Buying a hot tub? How exciting! Please do your homework before setting out on your shopping trip. You want the shopping experience to go smoothly AND you want the pleasure of soaking in the best hot tub for you and your family. Check out these tips to help you buy the right one the first time.
- “BUY THE DEALER” BEFORE YOU BUY THE HOT TUB. Do business only with a dealer who will give you service as good after the sale as before your purchase. Choosing a hot tub dealer is the most important choice you have to make in the buying process. Pick a business that is trustworthy and can offer the service and water care advice that will make owning your hot tub a joy not a hassle.
BUYING TIP: Think you can pick a trustworthy business at a fair or carnival? High-pressure sales tactics should be your first clue that the business is not as trustworthy as you’d like. Most of the sellers at fairs do not have a local business presence. Think you’ll ever get service?
- REFERENCES? A MUST. A reputable dealer will put you in touch with customers in your neighborhood so you can ask them about the brand of hot tub and the customer service provided by the dealer. A major part of a top quality dealer’s business is based on referrals from satisfied customers.
BUYING TIP: Your chance of getting references from an online hot tub seller or a big box store is slim to none.
- WARNING: “ADD-ONS” ADD UP. Beware of “add-ons” not included in the purchase price like an insulating cover, delivery to your prepared site, leveling, water care products, and on-site instruction and operation – all of which are vital and should not incur additional charges. Avoid purchasing from a company that plans to drop the hot tub off in your driveway for you and your neighbors to wrestle in place and attempt to level. The day your hot tub is delivered should be one of the happiest days of your life. Don’t risk injuring yourself or friends. Professional spa installers should be sent to do the job.
BUYING TIP: Online sellers aren’t the only offenders as far as add-ons or driveway drop-offs. That’s a typical practice for hot tubs sellers at fairs & carnivals.
- WORST PLACES TO BUY A HOT TUB: FAIRS, CARNIVALS & PARKING LOT SALES. Most hot tub exhibitors at carnivals, fairs and parking lots do not have a local showroom or local service. They set up, use high-pressure sales tactics on you (!), and pack up the tent once the fair has ended. Many unwary hot tub buyers lose cash deposits and never receive their hot tub after succumbing to a slick salesperson at a fair especially the Puyallup Fair. If you do shop at a fair, look but do not buy even if you are threatened with losing the “deal.” A reputable dealer will hold the offer so take time to think it over. You won’t find Olympic Hot Tub Company or Hot Spring Spas at the Puyallup Fair. We decided many years ago that the Fair was not the right atmosphere for selling hot tubs.
BUYING TIP: Washington State has a 3-day right of refusal period for items bought at a fair. If you did purchase on impulse, act quickly to get your money back or suffer real buyers’ remorse. Make sure there is a local showroom where you can try the hot tub wet and be assured of ongoing service and a personal connection with a salesperson who works for the company – not one hired just for the days of the fair.
- LOOK-DON’T BUY ONLINE. Researching your major purchase on the Internet is a good way to get the education you need to make a wise buying decision. Do not consider buying a hot tub from an out of state seller or one out of your local area. Beware of companies that do “in-home sales” exclusively. You’ll have no opportunity to see the product, evaluate its quality, take a test soak, or check references.
- HOT TUBS & FROZEN CHICKEN WINGS. “Big box” retailers typically carry off- brands or stripped down versions of brands by larger manufacturers. Most of these hot tubs have limited insulation and most likely very noisy pumps. If you’re buying online you have no way of evaluating the fit, noise level or ease of maintenance. Choices are limited and the wait for service can be very long. The low price you think you’re paying initially will cost you far more down the road.
BUYER’S TIP: Evaluate the total cost including energy costs, deliveries and all extras like water care products, covers & lifters for the time you expect to own your hot tub. You will pay more in the end when you purchase online, guaranteed.
- HOT DEAL ON CRAIG’S LIST? Sure, you could get lucky. You could win the lottery, too. Chances are the reason people are selling their hot tubs on Craig’s list is because they cost the earth to heat AND they’ve never been able to get the water clean and clear. Don’t let their lemon become your lemon.
Most hot tub owners say that their hot tub purchase was one of the best investments they’ve made. Follow these tips and avoid headaches. You want the ultimate in relaxation, not years of problems. Be a smart shopper. Do your research before you buy and relax happily ever after.