The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States in 2020 caused a massive shift in culture, business and lifestyle. Among those shifts? People spent much more time at home.
That led to an obsession with making the home as luxurious and enjoyable as possible. As a result, the demand to install home swimming pools in warm climates went wild.
For people scared away by enormous price tags and incomprehensible wait times, is it finally time to look into purchasing a pool again?
That's what a listener of the Clark Howard Podcast recently asked.
Are Swimming Pools Affordable Again After COVID-19 Inspired a Giant Spike in Demand?
Are pools finally more accessible and affordable? Have prices normalized now?
That's what a Clark listener wondered on the Dec. 7 podcast episode.
Dave in North Carolina asked: We have been in the market for a pool for the past couple of years, but the rise in prices over the pandemic scared us away. Do you see the prices and wait times for pools going down in the near future? And what would be the best approach for finding a good company at a fair price?
The backlog of pool orders and pool waiting lists is already shrinking in Clark’s estimation. He says that pool companies weren’t even returning phone calls during the height of the pandemic. As people hunkered down at home, demand reached all-time highs in 2020, ’21 and very early in ’22.
"Yes, the pool market will return to more normal. I think you will find that being post-pandemic will be friendly to your wallet on getting that pool," Clark says.
"There's larger capacity for manufacturing and installation than there used to be in the pool business. It is going to follow automatically that the wait times to have a pool installed will steadily decline. The prices will become more competitive. The customer experience better."
How Do You Find a Reliable Swimming Pool Company?
It’s notoriously hard to evaluate and hire good options for construction in and around your home.
Remodeling, landscaping and installing pools via contractors involve localized business ecosystems with workers not exactly known to operate with train-like reliability.
Clark offers several suggestions for finding and hiring a pool company:
- Check the company's record with the Better Business Bureau.
- Talk to people in your area who have gotten pools installed within the last five years.
- Take your time while shopping for a company.
- Decide on the style of pool you want and the budget you want to stick to before hiring a company.
“It is more art than science finding a reliable company to install a pool,” Clark says.
Pool Furniture Is Also Getting Cheaper
The cost of the swimming pool itself isn’t the only thing coming back to earth.
You don’t find too many pools sitting without toys, furniture and landscaping around them, do you?
“Pool furniture, outdoor furniture, is in massive overstock right now. The deals on them on that stuff? Great,” Clark says. “This pivot from being at our dwellings to being, ‘Oh, yeah, we live over there, but we’re doing this over here’ – we have really, really flipped so heavily toward being out and about vs. at home that any of the things for the home that were so pricy are now a better and better and better deal.”
The demand for new pools is finally returning to normal after skyrocketing during the onset of the pandemic.
However, hiring a quality company to build your pool can be a crapshoot. Especially if you don’t take your time and do your homework.