No homeowner wants to see a 3,000-pound swim spa careening into their house.
That’s why delivery day preparation is critical to the success of installation, especially for larger price tag items like swim spas. Propulsion swim spas cost — and weigh — quite a bit more than hot tubs, making the installation process more challenging.
“It’s a real expensive proposition,” says Mike Lahay, owner of Spas and More! in St. Louis. “You best know what you’re doing, and you best have overkill.”
Installation day for the hot tub industry can make everyone nervous — the retailer, the delivery crew, and especially the customer who just made a hefty investment on the newest swim spa.
But given the right prep work, it can go smoothly, Lahay says.
Lahay is getting ready for his second swim spa installation by helicopter, which takes quite a bit of planning. He admits the delivery methods sometimes present unique opportunities to problem solve.
“Sometimes you have to get a little creative,” he says. “There hasn’t been one we haven’t been able to install.”
Once a customer knows they want a swim spa, retailers should plan a thorough site inspection. Starting with Google maps, dealers can get an idea of property layout and access opportunities.
That shouldn’t be the only inspection, though, since Google isn’t always updated. Dealers should physically visit your home and do an inspection.
Having good information upfront is vital because the last thing you want is to purchase as swim spa and have the dealer find on delivery day that there are obstacles no one was prepared for.
Even on the small side, a swim spa is a lot more challenging to place than a hot tub, notes Lahay, who has taken sides off houses to insert swim spas. Knowing what equipment is needed ahead of delivery makes the process much easier, he adds.
Some deliveries are easy and only require a crew to offload from a trailer right onto a slab. Some require a crane, which sits in a customer’s driveway or in the street for installation. In extreme cases, a helicopter is needed.
Adding in those services costs extra and is typically the responsibility of the customer. A helicopter rental for four hours can cost upward of $6,000. A crane runs between $450 to $800, depending on the company.
Lahay says delivery costs should be included in the contract and explained to a customer ahead of time as well. You should know upfront what you’re getting into and how much it will cost.
“For a majority of our swim spas, we use a crane,” Lahay says. “So much of this is having the right equipment.”
It’s good business practice for spa dealers to have proper liability insurance. Since some swim spas can cost upward of $50,000, you, as the customer, will want assurance they are working with a company that is responsible, too. Before signing on the dotted line, make sure that your spa dealer of choice can provide proof of liability coverage.
When getting cranes and helicopters involved, it often means subcontracting out work. Since most swim spas do require cranes, hiring crane services that are properly insured mitigates risk for spa retailers and customers, too.