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A Conversation with Pool Builders


Dive In!” This was Kim Sanders’s advice when asked to give advice to pool companies on the fence about using CompanyCam.

In addition to Kim Sanders of Pool Works, we had the pleasure of hearing from Tracie Theune with Premier Pools of Central Florida, and Kelly Skelton from SSG Pools.

Family-owned and operated for 30 years, Pool Works turns customers’ dreams into reality. Their business operates in three core areas: residential and commercial inground pool & spa construction, pool service & maintenance department, and retail showrooms. They make every effort to go that extra mile and strive to improve in all areas. Pool Works not only meets each customer’s needs but aims to exceed them.

Premier Pools of Central Florida, a swimming pool designer and contractor specializing in full-scale swimming pool remodels, transforms the customers’ backyard into a living water paradise with the highest quality craftsmanship and material.

SSG Pools builds and renovates gunite swimming pools in both the residential and commercial sectors of New England. They provide enjoyable swimming experiences for individuals, families, and communities through sustainable and artistic gunite swimming pools.

CompanyCam: What are some of the problems/​issues you see in the pool industry in regards to photo documentation (or lack thereof)?

: Without photo documentation, it is impossible for our office staff to understand the concerns of our customers. The job coordinator’s position requires he/​she communicates with the customer throughout the construction process, as well as explain why something has been done the way it has in the field. Without the photos, he/​she is flying blind and not able to fully communicate with the customer or understand their concern.

: It is impossible for a team of supervisors and coordinators to fully visualize the progress of several projects that may be underway in multiple states without effective photo documentation. The construction industry, in general, is infamous for being on the less tech-savvy side of mass adoption, and therefore a simple solution is needed to capture and organize photography. The importance of photography cannot be overstated. Pools are as much of an artistic display as they are functional. Therefore, ensuring proper progress through visuals is critical.

The construction industry, in general, is infamous for being on the less tech-savvy side of mass adoption, and therefore a simple solution is needed to capture and organize photography. - Kelly Skelton

Kim: We have been constantly struggling to find an easy and effective way to get photos of projects accessible to our team in a timely manner. Years ago we had several digital cameras and would regularly attempt to download the photo cards. This was both time consuming and inconsistent. Once the iPhones came out, our field crew would randomly take pictures with them and periodically (sometimes months later!) download the pictures. 

This seemed to deter the crew from even taking pictures, or they would assume someone else took pictures. This was also a waste of time and honestly not very useful. We briefly attempted using Google Pictures [Photos] but many of our employees use their phones for personal use as well, and personal pictures were mixed in with work ones. Plus it was somewhat complicated and not easily accessible to everyone.

CompanyCam: Which feature of CompanyCam do you think provides the most benefit to pool companies? 

Tracie: The ease with which pictures upload to projects and allow users to see immediately. 

Kelly: We enjoy the Before and After feature due to our renovations department. We are constantly transforming old, ugly pools that are in rough shape into beautiful and seemingly brand new finished products. Therefore, CompanyCam allows us to broadcast the difference between the start and finish of work for future renovation marketing efforts.

: When onsite at a potential new project, it’s very effective to quickly pull up pictures on CompanyCam of other projects. For current projects, we take pictures of the pool plan and options sheet so that the crew can pull it up at any time for reference. The crews also take pictures of equipment serial numbers while onsite. We have even been using it internally to track items with pending warranty.

CompanyCam: Tell me about an aha” moment when you realized the CompanyCam app was going to be a game changer?

Tracie: Our aha” moment was when we were able to get previously resistant employees to start taking pictures in the field. In the past, there was always an excuse about how hard it was to email pictures, etc. The ease with which our employees are able to pull up a job and have pictures automatically load to that job was the game changer and the end of excuses.

Kelly: Our aha” moment was simply being able to follow the progress of each project in one organized location. We are easily able to sift through months of work in a matter of seconds.

The ease with which our employees are able to pull up a job and have pictures automatically load to that job was the game changer and the end of excuses. - Tracie Theune

Kim: When almost overnight our crews starting taking pictures. Everyone quickly embraced the app. No downloading camera cards or phones or iPads. The pictures are viewable in real time.

CompanyCam: Do you have any stories about a time when CompanyCam really impacted a particular scenario? 

Tracie: We had an extremely complex project taking place and input from the office was needed in order to proceed. Having the supervisor be able to send pictures of the project so that the operations manager was able to see without going into field was a time saver and allowed him to problem solve from within the office in a timely manner.

: There have been a few times that I was admittedly a bit starved for content and a supervisor uploaded a remarkable image that I then used for social media postings and website updates. Specifically, I recall one of our supervisors capturing a family enjoying their pool as it was being filled by water. The photo showed the happiness and excitement of our customers interacting with our product. Surely, I immediately shared this with our followers and employees.

: One of our technicians was onsite and in need of a part ASAP. A part number was not available and explaining what the part looked like over the phone was not the easiest task. He took a photo of it on CompanyCam, and the office staff was easily able to identify the part and get it delivered to the technician right away! In the past, our technician would have needed to return at a later date with the part need, but with the help of CompanyCam, we were able to get the customer up and running within an hour!

CompanyCam:What would you say to pool companies that are on the fence about using CompanyCam? 

Tracie: Don’t wait. This system is extremely user friendly and eliminates all excuses for those in the field to document the progress of a project.

Kelly: Any pool company or construction firm that has aspirations to scale beyond a handful of ongoing projects needs CompanyCam. This tool saves time and provides clarity in a simple format.

Kim: Dive in! CompanyCam is a very user friendly photo app, with the exact features needed to reach our goals and make our Construction & Service department as efficient as ever.

Stephanie is a former CompanyCamper, who fulfilled the role of Marketing Project Manager.

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