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A Con­ver­sa­tion with Pool Builders

Dive In!” This was Kim Sanders 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. Oper­at­ing in three major facets: 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 that also spe­cial­izes in full scale swim­ming pool remod­els, trans­forms the customer’s back­yard into a liv­ing water par­adise with the high­est qual­i­ty crafts­man­ship & 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)?

Tra­cie
: 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.

Kel­ly
: 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 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.

Kim
: 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.

Kel­ly
: 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.

Kim
: 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.

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