Episode One: Welcome to our first podcast. In this episode, Pool Doctor of the Palm Beaches’ Holly Colasurdo and their webmaster, Elizabeth Varian, discuss pool renovations and preparing your pool before heading up north.
Did you know that Pool Doctor does pool renovations? Yes, in addition to their top quality weekly pool service, Pool Doctor can resurface, renovate and even build a brand new in-ground swimming pool. Holly & Elizabeth discusses the pool renovation processes.
Snowbirds are flying north for the summer leaving behind their homes and swimming pools. They’ve cancelled cable, changed mail forwarding and closed all the windows. What do they have to do to prepare their pool while they’re away? Holly offers a great tip and shares how servicing your pool helps keep it in top condition.
Listen now above and return next month for the Pool Doctor of the Palm Beaches Pool Podcast.
Episode One of first podcast discusses pool renovations and preparation of your pool before heading up north.
Introduction: Welcome to the Pool Doctor of the Palm Beaches online podcast with your hosts, Holly Colasurdo and Elizabeth Varian.
Elizabeth Varian: Holly and I are here today with you from Pool Doctor of the Palm Beaches. Holly, this is fantastic, our first podcast for Pool Doctor. How exciting is this?
Holly Colasurdo: Yay. It’s exciting.
Elizabeth Varian: We love talking about Pool Doctor.
Holly Colasurdo: Oh, yes.
Elizabeth Varian: Well, we want to jump in and start our very first podcast off and really get some information about Pool Doctor and about our own residential and commercial pools. Things that people may not necessarily know, which is what this podcast is going to be about each month. The first thing I’d like to talk about is, you know, we have a lot of people moving to Florida and they’re buying homes and everybody wants that home with the pool. Which is great for your business, right?
Holly Colasurdo: Right.
Elizabeth Varian: But if they move into a home and they are not really liking what the previous owners had chosen, they’re going to want to do either a resurface, remodel or renovation.
Holly Colasurdo: Or build.
Elizabeth Varian: Right. Or build out if they don’t have one. Now I know that you guys do weekly maintenance service — keeping pools clean and sparkling — so we don’t have to worry about it, but do you guys actually do the remodeling and renovations for your customers?
Holly Colasurdo: We do. That is actually the bigger part of our business — our renovation on the commercial and residential properties. We do pool surfaces whether it’s painting, a new deck, pavers, travertine, the inside of the pool, tile, whatever a client needs. Basically we can take it down to its skeleton and bring it back to life with whatever they desire.
Elizabeth Varian: Wow. So the sky’s the limit — it’s just the budget you have to watch on. Even though I know you guys provide financing, so that’s even better.
Holly Colasurdo: That makes it a whole lot easier.
Elizabeth Varian: Let’s talk about budgets. How competitive are your quotes? How do you compete with all of the other pool companies in the South Florida area?
Holly Colasurdo: Well, we’re very fair and we do encourage clients when we give them quotes, to also get other quotes and to make sure as long as they get those other quotes from licensed and insured companies. So that’s important. But we’re very competitive in our pricing. We also give free estimates for our renovations.
Elizabeth Varian: That’s fantastic. And it’s good to be able to say, “Hey, make sure that your other quotes are from licensed contractors.” That’s very important here in Florida. There are a lot of unlicensed people running around giving really dirt cheap quotes. So you really want to be careful there and make sure it’s competitive. That’s fantastic. What types of renovations? Because you mentioned a couple of things, but when I look at a pool I have no clue what else I can do with it.
Holly Colasurdo: Well, a lot of the pools, especially at the older Florida homes, the surfaces could be worn out, there could be leaks, the tile is chipped, the decking is cement and it’s painted. And you know a pool is an important part of the home. It’s where you do spend a lot of time, especially in the summer. You want your deck to be where you’re not going to be slipping or where the paint is not going to be chipping and then it causes a whole bunch of problems underneath that painted surface. It’s important to build a solid pool from the beginning, but like I said, there’s so many neat little bells and whistles you can add on to your pool. Or if your budget is just about renovating the surface at first, that’s fine. Come back and do a different deck later on, but it’s all in building your beautiful backyard paradise for yourself.
Elizabeth Varian: That’s like the fun part then.
Holly Colasurdo: That’s the fun part. Yeah, you know, normally if we get a call we go out and our rep goes out and inspects the pool, and everybody ends up doing a lot more because they don’t even realize how much more they can do with their wonderful pool.
Elizabeth Varian: Now you just mentioned something that was actually in my mind. You said the rep comes out. Obviously I’ve never done this before; I don’t know what the process is when I’m going to start looking at having a renovation whether it’s an add-on or just surface. What should I expect the process to be?
Holly Colasurdo: Well, first it’s a free estimate. So the rep comes out and, depending on what you want, they’re always armed with samples of what you might like for your deck to be. Or the types of surfaces we could do for your pool. Different colors of tile. We have a wonderful pamphlet that we give everyone with a lot of options. So it’s like a kid in a candy store when the rep shows up.
Elizabeth Varian: And they help me through the process, because obviously I don’t know design. They can show me my various options?
Holly Colasurdo: Sure. It depends, and then we can talk about that in another podcast about the building of the pool. Because if you have just grass there, if you have a kidney shaped pool and you want a square pool then that’s a different type of renovation.
Elizabeth Varian: Woo. You’re getting me excited.
Holly Colasurdo: A lot of what people ask us is timing. A big question is, “How fast can we get it done?” It depends on the job. We like to give a job three weeks to get done what needs to be done. But everyone is different. A complete renovation with tile, deck work and resurfacing can take up to three weeks.
Elizabeth Varian: Three weeks? Not months?
Holly Colasurdo: Yup. It just depends on what they want.
Elizabeth Varian: Oh, that’s fantastic. You know as it gets warmer here I want to jump in faster. But I would think starting from scratch would take longer. So wow, weeks versus months for a renovation. I love that.
Holly Colasurdo: Yup. It just depends on what you want. You know, if it’s the deck or it could be all three. [crosstalk 00:06:43]
Elizabeth Varian: Fantastic. And you’re able to give an estimated time pending unforeseen issues because we know every project has unforeseen issues every now and then. So, at least you’re able to give some sort of estimate when you meet with them.
Holly Colasurdo: Right.
Elizabeth Varian: Wonderful. I know we have on the website many photos of renovations you’ve already done.
Holly Colasurdo: Oh yeah. Those are nice.
Elizabeth Varian: They’re beautiful. They get me thinking all of the time. And you mentioned summer is coming around the corner so I’d like to take a moment and shift gears here because when summer comes along, April is upon us, the snow birds start flying home.
Holly Colasurdo: Right. Before we talk about snowbirds, let’s talk about customer service really quickly. So when someone does do a renovation, we’re on the phone with them each step of the way. We make sure the customers are informed, we keep the job site clean and then when we’re finished, we follow up. Especially if they are a snow bird and they’re up in the Northeast or wherever they’re from and we’re down here taking care of all their needs and building a new pool or renovating. Since they can’t be here to see it, it’s important to have the one-on-one customer contact by phone at all times.
Elizabeth Varian: You are correct and that’s fantastic because, if I’m renovating the pool or if I’m not there, does that mean that you’re keeping in touch with them consistently? Is it through email, phone?
Holly Colasurdo: We take pictures, we email them pictures so they can see what we’re doing. So, that’s very important — not only to them but to us as well.
Elizabeth Varian: So if I’m a snowbird and I started a renovation, which is actually the perfect time because I’m not around for the construction, for some people. For other people, if you’re a little controlling you need that to see it. They can go home and have you do the renovations and you email them photos of each step of the project. That’s fantastic. You know the internet has opened up communication to be so much easier.
Holly Colasurdo: Oh yes. It’s so easy. When somebody calls me and says, “Oh, I have to come in the office and sign the contract.” I’m like, well you don’t have to actually come into the office — you can email it or we can sign these things online. It’s just easier and convenient for everybody.
Elizabeth Varian: That’s wonderful. So, if I’m a snowbird I don’t have to have any worries about if my pool is continually being cleaned because you’re keeping in contact with them. Letting them know everything that’s going on. Oh, that’s wonderful.
Holly Colasurdo: As a snowbird, it’s important to continue to have regular service when you’re not here. Just because you’re not here doesn’t mean your pool doesn’t need to be cleaned and have the added chemicals, with the rainy season coming up, the rain throws off the balance of the chemicals. And you need to make sure that they’re balanced so your pool doesn’t turn into a self-destructive monster on its own with algae and things like that.
Elizabeth Varian: That wouldn’t be fun to come home to. That was going to be my next question – should we continue it? I know most people choose to continue it, but if I go, “Oh well, I’m just going to leave and then I’ll just have you go in and do a clean-up five days before or two weeks before I come down.” It sounds like it will be a much bigger project if you do it that way versus what most of your customers do, which is continue the service.
Holly Colasurdo: Right. We’re not a pool company in the northeast where they have to close the pools down and cover them and wait through the frozen months. It’s all year round and the summer gets really hot here. So it changes chemicals in the water and, depending on what people have as far as runoff or dirt or if they’re having some type of renovation, you have to make sure you keep your pool in working order. Because pools, as luxurious and wonderful as they are, they are an expense to the home and it can run into some big expenses if you do not keep up on the chemicals. Or keep up on the equipment. With the sun down here in sunny Florida, equipment ages a lot faster — it heats up the motors and the pumps. A lot of our snowbirds say, “Well, my motor’s been working up in the northeast for years.” Well, it’s a different climate up there.
Elizabeth Varian: Very different. We live in South Florida for a reason. Very different climate.
Holly Colasurdo: We also like to let our snowbirds know that we recommend a water hose with a timer on it.
Elizabeth Varian: Oh, good. Because of evaporation?
Holly Colasurdo: Right. We can leave the hose in there on a weekly service, say on a Wednesday, and it’ll come off. The timer will turn the water off and this way there will be enough water in the pool when the tech goes back the next week. With the sun, the water evaporates on its own and you don’t want it to lose too much water.
Elizabeth Varian: Now before they head back north, and this will definitely be a topic for another podcast, but we know we have to deal with hurricanes down here. Usually it’s when the snowbirds are up north. So I know removing the lawn furniture and the pool furniture before they go home is one thing to prepare their pool. Is there anything else, you said about a hose on a timer. I would have never thought of that. This is actually the first time I’ve heard of that, which I think is brilliant.
Holly Colasurdo: Yeah, it’s important. You can buy those at Home Depot or Lowes. You just get a water hose with a timer or just get a timer for the hose and attach it to the hose where the spigot is. It’ll be anywhere from 0 minutes to an hour and 30 minutes. You can set the timer daily. Actually, we prefer them because if the tech’s there, he can set it for 15 minutes. He does the service and if he thinks it needs water, he can set it for 15 minutes. It’ll fill the pool up within 15 minutes or whatever time frame he thinks it will fill it to where it needs to be and then it comes off on its own.
Elizabeth Varian: That’s perfect. What other things should they do to prepare the pool area before they go? Is there anything they should do to the pool itself or a checklist?
Holly Colasurdo: There’s nothing really that they need for the pool because that’s why they have us as their pool service company. We do all of that for them. But if they want to batten down the hatches before they go, they lock their house up, put all of their furniture in the garage just in case there’s some heavy winds, make sure they leave their gate open for their pool guy. We have gated communities and they know who we are and they let us in. Other than that, there’s not really much they need to do to their pool. That’s why they have us.
Elizabeth Varian: Or they should have you if they don’t.
Holly Colasurdo: Right. That’s always better. I’m glad you were able to take a few minutes to hang out with us and do our first podcast today. I hear the office gals in the back are so busy on the phone.
Elizabeth Varian: Oh yeah.
Holly Colasurdo: We like to hear that. We’re keeping you guys busy and summer season isn’t even here, so this is fantastic.
Elizabeth Varian: How fun was this? I can’t wait for our next podcast. I’m excited to hear what we’re going to talk about next.
Holly Colasurdo: I know; I completely agree — it’s so much fun. I hope everyone listening gets information from this that can allow you to really get creative with your renovation. You don’t have to be stuck with a boring pool. Or, if you bought a house and the pool isn’t quite what you want, Pool Doctor can definitely come in and help you. You can have playtime with the consultants on designing and redesigning. And if you’re heading back home, that’s why you have Pool Doctor — they can take care of everything for you while you enjoy a less heated summer than we have here in South Florida when you head back north.
Elizabeth Varian: And it’s all beautiful for them when they come back home.[crosstalk 00:15:14]
When you come back, just drop the luggage and jump right into the pool when you return. So, thank you, Holly, for having this time with us.
Holly Colasurdo: Thank you, Elizabeth.
Elizabeth Varian: And everybody else, come back to the website and get next month’s podcast and go ahead and register to the feed. We’ll be doing this once a month. Talk to you guys later.
Closing: Thank you for listening to our monthly podcast. Be sure to contact Pool Doctor of the Palm Beaches for your South Florida pool needs. Call 561-203-0270 or visit us online at www.poolspalmbeaches.com.