Working in the swimming pool and spa business for more than 25 years, Chris Dittrich has seen many changes during that time in terms of what clients on Cape Cod want.
Today, Dittrich, the owner of Shoreline Pools, Inc. of Harwich, says many customers on the Cape want larger pools. However, while requesting an increase in surface area, many are also asking for pools that are shallower, say four to five feet deep, so the entire space can be used for volleyball and other games. Coinciding with this, the company is fielding fewer requests for both slides and diving boards. “People are trending toward shallower pools,” Dittrich says, “so they can utilize the entire body of water for playing games and doing laps.”
Regardless of the size or scope of a pool project—large or small, deep or shallow—Dittrich says his company can tackle the job. “We do it all,” he says. “We specialize in complete project management from landscaping to hardscaping. We want to keep everything under one roof and make it easier for the client.”
“We are all custom,” Dittrich adds. “The biggest side of our business is the service side, not only during the build process but for many years after.” In addition to installing custom pools and spas, the company offers repair services, renovations, pool openings and closings, liner replacements, leak detection and repair, and acid washing. The company builds cabanas, too.
Dittrich says 80 percent of Shoreline’s installations are custom pools, and 20 percent are custom hot tubs. The other side of the company’s business involves the ongoing maintenance of these pools and spas. “We specialize in openings, closings, and weekly maintenance,” Dittrich says. “That way, the clients don’t have to worry about their pools at all.” To ease the homeowner’s burden, Shoreline provides pool maintenance during the week. For those with summer homes, when the homeowner shows up in May or June, their pool is waiting for them, crystal clear, and ready to be enjoyed.
The company is busy during the spring and summer, for sure, but Dittrich says the winter can be busy too as this time is used to secure permits for the coming season.
Shoreline Pools has been in business for nine years, but Dittrich’s experience in the field dates back to the mid-1980s. Growing up, he worked in the industry with his father, the late Todd Dittrich. “I’ve been in the pool business since I was 9 years old,” Dittrich says. “I’m the only second-generation pool builder on Cape Cod.”
With 22 employees on staff in season, Dittrich says he thinks he is also the largest pool builder on the Cape.
“We service Cape Cod up to Boston,” he says. “We deal with everything from regular ‘mom and pops’ to the extreme high-end homeowners and builders.” The company works with several different homebuilders, but one thing remains the same on all projects: Dittrich is there. He is on site for every job, overseeing the work being done. Additionally, rather than juggling multiple projects at once, the company works on just one at a time. “And when it is complete,” Dittrich says, “we move on to the next one.”
Dittrich shares some of the trends he’s been seeing a lot lately. For example, he says pool sizes are growing. “People are trending toward larger pools again,” he says. “They are getting much bigger.” In addition, he says about 80 percent of the new pools the company installs also include custom automatic rolling covers. “It is huge on safety and super energy efficient,” he says. “Everything from the pumps to the heaters. Everybody is very energy conscious now.”
A number of customers are also transitioning from freshwater pools to saltwater, he adds. “People are wanting to get away from harsh chemicals,” he says. “The saltwater is an easier process.”
One unique recent project involved the installation of an indoor 7- by 45-foot lap pool. The contractor on the project was Cape Associates, Inc. of Eastham and the residence was a summer home in Provincetown.