Each month, we enjoy learning more about a member of the Thursday Pools fiberglass pool dealer family for our dealer spotlight. In March, we chatted with Dan Dodds and Jarrod Dodds, the father and son duo who operate The Pool People of Ohio, along with Dan’s brothers, Pat and Jay.
Located 30 miles southeast of Columbus, Ohio, The Pool People of Ohio serve communities south and east of Columbus, including: Lithopolis, Carroll, Logan, Circleville, Amanda, Baltimore, Pickerington and Canal Winchester.
Tell us a little about yourself and your business.
My [Dan’s] dad, Thomas Dodds, started this business in 1952. At the time, it was a remodeling and construction business. I joined the business in 1980. Dad and I went to a remodeling show where we ran into some people from Imperial Pools out of New York. They manufacture vinyl pools. It seemed like getting into the pool business might be the next logical step for us to expand our business. And, it turned out to be a great decision.
Our business is truly a family affair, with both of my brothers, son Jarrod, and daughter Hannah all involved. Jay, Jarrod, Hannah and I operate the pool business, while Pat runs the home improvement division.
What do you love about being in the pool business?
This business is fun. It’s different every day. For most people, getting a pool is the fulfillment of a lifetime dream. It never gets old to see how excited the kids are about getting their new pool.
Which Thursday Pools fiberglass pool designs and colors are the most popular among your pool buyers in central Ohio?
Like a lot of other Thursday Pools dealers, our biggest seller is the Aspen, followed closely by the Goliath. I really like the Aspen–they thought of everything with that design. As far as fiberglass pool colors go, for us, it’s mostly California and Maya.
What are the most popular add-on features in the fiberglass inground pools you’re installing right now?
The Backfill Eliminator® is fantastic, and that’s standard in any of our installations that have a tanning ledge. The FPA (Fiberglass Pool Anchoring System) isn’t standard, but we strongly recommend it to our customers. Many of our pools are salt water systems these days, and I’d say about 40% of our pools include an automatic pool safety cover.
What do you think about Thursday Pools’ new beach entry fiberglass pool designs?
I think they’re cool… kind of like an Aspen with a twist. We’ve had a couple of customers interested in them, but we haven’t sold any yet.
What do you think about the new Thursday Pools’ sunken living room designs?
It’s an interesting idea. I think older folks might like them, who are looking for pools to socialize in. I do think families with younger kids will probably opt for pools with more swim space. We’re curious to see where these go, but I will say, Thursday Pools really comes up with some innovations!
What particular challenges do you face with fiberglass pool installations in your part of the country?
Well, we have pretty good soil here … not much rock like other places have, except when we get a little farther south. Permitting issues aren’t too bad either. So, all in all, I guess we’re pretty lucky.
Most of our installations are done on land with existing homes, and I’m not going to take the job if I’m not sure I can get a fiberglass pool shell in there. I’ve seen it done, but I’m not going to use a crane!
What’s the cost of an average pool installation for you, and what do you include as standard?
Our standard installation runs between $50,000-$70,000. That includes the pool installed, with standard equipment–heater, high-efficiency pump and lights. We offer customized deck packages, and everything else is a la carte so people can get exactly what they want.
What have you noticed changing in pool buyers’ demographics over the years?
Pool buyers come in all shapes and sizes. It’s young families with kids, young married couples who don’t have kids yet, and grandparents who want a fun place for the whole family to be. One thing is for sure … as far as vinyl versus fiberglass goes, more and more people are asking for fiberglass pools every year.
What works for you in terms of marketing?
Our customers sell our pools for us. I don’t even go to a customer’s house until the pool is essentially sold with a deposit often made. Early on, I can see what I need to see about the customer’s property on Google Earth. When you submit an inquiry for a quote on our website, you’ll get a list of names of our previous customers, and we’ll ask you to contact at least five of them to tell you about how much they like their pools. By the time you’re done talking to them, you’re ready to buy your pool from us. Period. Everytime I collect for a job, I say, “You’re on our reference list right? It’s okay for people to call you?” And they say, “Yeah! I want to tell people about my pool. I love it.” When we sell a new pool, I ask them which customer had the biggest impact on your decision to buy? And then I send that person a gift card.
Here’s the thing … communication is key. By the time I’m collecting for a job, I already know these people are happy. Because I’ve been in constant communication with them throughout the process. It heads off any potential problems.
What are your thoughts on Thursday Pools?
Well, first of all, the quality of their pools … there’s nothing better. And talking to these guys is like talking to your best friend. They’ve grown so much over these last couple of years–just seeing how many more dealers are at the dealer conference every year is crazy. It’s quadrupled from the old days. Their whole team is great to work with. And we’re all about their slide-off delivery. It makes our lives easy, and it protects people’s pool shells.
What’s the secret to The Pool Peoples’ success?
I think our whole philosophy goes back to my dad. He always told me, “You make your reputation every day.” So I keep that in mind in everything we do. We take care of our employees first. Some of these employees have been here longer than Jarrod’s been alive. Our greenest installer has been here six years. We’re a family.
The Pool People of Ohio sells both vinyl and fiberglass inground pools throughout central Ohio. In addition to their pool business, the Dodds family also own Dodds Family Living Center, Inc., which offers building and remodeling services. They offer a full range of pool maintenance chemicals, automatic pool cleaners, spa products and equipment and replacement parts in their store.
Located in central Indiana, Thursday Pools manufactures the highest quality inground fiberglass pools. They are leaders in innovation in the fiberglass pool industry and are the creators of the world’s first beach entry (zero entry) fiberglass pool, as well as the world’s first sunken living room fiberglass pool designs, coming in 2020.