My 4 week stint has come to an end. And now I know everything there is to know about hottubs! But I’ve learned a lot more besides.
I’ve been working at one of the regions biggest spa sellers, Top Hot Tubs in Manchester. In that time I’ve worked in sales, customer services, out for “drops” (although customers don’t like them being called that when the 300kg tub is being craned over the house and into the back garden!) and visiting manufacturers such as Jacuzzi (which I didn’t know is a brand name, much in the same way as Hoover is the go-to name for vacuum cleaners!)
Hot tubs are more popular than ever, even in the rainy Manchester weather – perhaps moreso in this climate as sitting in a nice warm one while it’s pouring down is quite an experience I’m told.
I didn’t know you could get a hot tub installed on an apartment balcony without risking life and limb, but with the right information it can (and is!) done safely.
So what have I learned? Well, a lot really. My course is in information technology, so they put me to good use at the beginning by getting them up and running with their first online presence over at their Manchester hottubs website. The site is a basic wordpress install with a few other plugins added on, and I’m quite proud of the way it’s come together.
Next was learning about the huge spas. There’s more to them than just bubbles and hot water. For a start, I found out that they don’t have a water supply running to them – they’re filled and emptied every 8 weeks or so using a hosepipe. It’s not the fastest thing in the world. watching a hot tub fill up! But after it’s switched on your can start to see the magic happening. The water begins to swirl with the jets, and the lights and music system are operational.
So people buying hot tubs often think that the number of jets is the critical thing – after all, more jets probably means more relaxation, right? Well it’s not as simple as that. It really comes down to the number of pumps/strength of those pumps. They mix a little air with a water jet to give a proper massage feeling.
Many of the cheap hot tubs just come with an air blower, which doesn’t do much more than make the water ripple. It doesn’t provide the relaxation that the jets do, it just agitates the water. So jets which are powered by good pumps are a key thing. The next is the water heater. You need one that can heat the water efficiently, and can maintain the water temperature even when the cover is off. This takes a fair amount of power, but newer hot tubs are much more efficient compared with their older counterparts. They can cost around £6-£7 pounds per week to run, and are ready when you are since they keep the water at the ideal temperature all day and night.
The cover is the next most important aspect – this holds in the heat and stops your electricity bill from going through the roof. They’re made from a material much like polystyrene, but which is specially designed for it’s insulating benefits. They have to be a snug fit to ensure that heat doesn’t leak out from the sides.
So there’s other things too, such as lighting and entertainment systems which are included on the high end models. Some of these went up in price to around £15000.
So now that I knew more about the tubs, I was given customer service duties. This involved taking phone calls from existing or potential customers, dealing with any questions or issues they had encountered, but also being a friendly point of contact for those who came to the outlet in person.
It’s surprising how quickly talking to customers can become second nature. And after a couple of days I was much more relaxed as I knew the kinds of questions to expect.
Going out and installing a tub was next. The team could often carry the tubs round to the backs of houses that had wide side entrances, but not all houses are like that and we occasionally had to call in a local crane company to lift the spa right over the customer’s house and gently place it in the back yard. 300kg of metal, plastic and wood being lifted over the house was a daunting site for some, but the experts in charge of the cranes handled everything without any issue.
The company is looking at expanding into the online market (and I’m hoping I might be able to help with this in the future). Obviously a spa isn’t the kind of thing you order online on a whim, but it’s certainly a necessity in order to compete with others in the industry.
I’d like to thank Brian in particular for giving me the chance to work with the team, and helping me get my terrible memory around some of the more technical terms. Thanks to all of the teams working there too!