Jeff Schmit is the office administrator for Prestige Pools, but to him, the entire staff is bonded in a common mission: to make pools custom-built for their clients’ lifestyles. The local company, described as a team of all-star players led by owner Patrick Henry, specializes in creating unique backyard escapes for clients, and Schmit himself makes customer service his priority. With summer well on its way, we had the chance to chat wth him about the company and what details help make a pool stand out from the rest.
How do you design a pool to withstand Minnesota’s often-harsh weather?
We use heaters and automatic covers to keep warmth in and leaves and clippings out. Those things have made it easier for people to keep their pools open about six months out of the year. We also use automatic cleaners, the little robots that zip around and clean the pool. We try to make it as easy as possible for our clients, so we offer different service plans, including ones where we come out and clean the pool every week.
In terms of design, what makes a pool stand out?
The small details. There’s a lot of different companies that build pools, but we treat the pools like they’re going in our own backyard. We sweat the small stuff because that’s what sets the pools apart. For example, we can design a pool so the automatic cover runs under the deck or the stone spills over the side of the pool to create a more elevated look. Those kinds of tweaks make the design look higher-end, while not substantially changing the price.
Things such as benches and places to hang out have become more prevalent as well, so now we spend a lot of time up front, asking clients how they want to use the space and then configuring each one differently based on how the clients see themselves using it. A lot of people are wanting bench seating or sunning ledges—a few things that set their pools apart.
What is your favorite part of the building process?
I like seeing how excited people get when their project is completed. When you take a perfectly good yard and turn it into a construction zone, it usually makes people a little uneasy and think, “What have I done?” and then when it’s all finished, they already have their first party planned, and they often send pictures. You can tell they feel like it’s all worth it.
Do you have any favorite projects?
Last year, we did one that was featured on the cover of Midwest Home. The place was such a zoo during the process, but we had so much fun working with the family. A lot of times, we like the pools we build, but my favorite projects are the ones that introduce us to our favorite customers, who we often end up having a relationship with for 20-30 years.
At the end of another project, the owners invited us all over for a wrap party. When you get to see the project and how happy they are, it makes us like the project that much more.
Anything else you’d like to add?
A lot of times when we talk to people, they are considering a cabin or a boat or a pool. A lot of times, they have kids. With a pool, their house becomes a hangout for the kids and their friends, and they don’t have to wonder where their kids are because they’re usually at home with friends. We’ve seen people go from considering cabins to getting a pool instead to make memories at their own home with friends and family.