Is Your Aquatics Facility as Cost Effective As Possible?
by Monique Nelson on July 12th, 2011

I spend a lot of time reading, writing and figuring out ways to help aquatics facilities become more cost effective. I absolutely love it when someone else comes along to help make that job easier...and that is just what Recreation Management magazine has done for me.

In their March issue there was guest column titled "Making Aquatics More Cost-Effective." It just doesn't get more applicable!

David Schwartz, of We Design Pools, wrote a very comprehensive study and I am going to highlight a few of my favorite points for you (I've embellished and added some new suggestions as well, so I encourage you to read both the original and my 2 cents):

  • Fees: This is the primary way your facility makes money. Many commercial facilities charge very little (if anything) for the use of their services, and end up having expenses that well outweigh their income. There are a few ways you can strategically increase your income, without causing a community uproar.
  • Give locals a break. Non-residents are probably not going to notice an increase in fees, as they will not typically be regulars. You can create a punch card for locals for less than pennies a piece which will give local members "discount" rates and allow you a very viable reason to collect their contact information so that you can market to them, encouraging them to come back more frequently!
  • Marketing: If you want to bring in more money, you need to bring in more people. With the rise of Social Media, you can create very effective marketing campaigns at incredibly low costs - if any at all!
  • Safety: Staff is one of the largest expenses for your facility, so make sure you are staffing carefully - enough to ensure ultimate safety for the level of attendance you see on any given day, but not too many to start leaking your hard earned profits.
  • Operations: Keeping your pool maintained is another very expensive endeavor. You need to be sure that you have equipment, toys and activities available only for the attendance that you have. For example, if you have a seniors water aerobics class every afternoon, you probably don't need to have the water slide activated at that time. I would even suggest that it would be a good idea to schedule programs that require similar operations back to back. Like the Mommy & Me class could follow that seniors' class, to be followed by a few rounds of swim lessons. That would give you a good few hours of savings for your water features that aren't required.

  • Initial Cost: Pool Equipment is usually expensive. Expensive to buy, expensive to upkeep - just a lot of money being thrown around. Whenever you are considering cutting your costs by having a close inspection of your equipment room, you need to consider the Initial Cost of the item. During this process, you will have to weigh the benefits of choosing one product over another. For example, if you are looking for a way to cut your energy costs, you may be searching for more efficient heaters. They can be very expensive, though depending on the quality, well worth it. If you simply can't foot the initial cost for a big-ticket item like that, you may want to consider a liquid pool cover, like Heatsavr, that can generally be installed for less than $500, with a low annual cost, and reported annual savings of 15 - 40% on energy costs.
  • Lifetime Savings: While you probably generally gravitate towards the lowest priced item, sometimes it is a huge value to you to opt for a higher initial cost if the lifetime savings will be able to pay you back exponentially. Going back to the idea of reducing your costs by covering up your pool, you may be tempted to purchase an inexpensive pool cover. Perhaps you can find one for a few hundred dollars or less. That is certainly a low initial cost, but it may not offer the best lifetime savings. A low cost pool blanket may also mean a low quality pool blanket that you are going to have to replace year after year, adding up your lifetime costs quickly. On the other hand, that liquid pool cover I mentioned may have a bit of a higher installation cost, but an annual supply of Heatsavr is generally much lower than the cost of a pool blanket every year.

I am sure this has given you a few things to think about. I hope you find something in here useful. If you are partnered with any neighboring facilities, please share this message by clicking on the Tweet or Like buttons up top!

Posted in Reduce Energy, Commercial Facilities    Tagged with Recreation Management, making aquatics more cost-effective, aquatics facilities, commercial facilities, swimming pools, pool equipment, pool maintenance, liquid pool cover, heatsavr, save on energy costs, reduce energy costs, annual supply of Heatsavr