2022 Predictions

Panelists see more price increases, product shortages in new year

I was fortunate enough to get to Dallas for the Pool | Spa | Patio Expo and had meetings with others on the PHTA’s national builders council, as well as networked with many other swimming pool professionals. Everyone I discussed pool construction with are already sold out at least a year if not two years. The supply has not yet met the demand, which admittedly is hampered by the labor market. All trades, not just the swimming pool market, are flooded with work. Leisure activities, such as boats, campers, RV’s, etc. are all seeing similar record production.

As the housing market continues to rise and interest rates continue to stay low, our bubble will continue to grow, but at some point, there has to be a leveling off. Many believe (as do I) that COVID is with us long term. As long as new variants of the virus are around, there will always be new scares, which has changed the mindset of many in the world. Traveling has lost some of its luster, and while builders and renovation companies are pushing out pools with resort-like looks, pools will continue to gain popularity. The pools that are being built today have water features, fire, lighting, raised walls, slot edges, negative edges, positive edges, etc., all making for not only resort-like looks, but resort-like fun. As friends partake in this fun, there is no better way to gain business than those customers telling their friends who built their pool.

Unfortunately, I have seen more this year than any other year, people call me saying that an acquaintance was going to build them a pool, took a bunch of their money and left after digging the hole. This gives our entire industry a black eye. The people who are friends with this person are going to hear this horror story and run from building a pool. There are people getting into the industry right now who are cutting corners, which will lead to issues in the future and a negative connotation for our industry.

As far as chemical production, this will be another popular year for alternative sanitizers. While BioLab is doing a great job and still plans on having its Lake Charles plant operational in Q2, 2022, it will not have significant production of chemical until late Q3, 2022. This will be past the swimming / retail season for many states. Not only will there be trichlor shortages, but cal-hypo and even sodium hypochlorite have had shortages in raw materials from the chlor-alkali producers, such as caustic soda and chlorine gas, causing costs to rise. Across the board of all supplies, transportation costs also continue to rise.

Rick Woemmel
Bi-State Pool & Spa
St. Louis

Because we fully expect product shortages and price increases to continue into this year, we submitted our early-buy purchase orders as early as last June. In addition, we have ordered hot tubs from two domestic suppliers through 2023. We’ve yet to run out of hot tubs.

Trichlor supplies this year are allocated, and as a result, we will continue to introduce our customers to effective alternatives like biguanide systems, salt chlorine generators, borates, mineral systems and even liquid chlorine.

Although we are booked solid in our construction division for 2022, we anticipate construction contracts to slow in 2023 as the pandemic fades, quarantines go away and families begin traveling again. Home improvement contractors will need to share that discretionary money with the hospitality, automobile and sports and rec industries.

Labor shortages will likely continue. We had generous sign-on bonuses in place in 2021 but still operated with a 25% deficit in labor. We have monetary incentives for seasonal help to return next summer.

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Fortunately, the pendulum always swings back, and we look forward to more stability in 2023.

Audra Johnson
Johnson’s Pool, Spa, Hearth
Owego, New York

The past couple years have been interesting and challenging for the swimming pool industry, and 2022 will be just as much so, although I hope I am wrong. I believe prices will level out eventually, but they won’t go back down to where they were.

The BioLab facility will be built and opened back up, but not until summer is in full swing. However, we won’t feel the benefit of this nationwide until much later in the year. I would still expect chemical rationing on all sanitizing products. I also anticipate manufacturing to continue to be affected, causing distribution channels to struggle.

Supply-chain issues and higher demand are not an ideal situation, and return to normal will be slower and more painful than any of us would like.

Jeanette Horn, CPO, CPI, TX-RAIL license
Horn Family Pools LLC
Mabank, Texas
Member of IPSSA and PHTA

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