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12V vs. 120V Pool and Spa Lighting: By Greg Fournier of Hayward Pool Products

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When it comes to swimming pool, spa, and accent lighting, it’s time for industry professionals to take a fresh look at 12-Volt Lighting Systems. Misconceptions surrounding 12V Lighting run rampant with concerns about brightness level, cost, and installation time. In truth, 12V Lighting can be the brightest, safest, most cost and time-effective option you can offer your customers.
A CHANGING SENTIMENT In the past 10 years, lighting manufacturers have raced to expand their lighting lines to include a wide variety of color and white LED options—the majority of which are 12V. This is not only because LED technology is the best on the market when it comes to energy conservation, rich color, and lower total cost of ownership, but because of the all plastic, permanently sealed aspect of many of these lights. Inspectors are becoming better educated about the inherent safety of many 12V models, and in some areas local codes are changing to acknowledge this fact. Overall, industry sentiment is changing as many pool professionals come to understand that all state of the art lights are now only available in 12V.
A WAVERING UNCERTAINTY Topping the list of concerns is the brightness level in pools and spas. The age old wisdom is that more voltage and more wattage equal more brightness. Although there may have been some truth to this in the past, that is no longer the case. 12V LED Lighting broke that paradigm. Firstly, wattage refers to energy consumption, not brightness level, making wattage irrelevant in terms of brightness. Secondly, advancements in LED technology have revolutionized pool and spa lighting with 12V lights now as bright, or brighter, than their 120V counterparts.
Another misconception is that because a 12V light needs a transformer, it must be more expensive. However, this is mostly incorrect. Based on changes to the National Electric Code (NEC), some UL-listed 12V lighting systems may represent installation savings of up to $150 per light by no longer needing to bond and ground the light or include a GFI breaker. Some 12V lights are priced to be competitive with 120V lighting. The best resource for this information is your local manufacturer’s rep or your distributor. Installation time is also a concern. Pool professionals fear that replacing a 120V light for a 12V light will take hours of electrical work. Due to advancements in technology, this is no longer the case. If a pool light already has a junction box, there are UL-listed retrofit kits that are able to switch most mainstream pool lighting from 120V to 12V in just minutes.
A GROWING CONSUMER DEMAND Homeowners expect their pool to be a fun and safe environment. But with national media attention on the recent electrocutions from incorrectly wired 120V pool lighting, this expectation is being challenged. When wired and serviced in accordance with the NEC (National Electric Code), 120V lights have been, and will continue to be safe. However, some 12V systems with transformers are inherently safer than others. Because of their all-plastic, permanently sealed construction, UL has recognized some 12V products as intrinsically safe. Along with the NEC, UL has recognized that the lights in UL-listed all-plastic niches no longer require bonding or grounding. These factors eliminate the risks associated with 120V lighting including a lens being sealed incorrectly, or a light being wired wrong. Many local codes around the country have endorsed low voltage lights for decades, and others are now following suit.
Whether it’s retrofitting one of the 4 million existing pools with white incandescent lights to vibrant color LED’s, or installing accent lights into the steps, shelves or water features of a new build, the move to 12V lighting is accelerating across the nation. 12V lighting is the future. It’s up to you to make sure your customers are outfitted with best, safest and smartest option in pool and spa lighting.

For further information contact:
Monica Archibald

Message from the president

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I want to start out by thanking all of our members. CPA is growing and quickly becoming an association to be reckoned with in the industry. The primary reason for our growth is our members spreading the good word about CPA. You guys and gals get it! Our organization truly understands what it means to be an independent business owner. You keep looking for ways to expand and grow your business and we’ll keep looking for ways to support you.

We’ve been busy! Since the organization was formed in March with Chapter 01 in San Bernardino, CA we’ve added nearly 100 members. We are currently in discussions with several large groups and anticipate clearing the 200 member mark by the end of June. Inland Empire, Orange County, and LA County all have chapters up and running. CPA is gearing up for the Pool Industry Expo in Monterey this September. Come by and see us if you make it to the show. We are making our push into Central and Northern CA over the next few months. Look for chapters popping up.

Troy Conant has been brought in to manage the marketing efforts of CPA. Troy has been hard at work developing our new and improved website, newsletter, and contacting CPA sponsors. Take a look at the new website In the coming weeks look for forms and contracts and an ever expanding referral network. Make sure you support the businesses who support CPA. If you would like to contract Troy with marketing ideas for CPA or would like to contribute to our newsletter please email him at

Thanks again for all of your support.

Chris Walters Chris Walters
Phone 916-503-8770
Cell 714-501-9186
Fax 916-330-3323

CPA’s Got Your Back!

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Since the CPA launched just a handful of months ago, I’ve spoken to hundreds of pool techs about their business needs and insurance options. In some way, shape or form each business has been unique. One area that has and always will be important to us is taking the time to know your business and protect it with the right level of insurance.

What surprises me is the other associations don’t take the time to do this as well. How is a member supposed to know how their coverage works if no one ever takes a few minutes to discuss it with them? This practice has led to many business owners whose operations are excluded from their group policy…and they never knew it.

We recently were presenting to a chapter of another association, I struck up a conversation with a younger business owner who was there to join the association and become a member. He had never discussed insurance with the agent and it turns out that all he does is sandblast tile. He was there to sign up, pay nearly $100 per month and would have never known his operations were not covered under that policy! We were able to work with him to provide a policy that got him covered and he walked away knowing his coverage worked.

Another one that comes up often is family members or relatives involved in a partnership or working in the business together. Brothers are partners and both in the field but only one of them was a member of the association they belonged to. The non-member brother was completely uncovered and they had no idea. This chapter dues and insurance were over $100 a month and he needed to join or remain uncovered. We were able to put both brothers on one CPA policy for the business and it was only $94 a month. In this case it saved the business over $1,400 per year and got everyone protected.

In both these instances a 10 minute discussion was the difference between having coverage or not for their businesses. These are only two out of the dozens of similar situations that I’ve come across when handling the intake of new members. It is a necessary step to ensure the CPA gives each member the tools they need for their business to be a success.

You all work hard to put dollars in your pocket, when you spend them you deserve a great value. That value is what the CPA is committed to providing to our membership, we’re going to take the time and do it right. To all our current and future members, the CPA’s got your back!

Pat Grignon
Pat Grignon
Vice President
Phone 916.503.6359

Don’t Bankrupt Your Business

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Building a successful business takes vision, passion, a viable product or service, and lots of hard work. Bankrupting a business is much easier. In fact, doing nothing to address systemic problems is often all that’s needed to drive a company off the cliff. Four pitfalls to avoid include the following:

Ignoring the numbers. If management lacks a basic understanding of the company’s financial statements, severe problems may not be addressed. For example, the balance sheet might be carrying obsolete inventory at inflated historical prices. If the asset section of the balance sheet is heavily weighted toward inventory, management may be given a false sense of the firm’s net worth. An unrealistic view of the firm’s financial health also may stem from faulty accounts receivable valuations. If uncollectible accounts aren’t routinely written off, management may fail to intervene with more stringent credit and collections policies — until it’s too late.

Disregarding customer complaints. No one likes criticism. But failing to listen to the grumblings of the folks who rent or buy your products and services can lead to adverse publicity, lost sales, and, eventually, bankruptcy. It’s crucial to determine why customer expectations haven’t been met, especially when the same complaints surface from different segments of your customer base. Perhaps your product line needs to be expanded, your existing products tweaked, or your prices lowered to a more competitive level.

Turning a blind eye to cash. Preparing a quarterly cash forecast shouldn’t be considered optional. Such a forecast will show expectations for each major source of cash, as well as detailed projections of expenses. Updating this forecast weekly, by comparing actual performance with original expectations, can help management adjust quickly to changing conditions. Managers need to routinely evaluate where cash is coming from, where it’s flowing, and how much is needed to keep the company afloat. Compiled financial statements prepared on a quarterly basis are a great tool for examining the financial health of your business.

Living beyond the company’s means. A penchant for fancy cars, fine dining, season tickets, and other corporate perks may not capsize a company if adequate revenues exist. But when business income is stagnant or declining, managers may need to take a hard look at costs. In some cases, payroll expenses may need to be reduced to better align with revenues. Superfluous real estate, luxury sedans, or outdated equipment may need to be sold to reduce debt and bolster cash balances.

Spending to avoid tax liability. Surprisingly, some small businesses spend purely to spend. There are many small businesses just starting up that spend their profits on things they don’t need right then simply to avoid tax liability. For example: If you made $50,000 in net profit, you’ll owe around $10,000 to $15,000 in taxes. Some businesses would rather spend their earnings than see their hard-earned money go to taxes, but sometimes this may not be the best choice for a small business. A business should absolutely make necessary investments, and take the tax deduction for it, but spending unnecessarily just to avoid taxes is not always the wisest decision.

Karin Langwasser, CPA and Cindy Agostini, EA have over 25 years of experience and are experts in financial planning and small business tax strategizing. If you’d like help assessing the financial health of your business, please feel free to contact Langwasser & Co., CPAs at (909) 931-9080.

Kari Langwasser Karin is a mentor to business owners, entrepreneurs, and startup companies on how to create successful business strategies in today’s economic environment, so they can thrive instead of just survive. Not only has she been a CPA for over 20 years, she also has experience as a successful managing partner. She has 5 active licenses in a variety of financial fields. She is a proactive, holistic accountant who truly cares about her clients. “Here at Langwasser & Co. we treat our clients like family.” Karin gets the big picture and thinks outside the box. She does more than crunch numbers…she is a trusted advisor who uses wisdom and experience to find ways to manage, save, and protect her client’s money. Langwasser & Company, CPAs has been in business for over 20 years. Our firm has exceeded our clients’ expectations with holistic solutions that are custom tailored to their specific needs. No matter how new or established a company is, or how large or small an individual’s needs may be, we have the experience and drive to satisfy every question with an answer and every problem with a solution. We invite you to give us the opportunity to provide you with the highest level of customer service and business knowledge to best cater to your needs. Experience the Langwasser & Company, CPAs difference by contacting our office today at (909) 931-9080.

To LLC, or NOT to LLC…that is the question…by Shari Alexander

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Most business owners’ primary reason to form a business is to safeguard their personal assets by separating them from their business liabilities.  When a corporation or LLC is properly formed and maintained, the business owner creates a shield from lawsuits that could otherwise adversely affect their personal assets such as their home, savings or even their car. While asset protection is the cornerstone reason for most business owners, there are numerous advantages to forming a California LLC or Corporation.

LLCs and Corporations provide these advantages

  • Increased Personal Privacy
  • Tax Planning
  • Marketability
  • Business Flexibility
  • Raising Business Capital
  • Continuity of the life of the business entity

  • LLCs provide additional advantages such as:
  • No Federal Income Tax on an LLC
  • Flexibility of allocating income and tax deductions among members
  • Members can have management responsibility
  • Minimal limitations on shareholder qualifications
  • Multiple ownership levels are possible

  • It is important to note that when forming a California LLC or Corporation, the California Franchise Tax Board will require a minimum annual franchise tax of $800. Additionally, a Business License or Health Certificate may be required depending on the type of business and the location. It is always a good idea to consult with the local tax authority and your tax professional when starting a business in California. I can assist with forming your LLC. My services would include filing your formation paperwork with the California Secretary of State, obtaining your Federal Identification Number, drafting your Operating Agreement and Organizational Minutes and coordinating the filing of the first Statement of Information – my services would be $400 plus the costs of filing:

    Filing Fee for certified Articles of Organization – $75
    Over the Counter Fee – $15
    Filing Fee for certified Statement of Information – $26
    Optional Corporate Binder – $90

    by Shari Alexander