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Fiberglass Pool Pricing in 2013 and Beyond: Where is the Industry Headed?


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We’ve talked extensively about the cost of fiberglass pools here on this blog over the years but as 2013 approaches, I wanted to take a look at where pricing is headed in this industry and what it means for consumers and pool builders as a whole.

Pool Prices and Consumer Perception

For years, the majority of swimming pool consumers, before the “research” phase of buying started, have generally felt that a swimming pool cost 20-30k installed. And although such projects are still feasible today within that budget, the reality is that inground pools, especially when one looks at the entire package (like decking, electrical, options, fencing, etc), are more in the 40-100k range—with multiple factors that will dictate the package price.

Because the housing market took such a huge hit in 2008, the swimming pool industry was drastically affected by the events, and fiberglass pool manufacturers left and right were either bought for pennies on the dollar or simply went out of business.

During this time period, most manufacturers have done their best to offset costs and keep price increases to a minimum, but at some point, the industry will have to turn back to normal margins that lead to financial stability and long-term success. If this doesn't occur, we'll only see more company mergers and empty factories.

A Significant Price Increase

This is also why fiberglass pools (along with concrete and vinyl liner for that matter) will be taking roughly a 10-15% increase across the board for most manufacturers in  2013. Having looked at the updated pricing lists for most of the companies, as well as talking to many within the industry, everyone has essentially come to the realization that material and raw goods (like oil) are simply too expensive to continue to “keep prices the same.”

As one who buys from these manufacturers, when we at River Pools get hit with a price increase it’s never something we want to see, but it’s also inevitable, and common sense economics has indicated to us for some time this would be the case.

Consumer Options

For consumers and folks that are clearly going to get an inground fiberglass pool over the next year or so, I've listed a few of your options to consider:

1. Install your pool in before Jan.1 2013: Most pool builders will be hit with their shell cost increase on Jan.1 of next year, which means you should be able to save a few thousand dollars just by installing your pool before the end of the year. Plus, considering the fact that most companies offer their biggest discounts in the November-January time frame, such a decision makes a lot of sense. This being said, your one disadvantage to this is that you’re going to have to wait about 5 months to use the pool.

2. Lock your pool price in with a deposit now but build later: Although not every pool builder offers this, many will allow you to put down a deposit(using the old pricing) in the fall/winter and then wait until spring to have the pool installed. The advantage of this method is that you lock in 2012 pricing and get to wait on the pool to be installed, but the disadvantage is that a larger deposit is generally required because the swimming pool shell has to be paid for before the Jan. 1 deadline.

3. Just wait until 2013: As I mentioned before, this option is available just like it is every year, with the only difference being 2013 will bring the largest price increases this industry has seen in almost a decade. Notwithstanding, some folks are simply not in position to spend now to save money later, and thus waiting is the best option.

Looking ahead, the days of people thinking a swimming pool cost 25k to install will soon be coming to an end. Before long, the consumer perception will be that 30-40k is the average, which, although still below the actual cost, is a far cry from where perception has been over the last decade.

As to whether or not concrete and vinyl liner pools maintain the same rate of price increases or have a different path, only time will tell. Be rest assured though, we at River Pools will be watching.

Questions? Comments? Don’t hesitate to leave your thoughts below!

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Altough the 10% to 15% incrase will probably be an under estimate (substantial inflation is overdue), 
I am blaming the industry in general for being less than candid on price related issues. A more open approach will be to issue a price list for the fixed cost  
-shells and various hardware, and shipping of the shell by the mile. Remaining cost will be easy to calculate based on local cost of labor and materials. This will save the pool company a lot of trips and agravation and will increase the customer confidence.
Posted @ Monday, September 17, 2012 5:12 PM by al
Al, you may very well be right, and this article should get a follow up in about 12 months to see the true results. 
And yes, the industry certainly has its flaws. Personally, I'm a HUGE proponent of transparency, something sorely lacking at times amongst the manufacturers especially. 
Thanks for stopping by.
Posted @ Monday, September 17, 2012 5:18 PM by Marcus Sheridan
The raw materials for the production of the fiberglass pools continue to rise, the vendors haven't offered vary much confidence in the price stabilization in the coming months this year alone we have seen monthly increases in Gel-coat,resin, in bound freight surcharges and the cost of government regulation. The other untold story is the cost of fuel, insurance and the changes to the laws regarding the trucking industry for driver time and record keeping. The recession has kept the lid on the prices for the last few years and the fact that the inventory levels for the pool products were relatively high, as the inventory level drops and the companies have to produce with today's costs tomorrow's prices will have to rise as well.
Posted @ Tuesday, September 18, 2012 12:18 PM by Curt Prystupa
Curt, thanks for shedding further light on the subject. As the owner of Sun Pools, I know you have a deeper understanding of this subject than most.  
Wishing you the best, 
Posted @ Tuesday, September 18, 2012 7:52 PM by Marcus Sheridan
The price of *everything* is going up. It's no shocker that the price of a completely optional leisure item would increase as well. Unfortunate, yes. Unexpected, no. A lot of things are going to become a lot more expensive in the next year. 
However, I am still mildly surprised when potential customers call me and nearly choke when I suggest that their $20k budget for a 40' pool is completely unrealistic. I'm never exactly sure where they get their pricing ideas from.
Posted @ Friday, September 21, 2012 9:08 AM by Addie
I had an in-ground pool installed and connected the deck to an existing concrete deck. Which it has 1/2" fall from the house and I understand that the fall needs to continue the same to the pool cantilever, but it has 2" of fall. I feel the pool was sit 2" to low. Can conrete be poured over the new concrete to raise it from nothing to 2"? To fix it correct does all concrete need to be removed, pool drained, and raise pool 2 inches?
Posted @ Tuesday, September 25, 2012 10:22 AM by Eddie
There are NO consumer goods that will survive a price increase like that! Why should a pool be any different. Gonna be a lean year for the pool industry.
Posted @ Sunday, December 30, 2012 9:22 AM by Keith McKInley
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