Tag Archives: water features

8 Steps To Successfully Canvass For Your Outdoor Living Area Business

canvassing for outdoor living area business

One of the most overlooked methods to developing new sales leads for your outdoor living area business is the time tested method of canvassing.  You’re probably thinking it’s old school in today’s online world, but it can be a tremendously cost effective method of delivering new leads for your company.  If you’re working on a job site, or want to be working in a specific neighborhood, what better way to gain exposure for your business than by taking directly to the customer?  Here are eight tips to help you start your canvassing campaign.

  1. Prepare yourself:  Have a clean shirt with you if you’re on a jobsite; you never know when opportunity might present itself.  Have handouts, door hangers, brochures and lead sheets readily available for every person you’ll meet.
  2. Set Goals:  What are your expectations from your canvassing efforts?  Are you looking to set an appointment or to gather names, addresses and emails?  Be sure to have clear objectives set for you and your team.
  3. Script Your Door Opener:  Be sure everyone on your team has memorized the script and can answer any of the basic questions that might arise.  Chances are you won’t sell a backyard waterfall knocking on the door, so that shouldn’t be the objective.
  4. Take A Step Back:  After ringing the bell of knocking on the door, take a step back.  You don’t want to come off as threatening by standing too close to the door.
  5. Make Eye Contact:  Look the homeowner directly in the eye and get to the point.  Your opening statement should identify exactly why you are there.  State a few key highlights of your service and end in an open ended question to engage your prospect.
  6. Exude Confidence:  Be sure that you and your team firmly believe in the value offering you’re presenting the homeowner.  Hesitation or hint of dishonesty will doom you and your team to failure.  A good canvasser will look a homeowner in the eye and speak what they believe to be true. Speak with confidence. Canvassers need not hesitate or sound “unsure” of why they are there at a homeowner’s front door.
  7. Express Appreciation:  Let the homeowners know that you appreciate their time for speaking with you and you enjoyed speaking with them.
  8. Follow Through:  When you get a prospective homeowner to give you their contact information, follow through!  It can be as simple as a postcard or email sent before the scheduled appointment.

Canvassing can be a great way to generate new leads for your business.  Like any other sales or marketing effort your company engages in, it will take some practice.  Remember, it can be a profitable and cost effective way to introduce your water feature business to new customers.

Have you had success with canvassing in your business?  We’d love to hear your experiences.

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Neptune Panels: The 5 steps to Constructing Water Features

By Jonathan Allard
How is a Neptune Panel Water Feature constructed?
Maybe you have read through our 5 Step Process, which is also listed below, and still not sure how the system works. Here is a quick video on the 5 steps in application.
 
 
Here is the overview of the 5 step process that is listed in the video:
Step 1: Making panels 
Neptune Panel molds are made from true stone textures to capture the most realism on the market today. With a simple mixing procedure panels are made by casting the mix on top of the Neptune mold. By adjusting the way the mold lays, you can produce countless different shapes with just one mold. Panels can be de-molded after a minimum of 4 hours, and reproduced several times a day to allow for a stockpile to be built up to be ready for any project that comes your way.
Step 2: Prepping the site.
To prepare for a typical medium-sized stand-alone water feature you will need approximately a half day to excavate and install rebar. Your pond will be excavated and at the same time you will excavate for your footing. After that you will install your rebar in grid fashion and tie at all intersections. This typically can be done with a 2 man crew and minimum tools. Your plumbing will also be done at the same time.
Step 3: Pouring the catch basin and frame footer.
With a small crew you can expect to be able to pour your pond and footer area for the frames in a matter of 3-4 hours. You will wet set the frames into the footer area as well plaster, carve, and texture the pond.
Step 4: Hanging panels.
Once you are ready to hang your panels you will want to start at the lowest area of the front of the feature. Work in rows around the entire structure moving upward. After all your panels are hung you can begin to mud the seams and do all your patch work. This can take anywhere from 5-6 hours or several days depending on the size of the feature.
Step 5: Coloring and Sealing.
Now you are going to color your feature using the Neptune stains. Choose a color scheme and use sprayers and brushes to apply. Just as with nature, nothing is perfect. There are no two stones or rocks that look exactly alike or have the exact same coloring or even texture. Since nature doesn’t color every stone perfectly or consistently, achieving perfection on your project requires a degree of randomness.
If you would like to see more photos of projects and the panel system in action, “like” us on Facebook or follow us on Pinterest!
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References:
http://blog.neptunepanels.com/2013/02/25/how-to-build-backyard-water-features-with-neptune-panels/
 

Neptune Panels: Swimming Pool Contractors Guide to Loyal Customers

By Jonathan Allard

Picture compliments of swimkids.com

We know that in today’s swimming pool market, customer loyalty can determine whether your business fails or succeeds. It will not matter how great your advertising and marketing is, if you do not have excellent customer service, you will lose contacts. They want their questions answered within hours, not days, and they want to feel secure when they purchase your product or service. You’re running a swimming pool waterfall business; this means returning customer emails in a prompt manner and answering all questions from customers. Great businesspeople know that the number one reason for a strong business is a strong customer base. Building this base takes time, patience and skill, but in the end it pays off because your customers will continue to return to your website and promote your business through referrals. This brings us to our first way to keeping customers loyal.

swimming pool waterfalls, waterfalls, swimming pools, pools, how to get loyal customers, how to make customers happy, how to keep customers

A Website that is Easy to Navigate

A great website design will gain customers trust and friendship from the start. You want your first impression to your customers, before they even decide to make a purchase, to show that you have a clean and well organized website that is easy to navigate through. Your website should be professionally designed and be clear and tidy, which means keeping advertisements and other obnoxious banners to a minimum.  Having links to a Facebook and Twitter page on your website will allow your customers to keep in contact through these popular social media platforms, further increasing their trust in your business and website.  A good website will also feature informative articles that teach your customers about the products and services they are going to get are beyond professional. Consider adding a blog onto your website so your customers can gain more understanding about who runs the website and what your purpose is.

Train Your Employees on Customer Service

If there is only one thing you are going to do well, then it better be customer service. While the dynamics of installing swimming pools and waterfalls are constantly changing, one thing that will never change is that having quality customer service is the best way to gain your customer’s trust and loyalty. But what exactly does it mean to have “excellent customer service”? By following the tips below you can be sure your customers will trust your website, and in turn be more likely to promote your products on a repeated basis.

  • Fast response time – By responding to emails and other queries in a fast and efficient manner, you build trust with your customers because they know you are interested in their concerns and questions.  If you’re a larger swimming pool company, it’s also a good idea to display a phone number in a prominent location on your website where customers can contact you directly via telephone if they have questions or comments. Even having a live chat feature on your website is a great way to communicate with your customers if they have issues or concerns.
  • Generally, but not always, the customer gives the company their contact information, which enables the business to send out newsletters and product info to continue communication with them.
  • Also a great way to stay on your customers minds is send out holiday cards, email blasts, even making personal phone calls. This will encourage repeat business and give your customers a positive perception of you.

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Offer Unique products and Services

The next step that needs to be followed when attempting to achieve great customer loyalty is to always offer high quality products/services. These products/services should meet the customers’ needs and expectations.  In your case you are offering a swimming pool or water feature, so you must ensure the customer receives all that they purchased, including correct pool-type, a design that they agreed upon, and a finished product that is sure to impress. If you’re selling physical products then it’s imperative that the products be free of defects, including scratches, dents or other physical deformities.  If while during installation damage occurs, which is inevitable, then as the owner you must take immediate action and either offer the customer a refund or fix the issue in a quick and timely manner.

Do Not Be Afraid to Ask for Feedback

This will help you hone your sales techniques and advertising tactics, and in exchange for their participation, you can offer a referral program or percentage discount for a future visit to your business.

Gaining customer loyalty boils down to a variety of factors, including hosting a great website, offering fast and efficient customer service, and selling great premium products.  When these three steps are combined together, you will have customers that are loyal, meaning they will return to purchase more in the future.

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References:

http://www.drivingretention.com/5-tips-keeping-loyal-customers-loyal/

http://www.wikihow.com/Keep-Customers-Loyal

http://www.microsoft.com/business/en-us/resources/management/customer-relations/7-tips-on-keeping-customers-for-life.aspx?fbid=POZlSqwD-cP

 

Pros and Cons of Backyard Waterfalls

By Jonathan Allard

A backyard waterfall is a great way to incorporate art into your outdoor living space. Whether the feature is a focal point in your landscape or simply a complementary piece. Water feature designs serve more than an aesthetic purpose; the sound of trickling water can help you relax and feel calm.

Water features such as decorative fountains and waterfalls can provide a number of benefits to any environment. Most people will agree that providing components within their own living space that create a visual interest can reduce stress, which may lead to enhanced productivity.

However, adding a waterfall is not without risk…

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PROS

Keeping Calm

The Advantage of Relaxation

  • backyard waterfall can provide a tranquil setting for you to relax and enjoy the outdoors–either by yourself or with friends. The waterfall can include fish or accent a swimming pool to enhance your experience while relaxing in the yard. In addition, the sound of trickling water, can be stress-reducing.
  • Most waterfalls featuring moving water also produce running-water sounds. These sounds can remind listeners of a calm babbling brook contributing to the calming effect of the waterfall. The falls noises also help cover the sounds of a busy environment. This effect is known as white noise and can help reduce the stress caused by the more mundane sounds of outdoor living; automobiles, planes, neighbors, and other environmental factors.

The Aesthetics Advantage

  • A water feature in the backyard will significantly bolster the aesthetic appeal of your outdoor space–especially if colorful fish and an eye-catching design complete this landscaping feature. Backyard waterfalls can be equipped with lights to illuminate the  feature during the evening, further enhancing the easy-on-the-eye experience.

The Anywhere Advantage

  • One of the most intriguing benefits of landscape waterfalls is that they can be installed into any area of your yard, whether it is front or back, in the sun or shade, by the pool or in the patio. 

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Attract Attention

The Conversation Advantage

  • Waterfalls can become a gathering place for family and friends — especially if placed in a backyard setting —  Designers often include seating or viewing space around the feature to accommodate the attention it attracts. Not only will the waterfall be a great focal point, but it will also serve as a conversational piece.

The Uniqueness Advantage

  • No two waterfalls are the same. Waterfalls come in an endless variety of shapes, sizes, and characteristics. There are the thundering and powerful types that command attention with their sheer volume and size. There are delicately flowing graceful types that relax and mesmerize you with their intricate beauty. Then there are the ones situated in locations where its settings are every bit a part of the natural beauty. Moreover, they are unusual cascades that bend your mind and leave an impression as a result of their uniqueness.

Better Air

The Humidity Advantage

  • The moving water of a fountain allows some of the water to evaporate into the air. This contributes to the humidity of the air and may actually improve the air quality of the surrounding space. In dry climates, the presence of a water feature may reduce or eliminate the need for a humidifier.

CONS

Safety

The Safety Disadvantage

  • The water in a waterfall can pose a safety hazard. If the water feature includes an open pool, it should include design features that prevent accidental entrance by children, as this can cause some possible injury. 

The Maintenance Disadvantage

  • Backyard waterfalls can require maintenance. If your feature is located near trees, removing debris can become a constant maintenance issue. Maintaining balanced water is the key to long term enjoyment of your backyard waterfall and swimming pool waterfallMany pool supply stores will have testing equipment to test your water and provide you with the analysis of your water, as well as the supplies you’ll need to maintain a balance.  Test kits are also available for you to check the water on a weekly basis.

The Disadvantage of the Attraction of Pests

  • Different types of waterfalls can attract pests to your yard. Fish falls may attract fishing birds, which will make a meal out of your fish. Raccoons and frogs may be attracted to your water feature, as well. Frogs can be interesting to watch, but they can be very noisy during the evening hours. Mosquitoes will also pose a problem in features that are not well-balanced and maintained.

 

Outdoor Living Areas: Assessing Your Customers Needs

Backyard waterfall and waterfall garden

As the popularity of outdoor living areas continues to grow, the opportunity for contractors to provide their customers with exceptional designs and options is better than ever.  Assisting with planning and maximizing the space available will provide your customer with years of enjoyment in their outdoor living space.  Here are five points of consideration when planning the outdoor living area.

  • Landscape:  What is the size of the area you’ll be working in?  What are the physical features?  Will you be adding a garden area?
  • Hardscape:  How will your customer be using the backyard space?  Do they like to entertain or is it more of a peaceful, serene escape?
  • Sun Orientation:  At what time of day will the area have the most use?  How will you create a shaded area?
  • Paths of circulation:  What is the walking area and flow moving into the outdoor living space?
  • Focal point:  There are a number of possible focal points you can create in the outdoor living area, any of which can be the area of focus for your customer.  A few examples are:
    • Water Feature:  Probably the most dramatic way to create a point of focus, a backyard waterfall adds a beautiful and natural escape.  There’s a soothing and invigorating quality to the sight and sound of running water.
    • Fireplace or fire pit:  There’s a mystical enjoyment that happens when gathering around an open fire.
    • Outdoor kitchen and dining area:  Cooking and eating outside bring a new level of excitement to meals and family gatherings.
    • Garden:  The natural beauty of a garden brings enjoyment from both the aesthetics and a meditative quality while tending the garden.

backyard fire pit

With various landscape design software packages available, going the extra mile to provide your customer with their ideal outdoor living area will enhance their satisfaction, as well as enhance your portfolio.  What better way to grow your business than with a long list of satisfied customers?

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8 Ways Facebook Can Help Grow Your Swimming Pool Waterfall Business

By Jonathan Allard

Facebook is a phenomenon that has grown drastically in a very short time, and continues to do so. It was originally used mostly by college students to keep in touch with high school friends. Recent statistics prove that it has moved beyond its original use and become an incredibly powerful business networking platform. A Facebook Fan Page is a profile for a business or organization rather than an individual, and is used to build brand recognition. Even if members have no intention of buying anything on Facebook, the relationships you establish and community you build can benefit your business in countless ways. Here, I reveal 8 ways a Facebook Fan Page can help grow your business. If you’re still not sold on this (not entirely convinced that Facebook networking offers great potential to help your company grow and reach new business contacts), here are some reasons why you can’t afford to ignore Facebook as a networking tool.

1. Establishes Another Outpost for Your Business on the Web

Creating a Fan Page provides your business with another branding platform where prospects, customers, future employees, vendors, and even the media can find information about your company and the services you provide. Unlike Facebook’s personal profiles, which are member-only accessible, Fan Pages are public by default. This means that even the individuals who are not logged into Facebook can view your business page, therefore more people have access to the information you post.

Tip: If you are looking to set-up a Facebook Fan Page, Social Media Examiner does a great article on How to Set Up a Facebook Page for Business’

2. Drives Traffic to Your Website and Other Platforms

Fan Pages have no restrictions on driving Facebook traffic to websites. In fact, Facebook encourages you to link your website to your business’s Fan Page. Redirecting even a small portion of Facebook’s huge amount of daily traffic to your website could significantly improve the amount of qualified leads on your site.

Tip: Turn Facebook members into Fans, Fans into customers, and customers into Fans by cross-promoting your Fan Page and website. Link your Fan Page to your website and insert a Facebook Widget on your site to link back to your Fan Page.

3. Improves Your SEO

Google, through its new Social Search feature, and other search and decision engines are now indexing content created on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. This means your Fan Page content has the potential to generate favorable search engine results for your business and brand. By linking your Fan Page to your website, you can leverage Social Search to drive even more Facebook traffic back to your site.

 

4. Allows You to Engage with Your Community Easily and for Free

 A Facebook Fan Page provides an inexpensive (free) alternative to implementing customer engagement on your own site. In minutes, you can have a branded Fan Page where customers and other brand advocates can post to your Facebook Wall, share photos and video, ask and answer questions, and interact with you and one another. Creating and managing a Fan Page, complete with a Discussion tab, is easier than launching and monitoring discussion forums or message boards on your own domain. A Fan Page also gives you a direct pipeline to your Fans. You can send messages to Fans all at once or target individuals by country, state, city, gender, and even age range. Using the Events App, you can even schedule special events or promotions and then send invitations to only those Fans who live in or near the town where the event is scheduled to take place. All of this and more is available free of charge to any business or brand using Facebook.

5. Provides a Breeding Ground and Platform for Brand Evangelists

Only 25 percent of Facebook members want to be sold to, but a much higher percentage are apt to sing the praises of a quality company, brand, or product to their Facebook Friends. Establish strong relationships with a number of influential members who have plenty of connections, and you gain valuable brand promoters who authentically market and sell on your behalf.

Tip: As you post updates to your Page’s Wall, or as Fans interact with your Page, these interactions appear in the Fan’s News Feed, reaching even more potential Fans (i.e., your Fan’s Facebook Friends), making Facebook the ultimate opt-in, permission-based marketing tool available online today.

6. Listening and Observing Has the Potential to Improve Your Business

In a social setting like Facebook, customers and prospects are likely to let down their guard and share information with you and others about products and services they like, good and bad experiences they have had with your business or your competitors, and their unfulfilled needs. Each time a Fan interacts with your Page, you are presented with a wealth of information.

Tip: By default, Facebook Fan Pages include the Discussion tab. Encourage discussions to cultivate valuable market data and ideas on how to improve your business.

7. ROI-Related Metrics are Readily Available

Facebook’s Page Insights dashboard facilitates the analysis of marketing and communication by revealing data related to interactions (Comments, Wall posts, and “Likes”); discussed posts, reviews, and mentions; Fan demographics (gender, ages, geographic location/distribution); and so on. These tools improve your ability to identify and target specific demographics and gauge ROI.

Tip: Use Facebook’s powerful metrics, along with information you gather from your Fan Page, to develop custom messages and talking points that speak directly to your Fans’ needs, are suited for your community’s style of engagement, and support your business’s word-of-mouth goals and objectives.

8. Allows You to Keep Pace with the Competition, Free of Charge

Still not convinced a Fan Page is worth setting up? Then consider the competition. Even if only one of your competitors launches a successful Fan Page, that competitor can corner the market on Facebook and build a following long before you do. Stake your free claim early to establish your business as the industry leader before the competition has a chance.

Take a minute right now to do a Google search on some of your top competitors and see whether or not they have a Facebook Fan Page, and are using it successfully. If nothing comes up, do not hesitate, create a Fan Page now and become a dominator in your niche. If your competitors do come up in search, study their page and see what they are doing right and wrong to better your Facebook Fan Page.

Do you have any additional questions regarding Facebook?

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Top 15 Swimming Pool Waterfalls

By Jonathan Allard

Last week we compiled a list of the 10 Swimming Pools You Don’t Want to Miss, and in response wanted to put together a list of swimming pool accents. These accents can be anything from water-slides to stained wood platform decking. This week we are going to focus on water features, and more importantly waterfalls.  This list of the Top 15 Swimming Pool Waterfalls will take you through some great ideas of how one can turn a pool area into a Water Wonderland, for all types of budgets.

 

15. Simple Yet Soothing.

14. Waterfalls Are Great For Indoor Pools Too!

13. Multi-Tiered Waterfall.

12. Blending in With the Surroundings.

11. Even a Waterfall Can Have Greenery.

10. Great Focal Point!

9. Waterfall With Multiple Functions.

8. Water, Water, and More Water!

7. Natural Flow.

6. Over the Wall Waterfall.

5. Grottoes, Slides, Waterfalls, OH MY!

4. Roof-Top Waterfall.

3. Waterfall at Every Corner!

2. Tropical Grotto With an Amazing Waterfall Accent.

 

And number 1 on our countdown for the Top 15 Swimming Pool Waterfalls is…

1. The Waterfall Creates the Space.

 

As you can see there are some great ways a swimming pool can be accented to create a relaxing and tropical feel by adding a waterfall(s). Some used the waterfall as the main focal point to define the space, and others used it for more of an ambiance and aesthetic.

This list was compiled a little different than the others because as with a lot of water features, they can be built using real(natural) stone vs. Artificial Rock. We wanted to see if there were some that were obvious in which method was used, and ones that were a little more tough to spot.

Which numbers on the list were made from Natural Stone? Which numbers were made from Artificial Stone?

Let us know what you think!

 

10 Swimming Pools You Don’t Want to Miss

By Jonathan Allard

In light of spring being right around the corner, and the weather is starting to warm up (in most areas). We have compiled a list of the top 10 swimming pool designs we thought you should see. This list ranges from a design fit for a musician, to a pool that you can sleep on, literally. These unique designs are sure to impress any swimming pool extraordinaire that compares aesthetics to functionality. Here is the Top 10 Swimming Pools You Don’t Want to Miss.

10. Enclosed Functionality.

swimming pool, swimming pools, pool, pool design, waterfalls, water features, ponds, aquascapes, hardscapes

Number 10 may be deceiving to the eye, and may not seem very unique, but it serves multiple functions. The green house style enclosure provides not only natural light to the pool, but also doubles has a heat source. Simple yet functional. Great Design!

9. Oh the Flow!

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This swimming pool made it on our countdown because the design is flawless. From the trickling waterfall from the jacuzzi into the pool, to the cozy fireplace setting. The outdoor bar scene, to the surrounding landscape, this design just flows. The connection between each space is segregated enough to make it peaceful, but close enough to where every feature is integrated , and you don’t lose the purpose of this design.

8. Is it a Boat?

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Can you tell whether this swimming pool is on a boat or land? Well if you thought it was a boat, sorry you were wrong, but what is great about this beach house is it gives the perception as if you are sea bound. This made it to number 8 because of its surreal perception of imagination vs. realism.

7. Play Me a Tune.

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As you can see this pool design is for the music lover or the guitar god. What makes this design so great is not only is it shaped after an actual guitar, but it even has key features to one such as; strings, the bridge, fret board, and turning pegs. This pool is number 7 because not only does it make you want to swim, but it makes you also want to play a tune.

6. Over the Edge.

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Number 9 on the countdown is a swimming pool that overlooks the beautiful cityscape. This design incorporates a walking bridge from the main structure to the patio on the roof to the lower half. What tops off this design is the waterfall that flows directly off the roof onto the lower section of the house. This is a great design because it integrates great city features, but offers enough privacy to where it’s relaxing.

5. Tired of Swimming?

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Imagine waking up in your pajamas and hopping directly into your heated swimming pool, or vice versa, after a long day at work you jump into the pool and relax before bedtime. This made number 5 because of its creativity and uniqueness with its use of space, and the fact that it’s not seen very often.

4. Here Fishy Fishy!

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Number 4 on the countdown involves swimming with the fishes. Not literally, but basically integrating an outdoor aquarium into an indoor space. This pool design created a disco like ambiance with a strange yet settling focal point. The whole design is very out of the box, and therefore deserves this spot on the countdown.

3. Poolside Drive-In.

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This duel home theatre and swimming pool is a great way to beat the summer heat, and avoid those long lines at the movies. This design is great if you are hosting a party for friends and family. Whether you need a space to keep guests entertained, or you need to stay cool during those summer heat waves. Kick back, and watch your favorite flick, just try not to fall in!

2. Come Swimming on My Balcony!

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Could you imagine staying in a hotel or complex that not only offers a swimming pool, but your own personal balcony pool. Typically balconies are dull and unused, but in this case it makes a valuable solution to an otherwise useless space. I think this type of design will be utilized more often in the future of contemporary architecture.

And the top pool design you couldn’t do without is…

1. Can I Get a Pool to Go?

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Number 1 is exactly what it looks like, a pool you can literally take anywhere, at any time. This unique design utilizes a mack truck for the base, and when the retractable roof is removed, it becomes this amazing swimming pool. It can be moved anywhere, and used for many applications like; kids birthday parties, cookouts, fairs, promotional events, family gatherings, and just plain swimming. I guess when it comes down to it, no matter where this guy goes, there will always be a pool, and always people curious about this crazy pool design.

There you have it folks the Top 10 pools we thought you should check out because they pushed the limits when it comes to creativity and functionality. Thought outside the box with ways each design can be integrated into its surroundings, whether that is your own personal lazy river movie theatre, or a traveling water wonderland, the possibilities are truly endless.

Which numbers on the countdown did you like the most? and What would you have done differently?

Any suggestions on some Top 10′s you would like to see Neptune Styled? Post Below!!!

How To Price Backyard Water Features: A Contractors Guide

pricing backyard water features

There are certain items every contractor needs to consider to adequately and fairly place a value on any potential water feature project design.  As with any other project, properly pricing a water feature installation is critical to the success of your business.

There is one thing contractors should never do; this important issue can single handedly destroy this industry.   Never underbid a job just to get that job. Remember, underbidding a project may get you the job but cost you in the end.   Every time contractors underbid a project, they hurt themselves, their business and the industry as a whole.

By pricing your projects fairly and competitively without gouging your customers, you can be successful without having to undercut your competitors.  By offering higher quality materials and components, better service and attention to detail you’ll be able to meet the demands and wishes of your client.

When pricing a project, here are some of the basic items to consider:

  • The type of water feature desired – Each type, style and size of feature has different costs associated with its installation and has its own set of pros and cons regarding cost.
  • Client wants and needs – Many times a client will tell you exactly what they want. If you ask the correct questions you might discover that what they want is not exactly what they need. As a professional, this is your responsibility to point this out to them.
  • Site selection – Where is the best location for the particular project for maintenance, visibility, enjoyment and use? Selecting the correct location for a water feature project can make a big difference in the overall cost of the structure.
  • Excavation – How easy or difficult is the excavation site?  Is there access for heavy equipment or will it need to be dug by hand? Can you use all the excavated soil onsite or will you spend valuable resources and labor hauling it off? Installers often must pay to dump excess soil somewhere. Watch out for underground utilities; call ahead and have them marked or you might spend a lot of cash making costly repairs.
  • Proper component selection and placement – Selecting and installing the correct equipment and components for a practical and functional water feature can be critical for the end satisfaction of your client. Make sure you select equipment designed to perform as needed under the present environmental conditions.
  • Aesthetics – Choosing the correct types, sizes and amounts of materials can be essential in the end appearance of your project design. Making one small mistake can ruin the best of intentions. Do not cut corners when selecting your materials. Choose the right materials that will result in the appearance the client wishes to achieve.
  • Labor – Calculating the number of man-hours needed on a particular project is the single most expensive issue we are faced with on most projects. Knowing how many people you will need on the job and how many hours each man will work each day is an expensive endeavor that can cost you dearly if miscalculated.

Several water feature installation companies have used this formula successfully for many years: Calculate your total out-of-pocket expenses for the proposed project, and then triple the amount. If a project costs you $2,000 to install, charge the client $6,000. If the project costs you $7,256 to install, charge the client $21,768.

Here is how this amount breaks down:

The first third is your actual out-of-pocket costs. It is gone. You used this amount to pay for everything you needed to make the project materialize – your design work, employee labor, materials, components, supplies, specialized equipment, everything.

The second third is for your business operating expenses, such as office space, office furniture, computer, printer, ink and paper, pens and pencils, Internet access, separate laptop or tablet, business insurance, digital camera, unemployment insurance, business license and permits, telephone service and equipment, cellular phone service and a cell phone, business cards, brochures, advertising, website, website hosting, vehicles, vehicle signage, tools and other work-related equipment, employee hats and shirts, professional association memberships, attending business-related educational events or conventions, and more.

The third portion of the amount charged to your client is your profit. This allows your business to grow and advance in the future to keep you viable in the marketplace. Without profit, your business is dead in the water.

There are many other items to consider, but always make sure that you adequately price the project so you and your business profit from your efforts. Otherwise, you might find yourself looking for another line of work.

Many thanks to Rick Bartell for putting together this list.  Rick is one of the foremost experts in water feature design/build with over 30 years of experience..  You can visit his site at http://rickbartel.com/.

neptune panels installers

Neptune Panels vs Modular Waterfall Systems

There are several methods available on the market today for creating faux rock waterfalls and outdoor living features.  Quality, functionality, simplicity, realism, and of course customer satisfaction are some of the reasons to make a valid comparison between the different systems available. Which is the most efficient in producing pool-side, stand-alone, and other styles of water features? The following is a brief comparison of the Neptune Panel system versus other leading modular Kits

 Modular System

 

  • No need for heavy equipment
  • Quick install time
  • Limited designs
  • Panels are purchased not made
  • Good for around pools
  • Limited sizes and textures
  • Held together with only a mortar joint
  • Expensive for the size kits available
  • Small selection of colors
  • “boxy” design looks

garden waterfall

Neptune Panels

 

  • Very affordable
  • Moderate to fast installation
  • No need for heavy equipment
  • Unlimited design configurations
  • Panels attached to a structural steel frame
  • Indoor/outdoor uses
  • Cure out at over 9000 psi
  • No effloresence
  • Can be pre made to accommodate any design feature
  • Molds are made not purchased
  • Can be used for grottos and caves
  • Each mold can be used to make thousands of panels
  • Unlimited styles with just an adjustment of the mold
  • No need for kits to be in stock

 

Neptune panels is a solution to those who are looking for a truly unique design that will set there feature apart from the rest. Hundreds of Neptune Panel features have been constructed and no two look the same. With a completely customizable design there is no limit to what can be achieved through the use of the Neptune Panels system.

By not “pre-fabricating” the design of the panels you are not restricted in what your projects outcome will be. The same panels you might use for a water feature will be the same panels that will be used to create a grotto or man cave as with other modular kits you will have to purchase varying panels and products. All of the designs are based around a structural steel core to ensure that all projects whether big or small maintain our goal of quality and integrity.

What is your experience in working with either system?

neptune panels installers