Slow economy? With many operators still working to come into compliance with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, and continued concerns over crypto, Alison Osinski, Ph.D., believes there's enough work to be done to keep the industry busy for the foreseeable future.
"I don't think the commercial market is doing that bad," says the principal of San Diego-based Aquatic Consulting Services.
She acknowledges budget cuts in many municipalities have affected pool staffing and operations. But overall, Osinski says the picture she's seeing could be a lot worse.
"People haven't stopped swimming," she notes. "Aquatic therapy programs and swim schools are still doing well. There's a need for [them]."
For operators facing tighter budgets, Osinski offers some suggestions. First, start educating your higher-ups.
"A lot of aquatic people are very isolated. Your boss probably doesn't know anything about what you do. Now's the time to make those checklists, detailing job responsibilities, regulations that need to be adhered to, etc.," she says. "And don't just say 'vacuum the pool.' Explain exactly what that task entails, how long it takes and what products you use."
Second, educate yourself. "Today's pool operators need to be aware of all facility expenses and able to explain them to the public as well," Osinski believes.
Finally, look for ways to diversify. For operators, this might mean marketing to attract new target groups, or procuring funding from new sources.