This is an excerpt of post featured on Northwest Quarterly.Com. It was written May 11, 2015 by Paul Anthony Arco, senior staff writer // Spring 2015.
It features our very own Dennis Marunde, president of Arvidson Pools & Spas:
Nothing beats a backyard oasis, and there’s no better way to create one than by installing a custom pool. Learn from the experts what it takes to install a new pool this season and get swimming into the pool season.
Let’s face it: After a long, brutal winter, we’re ready for some fun in the sun. And what better way to enjoy a relaxing summer than by adding a new swimming pool to your backyard escape? Recently, Northwest Quarterly Magazine sat down with northwest Chicagoland’s leading custom pool builders, to see what’s popular for this year’s swim season.
Dennis Marunde, president of Arvidson Pools & Spas, Crystal Lake
Are we starting to see a resurgence in the pool industry?
Like most of the housing industry, our business was really impacted in the last seven years by the economy. There wasn’t much we could do except be there for people when they again felt more confident and ready to invest in their homes. Owning a pool is the perfect alternative to vacations and other luxury goods, whether it’s recreational vehicles, boats or camping. Whenever I see advertising regarding vacations, there’s almost always a swimming pool in the picture. Pools are easier to own and maintain than people realize.
What’s the mindset of potential pool owners this year?
They’re more empowered now. People don’t want to be told what to buy. They’ve already done a ton of research; they want to work with a good company that’s the right fit for them. The biggest thing for our company is trying to figure out how to get customers more relevant information. We’re focused on helping them make good decisions when it comes to buying a pool or hot tub, based on decades of experience and up-to-date awareness of technology trends and user preferences.
What’s the biggest issue that concerns pool owners?
The biggest issue is maintenance. No one buys a pool because they want to spend weekends taking care of it. The sanitation of pool water is evolving quite a bit. Machines like UV sanitizers, salt generators and ozone producers are taking the inconsistency out of maintenance. Automatic cleaning options are also very advanced now, and have eliminated most of the manual labor that used to be associated with owning a pool. Whenever we can utilize new technology, it makes it easier on the pool owner. No one wants to add one more chore to their weekly to-do list.
How does one choose between installing an in-ground or above-ground swimming pool?
We ask homeowners to think about what kind of pool they really want and how they intend to use it. Will it be used for physical fitness, family entertaining, creation of a private backyard oasis, or a combination of several of these aspects? Are you going to have the pool forever, or just while the kids are living at home? An in-ground pool is really an extension of your home, while above-ground pools offer a different type of experience. An above-ground pool is always going to be more affordable and can be just as entertaining for a family as an in-ground pool.
Above-ground pools tend to be more limited on size and shape. We’re seeing a growing trend toward smaller pools – some can be as small as 8 feet by 10 feet. Above-ground pools are faster to install, and there are fewer permits to deal with. Nationally, it’s probably a 50/50 split between people buying in-ground versus above-ground. In Chicago, there are more above-ground, but our company is the opposite. We tend to custom-build more in-ground than above-ground. It’s all a matter of preference.
What’s the best way to research a pool company?
Start by researching different companies online. Ask around, and remember to ask friends, family and coworkers for referrals. Are they happy with their pool company? Would they do anything differently? The most common answer people give us is they would have done it sooner. I haven’t met too many people who have regretted buying a pool.
What’s the best way to approach landscaping around your pool?
In my opinion, it’s best to bite the bullet and do the entire project at once. To have a master plan from the start is extremely beneficial. We specialize in planning the entire project – including irrigation, hardscape, outdoor living spaces and low-voltage LED lighting. If you do everything at once, you’re only dealing with the inconvenience of a torn-up backyard one time.
Does a pool add to the value of your home?
I believe it does, but it depends on who you ask. You’ll always hear the argument that owning a pool limits the market of the house, because some potential homeowners don’t want a pool. You invest in a pool just like you would a master bedroom or kitchen. Depending on where you live in the country, it’s almost a requirement to own a pool. Almost every home in the Sun Belt, for example, has one. In our market, they’re great for family entertainment, which adds to the value of the home. We find that people who previously owned a pool really enjoy having another one. Millennials and baby boomers make up our clientele. Many of them had pools as kids, and now they can afford to have their own as adults.
What’s the greatest satisfaction you receive in working with potential pool owners?
I get so much joy watching people get excited over their new pool. They love it. It’s the best thing a family can do. They get to know their children better and their children’s friends as well. There’s nothing like owning a pool….