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  1. Hello. My name is Erik Martin and I'm working on a new story for The Costco Connection (the consumer magazine for members of Costco stores) on the following topic: DIVING IN (WITHOUT TAKING A BATH): How to save money on maintaining and closing your pool this season: tips on the best supplies to switch to, routine care and upkeep practices that can prevent costly repairs, and why pool owners should learn to close a pool themselves, and how to do it, to save hundreds of dollars a year. For this story, I’m looking to interview homeowners who own and maintain their own pools. I can either conduct a phone or email interview (with the latter, you can type up responses to my questions below and email them to me if you prefer). My deadline to complete all interviews is Thursday, April 4 at 4 p.m. central time. Please contact me via this forum or at martinspiration@gmail.com to arrange an interview. To check my credentials, feel free to visit www.martinspiration.blogspot.com. QUESTIONS: Why should owners learn to do it themselves? What are the benefits to opening/closing/maintaining your own pool? In addition to saving money, are there any other advantages? What will owners need to learn, purchase and do to be able to open their own pool at the start of next season? What’s the best way to learn the proper techniques for opening/closing: hire a pro one time who can train you? Read a book? Surf the Internet/YouTube? What will owners need to learn, purchase and do to be able to close their own pool (e.g., air compressor, antifreeze, winter cover, etc.)? How much will these items cost? How much money can homeowners save a year by handling pool maintenance duties themselves (opening/closing/cleaning/maintaining) instead of hiring a professional service? Give an estimate for an average in-ground and an average above-ground pool. What are at least some of these duties that any homeowner can and should learn to do themselves? Why? Do you have any tips on the best way to save money on regular supplies (chlorinator, shock, algaecide, etc.) without sacrificing quality? Is it best to buy in large bulk quantities? Are tablets more economical than granulated chlorine? Does brand not really matter when it comes to supplies? What does matter? What are the preferred ingredients and minimum available chlorine you recommend in these supplies, so that owners know what to look for? Are there any circumstances/situations where owners should be prepared to enlist a professional for help? What is the key to having a clean, well-maintained and properly functioning pool all season long if you’re doing to do it yourself? Any other tips here? What are some good preventive maintenance recommendations you can offer pool owners so they can avoid costly repairs and ensure a long lifespan for their equipment? If you’re a pool owner, how long have you owned your pool? What kind is it (inground/above ground; what kind of liner, filter, pump/motor; dimensions/volume; etc.)? Do you hire a service (for what? How much does it cost?) or do you do it yourself (for how long? Why do you do it yourself?)? Why should pool owners consider doing their own maintenance/upkeep in your opinion? Are you a Costco member (if so, for how long?) What is your full name? What city/state do you live in? If you’re a pool maintenance professional, what are the pros/cons of pool owners performing their own maintenance? Do you recommend it in any way? Why/why not? What should owners except if they attempt to do it themselves? What are some other ways they can save money on their pool during the season—any tips? Are you a Costco member (if so, how long)? What is your full name? What city/state is your business in, and what is the full name of your business? Any other thoughts, comments, or tips you wanted to offer on this topic? Sincerely, Erik J. Martin martinspiration@gmail.com
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