Meet the three men pooling their skills to set up new business

Platinum Pools and Spas directors John Nicholson, Jon Roberts and Chris Beek Picture: ROB CURRIE (37877791)

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Emily Moore meets a trio who, after working together for nearly a decade, have decided to take the plunge and launch their own company, Platinum Pools and Spas

THEY are, in some ways, the new kids on the block. But then you consider their combined 60-plus years’ experience in the swimming pool and spa industry and realise that, while their company may be in its infancy, they are far from being new to the game.

Indeed, when Jon Roberts, Chris Beek and John Nicholson decided at the beginning of the year to take the plunge and launch Platinum Pools and Spas Ltd, they did so knowing that, while their company name may be new, everything else about their offer was well established and based on strong business principles.

The new company is also founded on a strong friendship and respect between the three directors who, for almost a decade, have worked together, designing, refurbishing, installing and maintaining pools and spas while employed by another local company.

“In many ways, I’m the new kid on the block, having only worked with Chris and Jon for the past nine years,” smiled John. “They have worked together for more than 20 years, having both entered the trade almost by accident.”

In Jon’s case, his employment at his last employer was only meant to last for two weeks.

“I had been travelling for a few years,” he said. “When I came back, my brother, who worked at the company, was about to go on holiday, so I asked the then owner, who I’d known since childhood, whether he wanted me to step in and help out while my brother was away.

“Although my brother’s break only lasted for two weeks, 28 years after joining to provide that holiday cover, I was still there.”

For the first few years, Jon was involved in the construction of pools after which he spent seven years servicing and cleaning existing installations before taking on a new position as the firm’s small-works manager.

“That was a great job, which encompassed everything from building pools to carrying out repairs, installing plant rooms and servicing hot tubs,” he said. “As the demand grew, so the role became bigger and bigger, and I ended up running that side of the business, which was almost like a company within a company. I was doing everything from preparing quotes to ordering parts, fitting and invoicing but my favourite element of the job was the interaction with customers who I have come to regard as friends.

“Over the past 28 years, I have built relationships with hundreds of customers, and those contacts and the feedback I have gained from them, has been invaluable.”

In many ways, Chris’s story is similar, with his introduction to the world of pools and spas coming when he was “at a crossroads” in his life.

“I had also spent quite a few years travelling, with my last trip being to South America for a year when I was 29,” he recalled. “When I came back, I had to decide whether to carry on travelling or settle down. It was my dad who told me it was time to settle down.”

Decision made, it was a chance conversation with fellow former De La Salle College student Jon which started a 20-year-and-counting career.

“He got me the job at our old employer, and I started out on the construction and refurbishment side,” Chris explained. “When an opportunity arose to join the servicing department, I moved across to that side of the business, which is where I’ve been for the past 19 years. It’s a role I love because, as Jon said, you really get to know your clients and many of them become close friends over the years.”

And it is because of their shared love for customer service and their knowledge of the sector that the trio have decided to launch their business, initially focusing more on the refurbishment, maintenance and servicing side, although they will also sell and install spas from Platinum Spas and Master Spas, both of which will be exclusive to the firm.

While John’s background is slightly different, he has also amassed extensive experience in the pool and spa industry during a career which has ranged from trust work and health and safety to property development and swimming-pool installation.

“My CV reads like a novel,” he said. “I was working in health and safety when my landlord at the time asked me to help him with his property development business. In the course of developing high-end properties, we built several pools as well as focusing on construction and interior design. When the financial crisis hit in 2008, I met the former owner of the company where Jon and Chris worked, and he asked me to help him run the office, design and sales side of the business. Two years later, I was virtually running the business, meeting clients, drawing up designs, organising hot tub and swimming pool sales and managing site contracts.”

The company has secured exclusive rights to Platinum Spas and Master Spas

At the beginning of the year, though, there was a natural opportunity to move on.

“We knew we had the knowledge, experience and contacts to set up our own business, and when our previous company changed hands last year, it was the ideal time for us to make that step,” John explained.

“Securing exclusive rights to Platinum Spas and Master Spas – two suppliers with whom we had already developed strong relationships – has been great for our new company, and really shows the trust that these brands have in us. The pool industry is small and based on trust, so their endorsement of our plans shows the faith they have in us.

“They demonstrated this not just by agreeing to let us represent their brands in the Island but also by visiting us earlier this year to sign the contracts.”

And the team are hoping that a further visit from representatives of some of the brands they stock is just around the corner.

“We are going to launch the company officially at the Boat Show this weekend, where people will be able to visit our stand in the Lifestyle Zone,” said Jon. “We will be demonstrating some of the latest technology that has come to the market.”

Among these products, the guys explain, is a silent-running “Mr Perfect” air-source heat pump and some cordless cleaners, which are “like waterproof vacuum cleaners, which you place in your pool”.

“Although these don’t replace professional cleaning and maintenance services, they are great for an in-between-visits clean and are unique because you can place them in the pool and operate them while the cover is on,” said John.

While some people may assume that pools and spas are the preserve of the wealthy, the Platinum Pools and Spas trio are keen to point out that this is not the case.

“This is a market and an industry which is constantly growing, as people install pools and spas for both entertainment and wellbeing reasons,” explained John. “While you can have a high-end, bespoke solution, these are not amenities which are only available for millionaires, and we try to cover all ends of the spectrum with our selection of hot tubs which meet a range of affordability options.”

Critically for the trio, though, any hot tub or swimming pool requires regular maintenance, and it is this fact which sits at the heart of their business plan.

“In some cases, servicing has to be carried out weekly, so this is a key arm of our business,” said Jon.

“We are also focusing on the new products coming to the market, particularly those which are more eco-friendly than some of the technology traditionally associated with pools and spas. Air-source heat pumps, for example, are much greener than oil-fuelled solutions and cheaper to run, while the new iFlow pool pump trickles electricity to the pool as needed, reducing energy consumption and running costs.”

While admitting that there may be some “healthy nerves” as the business gets off the ground, the men say they have no doubt that they have “made the right decision”.

“We all have similar work ethics when it comes to what we are trying to achieve – and customer service is very much at the heart of that,” said John. “Now, we are just looking forward to seeing lots of familiar faces at the Boat Show, an event which always attracts thousands of people.

“We have no doubt that we will see lots of new clients and friends there and the timing, just as people are thinking about opening their pools again after the winter, is perfect. We will also have some exclusive offers running over the weekend, which will give people an extra incentive to visit our stand.”

For more information or to contact the team, visit

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