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Three Tips to Take Your Pool Business to the Next Level with Automation



Two men fixing a Pentair IntelliCenter system.

Today’s consumers expect automation to make their lives easier – from adjusting their home thermostat to closing their garage door and cleaning with robotic vacuum cleaners, home automation devices are now the norm. 

It’s only natural that this trend is taking hold in the pool industry, with pool owners looking for ways to make it easier and more efficient to maintain their pools and spas. But as a pool professional, have you considered how automation can make your job easier and help you grow your business?

Here are three tips for using automation to help take your pool business to the next level and provide your customers with outstanding service.

  1. Work smarter with advanced pool automation technology.

It’s called the “brain of the pool” for a reason. With an advanced pool automation system like the IntelliCenter® Pool Control System, connecting pool equipment like colored lights, water features, and more to the automation system is easy with features like a setup wizard with step-by-step instructions and autodetect technology. Pool automation allows you to effortlessly set automation schedules, monitor pool and spa status, and check water chemistry.

Whether tackling regular maintenance or something more complex, you can quickly troubleshoot problems, resolve issues, and get out of the backyard faster using an intuitive touch screen. The IntelliCenterPool Control System is the most versatile Pentair automation system, delivering the latest technology to pool servicers, builders, and homeowners.

“When the IntelliCenter System came out, it was much more user-friendly than the EasyTouch® System we used,” said Alex Karol of Lehigh Valley Aqua Pools in Northampton, Pennsylvania. “It was like going from a flip phone to a smartphone with a touchscreen and having everything at your fingertips.”

Customers with older automation systems who need an upgrade without replacing their whole system can use the IntelliCenter Upgrade Kit for IntelliTouch® and EasyTouch® Pool Control Systems to easily upgrade their older pool automation systems to the latest technology. With an Upgrade Kit, you get all the benefits of the latest system, including an intuitive touchscreen display that effectively shows functions in both day and nighttime modes. 

Building on the product’s existing capabilities to bring these systems up to date allows professionals and pool owners to experience all the latest features of Pentair automation. Installation is easy: it installs on the current wiring and housing. Just change the bezel, board, and transformer.

With an Upgrade Kit, it’s easy to give your customers what they want and give yourself some new business as you continue adding upgrades to their pool equipment pads.

  • Save time in the backyard while offering an effortless pool experience.

The days of staying after hours at your customers’ homes for impromptu fixes to the pool equipment pad are nearly over. Using Remote Monitoring, accessed through their Pentair Pro account, pool professionals can remotely monitor a customer’s pool and connect to equipment via the IntelliCenter Pool Control System.

“It gives us the opportunity to log in to the client’s pool to see if there are any error messages,” said Craig Horning of Infinity Pools & Spas in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. “If we see something that might be malfunctioning, we can address it early before it becomes a very large investment for the customer.”

Monitoring and controlling your customers’ systems remotely will potentially prevent extra service trips to customers’ backyards, and the benefits don’t end there. While you’re boosting your business by offering remote monitoring and white glove service to pool owners for an additional fee, they’ll enjoy an effortless and stressless pool experience. Because the system interfaces with mobile devices, it also offers pool owners convenient remote control from anywhere with the Pentair Home app.

  • Ultimate peace of mind for your customers to enjoy water.

Pentair’s solutions offer a virtually hands-off, connected automation experience for consumers with pools of nearly any shape or size. And with the IntelliCenter system, pool owners can now control water features, monitor water chemistry, spot-clean their spa, and more – all from the comfort of their home using the Pentair Home app.

Homeowners currently using the IntelliCenter2 app are being migrated to the Pentair Home app in early 2024 for an improved and expanded app experience.

In the Pentair Home app, pool owners can access an easy-to-use dashboard on their smart device and receive alerts sent directly to their phones for peace of mind anytime, anywhere, so they can get back to enjoying their pool. The IntelliCenter Pool Control System is designed to easily accommodate new equipment add-ons as your customers’ backyard oasis grows.

Give your customers the technology they expect with the Pentair IntelliCenter® Pool Control System. Learn more about how IntelliCenter makes pool automation easier at

By: Rama Budampati, General Manager of Pool Automation and Sanitizers, Pentair

4.9/5 - (8 votes)

As an industry leader in the pool and spa space, Pentair is dedicated to elevating the pool experience to the next level with connected, efficient, and quality products so people can soak in the magical, wonder-filled moments by their pool, giving them time – and peace of mind – to create them. Pentair's pool solutions are engineered to filter, clean and sanitize water, while automation equipment makes it easy to control from anywhere. For more information, visit

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Educating Customers About The Dark Side of the Pool Industry



Educating Customers About The Dark Side of the Pool Industry

The pool industry has thousands of builders but at the same time, it’s still a relatively small industry where one’s reputation may proceed them. JC Escudero stands out in this regard for his transparency and honesty in explaining the dark side of the pool industry to his customers. The founder of J Designs Pool & Spa, a boutique pool construction firm in Los Angeles, Escudero has taken a unique approach to his craft. Unafraid to delve into the nuances of the pool construction process, he has become a vocal advocate for educating consumers about the dos and don’ts of building a pool.

A Departure From The Norm

Escudero’s journey into the pool construction business began with a revelation during his tenure at a large builder. He shares, “I used to work for a pretty large builder, and when we decided to open our own company, I knew exactly what I didn’t want to do. I didn’t want to do that type of volume. With that brings a lot of issues because you don’t have the time to really cater to that many clients and have the same attention to detail.”

His vision was clear – to be a boutique builder, focusing on craftsmanship, larger projects, and fostering better relationships with clients. The inception of J Designs marked a departure from the norm, a conscious effort to create a more personalized and quality-driven approach to pool construction.

As Escudero reflects on the genesis of his company, he recalls, “We knew we had a big market at the turn of the 2008 mortgage crisis, and we used to work more in the Riverside area.” However, economic downturns prompted a strategic shift. “People were not buying pools at that time. The economy was upside down,” he notes. Escudero decided to move to Los Angeles, specifically the San Fernando Valley, tapping into a lucrative market despite the challenging economic conditions of ’08.

Educating Customers About The Dark Side of the Pool Industry with JC Escudero

Educating The Client

Escudero was eager to set himself apart with his commitment to openness and transparency with customers. Many pool builders shy away from discussing the potential pitfalls of the construction process, fearing it may deter potential clients. However, Escudero believes in addressing the elephant in the room. “I’ve always been a very straightforward person. I open my mouth. Sometimes I get in trouble by doing so, but at the same time, I like to tell people the way things are,” he explains.

Escudero emphasizes the importance of informing clients about the intricacies of pool construction. “There are key components that every pool needs and explain what those are. I tell my customers about the roadblocks that exist in pool construction and what they absolutely need to know,” he says. By laying out the challenges and limitations, Escudero ensures that clients are well-informed and their expectations are met without any misconceptions.

J Designs has developed an expansive content library to educate the customer.
J Designs has developed an expansive content library to educate the customer.

Developing a Library of Content To Educate Customers

To extend this philosophy beyond one-on-one interactions, Escudero and his team have created an educational system. Through blogs, articles, and videos on their website, they provide valuable insights into the pool-building process. “I decided with my wife Liliana to put it together in the form of an educational system for our clients so they can easily, by themselves at their leisure, watch videos or read blogs and articles to impart them with that knowledge,” he shares.

This dedication to education is rooted in Escudero’s desire to establish a bond with clients before even meeting them. “When I get to their house, they already know me. There’s already a bond without even meeting them,” he states. By fostering this connection, Escudero ensures that clients are comfortable and well-informed, setting the stage for a successful collaboration.

One of Escudero’s videos called “The Dark Side of the Pool Industry” discusses issues that can come up with hiring unlicensed contractors, dealing with permitting hurdles, and how misinformation can lead to confusion and dissatisfaction.

Addressing the Elephant in The Room, Unlicensed Builders

One of the critical issues Escudero addresses is the prevalence of unlicensed builders in the pool industry. In one of his videos, he unveils a startling fact – the swimming pool industry boasts the highest number of complaints to the California State License Board (CSLB). He attributes this to the influx of unlicensed individuals posing as contractors, taking advantage of unsuspecting clients.

Escudero’s concerns go beyond merely acknowledging the problem; he actively seeks solutions. “The industry has been taken by a lot of scammers that don’t have a license that claim to be contractors. That happens everywhere, not only in California,” he points out. His website serves as a platform to guide consumers on what to look for in a contractor, stressing the importance of licenses, insurance, and adherence to the law.

Escudero’s commitment to transparency extends to the financial aspects of pool construction, particularly the often-misunderstood issue of payment schedules. He addresses this concern with a straightforward perspective, stating, “I get a lot of the times clients asking about payments, and I tell them payments are supposed to be by law, not 30% upfront like they charge in some markets. Who in the right mind is going to give you $40,000 upfront?”

Exploring the dark side of the pool industry with JC Escudero of J Designs

A License May Not Be Enough

“Just having a license is not enough,” Escudero asserts. He acknowledges the shortcomings in the current licensing system, where individuals can obtain licenses with minimal knowledge of the trade. This, he believes, contributes to the industry’s negative reputation, leading to client dissatisfaction and distrust.

In his pursuit of improving the industry as a whole, Escudero doesn’t shy away from sharing the less glamorous aspects of the trade. He urges consumers to be vigilant, emphasizing the need for proper payment schedules, a clear understanding of construction processes, and awareness of potential red flags.

“Telling the story that way helps me and helps set my company apart automatically from the bad name or the hush-hush underground things that are going on,” explained Escudero. Through his unwavering commitment to education and transparency, JC Escudero is not just building pools; he’s constructing a foundation of trust in an industry that at times can be clouded with uncertainty.

Listen to our entire conversation about The Dark Side of the Pool Industry with JC Escudero on the Pool Magazine podcast.

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Riverbend Sandler Pools Acquires Hauk Custom Pools



Riverbend Sandler Pools Acquires Hauk Custom Pool

Riverbend Sandler Pools (“Riverbend”), the leading residential pool construction, service, and maintenance provider in the Dallas – Ft. Worth metroplex, and a portfolio company of Concentric Equity Partners (“CEP”), announced the acquisition of Hauk Custom Pools, (“Hauk” or the “Company”), a Celina, TX-based provider of pool construction, remodeling, and repair services. Riverbend will be acquiring Hauk from Owner, and long-term pool industry veteran Robby Hauk, who will remain with the Company in his current leadership role for the long-term future and retain a substantial individual ownership stake.

Hauk Custom Pools is a leading residential pool construction brand in the Northern DFW market and has been a PSN Top 50 Builder for many years. Hauk was founded by Robby in 2001 after he spent several years working as a design consultant with Riverbend Sandler Pools. It’s great to see how the relationship has come in full circle and the Riverbend Group was able to partner with Robby after all these years. Hauk is a true leader in the Northern DFW area and has built over 4,000 pools. The Hauk brand and its employees will continue the pursuit of outstanding quality and service.

“While looking for the right partner to help me grow the business and add additional services, it was important to find someone that had the same values as Hauk pools”, said Robby Hauk. “Knowing the history of Riverbend and what they have accomplished with other acquisitions, led me to get comfortable with those discussions”.

“Robby and the Hauk team have continued to build a strong presence in the Northern DFW market, an area we have been wanting to build out at Riverbend” said Riverbend Sandler CEO Bruce Mungiguerra. “We’re excited to continue building on the Hauk name and adding additional services such as service repair and weekly pool maintenance to the brand”.

Adam Lucas, Principal at CEP, adds: “We have tremendous respect for what Robby has built over many years and the success he has achieved with Hauk”. “We’re honored he chose us to partner with the Hauk platform going forward and excited to partner with his leadership team”.

More News About Riverbend Sandler Pools:

About Hauk Custom Pools:

Headquartered in Celina, TX, and serving the Northern area of the DFW Metroplex, Hauk is a premier provider of residential pool construction and renovation, services. Founded in 2001, Hauk has been a leader in custom pool design and installation of some of the most impressive pools built in the metroplex. While Hauk has been in business for over 20 years, the business is stronger than ever and growing annually. For more information on Hauk, visit

About Riverbend Sandler Pools:

Headquartered in Plano, TX, Riverbend Sandler Pools is the leading residential pool construction, service, and maintenance provider in Dallas Fort Worth. The Company differentiates through its specialized and high-touch design process, commitment to quality craftsmanship and customer service, and established track record of success. The Company was founded by Charles Barnes in 1981 and grown over a successful period of more than four decades to become one of the largest pool builders in the Southwest U.S. Riverbend Sandler’s guiding philosophy has always been: “Don’t cut corners, take a little more time to build it right and never compromise quality craftsmanship.” For more information on Riverbend Sandler, visit

About Concentric Equity Partners:

Concentric Equity Partners is a private investment firm that partners with leading middle market companies by providing capital and strategic advisory to accelerate long term value creation. Concentrics approach is simple: support entrepreneurs and operators by providing the resources required to achieve extraordinary results. The firm’s investment team is made up of individuals with distinguished track records as operators and professional investors across a variety of growth oriented middle market companies. Concentric Equity Partners is the direct investing arm of Financial Investments Corporation, a private asset management firm and family office with over $2 billion in investment commitments under management. Financial Investments Corporation was founded in 1994 by father and daughter Harrison and Jennifer Steans and has been partnering with private companies for more than 25 years. For more information on Concentric, visit

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Lucas Lagoons Designs a Winter Wonderland Oasis

Lucas Lagoons is creating the ultimate winter wonderland oasis and showed off their plans for the exciting pool project.



Lucas Lagoons Designs a Winter Wonderland Oasis

In the heart of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, The Inn At Christmas Place is taking the spirit of Christmas to new heights with an enchanting winter wonderland brought to life by the renowned Lucas Lagoons. With over 315,000 followers and 5 million likes on TikTok, Lucas Congdon, the creative force behind Lucas Lagoons, recently shared a sneak peek into his latest project—a Christmas-inspired oasis that promises to redefine the holiday experience for guests.

Lucas Lagoons has become a household name in the world of pool design and landscaping, thanks to their hit cable TV show Insane Pools and captivating videos on social media platforms. Boasting a massive following on TikTok, Lucas Lagoons has garnered attention for their innovative designs, stunning works in progress, and behind-the-scenes glimpses that have gone viral. Last year, Pool Magazine even featured the incredible social media presence of Lucas Lagoons, showcasing one of their remarkable projects.

Christmas All Year Round

Lucas Congdon recently shared his excitement about the ongoing project at The Inn At Christmas Place. “Welcome to Christmas all year round,” he exclaimed, offering viewers a virtual tour of the mesmerizing pool design underway. The project, inspired by Lucas Lagoons, Christmas, and the iconic figure of Santa Claus, is set to bring a touch of holiday magic to the heart of Pigeon Forge.

The Ultimate Christmas Oasis

The centerpiece of the design is a beach entry freeflow pool with whimsical candy cane water features, leading to an incredible lazy river powered by Riverflow by Current Systems. Lucas Congdon provided a glimpse of the behind-the-scenes footage, showcasing the existing landscape pond, waterfall, and grounds, along with 3D renderings that capture the essence of the ultimate Christmas oasis. “The clients love the design inspired by Lucas Lagoons, Christmas, and Santa Claus himself,” Congdon proudly shared.

@lucaslagoons Insane Pool underway at The Inn At Christmas Place, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. When this pool is finished, you will be able to stay there and enjoy all the fantastic amenities: lazy river, grottos, hot tubs, candy cane water features, lounging areas, and fire features… #insanepools #lucaslagoons #poolbuilders #construction ♬ Christmas song "Let's decorate" – 3KTrack

Festive Ambiance and Coherent Design

The Christmas-themed lagoon-style lazy river pool is seamlessly integrated into the pool area grounds of The Inn At Christmas Place. The Winterland oasis even features a waterfall grotto, a signature hallmark in many Lucas Lagoons projects. Multiple bridges adorned with Christmas trees and decorations create a festive ambiance that ties the entire space together. “We really wanted to create a cohesive space that ties the pool area to the new and improved Christmas-inspired Lucas Lagoons,” explained Lucas Congdon.

The Inn at Christmas Place
Photo Credit: Facebook – The Inn at Christmas Place

The Inn At Christmas Place

Situated in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, The Inn At Christmas Place is already known for its unique Christmas-themed hotel experience. The hotel offers rooms and suites adorned with year-round holiday decor. The picturesque Bavarian architecture and Old World charm make it a must-visit destination for those seeking the true spirit of Christmas every day of the year.

Lucas Lagoons is set to elevate the holiday experience for guests at The Inn At Christmas Place with a winter wonderland that seamlessly blends the magic of Christmas with the innovative design expertise of Lucas Congdon. As the Christmas-inspired pool takes shape, visitors to Pigeon Forge can look forward to immersing themselves in the enchanting spirit of the season, all year round.

Featured Photo Credit: TikTok – @lucaslagoons

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