By Beth N. Gray
BROOKSVILLE – While many nature-related jobs slow down this time of year, owner David Amundsen and his crew at Backyard Ventures are preparing for the busiest season of building pools and spas.
“Give it a few more weeks and it really starts to get started,” he said on Friday.
Backyard Ventures is celebrating its 10th anniversary this fall, no small thing for a limited, independent company. His secret?
“I’ve been doing this for 30 years,” said Amundsen, 56.
After working in a similar family business, he broke up for a while and then battled two cancers before “going back to what I knew,” he said. He credits the company’s whereabouts for work well done “very small” – two employees plus yourself. “The key is to do it yourself.”
“I tuned in to companies with branded, quality products, and serviceability,” he said, mentioning Blue Hawaiian of Zephyrhills for fiberglass pools, AquaCal of St. Petersburg for pool heaters and Suncoast Pavers of Brooksville for pool surrounds.
Backyard Ventures builds custom concrete pools, and installs and services vinyl and fiberglass pools.
“I could probably write a book on the pros and cons of all three pools,” said Amundsen. Cost and longevity are the fundamental differences. Concrete is the most expensive, most durable and by far its first choice. The cost can range from $ 25,000 to $ 50,000.
“Your pool’s worth will last longer than the value of your car,” he added. “Most of the time, when you want to sell your house, people moving to Florida are looking for a house with a pool.”
From the Northeasts and those from the cool Midwest, real estate agent Gail Spada agrees.
“Someone who is moving to Florida for the first time and has this pool and dives in in the back yard is heaven,” she said.
However, Spada also agreed with Edward Hirst, president of the Hernando County Association of Realtors, who said it was “some kind of mistake” depending on the customer.
“Some people don’t want the difficulty of maintaining it and the cost,” he said. “Families always want them.”
“The average pool of 12 by 24 feet is a thing of the past,” said Amundsen. “We went up to 14 by 28 or more, a lot more customization this year with waterfalls and rock formations.”
More and more pool owners are considering pool heating, which costs $ 4,000 to $ 6,000. depending on the pool capacity. While Amundsen gives ecological solar heating a nod, he prefers to install heat pumps as more economical and efficient.
“Another thing that is very popular: units of salt,” Amundsen said at $ 1,200 to 1,500. “It should cut your annual chemical bills in half, and you’ll never have to put a chlorine pitcher in your car again.”
At a time when unlicensed and lousy contractors are in the news, Amundsen said he was state-licensed, covered by Workers Compensation, fully insured and certified by Home Advisor.
Amundsen and his crew are prepared for a lot of off-season construction that will be booked until next March but will have time for service calls every month.
“Our sales have doubled this year,” said Amundsen. “People feel more secure with the economy to make this investment. We have demand for what we sell. We build for the (customer) budget.”
Contact Beth Gray at [email protected]