Whether you’re in the market for your first hot tub or you’re looking to upgrade from your existing one, home shows can seem like a great way to one-stop-shop. And it’s true that they can be a starting point.
With a number of vendors on-site, you can get a feel for what’s out there. But the high-pressure environment is not a good place to buy a big-ticket item like a hot tub or swim spa. We have all heard of the nightmares that can go with that.
Here are some tips for getting the most out of a home show visit.
1. Look for Reputable Brands
Because there are so many products on display at home shows — often backed by professional sales teams — it’s easy to get sucked into the excitement.
Salespeople will try to impress you with fancy “under the cabinet” chatter and talk about the numbers of jets and high horsepower pumps. But, a good hydrotherapy experience depends on the quality and placement of those jets, not their numbers or power.
In fact, too many jets and high horsepower pumps will create an uncomfortable soaking experience, create long-term service issues and drive up energy costs.
If you can’t find the trusted brands, just treat the show as a chance to learn about the what’s available and to get a sense of the size and seating arrangement you might be interested in.
2. Don’t Be in a Hurry
Even if you find a tub you like, don’t rush into signing a contract. The time constraints and high-pressure tactics that are typical at home shows — many events even post warnings — can lead to impulse purchases and regrets. It’s best not to sign any contracts or make a down payment.
A reputable dealer will want you to take your time to make the right decision, so will be happy to reconnect outside the show once you’ve done your research. However, if you do decide to put a deposit on a tub, make sure to get a refund clause in writing and use a credit card.
3. Do Your Research
Whether you choose to buy from a home show or a store, make sure you research the products and the dealer. Spend some time online, looking for reviews of both the brand and the dealer.
Ask the deal for customer references and who will be doing the service on the product. Do they have their own service department with factory trained and certified technicians? Or do they have you call an 800 number or some other local service company when you need them.
Visit their store or showroom so you can see if they are for real. Meet the owners and other management who you will be working with. Learn about the backgrounds of the people working for the company.
Visit the Better Business Bureau or search social media for reviews about the brand and the dealer.
4. Take a Test Soak
Finally, don’t skip the test soak! It’s one of the most critical pre-purchase steps. If you find a brand you like during your day of scouting, reach out to a trusted dealer to schedule a time to come try the product.
During the soak, think about how you want to use your tub. Can you sit comfortably? Is it long enough for your to do your exercises? Will your friends and family all fit?
Purchasing a hot tub or swim spa is a big decision and a long-term investment. Choosing the best tub for you is about your well-being and quality of life, and that’s not something that should be rushed into.
So, while home shows can offer a starting point for your search, they’re not the place to make your purchase. Turn to a local company that offers recognizable brands and a team of people who will be there for you now and years down the road.
Imagine Backyard Living is the best place to continue your search for the perfect hot tub or swim spa. Check out their selection online or in the showroom and begin your journey towards enjoying the backyard of your dreams.