Some Vermont consumers may find it harder to have swimming pools installed at their homes this summer, as the demand for pools has often outpaced the supply of labor to install them.
"It’s been crazy," pool installer Rick Schreiner told NECN & NBC10 Boston Wednesday at a job site in Colchester. "One right after the other!"
Following other trends in pandemic-era property upgrades, like furniture, appliances, and even home hockey rinks in the winter, pool retailers have said this summer has been particularly strong for them.
"We’re getting flooded with customers, every single day — and prospects," said Tod Bessery, the owner of Leisure World Pools and Spas, a store in South Burlington.
Bessery said he believes one factor behind the increased interest is that in a tight real estate market, many customers are looking to improve and customize their existing houses rather than move.
Anna Battoe of Essex, Vermont is having a heated inground pool installed at her home.
"We’ve always traveled for our vacations, and we’re looking forward to spending more time at home," Battoe said of her family.
Battoe, who moved to Vermont from Texas during the pandemic, said she wants her backyard to feel like an escape from her home office. More importantly, she said, she has three young kids to think about.
"Being able to do something fun with them and wear them out without having to pack everybody up in the car is a huge bonus," Battoe told NECN & NBC10 Boston.
However, the fresh interest in pools appears to have created new waiting lists.
Some firms are booking out two years for high-end custom designs, according to the Vermont news source Seven Days.
The Vermont Retail and Grocers Association, which counts pool stores among its members, told NECN & NBC10 Boston that mainstream pool models are much easier to come by. However, VRGA president Erin Sigrist pointed out that even with more basic pool projects, many town zoning offices are busy with permitting requests for all kinds of yard improvement projects — such as decks and patios — so that could cause delays.
A major challenge across sectors these days remains labor, Sigrist added, which is impacting the speed at which certain installations are taking place.
"We all could use more laborers — that’s definitely been an issue," Bessery acknowledged. "So the jobs are going a wee bit slower than I’d like them to."
Bessery emphasized most people are understanding that jobs are taking longer, since they have experienced delays throughout the economy during the pandemic. Additionally, consumers tend to take a long-term view with pool purchases, Leisure World said.
Rick Schreiner’s packed schedule reflects the supply-and-demand pressure on pools.
"Everybody seems to be really patient,” Schreiner said of his customers, adding he is glad to help them make the most of summer. “Instead of sitting in the house, they can sit by the pool now."
If you're planning to put in a pool, do your research before hiring a contractor. For more on what to look out for, click here.