Hot Tub Retailers…what should I be looking for?
Q. We are looking at hot tubs with a view toÃ‚Â buying in the next few weeks. What questions should we be asking about the hot tub retailers themselves and the support that they can offer? We want to buy from someone who is going to be there to look after us and our hot tub for years to come.
A. As the hot tub market grows in the UK so is the number of retailers selling them. It is difficult to define exactly what makes a good hot tub retailer but here are some things to look out for when shortlisting companies that you are considering handing over your hard-earned cash to. You are essentially looking for professional hot tub companies who provide good service and look like they will be in theÃ‚Â hot tubÃ‚Â market for the long-term.Ã‚Â Hot tubsÃ‚Â come with warranty cover which is only as good as the company who sells the spa to you. If they disappear you could potentially be left high and dry with not warranty support. Here are some things to look for:
1) What is the showroom like? Is it well-equipped with a good range ofÃ‚Â hot tubsÃ‚Â on display. Are there facilities for wet-testing spas as this is absolutely essential to choosing the right model for your needs. Is it well merchandised and presented and with a good stock of aftermarket products such as hot tub chemicals and filters? Has some investment gone into the place which would suggest that the company is taking a long-term view? This does not mean that new entrants who are trying to become established should be discounted for lack of facilities but if the company looks new to the market some probing about after-sales support is called for.
2) Track Record. How long has the company been established and trading. Are they specialists in spas or are hot tubs simply a bolt on to another business. How long has the hot tub brand on offer been available in the UK. What is the track record and reputation of the manufacturer like? Are theÃ‚Â hot tubsÃ‚Â at the very least CE marked as some cheap imports from the far east do not meet European CE Standards.
3) Staff product knowledge and professionalism. Are the sales staff knowledgable about their products and how professional are they. Professional salespeople do not knock their competitors or their competitors products (even if they deserve it!). They will simply talk about the features and benefits of their own hot tubs. They will also listen to your needs and suggestÃ‚Â hot tubÃ‚Â models that would suit your requirements and budget.
4) After-Sales support. Does the company do all of their own installations and warranty/service work or is it factored out to an outside organisation? How long is the hot tub warranty cover and what is covered? Does the warranty cover parts and labour and is it a pro rata system whereby the owner has to contribute as theÃ‚Â hot tubÃ‚Â gets older or is it a straight new-for-old replacement with no contribution from the owner. Ask to see a hard copy of the warranty document and read the small print and exclusions.
5) Industry affilations and trade body memberships. Hot Tub retailers should adhere to a strict health & safety practice for maintaining clean and healthy water in showroom hot tubs. In order for companies to become BISHTA (British & Irish Spa and Hot Tub Association) members they must first ensure that at least 1 member of staff holds a certificate in Water Hygiene. This is a good sign that that retailer will also be knowledgable aboutÃ‚Â hot tubÃ‚Â maintenance. Looking after a garden spa at home is very easy if you are given some guidance by a professional retailer. Ask what support and training they will give you once yourÃ‚Â hot tubÃ‚Â is installed. This is not to say that none BISHTA members do not know about spa maintenance but members definitely should, as attendance on suitable professional courses is a prerequisite for membership. Look out for both BISHTA and/or WhatSpa Approved logos as these both require BISHTA membership. Swimming pool companies may also be SPATA (Swimming Pool & Allied Trades Association) members and again this is a good indicator.
This is not an exhaustive list but hopefully is a good place to start. Try to find a good local hot tub supplier as they will be a great source of information and advice for years to come and will also be on hand for picking up chemicals and accessories. Go with your gut instinct…professional salespeople are a breath of fresh air when you meet them and won’t try to nail your cap on as soon as you walk through the door or pester you with phonecalls at all times of day and night….if they do, head for the hills!