Hot Tub Forum

General => Hot Tub Forum => Topic started by: aug0211 on December 02, 2018, 12:22:48 pm

Title: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: aug0211 on December 02, 2018, 12:22:48 pm
Hi everyone,

First time poster here. Have read through existing threads (including the beating the dead horse portion) and would like to arm myself with a bit more information before I get out there into the show rooms.

Grew up with a Hot Spring at my parents’ place (they still have it - going strong for 15 years now). My wife and I are thinking it’s time to add one at our place. We don’t want to spend money just to spend it, though I am normally one to pay a bit more to have more potential/features/quality/reliability in a product. The main source of buyers’ remorse that I am susceptible to is “I wish I had added that feature!” With that said, our budget is in the $10-15k range (and if there is something mind blowing that is a “must have,” we can go up from there.

Our daughter has cerebral palsy and we are hopeful for potential use down the road to help her relax her muscles (high muscle tone). There will also be some assistive devices in the tub (daughter is deaf with cochlear implants, so water-proof cochlear implants will be in the tub - people use these in pools all the time, but I’d like to consider harshness of water in the decision of chlorine vs salt). We are a four person family and entertain often, so a larger tub would be preferred.

We’re located in Central Ohio and year-round use is a must-have for us.

Before going in to see the dealers, I’d like to arm myself with some info so that I am not eaten alive :-) The research I’ve done so far indicates that hot tub purchasing is not too different from car purchasing, in that there are many factors that can influence pricing (product, inventory, dealer location/shipping cost, demand, etc), negotiation is to be expected, and test drives (wet tests) are a must. I generally like to have my info together ahead of time, to avoid long, drawn-out trips where dealers are selling me on whatever they have on the floor and are trying to move. Of course, on-site experience is critical but prep ahead of time is important to me.

Questions I can think of (please add your own questions and answers that I should be asking but don’t even know to ask yet):

Thanks to everyone for the help!
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: Spatech_tuo on December 03, 2018, 01:00:07 pm
You have a very good short list. Just be careful that you don't fall in love with any one in particular BEFORE you wet test.
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: Sam on December 03, 2018, 02:33:21 pm
Yep, sounds like you are are pretty prepared.  Those are all good brands.  I would personally recommend staying away from saltwater.  It sounds good in a sales pitch but everything I've seen and heard has been negative, outside of one dealer who posts here who has had great success with them.  I think there are other less expensive and more reliable ways to achieve the benefits of salt without the corrosive nature of salt.

The only other thing I would add:  While it's true that some dealers in our industry come across as the classic "used car sales" type of place, don't walk in the door assuming that they all are.  There are quite a few great, family run operations that don't play those games and truly try to sell a customer the best spa for them and start with a very fair price up front.  Not all dealers jack their price up in the hopes you don't negotiate.  I'm not suggesting that you don't try to get a better deal, more so that it may be a minimal amount at some places compared to others.

I commonly run into customers who hammer me on price and I come up with say $500 or something and they are offended because the guy down the road took $5000 off.  The truth is that the guy down the road lied to them, but sometimes it's difficult for customers to understand that.  I can pretty much assure you that any dealer saying that they are knocking $5k off the price of a hot tub is most likely feeding you b.s.  We don't have those type of margins in our industry that we could discount by that much and still stay in business.  People really want to feel like they got an amazing deal are superior shoppers. Some unscrupulous dealers prey upon that instinct.  I refuse to play that game.
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: aug0211 on December 03, 2018, 08:41:11 pm
Thanks, all, for the feedback already.

We were able to see Hot Spring and Jacuzzi tubs this weekend. We’re interested in the Grandee NXT and the Envoy NXT (can’t decide if we want a lounger or the more open space - will have to wet test of course).

Also saw Jacuzzi, though we had wanted to see a 500 series (J-575), but the dealer did not have any 500s on the floor. Said he just didn’t sell them because they were too pricey. We understand there’s an upcharge for aesthetics and maybe not so much for function... but we’re paying over $10k for a luxury item, so the whole thing is kind of vain if you think about it, so it doesn’t seem crazy to me to say we want more lights and atmosphere to help create a relaxing environment.

We’ll go back to wet test the two NXTs and probably will wet test a 400 series Jacuzzi. I told the salesman that I’m nervous it won’t really give Jacuzzi a fair comparison, be he’s trying to convince us that we won’t notice the difference.

I also came across D1 (Dimension One) last night while researching. Wow - those look interesting. Any thoughts on the brand? I understand they’re under the same parent company as Jacuzzi. Their Bay lineup is enticing with interesting layouts. Any feedback on D1?
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: Tman122 on December 04, 2018, 08:08:48 am
I also came across D1 (Dimension One) last night while researching. Wow - those look interesting. Any thoughts on the brand? I understand they’re under the same parent company as Jacuzzi. Their Bay lineup is enticing with interesting layouts. Any feedback on D1?

As good or better than those you have listed.
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: wmccall on December 04, 2018, 08:57:16 am
Hi everyone,


Thanks to everyone for the help!

Hi neighbor, welcome to the forum.   In my many years here, and even more years running a home pc repair business in Columbus,  The Hot Spring tub has been the main one i see when a customer has had it for 15 years or more.  The HS dealer here in Columbus has a great reputation as well.   We are fortunate to have to very good reputable dealers here in Columbus that are just a few hundred yards apart.  My wife and I were set to buy an HS back in 2012 as our 2nd tub, but found the Sundance Majesta from the nearby Sundance/Jacuzzi dealer fit us better. That and the fact that they let us wet test any tub in the store helped make my decision.   I think between Scioto Valley and All Season out in Hilliard you will find something you like.
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: wmccall on December 04, 2018, 08:59:37 am
Thanks, all, for the feedback already.

We were able to see Hot Spring and Jacuzzi tubs this weekend. We’re interested in the Grandee NXT and the Envoy NXT (can’t decide if we want a lounger or the more open space - will have to wet test of course).

Also saw Jacuzzi, though we had wanted to see a 500 series (J-575), but the dealer did not have any 500s on the floor. Said he just didn’t sell them because they were too pricey. We understand there’s an upcharge for aesthetics and maybe not so much for function... but we’re paying over $10k for a luxury item, so the whole thing is kind of vain if you think about it, so it doesn’t seem crazy to me to say we want more lights and atmosphere to help create a relaxing environment.

We’ll go back to wet test the two NXTs and probably will wet test a 400 series Jacuzzi. I told the salesman that I’m nervous it won’t really give Jacuzzi a fair comparison, be he’s trying to convince us that we won’t notice the difference.

I also came across D1 (Dimension One) last night while researching. Wow - those look interesting. Any thoughts on the brand? I understand they’re under the same parent company as Jacuzzi. Their Bay lineup is enticing with interesting layouts. Any feedback on D1?

It appears you have already found All Seasons.  They have been nothing but great to me from a few years before I purchased my Majesta, they helped support me with my 2003 Dynasty tub after that dealer went under.    Good luck in your shopping.
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: wmccall on December 04, 2018, 10:26:39 am
You have a very good short list. Just be careful that you don't fall in love with any one in particular BEFORE you wet test.

He is very lucky in having 2 premier dealers less than a mile apart that encourage wet testing.
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: Michael Russell on December 05, 2018, 07:11:20 pm
You may well have read over my thread with my experiences...

I highly recommend wet tests where you can. Ideally with both you and your wife in each. My wife was a little thrown off by the idea at first. Going into a busy store and getting in a swim suit....

It was not a bad experience at all. Most stores offered after hours, or late hour visits. 2 of the 3 we wet test had back rooms that they setup the wet tests in. One was just me in the middle of the day by my own choice as I was passing through town of a further out dealer..

All said. Find a dealer you like and trust. Make sure the tub is comfortable; its really hard to judge comfort in a dry hot tub. Make sure it will fit you long term and medical needs of your daughter.

Insulation was a big point for me. Living in Ontario I insisted on full foam insulation.

Your budget is pretty large so you should be able to get into the largest tubs with lots of jets! I avoided salt water in the end for me it came down to the advise I was hearing from most dealers was they don't see the need... After about 6 weeks with my tub now I have to agree... Maintaining the water is pretty easy.....  (ok I had some clarity issues last week but I got over that ;-)

Cheers,

Mike

Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: aug0211 on December 06, 2018, 09:28:42 am
Hi everyone,

We're getting into setting up wet tests. Pricing is the next step after/during that.

Can I get a list of ballpark ranges to expect for fair pricing on the following? I know pricing can be a big range, so I will keep that in mind. I'm just hoping to collect as many data points as possible to make sure I'm not *way* off in my discussions.

Hot Spring NXT Grandee
Hot Spring NXT Envoy
Jacuzzi J-575
D1 Amore Bay
D1 Sarena Bay

Thanks!
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: Spatech_tuo on December 07, 2018, 12:00:50 am
Hi everyone,

We're getting into setting up wet tests. Pricing is the next step after/during that.

Can I get a list of ballpark ranges to expect for fair pricing on the following? I know pricing can be a big range, so I will keep that in mind. I'm just hoping to collect as many data points as possible to make sure I'm not *way* off in my discussions.

Hot Spring NXT Grandee
Hot Spring NXT Envoy
Jacuzzi J-575
D1 Amore Bay
D1 Sarena Bay

Thanks!

What city/area are you in?
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: Tman122 on December 07, 2018, 07:55:58 am
What city/area are you in?

Somewhere by Bill, ain't he a buckeye?
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: Spatech_tuo on December 07, 2018, 02:23:21 pm
What city/area are you in?

Somewhere by Bill, ain't he a buckeye?

Aha, I guess I should have scrolled up.
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: aug0211 on December 07, 2018, 05:15:34 pm
Sorry, yep, I'm a buckeye.

Any ballpark numbers out there?
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: aug0211 on December 09, 2018, 08:07:26 pm
Well, we wet tested four tubs today:

1. Hot Spring Grandee with ACE salt system - we both floated a ton, and fought to stay in the seats. Also realized we really want a central hub for feet if it’s an open layout. We do love the exterior styling and the remote control of the NXT line, but the rest was not workable. This seemed like a no go, unfortunately. *Note: we will consider the Envoy, but cannot find one to wet test which is a must for us.

2. Bullfrog A8 - the quality was noticeably lower than the Hot Spring and tub felt small. Jet strength was not consistent across the jet packs and the control panel was all but unresponsive. Miserable to work with. This was a no go for the entire brand, unfortunately.

3. Jacuzzi 470 - this started to get better. No remote control which was a bummer, but we did not float nearly as much as in the Hot Spring. Jets did well and the speakers (option) were surprisingly a nice touch. The dual waterfalls were nice and we enjoyed the waterfall more than water spout options in the Hot Spring. Enjoyed the high-back styling. We noticed more “divides” between each seat which helped us stay put. We also liked the individual jet-level of customization for water power - big win there (and in Sundance).

4. Sundance Optima 880 - possibly the top pick from what we tested, maybe a tie with the Jacuzzi 470. The cabinet looks like it’s from the 80s, which I could not get over. The no high-back styling like the Jacuzzi offers. The jets seemed better than the Jacuzzi. We did not have float issues, and again enjoyed the waterfall, though it was only a single and not double like the Jacuzzi. We did like the built in grab bars as well (potential focus for us as a family where accessibility is a concern). Excited about the scent option and bubbles as nice touches. As listed on Jacuzzi, enjoyed individual jet power customization.


Next steps:

1. We would love a Hot Spring NXT, as the exterior styling and remote control are top notch. It would probably have to be the Envoy, which we cannot wet test, so we have to wait on that most likely and see what 2019 might bring to our dealer’s floor.

2. Jacuzzi 500 series is a strong contender - dealer does not have any to see, which is a concern, but after testing the 400 series, we are thinking we should have a good feel for it (does this make sense?) and just want the styling touches.

3. We are really interested in the 900 series of the Sundance spas. Specifically the 980 Kingston and Claremont. Dealer is supposed to get a 980 in next week, so we’ll check it out.


Key Learnings:

1. Wet test is critical, we learned that we float. We did a full 180 on the foot hubs and now they are very attractive to us.

2. Control panel - using it while in the tub was important to test. We learned which ones were usable and which ones freak out.

3. Cool down seat - must have for us!

4. Salt water was a bit different but not massively.


Questions:

1. Any chance the salt system in the Hot Spring caused our float issues? Or is the salt level too low to impact buoyancy that much?

2. Thoughts on Sundance? Sounds like they are a step up from Jacuzzi? Are they reputable/top tier/going to last a long time/good customer service/etc?

3. Dealer mentioned that darker shells would show dirt quickly/easily and was recommending a lighter shell. We were nervous about sun glare but don’t want to be fighting with water marks on a darker shell non-stop. Is the dealer right? Or full of it?

4. Pricing? I know everyone is hesitant to touch this, but I’d love to hear whatever input might be out there. What have people paid for Jacuzzi 500 series? Sundance 900 series?

5. Other brands/tubs/recommendations to check out?
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: Aquatub88 on December 09, 2018, 11:22:16 pm
Hello, I am very happy with my Envoy NXT purchase 6 months ago. We received the ACE system as part of a promo; It’s wonderful, low maintenance and you don’t leave the tub smelling like chemicals.  The soft water is also a treat. I have not had a float issue at all nor has anyone in my family.  This is a great hottub backed by a great company. Ask the dealer for the stats on the water and let them explain what you were experiencing with the floating. 
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: silversun on December 10, 2018, 06:58:26 am
we purchased a sundance 880 optima last year and have been very happy with it. jets are awesome and it has everything we were looking for.

We also looked at hot springs grandee and bullfrog A8, but eliminated each for the reasons you mentioned among others. Sundance is owned by the Jacuzzi group which is a well respected company in the industry, and we've had no issues at all.

I'm not sure how a darker shell would show dirt easier than a light shell. It sounds like your dealer is not being straight with you.  besides you would want to see any dirt/grime and not cover it up because it indicates a larger problem with your water.
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: mjb on December 10, 2018, 11:39:32 am
Clarification. The lighter shells do show "dirt" better - if you get any in your spa.  Making it visible for easy clean up. But the lighter shells do not show water-spots and water-line build-up from minerals and the like that exist in most water sources.  We know this first-hand when we had a dark shell in a display spa.  This spa needed extra care to keep it looking it's best.  Since then, all of our demo spas have been in platinum.
Darker shells will also be hotter when exposed to sunlight.
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: aug0211 on December 10, 2018, 12:19:06 pm
Clarification. The lighter shells do show "dirt" better - if you get any in your spa.  Making it visible for easy clean up. But the lighter shells do not show water-spots and water-line build-up from minerals and the like that exist in most water sources.  We know this first-hand when we had a dark shell in a display spa.  This spa needed extra care to keep it looking it's best.  Since then, all of our demo spas have been in platinum.
Darker shells will also be hotter when exposed to sunlight.

Thank you, this was what the dealer was actually saying (and I butchered my explanation). Water spots and waterline build up from minerals (that we all have, just don't see as much on lighter shells).

I hate to keep beating a dead horse, but can anyone help me out with pricing here? What's reasonable for these spas?

Also, thoughts on the 980s? We started looking at those last night and they seem to have most of the things we're looking for (and they have an updated cabinet, which was the number one issue for us with Sundance).
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: silversun on December 10, 2018, 12:35:14 pm
one thing about the 900 series is that they're significantly more shallow than the 800 series. whereas the optima and aspen measure in at 37.5 and 41 inches deep, the 900s are strangely only 34. I'm not sure if that matters to you, but I wanted seats that would easily cover my shoulders especially in the winter.
I personally don't have a problem with the looks of the cabinet, and it didn't factor into my purchase much at all. But I appreciate that everyone weighs their decision differently.

on price; I paid $11,400 for the optima in August of '17.
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: BullFrogSpasMN on December 10, 2018, 02:15:18 pm
Clarification. The lighter shells do show "dirt" better - if you get any in your spa.  Making it visible for easy clean up. But the lighter shells do not show water-spots and water-line build-up from minerals and the like that exist in most water sources.  We know this first-hand when we had a dark shell in a display spa.  This spa needed extra care to keep it looking it's best.  Since then, all of our demo spas have been in platinum.
Darker shells will also be hotter when exposed to sunlight.

Thank you, this was what the dealer was actually saying (and I butchered my explanation). Water spots and waterline build up from minerals (that we all have, just don't see as much on lighter shells).

I hate to keep beating a dead horse, but can anyone help me out with pricing here? What's reasonable for these spas?

Also, thoughts on the 980s? We started looking at those last night and they seem to have most of the things we're looking for (and they have an updated cabinet, which was the number one issue for us with Sundance).

Pricing varies all over the US, also other variables like: what kind of step? how far/how difficult is the delivery? what kind of cover lift? what type of water-care products are included? How far is the dealer from the manufacturer and how much is he paying for shipping, etc. etc. you get the point but generally speaking...

Optima should fall around $12,000 - $13,000
Grandee NXT should fall around $14,500 - $15,500
Envoy NXT should fall around $13,000 - $14,000

Those are the models I'm familiar with, others will have to chime in for other models, I've heard that J-550 goes for around $15k - 16k

As far as quality between Sundace and Jacuzzi I wouldn't worry, they both come off the same assembly line out of Tijuana Mexico so they'll be fairly equivalent...FYI their build quality isn't reflected in their pricing, Hot Spring a MUCH better built and insulated spa if you want the truth of it.  I have no dog in this fight so I'm not looking to start an argument, it is simply my opinion based on working in this industry for near 15 years now and seeing 'under the hood' of multiple models from each manufacturer, so again my opinion only based on my experiences.

Salt Water doesn't have anything to do with floating, salt levels in the ocean are around 65,000 ppm salt, salt systems only put out around 2,000 ppm so it's not even close to the same 'experience'...I would always cringe when "shorter" people wanted to wet test a Grandee cause I knew there was a 80% chance they would float like crazy, there is simply nowhere to 'plant' your feet in that spa unless you are tall or have a really long torso/legs. My fav Hot Spring is the Envoy, the captains chair and lounge are really nice and you typically don't have near the floating issues of the Grandee...Good Luck!
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: aug0211 on December 10, 2018, 04:28:25 pm

Pricing varies all over the US, also other variables like: what kind of step? how far/how difficult is the delivery? what kind of cover lift? what type of water-care products are included? How far is the dealer from the manufacturer and how much is he paying for shipping, etc. etc. you get the point but generally speaking...

Optima should fall around $12,000 - $13,000
Grandee NXT should fall around $14,500 - $15,500
Envoy NXT should fall around $13,000 - $14,000

Those are the models I'm familiar with, others will have to chime in for other models, I've heard that J-550 goes for around $15k - 16k

As far as quality between Sundace and Jacuzzi I wouldn't worry, they both come off the same assembly line out of Tijuana Mexico so they'll be fairly equivalent...FYI their build quality isn't reflected in their pricing, Hot Spring a MUCH better built and insulated spa if you want the truth of it.  I have no dog in this fight so I'm not looking to start an argument, it is simply my opinion based on working in this industry for near 15 years now and seeing 'under the hood' of multiple models from each manufacturer, so again my opinion only based on my experiences.

Salt Water doesn't have anything to do with floating, salt levels in the ocean are around 65,000 ppm salt, salt systems only put out around 2,000 ppm so it's not even close to the same 'experience'...I would always cringe when "shorter" people wanted to wet test a Grandee cause I knew there was a 80% chance they would float like crazy, there is simply nowhere to 'plant' your feet in that spa unless you are tall or have a really long torso/legs. My fav Hot Spring is the Envoy, the captains chair and lounge are really nice and you typically don't have near the floating issues of the Grandee...Good Luck!

Excellent, thank you! Unfortunately, the Grandee just won't work with us because float was so severe. I'm 5' 10" (average male height) and wife is also of average female height, so I don't know if that's the issue or something else. And the fact that the dealer won't fill an Envoy for us means we can't wet test it, which is a deal breaker, I think. I didn't push hard or tell him he was losing our sale yet, but maybe I'll try that again. his response was that it would cost him $1k to fill the tub because he then has to sell it as a demo. Blah. Also, thank you for the pricing info - that is helpful to know.

one thing about the 900 series is that they're significantly more shallow than the 800 series. whereas the optima and aspen measure in at 37.5 and 41 inches deep, the 900s are strangely only 34. I'm not sure if that matters to you, but I wanted seats that would easily cover my shoulders especially in the winter.
I personally don't have a problem with the looks of the cabinet, and it didn't factor into my purchase much at all. But I appreciate that everyone weighs their decision differently.

on price; I paid $11,400 for the optima in August of '17.

This is awesome info - we will be sure to pay close attention to the depth when we wet test next week (hopefully next week). I know the cabinet seems a bit vain to comment on - in reality, they are (almost) all beautiful. We just have a particular taste, and I don't want to regret a decision this expensive down the road, so I've set the bar pretty high for meeting the criteria. Thank you, also, for the help with pricing!

Spoke with the closest D1 dealer around (1 hour 45 minutes, unfortunately) and started discussing a wet test. Fortunately, the dealer has both the Amore Bay and Sarena Bay available. Unfortunately, the dealer has two locations that are 30 minutes apart, and we have to go to each location for the wet test - ugh.

I will definitely keep this thread updated!
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: Spatech_tuo on December 10, 2018, 04:29:56 pm


Questions:

1. Any chance the salt system in the Hot Spring caused our float issues? Or is the salt level too low to impact buoyancy that much?
It really should just mean that shell layout didn't work for you but another may look the same but work so don't conclude good or bad based on appearance when it comes to floating.

2. Thoughts on Sundance? Sounds like they are a step up from Jacuzzi? Are they reputable/top tier/going to last a long time/good customer service/etc?
Sundance isn't above Jacuzzi though in a certain city the Sundance dealer may overshadow the Jacuzzi dealer and make it a better product in that area.

3. Dealer mentioned that darker shells would show dirt quickly/easily and was recommending a lighter shell. We were nervous about sun glare but don’t want to be fighting with water marks on a darker shell non-stop. Is the dealer right? Or full of it?
The dealer isn't wrong that some colors shows "water spotting" more than others but was this an issue you brought up or did the dealer talk this up that it should be an issue (and maybe he has a color in stock he wants to move lol). Personally I'd get the color I wanted and not worry but to each his/her own!

Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: Spatech_tuo on December 10, 2018, 04:37:14 pm


Excellent, thank you! Unfortunately, the Grandee just won't work with us because float was so severe. I'm 5' 10" (average male height) and wife is also of average female height, so I don't know if that's the issue or something else. And the fact that the dealer won't fill an Envoy for us means we can't wet test it, which is a deal breaker, I think. I didn't push hard or tell him he was losing our sale yet, but maybe I'll try that again. his response was that it would cost him $1k to fill the tub because he then has to sell it as a demo. Blah. Also, thank you for the pricing info - that is helpful to know.


If the dealers are getting new model year spas they will often be replacing their wet floor models but it just depends on when the new model year starts and what spas they will be moving off the floor. It would only cost him $$ if he was going to replace a spa with the same model year spa but when the year changes he has to make a switch anyway at some point (in reality some wait awhile to make the swap). Don't hesitate to bring it up and by all means tell him how the previous wet test performed.
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: Roeboat on December 10, 2018, 08:43:04 pm
I Started out much like you with on-line research, went to the stores and got the brochures and the sales pitch. I really liked the Hot Spring Flair but they didn't have one for me to look at. Went to Sundance, they were just ok. The Artesian Elite Spas were really nice (Dove Canyon) but a little more then I wanted to spend ($13.5k). Went to the Jacuzzi, Marquis, Caldera dealer to check out a Marquis. They were ok. The Jacuzzi's seemed super expensive to me. After wet testing all tubs, I bought a Caldera Makena demo (on the floor about 2 months) for $8K. (on the advice from some nice dealers on this forum) We couldn't be happier, its a great spa. It has a Frog system, ozonator, and circulation pump and I am using bromine for sanitizer.

I recommend shopping around for a deal. My neighbor bought a Sundance Optima (about $12k). His water is cloudy all the time and I went over to test his water. He doesn't know if he has an ozonator or what he is using for sanitizer. All his dealer told him was it is a chlorine free spa. He has changed his water 2 times in the 6 weeks he has had it. He does not have a frog system and the two times I tested his water he was 0 chlorine/bromine. Long story short, make sure you know what your buying and have an idea of what you are going to use to keep the water clear.

Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: Roeboat on December 10, 2018, 08:46:34 pm
And maybe look for a model that has a foot ridge. I gives you a place to use your legs and feet to stay in place.
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: kies1 on December 10, 2018, 09:11:53 pm
We looked at jacuzzi, Arctic spa, sun dance and hotsprings. My wife is very petit. We ended up with a hotsprings flash in their lime light series. It has a foot pod in the Center with 4 jets. My wife is quite comfortable in it. We are using bromine and water quality is no issue. We have been very happy with it. All three other brands were more money but what one ius over was the local hotsprings dealer. Make sure your not only buying a quality tub but you are dealing with a quality dealer. I think the latter of the two is just as important as the hot tub you decide on maybe more.
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: bachman on December 11, 2018, 05:11:02 am
I recommend shopping around for a deal. My neighbor bought a Sundance Optima (about $12k). His water is cloudy all the time and I went over to test his water. He doesn't know if he has an ozonator or what he is using for sanitizer. All his dealer told him was it is a chlorine free spa. He has changed his water 2 times in the 6 weeks he has had it. He does not have a frog system and the two times I tested his water he was 0 chlorine/bromine. Long story short, make sure you know what your buying and have an idea of what you are going to use to keep the water clear.

Good advice and as to the second part....

Oh man, sad to see that but I'm glad you mentioned it.
Others may see that (hopefully rare) example and realize a tub is just a wee bit of homework to the set up and maint… and def NOT the amount of homework or drama of actual learning and shopping a $$$$$ luxury or therapy item as these in the first place. :D

Hopefully the owner gets a handle on it because it's so much easier to learn some basics and get your hands wet than to go thru a refill, they just don't know that yet. I wonder if the neighbor is impatient or the sales staff pre-sold him on a tub that "needs nothing" ? 

Mine has had a few cloudy days too but I'm learning at about 6 weeks in. TH low was it once, now I believe the ph is a tad high. I slacked a little on use and testing so it's likely our use cycle changes. Consistency is likely the key to ease.
I'm also finding the drop/vial test kit and the strips are actually proving to be quite similar and reliable on results. Happy to have that confirmation.

Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: aug0211 on December 17, 2018, 09:25:10 am
It’s proving rather difficult to do wet tests.

Of the tubs on our list, literally only one has been available to do a wet test, and it was the Hot Spring Grandee, but not the NXT line.

Hot Spring dealer wants a $300 refundable deposit to do a wet test in the Hot Spring Envoy and lock in the price before a January price increase. Again, it’s not an NXT line.

Jacuzzi/Sundance dealer said he’d have a Kingston on the floor for us to test last week - planned ahead and got a baby sitter lined up for Saturday. Called in to confirm Saturday AM and they said no water in it, we could “look” at it but that is it. Very irritating. Needless to say, we did not go.

Jacuzzi/Sundance dealer also said no to getting a 575 or 585 available for us to wet test. Also no Claremont. Said the Aspen is close enough to compare.

Thoughts on all of this? Seems crazy to me.

We just want to wet test:
Kingston
Claremont
Envoy NXT
J-575
J-585

Will we end up having to make a decision and “buy blind” without doing a wet test? That seems crazy when you’re spending <$10,000...
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: wmccall on December 17, 2018, 10:40:06 am
Well, we wet tested four tubs today:


Hopefully that was a pleasant time. Let us know which way you go.
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: BullFrogSpasMN on December 17, 2018, 01:08:47 pm
It’s proving rather difficult to do wet tests.

Of the tubs on our list, literally only one has been available to do a wet test, and it was the Hot Spring Grandee, but not the NXT line.

Hot Spring dealer wants a $300 refundable deposit to do a wet test in the Hot Spring Envoy and lock in the price before a January price increase. Again, it’s not an NXT line.

Jacuzzi/Sundance dealer said he’d have a Kingston on the floor for us to test last week - planned ahead and got a baby sitter lined up for Saturday. Called in to confirm Saturday AM and they said no water in it, we could “look” at it but that is it. Very irritating. Needless to say, we did not go.

Jacuzzi/Sundance dealer also said no to getting a 575 or 585 available for us to wet test. Also no Claremont. Said the Aspen is close enough to compare.

Thoughts on all of this? Seems crazy to me.

We just want to wet test:
Kingston
Claremont
Envoy NXT
J-575
J-585

Will we end up having to make a decision and “buy blind” without doing a wet test? That seems crazy when you’re spending <$10,000...

$300 refundable deposit is perhaps the dumbest thing I've ever heard....they should call it the 'We're gonna take $300 from you so if you don't buy this Hot Tub you'll have to call us 15 times and speak with a sales manager to attempt to get that deposit back" Greasy sales tactics imo
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: castletonia on December 17, 2018, 01:10:53 pm
It’s proving rather difficult to do wet tests.

Of the tubs on our list, literally only one has been available to do a wet test, and it was the Hot Spring Grandee, but not the NXT line.

Hot Spring dealer wants a $300 refundable deposit to do a wet test in the Hot Spring Envoy and lock in the price before a January price increase. Again, it’s not an NXT line.

Jacuzzi/Sundance dealer said he’d have a Kingston on the floor for us to test last week - planned ahead and got a baby sitter lined up for Saturday. Called in to confirm Saturday AM and they said no water in it, we could “look” at it but that is it. Very irritating. Needless to say, we did not go.

Jacuzzi/Sundance dealer also said no to getting a 575 or 585 available for us to wet test. Also no Claremont. Said the Aspen is close enough to compare.

Thoughts on all of this? Seems crazy to me.

We just want to wet test:
Kingston
Claremont
Envoy NXT
J-575
J-585

Will we end up having to make a decision and “buy blind” without doing a wet test? That seems crazy when you’re spending <$10,000...

There will be no difference between Envoy and Envoy NXT in how they sit and feel.  The only Model between Hot Spring's Highlife and NXT collection that had different jets or anything was the Jetsetter.

If the dealer is having to fill an Envoy for you, then I could understand a refundable deposit.  I wouldn't charge one, but thats just me.  It reassures them that you are a serious buyer.  I've had a lot of my time wasted by customers who seemed serious and would bail last minute.  I even came in on a day my store was normally closed to accommodate a customer and they never showed.

I can't speak for anything from Jacuzzi/Sundance.  If the models you are interested in are ones the dealers normally display, there is no reason not to allow a wet test and I would pres the issue.  You will have to decide if you want to walk away and find other options or roll the dice on $10k-$15k purchase.  If they are models that they normally do not display, then I really don't think they would just bring one in for you to try and I could understand.
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: d00nut on December 17, 2018, 01:12:38 pm
It’s proving rather difficult to do wet tests.

Of the tubs on our list, literally only one has been available to do a wet test, and it was the Hot Spring Grandee, but not the NXT line.

Hot Spring dealer wants a $300 refundable deposit to do a wet test in the Hot Spring Envoy and lock in the price before a January price increase. Again, it’s not an NXT line.

Jacuzzi/Sundance dealer said he’d have a Kingston on the floor for us to test last week - planned ahead and got a baby sitter lined up for Saturday. Called in to confirm Saturday AM and they said no water in it, we could “look” at it but that is it. Very irritating. Needless to say, we did not go.

Jacuzzi/Sundance dealer also said no to getting a 575 or 585 available for us to wet test. Also no Claremont. Said the Aspen is close enough to compare.

Thoughts on all of this? Seems crazy to me.

We just want to wet test:
Kingston
Claremont
Envoy NXT
J-575
J-585

Will we end up having to make a decision and “buy blind” without doing a wet test? That seems crazy when you’re spending <$10,000...

$300 refundable deposit is perhaps the dumbest thing I've ever heard....they should call it the 'We're gonna take $300 from you so if you don't buy this Hot Tub you'll have to call us 15 times and speak with a sales manager to attempt to get that deposit back" Greasy sales tactics imo

umm... I do that.  I'm not greasy.  I'll fill up any tub for anyone, but if I am moving a specific hot tub into a private soak room, I want a little assurance that they will be coming back.  It's plain jane that it's 100% refundable.
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: BullFrogSpasMN on December 17, 2018, 01:15:27 pm
It’s proving rather difficult to do wet tests.

Of the tubs on our list, literally only one has been available to do a wet test, and it was the Hot Spring Grandee, but not the NXT line.

Hot Spring dealer wants a $300 refundable deposit to do a wet test in the Hot Spring Envoy and lock in the price before a January price increase. Again, it’s not an NXT line.

Jacuzzi/Sundance dealer said he’d have a Kingston on the floor for us to test last week - planned ahead and got a baby sitter lined up for Saturday. Called in to confirm Saturday AM and they said no water in it, we could “look” at it but that is it. Very irritating. Needless to say, we did not go.

Jacuzzi/Sundance dealer also said no to getting a 575 or 585 available for us to wet test. Also no Claremont. Said the Aspen is close enough to compare.

Thoughts on all of this? Seems crazy to me.

We just want to wet test:
Kingston
Claremont
Envoy NXT
J-575
J-585

Will we end up having to make a decision and “buy blind” without doing a wet test? That seems crazy when you’re spending <$10,000...

$300 refundable deposit is perhaps the dumbest thing I've ever heard....they should call it the 'We're gonna take $300 from you so if you don't buy this Hot Tub you'll have to call us 15 times and speak with a sales manager to attempt to get that deposit back" Greasy sales tactics imo

umm... I do that.  I'm not greasy.  I'll fill up any tub for anyone, but if I am moving a specific hot tub into a private soak room, I want a little assurance that they will be coming back.  It's plain jane that it's 100% refundable.

my bad I didn't see in his post where he mentioned they were moving and/or filling it for him, then that makes sense, thought he was talking about an already filled model, I was like WTF
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: d00nut on December 17, 2018, 01:22:29 pm
It’s proving rather difficult to do wet tests.

Of the tubs on our list, literally only one has been available to do a wet test, and it was the Hot Spring Grandee, but not the NXT line.

Hot Spring dealer wants a $300 refundable deposit to do a wet test in the Hot Spring Envoy and lock in the price before a January price increase. Again, it’s not an NXT line.

Jacuzzi/Sundance dealer said he’d have a Kingston on the floor for us to test last week - planned ahead and got a baby sitter lined up for Saturday. Called in to confirm Saturday AM and they said no water in it, we could “look” at it but that is it. Very irritating. Needless to say, we did not go.

Jacuzzi/Sundance dealer also said no to getting a 575 or 585 available for us to wet test. Also no Claremont. Said the Aspen is close enough to compare.

Thoughts on all of this? Seems crazy to me.

We just want to wet test:
Kingston
Claremont
Envoy NXT
J-575
J-585

Will we end up having to make a decision and “buy blind” without doing a wet test? That seems crazy when you’re spending <$10,000...

$300 refundable deposit is perhaps the dumbest thing I've ever heard....they should call it the 'We're gonna take $300 from you so if you don't buy this Hot Tub you'll have to call us 15 times and speak with a sales manager to attempt to get that deposit back" Greasy sales tactics imo

umm... I do that.  I'm not greasy.  I'll fill up any tub for anyone, but if I am moving a specific hot tub into a private soak room, I want a little assurance that they will be coming back.  It's plain jane that it's 100% refundable.

my bad I didn't see in his post where he mentioned they were moving and/or filling it for him, then that makes sense, thought he was talking about an already filled model, I was like WTF
;)

BTW, Highlife is going to be all NXT next year. 
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: aug0211 on December 19, 2018, 11:31:59 am
umm... I do that.  I'm not greasy.  I'll fill up any tub for anyone, but if I am moving a specific hot tub into a private soak room, I want a little assurance that they will be coming back.  It's plain jane that it's 100% refundable.

my bad I didn't see in his post where he mentioned they were moving and/or filling it for him, then that makes sense, thought he was talking about an already filled model, I was like WTF

No request to move any tub. Plenty of other tubs on the floor are filled and running. This tub is also on the floor, it is just not filled and running. We *are* asking that they put water in it and heat it up.

We have no request or need to be in a private soak room. Just asked to be able to sit in the tub with water (like the other tubs on the floor running with water).
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: d00nut on December 19, 2018, 12:05:54 pm
Depending on where it sits, most tubs take 220V.  I only have certain spots where I have wires pre-run to run the hot tubs.  In order to run a different one, I need to drain and move one hot tub, and move the other in it's place.  It's a bit of work, primarily takes time, which is why I ask for a refundable deposit if I do that just to make sure they come back.   ;)
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: aug0211 on December 19, 2018, 02:49:50 pm
Depending on where it sits, most tubs take 220V.  I only have certain spots where I have wires pre-run to run the hot tubs.  In order to run a different one, I need to drain and move one hot tub, and move the other in it's place.  It's a bit of work, primarily takes time, which is why I ask for a refundable deposit if I do that just to make sure they come back.   ;)

Fair enough. What's ironic is that the dealer may actually lose a sale because of demanding a deposit (instead of locking in a sale).

At the end of the day, they're making this process a PITA for me. I'm about to drop well over $10k and I'm already being nickel-and-dimed to put down a deposit to do a "test drive"? How are things going to go when I need chemicals or service?

Plus, it's a refundable deposit - they are just creating more headache for themselves and for me if it doesn't go well. Either I'm a buyer or I'm not. The hassle of fighting with the store owner and involving the BBB over 10 phone calls to get a refundable deposit back is not going to make me give up and change me from a non-buyer to a buyer. The hot tub is either right for me, or it isn't. $300 isn't going to change that.

The dealer can do what they want, of course - it's just unfortunate that I honestly woke up this morning and though "man, this is such a hassle, I don't know if it's worth the effort these guys are making me put into it. Maybe I'll buy another toy instead."

I read early on in my search that dealing with hot tub dealers is like working with the worst of the used car dealers. I'd love to counter that statement, but I've never put down a deposit to test drive a used (or even a new) car. Hoping these guys come around and try to make a sale instead of just fishing for $300. In the end, they'll do much better winning my business with good products and service than by forcing me into a corner with deposits.
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: Hottubguy on December 19, 2018, 04:40:40 pm
Depending on where it sits, most tubs take 220V.  I only have certain spots where I have wires pre-run to run the hot tubs.  In order to run a different one, I need to drain and move one hot tub, and move the other in it's place.  It's a bit of work, primarily takes time, which is why I ask for a refundable deposit if I do that just to make sure they come back.   ;)

Fair enough. What's ironic is that the dealer may actually lose a sale because of demanding a deposit (instead of locking in a sale).

At the end of the day, they're making this process a PITA for me. I'm about to drop well over $10k and I'm already being nickel-and-dimed to put down a deposit to do a "test drive"? How are things going to go when I need chemicals or service?

Plus, it's a refundable deposit - they are just creating more headache for themselves and for me if it doesn't go well. Either I'm a buyer or I'm not. The hassle of fighting with the store owner and involving the BBB over 10 phone calls to get a refundable deposit back is not going to make me give up and change me from a non-buyer to a buyer. The hot tub is either right for me, or it isn't. $300 isn't going to change that.

The dealer can do what they want, of course - it's just unfortunate that I honestly woke up this morning and though "man, this is such a hassle, I don't know if it's worth the effort these guys are making me put into it. Maybe I'll buy another toy instead."

I read early on in my search that dealing with hot tub dealers is like working with the worst of the used car dealers. I'd love to counter that statement, but I've never put down a deposit to test drive a used (or even a new) car. Hoping these guys come around and try to make a sale instead of just fishing for $300. In the end, they'll do much better winning my business with good products and service than by forcing me into a corner with deposits.


I don’t do the hole deposit thing for wet tests but I can see why people would especially when it comes to moving tubs around. A car dealer doesn’t need a refundable deposit because it takes one guy to go grab the car and a bout 2 minutes. A hot tub needs to be drained the one in its place moved out and the one you are trying moved and wired. 3-4 guys and a bit of labor involved. Again I don’t charge to do this but it’s not as easy as it may seem to you. Say the dealer dos all that work and you blow him off?  That has happened to me a few times. The refundable deposit assures that you will come in. Like I said I don’t charge any deposits for this but understand why a dealer would. If the dealer has generally good reviews then the $300 going back to you if a sale doesn’t happen will happen. Not worth a bad review over something like that. If he has poor reviews then you may have a harder time getting it back
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: d00nut on December 19, 2018, 05:37:36 pm
If it's refundable, I don't see the problem.  Somewhat like a car dealership holding the keys for your current vehicle while you test drive the other one?  Except it takes all day for you to heat a different hot tub in my business.

Can you give them some kind of other assurance that would make you and them more comfortable? 

Remember, they are probably only doing it, or have that policy, because they have been stood-up before.  If they do it, and you don't show up, they did 2 hours at minimum, of work for nothing.  Which is why I bring up the question above. 

Triple butt promise that you will come in ;) ? 
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: swilly1000 on December 20, 2018, 07:56:49 am
Echo the above few posts.  People can be rude and selfish and just not show up. 

Dealer is justifiably jaded by numerous times getting stiffed.

I'm guessing that the decision to require a deposit wasn't made lightly.
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: silversun on December 20, 2018, 07:57:06 am
This risk feels inherent to your industry, and should be factored into your calculations without having to pass this on to the consumer, because it absolutely erodes any trust or goodwill, and sets off alarm bells in the customer.

This happened to me during my hot tub purchase experience and I instantly crossed off the dealer from the list.


Don't listen if you think you have it figured out, but consumers are giving you valuable feedback.
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: aug0211 on December 20, 2018, 10:01:27 am
This risk feels inherent to your industry, and should be factored into your calculations without having to pass this on to the consumer, because it absolutely erodes any trust or goodwill, and sets off alarm bells in the customer.

This happened to me during my hot tub purchase experience and I instantly crossed off the dealer from the list.


Don't listen if you think you have it figured out, but consumers are giving you valuable feedback.

QFT.

Some thoughts from a buyer - dealers, please don't get all in a tizzy over this. I may be right, I may be wrong, you may agree, you may not. My feedback is given as a general reflection as a consumer making a purchase in the lux industry - think high end cars, watches, jewelry, hot tubs, vacations, etc.

Dealers can whine all day about having to do work. I also go to work and do work all day as well. This is why we call it "work." Sometimes, the work I do ends up being for nothing and other times it ends up being valuable. It's frustrating when my efforts are for naught - but that's part of work. That's how life goes, and that's how business is, as well. At a minimum, I hope dealers are doing their best to make informed decisions as to which buyers are serious and which are not, before they start nickel-and-diming over wet tests and the like (how much time am I investing with you? What is my list of comparable products I am shopping? Are the questions I am asking total n00b questions, or are they questions that demonstrate to you that I have invested my time to do research? And, sure, profile me if you want - it's a dangerous game to play, but we all know it happens in sales... what car did I drive up in? What's my wife's ring look like? What clothes are we wearing? Do you think we have the money to spend?).

Surely, this is understood in sales. You are literally trying to convince people to buy your product. By definition, there is not a guaranteed payout in your efforts. Thus, commission. Generally speaking, the better service you can give your customers, the better their experience will be. You need to have a good product and a competitive price, but do not forget that when you are dealing in the lux industries, experience is paramount. Don't nickel-and-dime your customers. We're dropping over $10k on big bowls to hold and heat water. We're not going to be impressed by tactics that are reminiscent of Joe's Used Car Lot. You will lose many good customers (probably the customers you actually DO want, who have the money to spend are are accustomed to being doted on when buying lux items).

If you are being burned by customers, stop to consider the *type* of customer you are attracting, and also the type of customer you are *repelling* (see silversun's post above as an example). Hint: people spending $10-$15k on a hot tub are the people driving the $50k+ vehicles, not the $2k beaters from Joe's lot. Know your market, and know your customer. Corporate HQs for the big brands get this: look at the advertising pamphlets they put out - every picture they have is in a beautiful ~$1 MM+ setting. One particular brand's pamphlet and promotional videos showcase yachts in the backdrop. Again, don't nickel-and-dime these customers, if they are who you are going after (and they are - just reference the marketing). If you want to be a pop-up traveling sales tent, by all means, do that - and I recommend employing these sorts of tactics. However, if you want to attract qualified, high-end buyers - drop the games and start focusing on your customer's experience.

As anecdotal evidence to how this refundable deposit is hurting you as dealers (beyond silversun's post above), my wife and I are going to do a wet test at dealer A this weekend, who does not require a refundable deposit. Dealer B has now agreed NOT to require a deposit, but since he introduced this back-and-forth over the deposit, he is 1 week behind his competition. If the wet test this weekend goes well with dealer A, there is a chance we will tell dealer B to stop his efforts on the wet test and not even get in his tub. Had he just worked on getting things set up (the way dealer A did), we would be sitting in both tubs this weekend and he would have a shot no matter what. It may still work out for dealer B, but now there's a chance that we don't even sit in his tub/give it a shot.

We were also about to buy a bit of suppliers from dealer B (for my father's tub) as gift, but it's we're turned off enough with this dealer now (due to the $300 deposit) that we may just find another gift for my father.

Side note - we did email dealer B back yesterday to assure him that we are "serious buyers," and offered to donate some of our time for a brief phone call with his owner to answer any questions he has (supposedly he needed the $300 to convince his owner that we are serious). Dealer B has now agreed to drop the $300 refundable deposit.

And yes, there is absolutely a chance that both dealer A and dealer B get their tubs filled, we wet test, and decide that neither tub is right for us. This is what we call "the cost of doing business." Their best chance at landing a sale is to have a wide assortment of quality products at competitive prices, and to create a positive experience through good service.

If you want guaranteed sales, you want to be in commodities, not luxury sales.
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: Sam on December 20, 2018, 11:57:01 am
I agree with aug0211 and would never dream of asking for a deposit for a wet test.  In a way, I'm sort of glad other dealers do this crap.  It makes it much easier for me.  It's things like this make the difference for a customer when you are competing against other good brands.  It's not hard to provide an awesome sales experience if you just put a little effort in and quit fretting over whether or not someone is gonna flake on you or buy somewhere else.  It happens.  But if I do the right things all of the time, I end up with way more wins than losses. 
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: Michael Russell on December 20, 2018, 12:42:59 pm
another user...

I did 3 wet tests before buying. I did get a "thats a lot of prep work on our part, are you sure that is the tub you want to try" but no one asked for a deposit...

Refundable or not. I would walk at the question being asked.... If you need $300 in pocket to assure I come back then you are..

- Really not confident in your product and the fact that I would want to come back to see it, rather then have to come back to get my money
- Really setting poor expectations of business to come and what to expect when I need other work, service and chemicals
- Not understanding your customers demographics

Sure you will get stiffed once and awhile.. So you have another tub setup to demo until the next guy comes in.. I just cannot see any justification for this.

Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: castletonia on December 20, 2018, 02:10:41 pm
Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

Where I work, we don't charge deposits for wet tests, but are considering it.  For reference, we only sell hot tubs and build inground pools.  I had a customer and his wife in on 3 different occasions looking at a Caldera Cantabria and Hot Spring Envoy NXT (expensive spas).  They were also looking at a Sundance Aspen and some big Maax Spa.  I already had the Cantabria filled but had to drain and move a Grandee NXT in order to fill up the Envoy NXT, which we had to move.  Altogether, about 2 hours of work and then I had to have the Envoy heat up and make sure water chemistry was right.  Well, something came up and they couldn't make it in on the Saturday to wet test.  In good faith, I offered to come in on a Sunday, which we are closed on, and accommodate them.  Guess what, they never showed and ducked my calls for the next few days only to leave a message on the store answering machine after hours saying they decided to buy the Sundance.

Call it my job or whatever you want, but I did a lot of work, made the extra effort only to get stood up.  If that is not reason enough to charge a refundable deposit, I don't know what is.  I try to see the good in people and generally speaking I know when a customer is not someone I care to do business with, but things happen.  If anything remotely like this happens to me again, I will start charging a refundable deposit.

If you choose to eliminate a dealer and brand because of their practice, that is your right to do so.  If it is a reputable dealer, then there will be no issue getting that refund if it doesn't work out.  If its a shady dealer, its in your best interest to look elsewhere regardless.  Rules, warnings, regulations, policies, etc are in place for a reason.  Most people are trustworthy but the few that are not ruin it for everyone else.
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: BullFrogSpasMN on December 20, 2018, 02:32:46 pm
This risk feels inherent to your industry, and should be factored into your calculations without having to pass this on to the consumer, because it absolutely erodes any trust or goodwill, and sets off alarm bells in the customer.

This happened to me during my hot tub purchase experience and I instantly crossed off the dealer from the list.


Don't listen if you think you have it figured out, but consumers are giving you valuable feedback.


this is what it comes down to for me...I'd rather be the guy/I am the guy saying 'No problem, give me 48 hours and it'll be ready to test" rather than "Well Ma'am I'll need to collect your credit card number before we discuss this any further" I have 5 dealers within 10 miles of me and bills to pay, so I love appearing much more "helpful" than the next guy down the road...just my opinion, others may vary.  With that said I have a huge showroom with 4 or 5 various 50 or 60 amp hookups, a forklift than can be driven onto the showroom floor, etc so in other words I can 'make it happen' fairly quickly and easily, some dealers don't have that luxury so that needs to be taken into account.
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: Roeboat on December 20, 2018, 03:20:28 pm
I don't see a problem leaving a check that doesn't get cashed if I come back.
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: Piper Matt on December 20, 2018, 04:04:30 pm
aug0211: Good luck with your exciting search!  I tried several of these same tubs and quickly settled on Sundance as my favorite brand with Hot Springs a close second.  It sounds like you have the opportunity to wet test an Aspen.  Jump on that and give it some serious consideration. 

Sundance's powerful jets drew me to the brand generally.  With the additional third pump on the Aspen, I can divert three of the four corner seats to full, dedicated power.  I really like this feature.  In the Optima, it looks like you can only get two of the four corner seats on full blast.  Plus, the Aspen's additional pump lets me run the foot dome jets while getting full power in the other seats. 

Oh, and there are also two "whirlpool jets" in the Aspen that I didn't think I would use all that much.  However, they are great for relieving sore muscles with intense and focused therapy.  Sometimes you have to contort yourself to hit the muscles that need attention, but I continue to be surprised at how many different ways you can sit comfortably in this tub and get a different hydrotherapy experience.  This might be something to consider for both your daughter and yourself. 

Size-wise, we discovered that you can really stretch out comfortably with another person or two in the tub without bumping feet, which is a nice feature.  It's usually just one or two of us in the tub, but the extra size seems to make a difference.  And the "love seat" bench is surprisingly comfortable.  You can even scoot forward and rest your head on a little groove on the lip of the tub. 

When wet testing the Optima, experiment with the diverter knobs to get a sense of the tub's versatility.  Ditto for the Aspen. 

As silversun pointed out, the Kingston and Claremont are much more shallow than their 880 series cousins.  My local dealer has a Kingston on the floor right now.  The seats don't look nearly as molded as they do in the 880 series models.  My dealer said the 980s are more of an entertainment tub than a solitary soaking/hydrotherapy tub. 

It sounds like you're a serious buyer and are choosing a model.  I don't understand why the dealer wouldn't be more accommodating. 

Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: Michael Russell on December 20, 2018, 04:52:45 pm
Some people are ignorant.. In a few circumstances it may save you some time and effort to charge a deposit, but in reality from my perspective it may also cost you some sales.

I buy and sell a lot of stuff on Kijiji (we use it over craigslist here in much of Canada). The number of times I have been stood up, or showed up to find the item gone or not at all as described is crazy. As I say people are ignorant. Move on and get the next sale...

Mike

Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

Where I work, we don't charge deposits for wet tests, but are considering it.  For reference, we only sell hot tubs and build inground pools.  I had a customer and his wife in on 3 different occasions looking at a Caldera Cantabria and Hot Spring Envoy NXT (expensive spas).  They were also looking at a Sundance Aspen and some big Maax Spa.  I already had the Cantabria filled but had to drain and move a Grandee NXT in order to fill up the Envoy NXT, which we had to move.  Altogether, about 2 hours of work and then I had to have the Envoy heat up and make sure water chemistry was right.  Well, something came up and they couldn't make it in on the Saturday to wet test.  In good faith, I offered to come in on a Sunday, which we are closed on, and accommodate them.  Guess what, they never showed and ducked my calls for the next few days only to leave a message on the store answering machine after hours saying they decided to buy the Sundance.

Call it my job or whatever you want, but I did a lot of work, made the extra effort only to get stood up.  If that is not reason enough to charge a refundable deposit, I don't know what is.  I try to see the good in people and generally speaking I know when a customer is not someone I care to do business with, but things happen.  If anything remotely like this happens to me again, I will start charging a refundable deposit.

If you choose to eliminate a dealer and brand because of their practice, that is your right to do so.  If it is a reputable dealer, then there will be no issue getting that refund if it doesn't work out.  If its a shady dealer, its in your best interest to look elsewhere regardless.  Rules, warnings, regulations, policies, etc are in place for a reason.  Most people are trustworthy but the few that are not ruin it for everyone else.
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: Spatech_tuo on December 20, 2018, 07:52:26 pm


If you are being burned by customers, stop to consider the *type* of customer you are attracting, and also the type of customer you are *repelling* (see silversun's post above as an example). Hint: people spending $10-$15k on a hot tub are the people driving the $50k+ vehicles, not the $2k beaters from Joe's lot. Know your market, and know your customer.


There is no outward difference between the two. The person who sets up a wet test but then blows it off without warning drives the same type car, dresses the same, talks the same ... as the customer who is respectful.
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: aug0211 on December 20, 2018, 09:26:49 pm
aug0211: Good luck with your exciting search!  I tried several of these same tubs and quickly settled on Sundance as my favorite brand with Hot Springs a close second.  It sounds like you have the opportunity to wet test an Aspen.  Jump on that and give it some serious consideration. 

Sundance's powerful jets drew me to the brand generally.  With the additional third pump on the Aspen, I can divert three of the four corner seats to full, dedicated power.  I really like this feature.  In the Optima, it looks like you can only get two of the four corner seats on full blast.  Plus, the Aspen's additional pump lets me run the foot dome jets while getting full power in the other seats. 

Oh, and there are also two "whirlpool jets" in the Aspen that I didn't think I would use all that much.  However, they are great for relieving sore muscles with intense and focused therapy.  Sometimes you have to contort yourself to hit the muscles that need attention, but I continue to be surprised at how many different ways you can sit comfortably in this tub and get a different hydrotherapy experience.  This might be something to consider for both your daughter and yourself. 

Size-wise, we discovered that you can really stretch out comfortably with another person or two in the tub without bumping feet, which is a nice feature.  It's usually just one or two of us in the tub, but the extra size seems to make a difference.  And the "love seat" bench is surprisingly comfortable.  You can even scoot forward and rest your head on a little groove on the lip of the tub. 

When wet testing the Optima, experiment with the diverter knobs to get a sense of the tub's versatility.  Ditto for the Aspen. 

As silversun pointed out, the Kingston and Claremont are much more shallow than their 880 series cousins.  My local dealer has a Kingston on the floor right now.  The seats don't look nearly as molded as they do in the 880 series models.  My dealer said the 980s are more of an entertainment tub than a solitary soaking/hydrotherapy tub. 

It sounds like you're a serious buyer and are choosing a model.  I don't understand why the dealer wouldn't be more accommodating.

Great feedback! Very insightful and many specifics in there to pay attention to. Thank you!
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: aug0211 on December 20, 2018, 09:29:09 pm


If you are being burned by customers, stop to consider the *type* of customer you are attracting, and also the type of customer you are *repelling* (see silversun's post above as an example). Hint: people spending $10-$15k on a hot tub are the people driving the $50k+ vehicles, not the $2k beaters from Joe's lot. Know your market, and know your customer.


There is no outward difference between the two. The person who sets up a wet test but then blows it off without warning drives the same type car, dresses the same, talks the same ... as the customer who is respectful.

Fair enough! Impossible for me to say as I’m just a consumer so I don’t get to see the other end of it regularly.

I still view it as the cost of doing business and preserving a good reputation as a high end dealer in a luxury market. That said, if the goal is to be known as a nickel-and-dime dealer, charge for everything - $10 cover to talk to a salesman, $50 for a dry test, $300 for wet test, whatever works :)
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: swilly1000 on December 21, 2018, 05:34:52 am
Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

Where I work, we don't charge deposits for wet tests, but are considering it.  For reference, we only sell hot tubs and build inground pools.  I had a customer and his wife in on 3 different occasions looking at a Caldera Cantabria and Hot Spring Envoy NXT (expensive spas).  They were also looking at a Sundance Aspen and some big Maax Spa.  I already had the Cantabria filled but had to drain and move a Grandee NXT in order to fill up the Envoy NXT, which we had to move.  Altogether, about 2 hours of work and then I had to have the Envoy heat up and make sure water chemistry was right.  Well, something came up and they couldn't make it in on the Saturday to wet test.  In good faith, I offered to come in on a Sunday, which we are closed on, and accommodate them.  Guess what, they never showed and ducked my calls for the next few days only to leave a message on the store answering machine after hours saying they decided to buy the Sundance.

Call it my job or whatever you want, but I did a lot of work, made the extra effort only to get stood up.  If that is not reason enough to charge a refundable deposit, I don't know what is.  I try to see the good in people and generally speaking I know when a customer is not someone I care to do business with, but things happen.  If anything remotely like this happens to me again, I will start charging a refundable deposit.

If you choose to eliminate a dealer and brand because of their practice, that is your right to do so.  If it is a reputable dealer, then there will be no issue getting that refund if it doesn't work out.  If its a shady dealer, its in your best interest to look elsewhere regardless.  Rules, warnings, regulations, policies, etc are in place for a reason.  Most people are trustworthy but the few that are not ruin it for everyone else.

As aug0211 says, "That's why they call it work". Nothing you said here responds effectively to his (and Silversun's, and Michael Russell's) very thorough and insightful posts above.  Rather, this post reinforces what they say above and exemplifies the kind of thinking they are advising we steer clear of.  Wow.
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: castletonia on December 21, 2018, 07:41:26 am
Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

Where I work, we don't charge deposits for wet tests, but are considering it.  For reference, we only sell hot tubs and build inground pools.  I had a customer and his wife in on 3 different occasions looking at a Caldera Cantabria and Hot Spring Envoy NXT (expensive spas).  They were also looking at a Sundance Aspen and some big Maax Spa.  I already had the Cantabria filled but had to drain and move a Grandee NXT in order to fill up the Envoy NXT, which we had to move.  Altogether, about 2 hours of work and then I had to have the Envoy heat up and make sure water chemistry was right.  Well, something came up and they couldn't make it in on the Saturday to wet test.  In good faith, I offered to come in on a Sunday, which we are closed on, and accommodate them.  Guess what, they never showed and ducked my calls for the next few days only to leave a message on the store answering machine after hours saying they decided to buy the Sundance.

Call it my job or whatever you want, but I did a lot of work, made the extra effort only to get stood up.  If that is not reason enough to charge a refundable deposit, I don't know what is.  I try to see the good in people and generally speaking I know when a customer is not someone I care to do business with, but things happen.  If anything remotely like this happens to me again, I will start charging a refundable deposit.

If you choose to eliminate a dealer and brand because of their practice, that is your right to do so.  If it is a reputable dealer, then there will be no issue getting that refund if it doesn't work out.  If its a shady dealer, its in your best interest to look elsewhere regardless.  Rules, warnings, regulations, policies, etc are in place for a reason.  Most people are trustworthy but the few that are not ruin it for everyone else.

As aug0211 says, "That's why they call it work". Nothing you said here responds effectively to his (and Silversun's, and Michael Russell's) very thorough and insightful posts above.  Rather, this post reinforces what they say above and exemplifies the kind of thinking they are advising we steer clear of.  Wow.

Am I taking your response out of context or are you saying I should really get over it and it’s no big deal that I went above and beyond for a potential customer and got stood up?  If so, tell me this; put yourself in my shoes or any other dealer, how many times can you be stood up before you implement a refundable deposit policy or some kind of reassurance? 

Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: silversun on December 21, 2018, 08:05:43 am
Maybe you should ask yourself why they're not coming back to your store?

Customers don't care how many times you've been burned. We don't want to be penalized for it. We're not interested in hearing complaints about how hard it is to fill up a tub or move it. We'll just go somewhere else. Somewhere that makes it easy for us.

When i bought from my dealer they had 5 of their most popular models on the floor filled with water and ready for customers. I didn't have to arrange anything. They made it easy for me.

The problem is you're only asking consumers to see it from your POV, and not looking at it from customers.
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: bachman on December 21, 2018, 08:11:01 am
Maybe it's case by case with the situation.
I have no shopping experience at all for a hot tub as ours was gifted but I'm an information fiend when it comes to research and big ticket considerations. Were I to zero in on a few to wet test, very little would get in my way of setting it up if I were that close to a decision on a tub, be it $2999 or $18,000. If the store or staff gave me a chilled feeling about working with them, I'd move on but I think they could convey the issue about a 'good faith' deposit that wouldn't send me running. It's my time I'm investing and I want to keep moving forward.

I've been the customer and on the sales side of things enough to know that YES, there are some sleazy, un-professionals in business and just one or two gets the word or rep spread like wild fire. Yet dozens of customers a day coming in or hundreds a month mean any store or dealer has many, many chances upon the customers that can be as much an *sswipe as anyone in the business and no doubt those solid dealers or stores have suffered the downsides of those occasions too. They have the same right in my mind to let people walk or shop elsewhere if they decide they want to stick to a policy that is working for them. I understand some reading between the lines if it looks like the place is barely hanging on or going out of business ... but I don't see it as right and wrong, just how they train their staff to explain the situation. IOW, don't be offended by the butthead that was in that store a week ago promising they'd be in for a special set up then burned them and caused them to consider a better way of fending that off. IF offended, by all means take the extra time and extra effort to start over somewhere else.  ;)
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: castletonia on December 21, 2018, 08:24:33 am
Maybe you should ask yourself why they're not coming back to your store?

Customers don't care how many times you've been burned. We don't want to be penalized for it. We're not interested in hearing complaints about how hard it is to fill up a tub or move it. We'll just go somewhere else. Somewhere that makes it easy for us.

When i bought from my dealer they had 5 of their most popular models on the floor filled with water and ready for customers. I didn't have to arrange anything. They made it easy for me.

The problem is you're only asking consumers to see it from your POV, and not looking at it from customers.

In my opinion, your last sentence is the basis of the whole discussion.  You say I need to see it from your POV, but you also need to see if from my POV.  I bend over backwards for my customers, get great reviews/respect and have a good closing ratio.  Yes, some of this is because I represent premium brands, but it’s also due to how I treat my customers. 

There is always a middle ground if both parties want there to be.  That is why I don’t yet request deposits.  If the OP and the dealer cannot agree on a compromise to the deposit situation, then it falls in both of them regardless of how good eaches intentions are.
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: aug0211 on December 21, 2018, 11:00:04 am
Maybe you should ask yourself why they're not coming back to your store?

Customers don't care how many times you've been burned. We don't want to be penalized for it. We're not interested in hearing complaints about how hard it is to fill up a tub or move it. We'll just go somewhere else. Somewhere that makes it easy for us.

When i bought from my dealer they had 5 of their most popular models on the floor filled with water and ready for customers. I didn't have to arrange anything. They made it easy for me.

The problem is you're only asking consumers to see it from your POV, and not looking at it from customers.

In my opinion, your last sentence is the basis of the whole discussion.  You say I need to see it from your POV, but you also need to see if from my POV.  I bend over backwards for my customers, get great reviews/respect and have a good closing ratio.  Yes, some of this is because I represent premium brands, but it’s also due to how I treat my customers. 

There is always a middle ground if both parties want there to be.  That is why I don’t yet request deposits.  If the OP and the dealer cannot agree on a compromise to the deposit situation, then it falls in both of them regardless of how good eaches intentions are.

I think this is the crux of the discussion.

You’re selling me something. I’m not selling you anything. You need to see it from my POV. You’re fighting for my hard earned money, not the other way around.

The customer really doesn’t care if the dealer had a rough night last night, got burned by another customer yesterday, or didn’t get his morning coffee today. I also don’t care if it’s “work” for you to.......... come to your place of business, where you get paid, and fulfill customer requests, in hopes of earning my business. I’m fact, that is the expectation. Guess what - that’s what we also all do for a living, when we go to our places of work.

You are in sales. Your job is to make every customer feel like your only customer. Stop projecting your problems with other customers into us.

This is not a volume sales commodity industry. You’re in high-end luxury sales. Service and customer experience matter. What happened to you a month ago, or last week, or even 2 hours ago with another customer is 100% irrelevant to me when I walk through your door.
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: aug0211 on December 21, 2018, 11:02:40 am
One other thing to add - I’m hoping these posts aren’t offending you dealers. I’m not out to pick a fight. Really just trying to let you know where your potential customers are coming from.

As much as this forum is a resource for customers, we’d all be kidding ourselves if we didn’t acknowledge that the dealers are learning tons about the market and the potential customers out there.

Just trying to share my experience with the dealers at large for their own consideration. I was surprised to see so many other customers chime in so quickly - maybe this is not just an isolated opinion. Who knows, maybe you could end up making more money off of this feedback.
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: aug0211 on December 21, 2018, 11:10:12 am
I think this is the crux of the discussion.

You’re selling me something. I’m not selling you anything. You need to see it from my POV. You’re fighting for my hard earned money, not the other way around.

The customer really doesn’t care if the dealer had a rough night last night, got burned by another customer yesterday, or didn’t get his morning coffee

...

You are in sales. Your job is to make every customer feel like your only customer. Stop projecting your problems with other customers into us.

This is not a volume sales commodity industry. You’re in high-end luxury sales. Service and customer experience matter. What happened to you a month ago, or last week, or even 2 hours ago with another customer is 100% irrelevant to me when I walk through your door.

Bolded above - side note: these are literally example opportunities for a dealer to capitalize on with a customer. You SHOULD care if I had a rough night, a bad experience with another dealer, or didn’t get my morning coffee.

Play up hydrotherapy to help relieve tension from my stress from last night. “Wouldn’t this be a great tool to have available to you every day going forward, any time you have a stressful night?Where do you carry your stress? Here’s my favorite seat in this tub for stress in that area.”

Listen to what I didn’t like about the other dealer. Play up the opposite, as a strength of yours. “I completely understand where you’re coming from. I see it differently from that dealer, which is why we always _______.”

One dealer I’ve been in  has a Keurig machine with k-cups. So does our BMW dealer. If you find out that I’m dragging because I didn’t get my morning coffee - perfect! “Can I get you a cup now? I know how my days go when I don’t get that morning coffee - here are a few k-cup options I have available. They’re here for you to you any time you’re in, whether you’re shopping for a tub or if you’re in totall chemicals. Feel free to help yourself, or let me know what you’d liked and I’m happy to take care of it for you.”
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: castletonia on December 21, 2018, 01:20:08 pm
I don't disagree with your point of view, its valid.  All I'm trying to say is that if a dealer has the policy in place for a refundable deposit, they probably have their reasons.  If they present it in a professional, respectful manner, then I don't see it as an issue.  Like I said before, everything is negotiable and there has to be compromise regarding this. 

If the dealer is a tool though, its probably in everyone's best interest to move on to the next guy.

But let me ask you this, because I'm honestly curious on the response.  Is that dealer asking for a refundable deposit any different than say a trampoline park making you sign a waiver of liability?  The both exist for a reason.
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: Spatech_tuo on December 21, 2018, 01:57:26 pm
I don't disagree with your point of view, its valid.  All I'm trying to say is that if a dealer has the policy in place for a refundable deposit, they probably have their reasons.  If they present it in a professional, respectful manner, then I don't see it as an issue.  Like I said before, everything is negotiable and there has to be compromise regarding this. 

If the dealer is a tool though, its probably in everyone's best interest to move on to the next guy.

But let me ask you this, because I'm honestly curious on the response.  Is that dealer asking for a refundable deposit any different than say a trampoline park making you sign a waiver of liability?  The both exist for a reason.

If the dealer was asking for a down payment that was not refundable I'm sure we would all consider that over the top and not the way to run a business.

If the dealer asks for a fully refundable deposit (on a spa that has to be specifically set up to test) where all you have to do is show up and take the wet test that you asked for then that's where many pros here understand that type of policy.
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: aug0211 on December 21, 2018, 05:39:12 pm
I don't disagree with your point of view, its valid.  All I'm trying to say is that if a dealer has the policy in place for a refundable deposit, they probably have their reasons.  If they present it in a professional, respectful manner, then I don't see it as an issue.  Like I said before, everything is negotiable and there has to be compromise regarding this. 

If the dealer is a tool though, its probably in everyone's best interest to move on to the next guy.

But let me ask you this, because I'm honestly curious on the response.  Is that dealer asking for a refundable deposit any different than say a trampoline park making you sign a waiver of liability?  The both exist for a reason.

Yes, they’re different. One asks me to release them of liability. The other asks for financial collateral.

If the hot tub dealer wants me to sign a waiver releasing them from responsibility for any illness, injury, or other harm caused from the wet test, no problem. That would be the appropriate comparison to the trampoline park waiver.

If a trampoline park asked for a refundable $300 deposit to use the trampolines I’d look at them like they’re crazy. So, you’re right - great point :) A $300 refundable deposit is a bizarre request both for a trampoline park, and for a hot tub wet test.
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: bachman on December 21, 2018, 05:45:46 pm
-
Sharing customer experiences or offering input can be helpful and I'm certain many business of all sorts cherish the gems of information out there if it's new, unique or stands out in some way. I'd be guessing but in the hot tub biz, the established dealers have been around or 'in the family' a long time and have had years of learning the ropes, thousands of customer opportunities and experience's, made grandiose errors in judgement, had smashing successes and have weeded out a few Turd employees (or customers)  over the years.
When the unpleasant experiences, bad behavior or crappy policies and customer treatment tilt their scale, they likely do see it and respond accordingly or --  suffer the consequence's.

With some industry insights and responses to customer concerns or complaints here or on other forums,  'we' get the other side of it or at least they can explain their rationale of why and how they do things. Because of this, I don't see many of those responses as projecting customer problems but more of an "Asked and answered" format. Sometimes there is a good question met with an equally good answer , don't take it personally and Yes, We all vote with our wallet.  ;)
If I were in the business, I'm not sure exactly how I'd handle the "Be Backs" involving a special appointment and some extra leg work or time involved in set up. I'd probably tell them to leave their kids cell phone … lol-  That'll DO IT !!  BTW, ask anyone in the car biz what a "be back" is and you'll either get a good smile and laugh returned or an angry scrunched up face - LOL . A hand full of be-backs would have made a banner year in sales or income.

I don't think your opinion is isolated, but if not over-represented, this point you take issue with will melt away soon or be few and far between. Nobody wants to drive away customers and if the numbers prove to be important, business practices and policy has a way of self-correction.
As to this;
"What happened to you a month ago, or last week, or even 2 hours ago with another customer is 100% irrelevant to me when I walk through your door."
I see it this way; The expertise in dealing with customers, developing, learning and adapting business strategy and policy is every bit relevant. It's already happened before you walked in the door. I do get your meaning if it's a jaded attitude toward people but 'policy' doesn't strike me as attitude.

Old and grouchy-
I'm not altogether happy with a dealer I got my last car at. They had what I wanted and few others could get it. My purchases for the past 6 cars or so have been with a different dealer. ,
It's a minor glitch but I'm old and grouchy so I'll ask if I can get the car done (Lube oil filter change) while I wait since my other dealer does that. With the newer car, they want it for the day or most of the day. Not sure what they will say about policy or whatever but I'll ask that I get in a out some morning at some future appt time. If they can't or won't comply, I'll let them know the service side of the business goes away and I'll go to my other dealer who meets my concerns and schedule. Dealers, stores, businesses want to know how they can earn/keep your business or what sets them apart from the others. They'll get a clear answer.
At xyz dealership, I'm in the door at 7am and out in :45 min to an hour. I suppose a free loaner would work though.  I didn't buy that car to be without it an entire day just to convenience the dealer LOF schedule when  other dealers set appointments and get you in and out within reasonable time frames.
Funny thing is; When I asked price, I told them they had one shot to steal business from the other place and they got that right.


Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: Hottubguy on December 21, 2018, 07:53:05 pm
I don't disagree with your point of view, its valid.  All I'm trying to say is that if a dealer has the policy in place for a refundable deposit, they probably have their reasons.  If they present it in a professional, respectful manner, then I don't see it as an issue.  Like I said before, everything is negotiable and there has to be compromise regarding this. 

If the dealer is a tool though, its probably in everyone's best interest to move on to the next guy.

But let me ask you this, because I'm honestly curious on the response.  Is that dealer asking for a refundable deposit any different than say a trampoline park making you sign a waiver of liability?  The both exist for a reason.

Yes, they’re different. One asks me to release them of liability. The other asks for financial collateral.

If the hot tub dealer wants me to sign a waiver releasing them from responsibility for any illness, injury, or other harm caused from the wet test, no problem. That would be the appropriate comparison to the trampoline park waiver.

If a trampoline park asked for a refundable $300 deposit to use the trampolines I’d look at them like they’re crazy. So, you’re right - great point :) A $300 refundable deposit is a bizarre request both for a trampoline park, and for a hot tub wet test.


So I will start by again saying I don’t ask for deposits for wet testing. I’ve been stood up enough times where it’s Aggravating but it is what it is.

Do you travel much?  Do you get upset when a hotel asks for a deposit on the room you are renting that’s refundable upon exit?  They are protecting there property and in the other case they are protecting against there time being wasted.
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: aug0211 on December 21, 2018, 09:19:56 pm
I don't disagree with your point of view, its valid.  All I'm trying to say is that if a dealer has the policy in place for a refundable deposit, they probably have their reasons.  If they present it in a professional, respectful manner, then I don't see it as an issue.  Like I said before, everything is negotiable and there has to be compromise regarding this. 

If the dealer is a tool though, its probably in everyone's best interest to move on to the next guy.

But let me ask you this, because I'm honestly curious on the response.  Is that dealer asking for a refundable deposit any different than say a trampoline park making you sign a waiver of liability?  The both exist for a reason.

Yes, they’re different. One asks me to release them of liability. The other asks for financial collateral.

If the hot tub dealer wants me to sign a waiver releasing them from responsibility for any illness, injury, or other harm caused from the wet test, no problem. That would be the appropriate comparison to the trampoline park waiver.

If a trampoline park asked for a refundable $300 deposit to use the trampolines I’d look at them like they’re crazy. So, you’re right - great point :) A $300 refundable deposit is a bizarre request both for a trampoline park, and for a hot tub wet test.


So I will start by again saying I don’t ask for deposits for wet testing. I’ve been stood up enough times where it’s Aggravating but it is what it is.

Do you travel much?  Do you get upset when a hotel asks for a deposit on the room you are renting that’s refundable upon exit?  They are protecting there property and in the other case they are protecting against there time being wasted.

Yes, hotels put a hold on your card. First, to make sure your card is good, and also to protect against theft (TVs, towels, pillows, fridges) and/or damage to their goods (carpets, lights, walls).

If I damage your tub in the 30 minutes I’m in it with you in the shop there, by all means, hold me accountable.

If you spot me hauling the tub out strapped to my back, I suggest you let me have the thing ;D

We could go all day searching for analogies that make it ok. I think my point was delivered and received as much as it will be. I posted consumer feedback, and was surprised to see how many other consumers chimed in. Looks like multiple dealers are losing sales because of this tactic. I do understand why some dealers do it. It’s ultimately up to the dealer. If you want the pop-up tent wacky waving inflatable arm tube man vibe, take a deposit. If you’re going for the classier approach, skip this tactic and focus on service :) How many sales have you lost from being inconvenienced and even stood up? How many sales have you lost from people being turned off by this tactic?

Also, I have to admit I sound like a jerk there - lol. Sorry about that, truly not trying to be a jerk. You guys obviously do this for a reason. I was somewhat surprised to see it and definitely turned off as a buyer.
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: Hottubguy on December 21, 2018, 09:27:34 pm
So then in a hot tub dealers case the deposit is for lost time. Time=money. I’ve been stood up opening my store when it’s off hours. Don’t you think I would rather be spending my time with my family or actually enjoying a day off. Just trying to give you a business owners perspective. Again I don’t ask for a deposit. I would rather just take the chance that they will honor there word. I can also understand the other side of the coin though especially if a dealer has been stood up enough.
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: aug0211 on December 21, 2018, 09:31:03 pm
So then in a hot tub dealers case the deposit is for lost time. Time=money. I’ve been stood up opening my store when it’s off hours. Don’t you think I would rather be spending my time with my family or actually enjoying a day off. Just trying to give you a business owners perspective. Again I don’t ask for a deposit. I would rather just take the chance that they will honor there word. I can also understand the other side of the coin though especially if a dealer has been stood up enough.

By all means, if you are working off hours, charge the deposit. I’d just say “I understand, and private hours are not worth that to me - let’s find a time during your regular hours.” Or, if I cared that much, I’d pay for the private hours. That sounds reasonable to me.

Otherwise, it seems like you’d be asking us to pay for you to do what we (correctly or incorrectly) perceive to be part of your normal job duties. That is, setting up your showroom products to be demoed by a potential customer.
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: Hottubguy on December 21, 2018, 10:47:03 pm
But technically you aren’t paying for anything. REFUNDABLE deposit is what was asked for. I’m done with this thread. I don’t charge for it. Never really crossed my mind to do it but I get why some might. Typically dealers set up there stores in a way that there is a method behind what they are doing. That being said I had a couple call me last Friday asking if they could come in on Saturday to try a tub out. Worked until about 10 at night with a couple guys to make it happen. They showed and bought. If they didn’t show I would have been aggravated paying a couple guys overtime on a Friday night.
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: d00nut on December 22, 2018, 12:06:05 am
This thread has spun out of control.  It's a good eye opener I suppose.

I'm nothing if not negotiable and teachable.

For the record, we've had this policy in place for many, many years.  We've made plenty of exceptions for people who didn't like it.  I would make the case that I have never, ever had anyone think the policy was foolish and cost me business.  It's also not like we present it in a hostile way.  I just politely tell them what we require, and we will set up anything they want. 

No issues especially in this recent year (my memory can't go back ridiculously far) have remotely popped up.

I'll continue to watch it, but it hasn't been on my radar as a serious issue until now... and we get at least 4-5 test soakers a week... maybe more.  However, the vast majority are okay with trying out what I have wet already.  Like my Envoy NXT or Grandee NXT ;)
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: aug0211 on December 22, 2018, 08:15:28 am
Thanks everyone - moving back toward the tub discussion (and away from wet test policies), we have a wet test this AM for the Kingston.

The Aspen is also on the floor but it’s unclear as to whether that will be filled or not. And to be fair, we’d prpbably try the Claremont over the Aspen due to the nicer cabinet and the “sun deck” or whatever that part is called.

Fingers crossed for the Kingston. On paper, it’s currently our top pick.

Will check back in to post our findings later on.

PS - really impressed that everyone took what was a controversial discussion and handled it like adults. I’m a member of some other forums focusing on completely different topics and discussions like the above can commonly go south and get personal. Cool to see that people here are mature enough to agree to disagree.
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: swilly1000 on December 22, 2018, 10:14:27 am
Am I taking your response out of context or are you saying I should really get over it and it’s no big deal that I went above and beyond for a potential customer and got stood up?  If so, tell me this; put yourself in my shoes or any other dealer, how many times can you be stood up before you implement a refundable deposit policy or some kind of reassurance?

Yep, pretty much.  Your business though, so your call.

FYI  I'm self employed too and I know about being stood up so not without experience on that.
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: Sam on December 22, 2018, 02:54:42 pm


PS - really impressed that everyone took what was a controversial discussion and handled it like adults. I’m a member of some other forums focusing on completely different topics and discussions like the above can commonly go south and get personal. Cool to see that people here are mature enough to agree to disagree.

It's why I like this forum.  Where else do you see such great discussions between customers and businesses that tend to stay relatively cordial.  It's hard to gauge tone in text and I sometimes worry that I sound like a jerk but I genuinely value and enjoy the discussion and debate and love hearing customer's thoughts and opinions.  Our industry has a lot of growing up to do in a lot of ways.  It's just so small and niche, while also being expensive.  It's quite unique.  The way people shop and purchase has changed significantly in the last couple of decades and I think we could do a better job of adapting to that. 

I really do hope you guys keep sharing your thoughts and shopping experiences.  I hope it doesn't come across that dealers are sometimes talking down to consumers but I could see it sometimes feeling that way.  Honestly, none of us would have our jobs without you guys, so thanks!! I love working in this industry. Merry Christmas to everyone!
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: Spatech_tuo on December 22, 2018, 04:59:26 pm
Am I taking your response out of context or are you saying I should really get over it and it’s no big deal that I went above and beyond for a potential customer and got stood up?  If so, tell me this; put yourself in my shoes or any other dealer, how many times can you be stood up before you implement a refundable deposit policy or some kind of reassurance?

Yep, pretty much.  Your business though, so your call.

FYI  I'm self employed too and I know about being stood up so not without experience on that.

Stood up as in the person not showing is not the issue here. THAT happens all the time in this business as we all know and as you have experienced.

What you haven't experienced is being stood up for a wet test that can be a whole nother matter if it involves moving spas around, filling them, wiring them up and maybe even moving them back later. That does not compare to someone simply not showing up for an appointment.
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: Sam on December 22, 2018, 05:44:56 pm
Am I taking your response out of context or are you saying I should really get over it and it’s no big deal that I went above and beyond for a potential customer and got stood up?  If so, tell me this; put yourself in my shoes or any other dealer, how many times can you be stood up before you implement a refundable deposit policy or some kind of reassurance?

Yep, pretty much.  Your business though, so your call.

FYI  I'm self employed too and I know about being stood up so not without experience on that.

Stood up as in the person not showing is not the issue here. THAT happens all the time in this business as we all know and as you have experienced.

What you haven't experienced is being stood up for a wet test that can be a whole nother matter if it involves moving spas around, filling them, wiring them up and maybe even moving them back later. That does not compare to someone simply not showing up for an appointment.

Don't forget that you also create another spa that has been a "wet floor model" which means the filters need to be changed to sell, the cover has probably been opened and exposed to the minor nicks and scratches that will inevitably happen even just being in the warehouse out of box.  Most honest dealers will be upfront about that which negatively impacts sale price.  Also, when you drain it, you have to actually take the extra steps to remove all of the water from the plumbing or risk stagnant yuck infecting the ultimate purchaser's initial fill.  The pre-sale detailing process is a bit more involved when a spa has been filled.  You may need to drill a knockout to run the wire that the end purchaser may not want.  You pay to heat that water up initially and the chemical treatment, but dump it all the next day.  There are a lot of little expenses that add up to being pretty significant in the end. 

I'm not necessarily justifying charging a refundable deposit to wet test, but I do agree that it's a bit more complicated and costly than just sticking a hose in a spa.  I personally look at it as a way to show potential clients that I'm willing to earn their business.  It truly is a pain in the ass and if they bail on you it's maddening.  But in the end, I want to be the best in town and I look at this as an opportunity to set myself apart from my competitors. 

One time, I had a lady insist on wet testing a model that we would never normally have filled.  We didn't hesitate to do it and drained it the next day.  I worked with her for many months and she was diligent in her research.  A couple of months later she asked if she could test that same model again in order to have a back to back comparison to her other top candidate.  I initially thought it was a bit ridiculous but I filled it again with a smile on my face.  It was a major hassle and was super annoying but guess what?  That lady has since referred two other people to me which resulted in sales.  So now I try think about these things as not just a potential sale, but numerous potential sales. 

By the way, I'm also not trying to chastise anyone who chooses to do the deposit thing.  I totally get it, but as we've seen with the feedback from consumers here, they don't care about any of that.  From their perspective if we aren't willing to put a little effort into asking them to pony up $10k, what will our after sale support be like?  It's a valid concern, though there isn't necessarily a correlation between the two.  I guess I'm saying that I see both sides of the coin but in the end, only one opinion really matters at the end of the day and that's the person writing the check.
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: Michael Russell on December 22, 2018, 06:01:13 pm
When I first read about a deposit.. I was a little taken back by the concept.. Hearing your approach makes me second guess my opinion.. Done in the right way and explained I guess I would have no problem.

Mike

This thread has spun out of control.  It's a good eye opener I suppose.

I'm nothing if not negotiable and teachable.

For the record, we've had this policy in place for many, many years.  We've made plenty of exceptions for people who didn't like it.  I would make the case that I have never, ever had anyone think the policy was foolish and cost me business.  It's also not like we present it in a hostile way.  I just politely tell them what we require, and we will set up anything they want. 

No issues especially in this recent year (my memory can't go back ridiculously far) have remotely popped up.

I'll continue to watch it, but it hasn't been on my radar as a serious issue until now... and we get at least 4-5 test soakers a week... maybe more.  However, the vast majority are okay with trying out what I have wet already.  Like my Envoy NXT or Grandee NXT ;)
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: kies1 on December 22, 2018, 07:43:45 pm
When we were initially pricing hot tubs one dealer told me I needed to leave a deposit to hold a price quote, really. That did turn me off as a consumer and we ended up buying else where. Quote there was given and only a deposit was given when tub was ordered.
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: bachman on December 23, 2018, 03:00:26 am
Thanks everyone - moving back toward the tub discussion (and away from wet test policies), we have a wet test this AM for the Kingston.

The Aspen is also on the floor but it’s unclear as to whether that will be filled or not. And to be fair, we’d prpbably try the Claremont over the Aspen due to the nicer cabinet and the “sun deck” or whatever that part is called.

Fingers crossed for the Kingston. On paper, it’s currently our top pick.

Will check back in to post our findings later on.

PS - really impressed that everyone took what was a controversial discussion and handled it like adults. I’m a member of some other forums focusing on completely different topics and discussions like the above can commonly go south and get personal. Cool to see that people here are mature enough to agree to disagree.

Good luck with the search and tests.
I see a lot of intelligent prep work and research mentioned by almost everyone as they shop and consider the options for hot tubs. We are all case by case situations with our wants, expectations, stores and brands that differ in many ways or local availability. It's good to share the information as shoppers go through the process since we can all pick up some insights and it doesn't have to be 100% One size Fits All.
Everything I've learned so far makes me feel comfortable with the tub we put in place 2 months ago and mostly, the how-to for set up and minimal maintenance and chemistry. That's all thanks to the many resources and people here. 


~ b
Title: Re: First Time Purchaser Help
Post by: aug0211 on December 23, 2018, 09:48:58 am
Another good experience yesterday while wet testing :) Also confirmed that our dealer is on here, which we had thought might be the case 👍🏼

Kingston was great. Very nice tub. Definitely a more modern cabinet and the layout was nice. Entry is so smooth - with the sun deck (sorry, I forgot the actual name), it’s great. The glass panel is noticeably better to control than the dated alternatives. Stil not up to the Hot Spring remote, but it’s better than the alternatives.

Optima jets are probably the best so far; the Kingston was a bit underpowered and it was a major bummer realizing that 2 of the main seats have to shut down to have the foot dome on. Jacuzzi’s 400 series also has great jets, we were able to confirm that again. A third pump in the Kingston might be a good addition from Sundance.

Kingston was a bit shallow and the seats were not as sculpted as I’d like. We did not have float issues, but we did not feel “hugged” or like we were totally letting go to relax. The Aspen looks much better in this regard - a dry test showed much deeper seats (could actually use the leg jets, in the Kingston I couldn’t get them to hit my calves because my knees were bent at such a sharp angle due to the shallow floor). The Aspen is also significantly more sculpted in terms of seats, compared to the Kingston. Ultimately, I feel like Sundance would have a clear “leader of the pack” if they’d combine the top features of the Aspen (3 pumps, depth, sculpted seats, entry/exit handles, whirlpool jets) and Kingston (topside panel, lighting, cabinet, sun deck).

We do definitely like the Kingston and are keeping it on the list. It’s a bummer that the functional aspects of Aspen seem so great but the ambience features (cabinet, lights, topside controls) are a bit behind - because that would have otherwise been a great option.

The 500 series from Jacuzzi is also still on the list. We like the 400 series and wife really loves the ambience Jacuzzi creates (lets be honest, I totally agree). We’re a bit concerned that the 500 series may not be as sculpted inside compared to the 400 series... and no wet test is a concern of course.

We are also going to wet test the Hot Spring Envoy, sounds like that will be next weekend. A bit nervous about Hot Spring’s “flat” interiors and not being very sculpted; and we’re also not totally sold on the lounger in the Envoy, but we really want to give Hot Spring one more chance (remember, the Grandee fell down for us with float issues).

We’re also thinking we’ll bite the bullet and make the trip to see a D1 dealer. The loungers in their Bay collection tubs are differentiators and might work for us. Their tubs also look to be very sculpted (including cove-like cutouts in some of the seats, like what the J-400 series have, which we liked). They of course have all the bells and whistles, too. D1 Amore Bay. Sarena Bag, Lotus Bay, and their Executive are all interesting. The closest dealer has two stores and offered to drive us back and forth between the two locations once we get out there (a bit of a drive for us to get there...) so that we can test the tubs - nice touch from that dealer.

One last note - in terms of service and professionalism, the Sundance/Jacuzzi dealer (hi!) has done a great job of being patient with us and accommodating requests. My father is a small business owner and has been in sales his entire life, so I grew up around the sales industry and have a deep appreciation for quality service and for professionals who go above and beyond. I have a high level of confidence in ongoing support and service with the local Sundance/Jacuzzi dealer, which is an absolute factor in the decision.