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Into the Deep End: Regal Pools


Life & Style

Ten years ago, Joshua Buzzell and Edwin Escobar were working for a Houston-area pool company, putting in long hours for someone else. Today, as the founders of Regal Pools, the duo runs one of the top luxury pool companies in the area. Based out of The Woodlands/Spring, Texas, and serving the northern Houston suburbs, Regal Pools quickly made inroads as a leading design/build firm specializing in custom gunite pools and spas, in a competitive industry that is responsible for approximately $8 billion in annual revenue nationwide, and nearly as many complaints.


They did so by focusing as much on their custom designs as their customer service, and that hasn’t changed. The company enjoys the kind of stellar reviews that would make any customer-facing business proud and a referral rate that continues to drive the company’s growth. What has changed: their client list.

In The Woodlands alone, you can find a home under $250,000 with less than 2,000 square feet or a $33 million French Renaissance mansion, with loads of family homes and high-end, executive and celebrity estates in between. That’s fertile ground — literally — for a local company like Regal Pools, who, in the past 10 years, has taken on projects from “$50,000 to $500,000,” says Buzzell, “including a number of celebrities.” He and Escobar don’t name names, but it’s not hard to imagine who among the business leaders, music stars and famous professional athletes living in the area might be drawn to its premier resource for luxury swimming pools and outdoor living areas.


We spoke to Buzzell about the company’s trajectory, what it takes to succeed in the competitive pool design and construction business in Texas, and the company’s plans for the future.

Previews Inside Out Can you tell me briefly how the company was formed?

Joshua Buzzell We set off on our own in 2006, after working for another pool company in The Woodlands area and becoming close friends. We knew our combination of custom designs and strong concentration on customer service formed a great foundation.

Previews Inside Out To what would you attribute the growth and success of Regal Pools?

Joshua Buzzell Being honest, fair and level-headed. This is not an easy business. Keeping customer service at the level we expect and over-delivering on our promises — those are always our goals. Clients can be demanding and projects can be challenging, but when we started Regal Pools, we vowed to always treat everyone with respect and never lose sight of our ethics and morals.

Previews Inside Out What would you say makes Regal Pools different from other companies in the same arena?

Joshua Buzzell We build high-end pools, made to last, using the top products on the market to ensure each pool is the best it can be for our clients. We also have 50% of our trades in-house and operate a service company for maintenance, repairs and warranty, allowing us to control our quality and not have someone else handling it.

Previews Inside Out What does it take to succeed in the luxury pool design business?

Joshua Buzzell You have to have superior designs and offer a great value, obviously. But you can never underestimate the power of good communication. We hear from so many customers who are surprised by our level of communication throughout the process, because it isn’t what they have experienced elsewhere, and not just with pool design companies.

Customers care about the process, and they just want to know what you’re doing and what’s going on. We make sure we cater to every individual’s needs and listen to his or her wants so we can deliver unexpected results.


Previews Inside Out You were featured in the Wall Street Journal’s “World’s Greatest Pools.” How did that designation come about, and did it have an immediate impact on your business?

Joshua Buzzell We were submitted for an award, and then a client called us and said, “You guys are famous!” We hadn’t even seen it. It was one of our first awards, and it definitely put us on the map as far as high-end residential construction.

Previews Inside Out What are the pool design trends you’re seeing? Are there certain trends that are more geared toward the Texas (specifically Houston/The Woodlands) market?

Joshua Buzzell Travertine is huge right now. Everyone loves it; Houston can’t get enough of it. The soil conditions in Houston are a little funny. Pouring decorative concrete isn’t a great idea because of the settling. So, we tend to recommend sand-based pavers. We have our own in-house installer, who does an amazing job. Everyone is always in love with their deck once we’re done.

Previews Inside Out Indoor/outdoor living is more important than ever. How has this impacted your business, and are you finding that requests for outdoor living areas (in combination with pools or as a standalone feature) are on the rise?

Joshua Buzzell About 90% of the projects we do involve a kitchen, and 50% of our projects include a patio cover of some sort. Outdoor living and the outdoor living lifestyle have really taken off in the past five to six years. We’re seeing more and more families staying outside most of the day in the summer and building elaborate kitchens and pool houses to compensate for the hot Texas sun.


Previews Inside Out What are the company’s goals for the future? Increased local saturation? Expansion into other areas?

Joshua Buzzell We want to be the best. We want to be the best builder in Houston, hands down. Our quality and our customer service, I feel, are right there with the Houston legends, and that’s no easy feat. We’re in the process of building our new Regal Pools Headquarters, which should be open to the public this spring. It’s located off a main highway, here in north Houston/Spring, on one acre and will be a full custom design center with outdoor furniture sales and a bunch of other great features. It’s going to be unlike anything people have ever seen! After that, we intend to expand and add a second location.


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Into the Deep End: Regal Pools

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