Publication: Small Business Trends  |  By: Annie Pilon

Protecting kids is a worthy goal for any business. And that’s exactly what Life Saver Pool Fence aims to achieve with its line of protective pool equipment. Read more about the business and its mission in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

What the Business Does

Sells pool safety equipment.

President Eric Lupton told Small Business Trends, “We sell layers of protection against drowning, the #1 cause of death for American kids age 1-4. Our main product is a high-quality removable mesh pool fence that’s backed by a 100-year warranty. We also carry self-closing, self-locking gates, various types of alarms, pool safety covers, and an AI camera monitoring system.”

Business Niche

Taking concrete steps that help families prevent drowning.

Lupton says, “Our mesh is of the highest quality and the fence poles, proven to be the strongest on the market, are patented to Life Saver. And we don’t just install a fence and walk away; we educate families on layers of protection and all the extra things they can do to protect children and animals from their pool. Life Saver donates installed fencing to families who have experienced a fatal or non-fatal drowning, and contributes financial support to every water safety awareness event in the country that asks. Our CEO is a nationally known leader in the drowning prevention world; many of our employees, dealers, and franchisees either work with a water safety nonprofit or have started one of their one.”

Spotlight: Life Saver Pool Fence Aims to Save Lives with Quality Pool Products

How the Business Got Started

As a small, family business.

Lupton adds, “My parents started the business in 1987, out of our garage. My mom answered phones and took care of my brother and me during the day and sewed fencing at night. My dad did a paper route to get money for advertising, then sold and installed fences during the day. The business grew, and I took over the day-to-day operations when my dad retired in 2003. I was 21. I am CEO now, and my younger brother is VP of Research & Development.”

Biggest Win

Establishing an online presence early.

Lupton explains, “Life Saver’s biggest win is probably how early we established an online presence. When I was still in high school, my friend and I started a business building websites and writing marketing copy. One of our first clients was Life Saver; I secured a domain name and launched the Life Saver website in 1998 when the web was young. That early presence really helped to establish us as a leader in the industry — anyone could go online and see that we’d already been in business for more than a decade and had a nationwide network of authorized dealers that was still growing. Several customers became dealers themselves after finding us online and buying a fence.”

Biggest Risk

Investing in quality.

Lupton says, “In 2008, when the U.S. economy took a nosedive and our competitors began finding ways to cut costs, it became a race to see who could produce the most cheaply made pool fence — a race to the bottom. I did NOT want to win that race and find myself producing terrible fence that I didn’t trust, so I decided to do the opposite… spend money to produce the highest-quality pool fence on the market.

“We had to raise our prices to compensate, so we were risking turning customers away from Life Saver, but instead they responded really well. It turns out that high quality is something that people are willing to pay a little more for, especially when it comes to protecting their kids! Taking that risk made it clear that Life Saver is seriously dedicated to its mission of eradicating childhood drowning and that is what makes us stand apart from our competitors, to this day.”

Spotlight: Life Saver Pool Fence Aims to Save Lives with Quality Pool Products

Lesson Learned

Surround yourself with quality people.

Lupton adds, “Nearly all of the office employees were friends of mine before they became employees. I spend a lot of time at work, so why wouldn’t I surround myself with capable people that I already enjoy being around?”

Team Tradition

Daily lunch outings.

Lupton says, “We actually all have lunch together every day, and we take turns choosing the food. We’re in South Florida, so sushi and Cuban food are definite favorites!”

Publication: Small Business Trends  |  By: Annie Pilon