Retailers: backyard furniture is a valuable product line for many retailers in the West. for more profitable products in this area, flip the page

Retailers: backyard furniture is a valuable product line for many retailers in the West. for more profitable products in this area, flip the page

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Living out West isn’t cheap. That may be why the great majority of pool and spa salespeople in the region are offered a base salary rather than straight commission–and why approximately 40 percent of those working off a base salary are given more than $21,000 per year. Still, retailers in the Northeast and Midwest tend to pay a larger percentage of their employees high base salaries.

Annual base salaries for salespeople

straight commission 15%

less than $10,000 10%

$11,000-$20,000 8%

$21,000-$30,000 26%

more than $30,000 15%

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Companies in the West offering medical benefits to full-time employees

61%

Commission Question

Employers in the West are less likely to pay a flat commission to their salespeople than are employers elsewhere. Those who do offer commission often pay on a sliding scale.

Type of commission retailers pay to salespeople

sliding scale 19%

flat commission 11%

flat commission plus bonus 18%

don’t pay commission 26%

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Mark Sawyer Owner, Diamond Blue Pool and Spa, Crested Butte, Colo.

What benefits do you offer full-time employees? Monetary bonuses and paid vacation.

Nelson Torres Owner, Spa Partners Inc., Denver

What proportion of your sales are e-commerce? 1 percent to 5 percent.

“My sales tend to be getting better. My best months are April through September.”

Spa-tacular Sales

Portable spas are hot in the West: 7 percent of the retailers surveyed said they sell more than 600 per year. Also, 10 percent of retailers sell between 100 and 600 spas annually. That’s more than any other region tallied.

Average number of portable spas sold each year

less than 50 18%

50-100 15%

101-200 5%

201-600 5%

more than 600 7%

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Companies in the West owned by the same family for two generations or more

36%

Ebb and Flow

It’s well-known that above ground pools aren’t as popular in the West as they are in the Northeast. Only 7 percent of retailers sell more than 50 annually; most sell fewer than 25.

Average number of above ground pools sold each year

less than 25 24%

25-50 3%

51-99 5%

100-200 2%

more than 200 0%

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Jenn Cormack Owner, Leisure Living, Grand Junction, Colo.

What is the annual base salary for your salespeople? $21,000 to $30,000.

What type of commission do you pay your salespeople? Flat commission, with bonuses for certain products.

Owen Steinbacher Owner, Tex Sun Pools, Spring, Texas

Do you sell backyard furniture? No.

“We tried to through a catalog when we first opened. But the only way you can sell furniture is to offer it in sets–and people like to see it and get it [instantly]. We’re also in the greater Houston area and rent is expensive, so we have a small space”

Jerry Pennington Owner, Jerry’s Pool, Spa & Patio, Grants Pass, Ore.

Has your company been owned by the same family for two generations or more? Yes.

“We’ve had the business for 21 years, and right now we’re having our grandkids work.”

Off the Charts

Retailers nationwide who offer medical insurance to full-time employees

Northeast 65%

South 56%

West 61%

Midwest 69%

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Retailers in the West selling backyard furniture

48%

Spa Happy

The large-ticket retail item in the West is the portable spa. No other region boasts as many spa-only stores. That may be because, whether indoors or out, the portable spa fits in easily with the youthful, lifestyle characteristic of this region.

Retailers primarily sell

portable spas 36%

aboveground pools 0%

neither 50%

Note: Table taken from bar graph.

Matthew Canfield Owner, Value Priced Spas, Oceanside, Calif.

What is the annual base salary for your salespeople? Straight commission.

Rick Hiner General Manager, IHT Spas, Denver

What benefits do you offer full-time employees? Medical insurance, sick leave, paid vacation, retirement–pensions or 401(k)–and monetary bonuses.

“You’re competing against other industries for key employees, so it’s important to have a competitive benefits package.”

John Crystal Owner, John Crystal Pools Inc., Northridge, Calif.

What is the annual base salary for your salespeople? Straight commission.

What type of commission do you pay your salespeople? Flat commission.

“It’s a better incentive; it gets them out to sell more.”

Growing West

Retail stores in the West seem to do less business than their counterparts elsewhere. Still, 13 percent of the retailers surveyed said they generated more than $2 million in gross revenue last year. Another 15 percent are in the $1 million-to-$2 million range.

Gross revenue from pool/spa retailing in 2002

less than $250,000 13%

$250,000-$499,000 13%

$500,000-$999,999 18%

$1 million-$1.5 million 13%

$1.6 million-$2 million 2%

more than $2 million 13%

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Retailers in the West with point-of-sale systems

27%

E-valuating Online Sales

Retailers in the West recognize the potential of online sales. Some companies bring in more than half of their business using the Internet.

Proportion of sales that are e-commerce

none 60%

1%-10% 31%

11%-50% 5%

51%-100% 2%

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Rick Lewis Owner, Get Wet Pools & Spas, St. George, Utah

What is the annual base salary for your salespeople? $11,000 to $20,000.

What type of commission do you pay your salespeople? Flat commission, with bonuses for certain products.

“The problem we ran into with straight commission was that we had a hard time getting people to work for us. Also, because we’re a small business, we require salespeople to do things for us other than just selling, such as straightening up the showroom. So we think it’s reasonable to pay a base salary.”

Skip Magee Owner, D&S Builders, Medford, Ore.

Do you have a POS system? No.

“We’re just a family business, and we’ve only been around for about three years, so we’re not that big. Probably sometime in the future, we will get one.”

A Bit Conservative

Most retailers in the West spend only a small portion of their gross sales on advertising–less than 3 percent. But more than one-third raise the stakes, putting anywhere from 3 percent to 6 percent of their gross sales into their advertising budget.

Gross sales spent on advertising

less than 3% 47%

3%-4% 19%

5%-6% 16%

more than 7% 8%

Note: Table made from bar graph.

The Write Stuff

As in other regions, retailers in the West focus their advertising efforts on print. Radio serves as a primary form of advertising for 10 percent of retailers and TV for 7 percent.

Primary form of advertising/publicity for retailers

print 34%

TV 7%

Radio 10%

Other 50%

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Retail stores in the West Renovated since 1998

36%

COPYRIGHT 2003 Hanley-Wood, Inc.

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