With most of the population working remotely, non-essential travel restrictions still in place, and online schooling keeping the kids home, homeowners are looking to make the most of their backyard by creating an outdoor living space that includes pools, landscaping and cabanas.
However, the demand has surpassed supply, and in a seasonal industry that’s primarily owner operated this makes keeping up, a challenge. Pool permit applications, quotes, installations, and services are surging, pool companies have never been busier!
While surplus demand is a fortunate problem to have amid a pandemic that has many business closing, the pandemic has impacted our industry in a number of unexpected ways:
Inventory Supply Issues
Product shortages have been felt across many industries leading to shortages in several recreational sectors, especially as more and more people yearn to be outside and try to stay active.
What makes the pool industry unique is the “perfect storm” of events over the last 12 months, as a result of COVID-19, that further complicated supply issues.
Government stay-at-home orders and quarantine restrictions forced many manufacturers to shut down production for a large chunk of time or operate at minimum capacity.
Quarantine restrictions on shipments have also prolonged transportation times and created an unexpected backlog and logistical nightmare for pool suppliers in meeting delivery dates for customers.
It also didn’t help that in 2020, the US experienced the wrath of Mother Nature with the onset of hurricanes — causing fires that depleted chemical inventory, and the “deep freeze” in Texas — causing power outages that damaged infrastructure delaying manufacturers yet again.
Manufacturers who make chemicals, plastics (used for skimmers, plumbing, liners), tiles, materials, and equipment were all affected by these natural disasters in one way or another.
Increase In Demand
The increased demand started in the spring of 2020. Coupled with manufacturing shutdowns, many product lines began to hit a fragile state in the summer of 2020.
The usual “off-season” from December – February is reserved for building up inventory, getting organized, and allowing staff time to recover from the 16 hours days faced in-season.
With no let-up between 2020 and 2021, there was no time to build inventory, get organized, or reset, and the stifling demand left many still fulfilling backlogged orders well into this spring.
The unexpected Texas deep freeze also created additional demand to replace non-winterized pool equipment across the southern states. Leaving the water in these pools untreated or stagnant would be a health concern. This diverted many pool products to Texas in order to deal with this state of emergency.
In Canada, there are only 40 weeks (at best) that pool companies can work on pools and outdoor projects. Staff have also had to follow strict protocols regarding social distancing and are limited in the number of workers allowed on a site at a time, slowing down many projects.
If you and your family are considering a backyard pool and landscape project for next season, I would highly recommend you reach out to our team and secure your spot and start planning your installation.
Pool Craft is currently booking into the summer of 2022.