All Seasons Pools & Spas on family business, innovation and education
Many homeowners invest in pool construction or maintenance because they want to spend family time around the pool. But family time isn’t just on owners’ minds — it’s at the forefront for those installing and caring for the pools, as well.
All Seasons Pools & Spas
Orland Park, Illinois
New builds, remodels, maintenance, retail
Dan Lenz, vice president of All Seasons Pools & Spas in the Chicago area, got his start in the pool business because of a recommendation from his younger brother. Home from college for the summer and looking for a job, Lenz’s brother suggested applying to All Seasons. So Lenz walked into the business and the owner himself, Doug Mayhall, came out to speak with him.
“[Mayhall] said, ‘I’ve got a job going on 30 minutes north of here,’ ” Lenz recalls. “ ‘We’re breaking concrete. I could definitely use you for a couple of weeks; after that, I don’t know.’ I went home, changed my clothes, drove straight to the job site where the crew was working, and that was the start of my life at All Seasons.”
All Seasons was founded in 1954 by Doug Mayhall’s parents, Gene and Claudia Mayhall. After Gene died in 1970, Claudia took the reins and ran the business with Doug’s help until she retired in 1982, and Doug became president, a title he still holds today.
All Seasons began as a family business, and despite its growth to approximately 55 employees, the company still holds that view today.
“I joined the All Seasons family in 1987,” Lenz says. “ ‘Family.’ That phrase gets thrown out a lot, but when we say it, it really is a thing.” In fact, Lenz’s wife works at All Seasons doing the company’s invoicing, his daughter works in the retail store and his son previously worked for All Seasons.
Lenz shares stories of other family ties at the company, including a service technician’s grandmother who is part of the team. For many years, Alice — now in her late 80s — was hired to clean the offices. Even though she’s retired, Alice attends the company’s weekend cookouts and cooks hamburgers for everyone.
“She’s long since retired from the cleaning end, but she still comes in every Saturday,” Lenz says. “And you know what? Our customers come in on Saturday to just visit with Alice.”
Beyond simply hiring family members, Lenz hopes All Seasons can support employees by providing fulfilling careers.
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“My goal in running a business has always been to give employees the ability to see pathways that they can make careers out of what they do here,” Lenz says. “And [also to provide] flexibility when things come up, [to give parents] the opportunity to have some control over their lives and be part of their families’ lives while still being part of our family here.”
On top of family, All Seasons is also focused on providing quality service and finding solutions to issues that affect the Midwest company — mainly, the long, cold winters. In such a seasonal market, All Seasons first started looking for ways to stretch the servicing side of its business.
“Thirty-five years ago in this market, people [would] open their pool right before Memorial Day and close it right after Labor Day,” Lenz says. “So that was our summer — June, July, August, that was it. But we became more educated in understanding how pools respond to that environment, and we started educating our customers.”
All Seasons began promoting the idea of opening pools earlier — the first week of April — and closing them as late as Halloween. This not only gives customers longer to enjoy it, but it contributes to the overall health and longevity of the pool.
When people wait too long to open their pools, the increasing bacteria and algae as well as the acidic spring rain harm pools, Lenz explains.
Once they established a new service routine, the All Seasons team began looking at extending the building season and took some tips from home construction companies, which don’t take winters off. Once a pool build is scheduled, All Seasons puts tarps and straw over the excavation area so the ground doesn’t freeze or they find unique ways to thaw the ground.
Sometimes that means heating the ground with a structure made of electric spa heating elements, galvanized wash tubs and circulating garden hose pumps, Lenz says. The team will run hoses over the trenched area, place blankets and straw over the top and work inside the structure throughout the winter.
To Lenz, sharing new ideas and innovations within the industry is critical. As the current vice president of the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance’s Midwest chapter, he ensures All Seasons participates at the national level on the service council, builders council, education committee and WAVE steering committee. He’s also excited by the educational opportunities happening across social media.
“For so long, people were not wanting to share their knowledge with others because of a fear of losing some market share, [but] I see that through social media, there’s been so much advancement … People are much more open, wanting to share the things that went well and also things that didn’t go well, so others can learn from that,” he says. “That whole thing is amazing.”