By Deborah Bostock-Kelley
It’s the big 4-0 for Patio Pool in Lutz. For four decades, this three-generation, family-owned independent pool installation, remodeling and retail establishment has been going above and beyond the expectations of clients throughout Tampa Bay.
Founded by Charles Foster, daughter Gina Schrader runs the office, while her sons design pools, sell, handle marketing and social media and provide customer service. Even her 90 year old grandmother is part of the business, doing some light housekeeping on the weekends.
“It’s definitely a family affair,” said Gina. “We’re kind of iconic in the area. Most people in the area know us because we’ve been in business so long. Either their grandparents had us build their pool, or their parents, friends or neighbors. We tout ourselves on being one of the fastest pool company in the Bay area. We’ve been around for so long that we have such a big presence in the Tampa Bay area.”
Patio Pools is recognized for not only providing a high-quality product, but for an expeditious turnaround. She credits the great organization of Patio Pools for allowing the quickest installation possible.
“We’re on top of things constantly. We typically will finish a standard pool in 21 working days. We’re definitely the quickest in the area.”
When hiring a pool contractor, Gina said doing your homework is very important. While it’s good to look for customer reviews on social media, those can be bought. The client should investigate the business through the Better Business Bureau, Myfloridalicense.com and talk to friends and family to make sure ofthe legitimacy and proven workmanship of the business.
“Keep in mind how old the company is. You can have one company that has 5 complaints and you can have another that has 5 complaints, but one is only 5 years old. Keep in mind how long they’ve been in business, when doing searches of the company. We currently only have one.”
She warned to be leery of a new company with hundreds of detailed reviews.
“They can be bought and we would never do anything like that. All of our reviews are authentic.”
She also explained every photo on the Patio Pool website comes from completed jobs and no stock photography is ever used. She doesn’t need other people’s photos as Patio Pools has built nearly 8,000 pools since its inception.
“We really pride ourselves on doing a good job because although we are big in the area because people know us, we are still a relatively-small family-run business. We have to do well. It’s our business.”
As Florida’s rainy hurricane season can make installation unpredictable, if you’re looking to have a pool to cool down in this summer, Gina suggests the best time for installation is during the winter. It can take 2 to 6 weeks to get the permit, depending upon the municipality and approximately 21-28 working days – from breaking ground to installation for Patio Pools to bring your vision to life.
Not only can Patio Pool build your dream pool, they can remodel your old pool and re-top existing decks to make it look new again. They also can build custom water features, lanais, sun decks, fireplaces and fire pits, as well as outdoor kitchens. Patio Pools can also customize lighting and add automation so you can run your pool from your Alexa or your smart phone.
“We can do most of the items that you would connect with your swimming pool or backyard, excluding landscaping.”
A retail store at 4118 Gunn Highway provides the chemicals, toys, cleaners, parts, equipment and everything to meet your swimming pool needs. They can recommend a perfect pool service if you don’t want to do yourself.
“There are so many bad swimming pool companies out there. You feel like you’re doing the used car sales pitch. We really dislike that, it makes everyone in the pool industry look bad. When we sell to somebody, we don’t sell, we educate. We’re not going to lie and tell them something they want to hear just to sell the product. We’re going to tell them flat-out the truth. If you set the expectations to reality, then they know what they’re doing. It’s a big project. A pool is most likely the second largest purchase you will make besides your home or car.”
Not only is Patio Pools proud to be part of their community, they love that the business is more than just business. Customers from forty years ago drop by the retail store to say hello, to show off grandkids’ pictures, and even a dog or two has ventured back to Gina’s desk.
“I love my customers. We have made some very special relationship with customers,” she said and added. “And the other people I work with. We’re definitely a family, even the ones that aren’t related. It’s a good environment in a stressful business.”
Gina said that she is proud that Patio Pools is recognized as providing a painless process, being the antithesis to horror stories heard about working with pool companies, and being responsive to customer needs.
When asked if she had a favorite project or customer response, Gina didn’t hesitate to respond, “We’re proud of all of them.”
Patio Pools is located at 4118 Gunn Highway. Call 813.327.4654 to schedule a free consultation and to learn more, visit www.patiopools.com, or follow on Facebook and Twitter.