and intensity of your pool lights. You can even pre-program light shows.
- Temperature—a connected pool heater will allow you to heat up your pool or spa so it’s ready to jump in when you get home.
- Hot tubs—turn on the jets via remote.
- Features—turn laminar jets, fountains or waterfalls on or off.
- Chlorinators—monitor salt level and adjust chlorine output.”
And technology keeps getting better. “We have seen some pretty neat things introduced to the pool industry. You can now control your pool system with your Apple Watch or turn on your pool heater with your voice using Amazon Alexa or Google Home,” says a post from The Pool Boys.
The sales pitch can simply be pulling out a smartphone and showing customers how easy it is right from the app to adjust the temperature, turn on water features or control lighting. And compared to the overall pool and spa, the cost to add automation is minimal.
But the systems also give pros the ability to provide a new level of customer service. Imagine getting a call from a client who wants you to adjust her chlorine level and telling her you’ve taken care of her request right on the call. Some systems offer automatic seasonal adjusting, which remotely changes the pool settings for optimal energy savings based on the season and weather, especially in the offseason, giving pros another way to service customers.
Rather than sending a tech out for every call, pool and spa controls allow firms to manage systems right from the office or service vehicle, saving hours lost in traffic and wear and tear on vehicles. Just offering pool/spa automation upgrades for existing pool owners can be a lucrative side venture, especially in the off-season.
Surprisingly, however, many pros still don’t offer pool and spa control installation and service. For some, the technological understanding required to install the devices seems too daunting—router complexities, password protocols, Wi-Fi standards, smartphones vagaries.
But today’s most advanced pool automation systems make installation easier than ever, often requiring just a few simple steps. Connections can even be done right from a smartphone. Manufacturers also offer training and support to help pool and spa pros take control of this lucrative new business opportunity.