Case Studies

Van Kirk & Sons Pools & Spas Inc.

Treating customers like family
  • Written by: Felicia Fox
  • Produced by: Eric Colby
  • Estimated reading time: 5 mins

Bob Kirk founded Van Kirk & Sons Pools & Spas Inc. (Van Kirk & Sons) in 1975. Nearly 40 years later, Van Kirk & Sons maintains the same philosophy: ‘Build each pool as if it were going in your own backyard and treat each customer like family.’

It is evident that the company’s founding philosophy has paid off, as Van Kirk & Sons is now south Florida’s leader in both residential and commercial pool and spa construction, as well as  major remodels and waterscape design.

In order to uphold the company’s namesake, Van Kirk & Sons recruited the friendliest and most hard-working employees in the area, as well as the most innovative designers. The team remains committed to the highest standards of excellence, no matter the size or scope of the project.

Bobby Van Kirk, Bob’s son and current president of the company, is proud to continue his father’s legacy; Bobby truly believes that the company’s personnel are its lifeblood. However, Bobby is not the only Van Kirk continuing the family tradition; Bobby notes that his sons, brother, cousins and other family members invested within the company, as well.

From one office in Deerfield Beach, Florida, the company’s expert team of approximately 100 delivers across the state. Van Kirk & Sons owns and operates a 20,000-square-foot facility, which hosts an indoor pool showroom and warehouse, housing heavy equipment and large selection of outdooring entertaining and decking materials. With 65 percent of Van Kirk & Sons work being residential, 35 percent is new commercial pool construction. Boasting 50 trucks, there is not much the Van Kirk & Sons team won’t tackle.

Of the highest quality

The company has been building pools since 1972 – practice makes perfect. Van Kirk & Sons is sure to maintain its reputation. Notably, each Van Kirk & Sons’ employee is an expert in his/her respective field, always embodying the company’s philosophy.

“We stand by our motto; every one of us,” says Geri Olsen, director of marketing. “We are family-owned, but we always go above and beyond.”

Olsen’s words are true; the team’s attention to detail is second to none, which is proven in each of its 18,000 pools. The company boasts in-house permitting, construction, scheduling, service and warranty, administration, manufacturing and warehousing departments to ensure customer service is second to none. However, the Van Kirk & Sons team does not stop there.

“You know the saying, ‘if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it’ – well, Tim Van Kirk, Bobby’s brother and vice president, lives by the philosophy that ‘we should break it’,” Olsen says proudly. “We are encouraged to make improvements and strive to not only better ourselves, but the industry as a whole. We look for ways to think outside the scope of what is and work towards what can be.”

Van Kirk & Sons are currently partnering with the Darrell Gwynn Foundation and Vanilla Ice – also known as Rob Van Winkle – in order to better two families’ lives. The company is providing two custom pools; of course, free of charge.

“We just donated two pools; one for a 6-year old boy, Owen Johnson, who sustained a spinal cord injury after his family’s van was hit by an intoxicated driver,” Olsen details. “The other was for a local firefighter and paramedic, Derek Avilez, who sustained a spinal cord injury while skim boarding at the beach with his family four years ago.”

While both stories are heart-wrenching, Olsen is quick to point out how positive and uplifting the experience is. “It is amazing how positive these families are considering their circumstances,” she details.

A good friend of Van Kirks, and star of the Vanilla Ice Project, Rob Van Winkle, was more than happy to take part. “We have been on his show several seasons; season two, four and now season five, where these recent pools will be showcased,” Olsen details. “Rob really helped make an impact on these pool donations – he has been very supportive and helpful getting the word out about the Darrell Gwynn Foundation and its mission to provide support for people with paralysis and prevent spinal cord injuries.”

The Van Kirk & Sons team truly enjoys making dreams come true – and that is continued where all dreams come true… in Disney. “We have done about eight projects for Disney over the years,” details Bobby. “We will be tackling two large fountains in front of the castle soon, too.”

The company has also completed pools for Universal Studios, Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami, as well as a remodel at the Trump Doral golf course.

“We have also completed upscale pools for The Bridges,” Bobby continues. “We will be doing more pools there – they are usually between $700,000 and $2 million projects. They also have an island that is expecting a $5 million project.”

It matters

In order to maintain such high quality, Van Kirk & Sons maintains several partnerships. “We have some subcontractors we work with regularly,” Bobby details. “We have a few electricians we enjoy working with to ensure things run smoothly; one is in Dade and the other in Broward.”

Bobby admits such partnerships are important – nothing but the best for Van Kirk & Sons’ clients. Therefore, the team takes on as much as possible in-house. “We also manufacture our own decking material,” Bobby explains. “We also manufacture our own stones, columns and fire bowls.”

The company’s attention to detail has earned Van Kirk & Sons many accolades, including Top 50 Pool Builders in 2014; Top 25 Builders in the Nation from 2009 to 2012; Top 5 Commercial Pool Builder in the Nation in both 2009 and 2010; Top 100 Small Businesses in South Florida; among many others. The company has received copious International Awards of Excellence from the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals for delivering the most beautiful and creative work in the industry.

Additionally, the company’s own Don Cesarone, vice president of commercial projects and senior project manager, was awarded No. 27 out of the Top 50 Builders MVPs.

While always delivering top-notch projects, the company also maintains above average safety training and rates. Van Kirk & Sons was granted the Safety Training Evaluation Process (S.T.E.P) Award – Platinum, Gold and Silver Awards – by the Associated Builders and Contractors from 2005 to 2010.

When praised, Bobby is quick to point the finger. “This is all possible because of everyone who works for us,” he says proudly. “My people have a real sense of feeling good about doing the right job for the customer – and it is passed right through. My people want to have a beautiful job well done.”

Due to Van Kirk & Sons’ continuous efforts to deliver the best of the best, the company has a strong backlog of work pressing into 2015. “I think we may even double in business this year,” Bobby chuckles.

The company’s hands-on ownership assures access to Bobby and his management team, ensuring each project delivered embodies Van Kirk & Sons’ passion for waterscape design and construction. The company even promises lifetime structural warranties, as well as flotation insurance.

Van Kirk & Sons Pools & Spas Inc. will continue doing what the team does best; treating customers like family and never settling for less than perfection.

Published on: July 10, 2015

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