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Should I Buy My Hot Tub From a Tent Sale?

If you’re looking into buying a hot tub, you’ve probably seen advertisements for big weekend tent sales. These expositions can seem very appealing, with competitively low prices, lots of different brands and a huge selection of models to peruse. Tent sales can be a good way to get an idea of different tubs and make notes of what you like, such as the size, the number of jets, and the materials. But when it comes to buying, there are lots of reasons why it’s better to hold on to your checkbook at the expo and instead buy at a trusted brick-and-mortar store like Seven Seas!

Pushy Salespeople

At many of these expositions, the salespeople are paid on commission. With most sales lasting only a weekend, they need to get as many people as possible to buy for their paycheck. Many of the people hawking the hot tubs are actually hired traveling salesmen, whose job is simply to sell whatever product they’re handed! Chances are, you’re not talking to someone with hot tub experience and expertise, so you can’t be sure that you’re getting well-informed answers to your questions. After the show, you won’t have a sales representative to contact with questions, either. You’ll also be pressured to make a quick decision that may end up being a very expensive regret!

Try Before You Buy?

With so many different models out on the floor, the salespeople will no doubt welcome you to try out the tub before you pull out your checkbook. Unfortunately, “trying it out” means clambering into an empty tub, probably with dirt from other people’s shoes at the bottom, and pretending that you’re relaxing in a hot tub! The seat may be comfortable, but you won’t get a good idea at all of what the actual experience will be at home. At brick-and-mortar local stores, you can take a test soak in a tub you’re considering and experience exactly what the tub will feel like, rather than just imagining!

Inflated Pricing

Despite what you’ve probably seen advertised, you’re not really getting deep discount deals at a tent sale. Most of the time, the “low, low price” is just a gimmick to get your attention, and can even be actually higher than what you’d find at a store. If you’re willing to buy, the salespeople may let you haggle the price a bit, but chances are very good that you’ll walk away paying more than you should. The MSRP signs are usually way above what the tub would ever realistically sell for, and are just there to make the other price seem like a better deal and promote a sense of urgency. They’re also trying to sell only what they have out on the floor, so any modifications you may want will drive up the price even more!

Artificial Competition

While the tent sales advertise lots of different dealers competing with one another for your business, much of the time, this just isn’t true. The sales are often multiple brands from the same manufacturer and the same dealer, made to look like different dealers. If the company is only competing with itself, the prices aren’t going to be any better at the expo than they would be anywhere else. For this reason also, you won’t find trusted brands such as Freeflow®, Hot Spring® and Caldera® out on the floor. While it may seem like a hot tub comparison paradise, everything you see is more or less the same, in quality if not pricing.

No Customer Service

When buying from a local store, you can test the tub properly before you buy and rest assured that you’re getting knowledgeable advice. At a tent sale, the salespeople are there to push the models they have out on the floor, without considering the individual customer’s needs and wants. Any customization, such as color or jets, is going to mean a long wait for delivery and an even higher price! After your purchase, you’ll be on your own. The dealer likely doesn’t have any local services available to either install your tub or help you maintain it, and may not even have anyone reliable for you to contact with questions.

Financially Risky

Many of the hot tubs at tent sales only come with a one year warranty guarantee, which may seem like plenty at the time, but a hot tub is going to need servicing long after the first year! Just like a pool, hot tubs need routine maintenance to keep them running properly, and without any guarantees, you could end up paying more than you should for installation, repairs and upkeep costs. In the high-pressure exposition environment, you may end up with a more expensive tub than you wanted because it was “such a good deal,” and the financing options may be limited. Shopping at your local store will not only give you more options for different price ranges, they will have much better financing available for your needs.

While not all expos are shady, it’s better for you to treat tent sales as a show room and an opportunity to get to know local dealers. Most of all, don’t be afraid to ask tough questions about reviews, warranties, and services! A great company will offer services itself, or at least be partnered with a local provider. At local stores, try out what you think you’ll like, and then find the tub that’s perfect for your unique needs and wants! The friendly salespeople are there to help you, not their bottom line. Instead of getting taken for a ride, why not start a relationship with a trusted local business?


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