Each month, we enjoy learning more about a member of the Thursday Pools fiberglass pool dealer family for our dealer spotlight. This month, we chatted with Bill McGraw, owner/operator of B&B Pools in Indianapolis.
B&B Pools is based on Indy’s south side. They install both fiberglass pools and vinyl liner pools throughout the greater Indianapolis area in Marion County, Hamilton County, Hancock County, Johnson County, Morgan County and Boone County.
Some of the communities in which they’ve built pools include: Indianapolis, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, Carmel, Southport, Homecroft, Beech Grove, Martinsville, Mooresville, New Palestine, Franklin, Brownsburg, Avon and Plainfield.
Tell us a little about yourself and your business.
Well, we’re a pretty small operation. It’s just me, my son John, and our one other crew member, Quirino. Nobody can pronounce that, so we just call him Memo. The three of us do the pool installation, and we have a team of subs that do the concrete and electrical work.
This is my 40th season in the pool business, but I’ve been out on my own for seven years. My son, John, has been working next to me since he was 15 years old, so that’s 20 years now. I hope he’ll take over the business from me when I’m ready to sit down.
What do you love about being in the pool business?
I’ve always loved working outside. I like to build things. It’s what I do on my days off. I build things around the house. I’m a hands-on kind of guy, and I’m not really a salesman. I just like to do the work.
For me, it’s great to look at what I’ve done over the course of the day and say, “Man, that looks good.” I feel best when everybody’s happy.
What percentage of your business is vinyl vs. fiberglass inground pools?
It’s probably about 50/50. When people choose vinyl liners, I think it’s because they’re after a really big pool. When they choose fiberglass, I think it’s mostly because they like the low pool maintenance and those built-in features, like wide steps and tanning ledges.
Which Thursday Pools fiberglass pool designs and colors are the most popular among your pool buyers in the greater Indianapolis area?
Well, I know everybody says the Aspen. I do too. It’s just a great pool. It checks all the boxes. People love the steps and the tanning ledge. I also sell a lot of the Lil Box LX, for people who have smaller yards. It still has that great tanning ledge and the built-in benches are a big draw.
Several of my customers recently have chosen the Goliath for the swim lane. And last year, I installed the new freeform, Sun Day, which just looked great. In terms of color, it used to be mostly California and Maya, but now they have Graphite, which is a nice dark gray. That’s getting really popular around here.
What are the most popular add-on features in the fiberglass inground pools you’re installing right now?
People really like water features and specialty lighting, like Laminar, that they can control with their phones.
What do you think about Thursday Pools’ new beach entry fiberglass pool designs?
I really think they’re interesting. I haven’t installed one yet, but I did have a customer inquire about it.
What particular challenges do you face with fiberglass pool installations in your part of the country?
Honestly, I think we’re pretty lucky. Our soil is generally pretty good, and we don’t run into too many access issues like some of the other guys do in different areas. But every job is an adventure. So we just take it as it comes.
What’s the cost of an average pool installation for you, and what do you include as standard?
Our standard installation would be in the mid-50s. Some of our installs will go into the 60s. We include the pump, filter, heater, chlorinator, an APC automatic pool safety cover and handrails. Unless somebody asks for something else, I use Hayward brand equipment. We also include two lights and two fountains as standard in all our projects. Since I’m a small operation, I can keep my overhead pretty low. So, I can pass that savings onto my customers.
What have you noticed changing in pool buyers’ demographics over the years?
Most of our buyers are families in their 40s. They’re all different, but they’re all looking for ways to keep the kids home and get them to talk to each other. Grandparents are doing the same thing. Pools are a great way for families to spend some fun time together.
What works for you in terms of marketing?
We don’t advertise at all. We get all our leads through word-of-mouth and our website. Thursday Pools helped me get my website up and running when I first got into the business.
I used to have all kinds of pamphlets and brochures around to give people, but I’ve found that I don’t really need those anymore. Everybody does a lot of research online, and they pretty much know what they want before they even talk to me.
What are your thoughts on Thursday Pools?
Thursday Pools has been great to me. Like I said, they helped me get my start in the business. And they still help me whenever I need it. They make a great product, and they make my life easier. I like working with the best, and I think Thursday Pools makes the best quality fiberglass pools.
What’s the secret to B&B Pools’ success?
I think people like us because we’re small. We do one pool at a time, and the pool buyers deal directly with me. They like being able to call the owner on his cell anytime if they have a question about their pool. I’m dealing with my customers on a one-on-one basis. There are no project managers.
And I think the secret to success is pretty simple: You just do what you say you’re going to do. Then, your customers are happy, and they’ll tell all their friends about you.
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.