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Piscines Bonaventure Inc.: Creating a Backyard Oasis with High-end Pools
Mark Fournier, president of Piscines Bonaventure Inc. (PBI), grew up in the pool business. His maternal grandfather owned a company at which Mark’s father, Claude, began working at in 1957. It wasn’t until 1989 that Claude founded Quebec-based PBI as his own venture, of which Mark is the sole proprietor today.
Business at PBI has grown based on reputation through the generations. Today PBI boasts approximately a dozen employees who work to construct customized high-end pools in Quebec. “We’re based on less volume and more quality,” says Mark. “Instead of doing 100 projects a year, we may only do 35 pools.”
PBI specializes in gunite-sprayed dry-cement in-ground pools, water basins and spas. Using gunite, which is sprayed with a compressed air ejector, provides a very dense, strong layer. It is often used in repairs or reinforcing tunnel walls, which is just one aspect of PBI’s desire to provide the highest quality and meet security standards of pool manufactures.
The team at PBI can assist in designing client’s desired pool to create a backyard oasis. “People are really looking for a whole outdoor lifestyle,” says Mark. “That really changes the aspect of doing a project. We help incorporate elements like fire pits, waterfalls and outdoor kitchens into a project. It really becomes another living space.”
In addition to striving for the best quality product, PBI offers a 10-year warranty on parts and labour for all new construction and after-sale service. When a company like PBI backs product with such confidence, customers are able to decide who to work with. “I ask for feedback from our clients,” says Mark. “I always ask how they know about us. What they say first is about our reputation.
The team has established a highly regarded reputation for PBI over the years. “We’re the first think that comes to mind when discussing quality pools,” he continues. “We’re the most expensive on the market, but that’s because we’re aiming to build something that will stand the test of time.”
Invitation from the Masters
PBI’s reputation has not only earned the company repeat clients. The 25-year-old company was invited in 2006 to join the Master Pools Guild. The Master Pools Guild is an international organization that brings together elite custom pool builders. The network within The Guild is a carefully selected assortment of builders based on reputation and craftsmanship.
Mark claims that being a member of the Master Pools Guild has only boosted PBI’s reputation. The majority of work PBI completes is residential for wealthy homeowners. However, a small sector of the business is dedicated to commercial work for resorts and spas. Often, high-end places look specifically for Master Pools Guild members to do design and build work.
The Guild membership helped Mark to secure many contracts, including a luxury resort located north of Montreal. Le Finlandais, a spa and hotel in Rosemere, advertises itself as a heaven of tranquility. PBI recently designed and built a Nordic spa for the resort. “It’s in an urban setting,” says Mark, “but it’s quite pretty. It’s one of the biggest of its kind in Quebec.”
While The Guild membership has helped PBI gain business, the majority of work the company obtains is by word-of-mouth. Mark remarks this has limited the company’s need to advertise or search for work. He also doesn’t wish to do more than 35 projects a year, especially when PBI can only do construction and installation work eight months out of the year.
“It allows us to do everything custom,” says Mark. “That doesn’t have an effect on the size either. We’re just looking to do something special in your yard.”
Keeping Up with the Industry
While PBI is set on its standard approach in building a custom pool with the use of gunite, Mark is keenly aware of the latest trends in the pool building industry. “Our method is traditional,” he says. “Being invited into the Master Pools Guild has enabled us to stay current with the latest technologies.”
Customers have increasingly become concerned with the water quality of pools. Mark reports that some of the new technologies help keep home pools sanitary. One recent trend is using UV and ozone technology to kill bacteria instead of the traditional chlorine method. “People are investing a fair amount of money for technologies,” says Mark.
PBI also tries to keep up with changing laws and zoning restrictions for the cities and towns where the company works. “Our biggest challenge is with bylaws,” he says. “About 25 years ago, design was only limited by imagination. Now we have so many bylaws we have to take into account even before we do designs.”
Taking into account the level of work PBI does and the amount of footwork it takes to complete a project, Mark doesn’t see his company expanding too much in years to come. “We really just need to be able to do what we do well within our market,” he says.
Luckily for Mark, his company boasts a team of well-qualified members. “It’s also about the qualified labour we have,” adds Mark. PBI hires only the best of the best in the industry to work for the company. With such high-end designs and affluent customers with a certain level of expectation, top-notch employees are the only option for PBI.
However, Mark does envision growth within the company. “We won’t do more projects, but the projects will be more elaborate every time,” he remarks. Mark’s go-getter attitude will ensure Piscines Bonaventure Inc. continues to set the bar for the pool building industry for years to come.