If you’re wondering why you can’t find Hayward or Pentair products online anymore, wonder no more. The answer is simple: they don’t want you to. Recently, both Hayward and Pentair announced that they are following suit with Zodiac and ditching the internet.
Though they vary, both Pentair and Hayward are introducing policies that curtail internet sales and limit product availability for the pool owner. How will this affect you, the pool owner? Let’s dig a little deeper.
Before we dive into the deep end with Hayward and Pentair, let’s review Zodiac’s Trade Grade Series Policy. In late September 2018, Zodiac announced that they were prohibiting internet sales for the Jandy Pro Series line. This line includes more than 400 unique products. According to them, this policy halts the Internet’s ability to sell Jandy products below MAP price and encourages pool owners to purchase locally.
A MAP price is simply the minimum that resellers agree not to advertise below. This includes brick- and- mortar stores and online retailers, like us.
MAP pricing ensures people aren’t saturating the market with underpriced items. However, with the likes of Amazon, pool manufacturers are changing their tune. Hence, the Trade Grade Policy.
In short, they want to eliminate pool owners’ ability to find products online for cheaper than they would find in local stores. This allows local stores to price their pumps at their discretion. (And oftentimes, priced a lot higher than you can find online.)
Although they claim that they want the pool industry to thrive for generations, they are crippling the homeowner’s ability to purchase quality pumps at reasonable prices conveniently.
This year, Hayward is introducing its “Expert Line”. The “Expert Line? includes more than 900 different Hayward products!
“It’s a strategic decision for the long-term health of Hayward as well as our pool pro partners,” says Dave MacNair, vice president of marketing for Hayward. “Hayward’s business and our brand reputation is built on decades of partnership with trade dealers. Those are the people who are selecting the right products to put into people’s backyards; they’re the people who are installing those products correctly; they’re the people servicing them to make sure they perform at a high level. That’s the foundation for Hayward; we have to continue to build that foundation. Everything else flows from that.”
However, in my opinion, the name is a little misleading. Firstly, Hayward’s equipment does not actually require an expert technician. In fact, the products in the “Expert Line” are the same equipment from previous years.
So, what exactly are the differences? – How and where can you buy Hayward products and what about the warranty period?
For starters, you can only purchase their “Expert Line” from a local authorized pool professional. So, neither from us nor anywhere else online. Additionally, Hayward is also requiring that you hire a Totally Hayward pool professional for the installation.
By adhering to these two rules, Hayward now offers a three year (or more) warranty.
It’s a little ironic that Hayward describes their “Expert Line” as, “…offering [sic] the ultimate in quality, choice, and value,” when in reality, they are limiting the buying choices for pool owners.
Still, unlike Zodiac, Hayward also chose to keep some of their products online.
The Hayward Open Line is the Hayward products they are allowing you to purchase online. Pretty straightforward, right? But here’s the catch- they raised their prices across the board. Fifteen percent, to be exact!
So, not only do you not have the freedom to purchase all of their products online, but they are also limiting our ability to price the ones we can sell reasonably. So, it’s a win-win for the trade industry, but not so much for pool owners.
Open Line products still have a warranty, however, just not as long. Hayward limits the warranty period for the Hayward Open Line to a single year and to defective parts only.
Effective from October 1, 2019, Pentair is rolling out their version of, “I, too, am leaving the internet.”
To sum up their policy: see Zodiac.
More specifically, only qualified pool professionals (such as pool builders, brick and mortar retailers, and/or pool service companies) can sell TradeGrade products. No online retailers.
I mean, let’s rephrase. You CAN sell Pentair TradeGrade products online, however, there are repercussions for both the seller (us) and buyer (you).
If you purchase a TradeGrade product online, Pentair limits the warranty to 60 days. For more details on the Pentair TradeGrade Policy, click HERE.
Addressing Their Concerns
One of the many reasons why Pentair and Hayward are moving forward with these policies is to curb the number of installation errors. This is a valid concern for us as well.
However, for us, reducing the number of installation errors doesn’t necessarily equate to banning customers from certain purchase platforms. Yes, address the issues, but try not to penalize pool owners in the process.
Addressing the number of installation errors is two-fold.
First, why do pool owners want to install their own equipment? The first reason is that they’re saving time and money. Depending on where you live, finding a reliable pool technician is difficult. Then, when you do find one, you run into issues regarding time and money. Do they have time to fit your specific needs into their schedules? If so, are they charging you a fair amount for the job?
Not to mention, because there isn’t MAP pricing for installations, pool technicians can charge whatever they feel like for labor. There isn’t a governing agency on fair pricing in the field. As a result, people often resort to taking care of their pool themselves. In fact, we hear from those pool owners more often than not.
To be fair, there are pool owners who, if possible, simply PREFER to handle their own pool equipment installations and pool maintenance.
Secondly, are manufacturers doing a good job of providing customers with the necessary tools to install and maintain their pool equipment properly? Or, is the information that they provide simply confusing or not written clearly?
Over the years, one of the things our content team has learned is that people like videos. Sure, it’s nice to have written instructions on how to install a pump. However, a video showing the steps has much more value and success. So, there are things pool manufacturers can be doing to curb installation errors that don’t require penalizing the pool owner or unnecessarily raising prices.
What INYO Can Offer Pool Owners
If I’m being honest, as an online retailer, it’s hard not to take these new policies personally. Although we can’t speak for other online retailers, I can positively say that we have a history of working directly with manufacturers like Hayward and Pentair to ensure our customers are receiving top-quality service before and after the sale.
One thing that truly separates us from other online retailers, brick and mortars, and local pool technicians is the amount of content we provide to pool owners. In fact, we take pride in the blog articles, how-to guides, pool-side chats, and troubleshooting videos we create. For example, if you purchase a Pureline motor from us, you will also receive a how-to guide on how to install your new motor on both 115V and 230V. We also include links to videos that walk you through each installation.
In fact, it’s ironic that Hayward, specifically, forbids us from selling their “Expert Line”. Meanwhile, this past summer, their technicians were recommending their customers to contact us for technical support on their products.
When we questioned Hayward about this, they flew down to our offices in Florida just to place the blame on their third party technicians. In short, we’re not qualified to actually sell their products BUT we are qualified to tackle their technical support calls.
In addition to our content, we also provide replacement options for your pool equipment. In addition to the equipment Hayward, Pentair, and Zodiac are allowing us to sell, we also carry other brands like PureLine, Raypak, Waterway, and Speck.
With the introduction of PureLine Brands, we’re able to provide pool equipment at lower prices that don’t compromise on quality. If you are searching for new or replacement pool equipment, think of PureLine. PureLine has a variety of products from inground and above ground pumps, salt systems, filter valves, replacement cartridges, pool covers, and more.
Pureline warranties their equipment for at least one year and they also provide end-to-end support via instructional videos and chat customer support.
There are some things we absolutely always recommend a licensed professional install. However, we believe with the right direction and support, a large majority of pool owners can become their own pool support.
If you’re looking for reliable and fair-priced pool pumps, contact us via our chat services on our website, and let our technicians help you find the right part.