Spa Pools Otago | Soaking it up, enjoying growth success

Spa pools have moved from the wish list to shopping list, with many Kiwi families now able to afford one in their backyard. Demand is such that Spa Pools Otago owner-operator Steve Roger has had scant time for a soak in one of his products since buying the business a year ago.

Business is “really buoyant”, he says, with unit sales for the 12 months up 30 percent on forecasts.  The firm sells spa pools and swim spas manufactured in New Zealand, Australia and China to mainly South Island customers.

“Spa pools are the next thing that people want in their homes. It used to be having a dishwasher was something special, now it’s standard. The same thing is happening with spa pools.”

The manufacture of spa pools in China has prompted the spread of the spa into Kiwi homes, he says. “It has opened up a whole new market. You can now get a spa for $4399, whereas before you were looking at $15,000 to $25,000.”

Those higher-end pools are still selling, but 70 percent of units sold by the firm are in the more affordable range.

Some customers, such as farmers and athletes, buy spas for hydrotherapy – using targeted jets to massage problem areas on their bodies. “The Australian-made pools in particular, really target the jets into the back, shoulders and backs of legs. Customers really like the relief they give.”

Most customers are after a middle-range model with bubbles and lights, Steve says, but many are finding their spa is good for more than just a soak.

“A big attraction for families these days is the time together that the spa promotes. They are getting the kids off their iPads and chucking them in the pool, and finding they are finally able to have a chat with their 13 year old.”

A key point of difference Spa Pools Otago offers is a thorough handover experience. Rather than just dropping it off, Steve spends time talking customers through their new spa and how to care for it.

Steve has recently hired an employee to take care of the administration side of the business and says in the future he may bring in someone to help with deliveries and the handovers.

He is on track to pay back the debt he used to buy the business in the next few years and says after that he’ll consider his options. Come decision time, it’s likely he’ll be drawing on the expertise of Markhams Otago, which has been a vital support for the business and Steve’s trusted accounting provider for more than 20 years.

Markhams Otago director Daniel Piebenga has played a crucial role in ensuring the business is on the right footing. He’s provided a real-time, detailed and big picture perspective to assist with strategy setting, Steve says.

“Markhams has helped with setting up Xero and all the training around that.  Paula has been very knowledgeable and helpful in this area.

“We have had ongoing access for whatever and whenever we need it. We can get hold of Daniel and the team straight away.”

Steve’s challenge for the moment is meeting customer demand, particularly when some place an order one day and expect to be sitting in their spa the next. However, getting out and about and meeting customers is a definite perk of the job, Steve says.