|In 1978 James McFarland, from Lansing, Michigan was pursuing an interest in building Japanese soaking tubs and personal spas. “We would purchase a 6-person spa shell, plumb it and trench all the way back to the house to connect it to a pool pack, usually located in the customer’s basement,” states McFarland.
Building hot tubs back then was a long and arduous process. He wanted to develop a more portable style of hot tub but couldn’t find anything suitable for what he had in mind. Until one day, he happened to see a hot tub on a trailer going past him on the highway. “I whipped my truck around and chased him down,” laughs McFarland. Little did he know that the person pulling the hot tub was trying to find him! From those beginnings, Hotwater Works has built a solid reputation as a hot tub retailer in the mid-Michigan area.
Currently, Hotwater Works employs around 8 full-time employees and specializes in hot tubs, water chemistry and service. “We take great care of our customers AND their water chemistry,” states McFarland. One of the critical issues McFarland feels the hot tub industry needs to better address is water chemistry and conservation. “The industry recommends that customers drain their tubs at least twice to 4 times a year,” he states. “Think about it! That’s at least 2,000 gallons of water…OR MORE…per customer each year that is wasted…needlessly!” He is frustrated that customers are given too much conflicting information regarding how to maintain the water chemistry of their hot tub. To clarify this issue, McFarland has personally developed a water chemistry and care program, which is scheduled to be published.
As an entrepreneur and business owner, McFarland needs new challenges to keep life interesting. “The biggest obstacle I face is boredom,” he exclaims. “I like challenges. I need to do new things and grow…develop new ideas!” To that end, he has plans to take Hotwater Works and his water chemistry program into the national arena within the next year.
Hotwater Works became a Nordic Dealer Partner around 20 years ago, very soon after Nordic Hot Tubs began. McFarland is happy with the relationship he and Nordic share. “Nordic has consistent quality but it’s in the Service that they really excel. I love the people we work with,” he states. “[Nordic] is just a rock solid tub in the industry.”
Specializing in hot tubs for almost 40 years, McFarland has had a couple of things that haven’t worked as well as he had planned. He offers this advice to other dealers, “Don’t be afraid to quit something that isn’t working. Let it go.” When asked if he has any other advice, he quips, “Besides buy my water chemistry program? Take care of your customers! They are your bread and butter…actually they are your gold mine! It’s cheaper to take care of them in the long run!”
McFarland and the Hotwater Works Sales Team can be contacted through the website or find them on Facebook!