Matt McMillan, director of sales and marketing for Cover Valet, says the “beefed up” version — called the Cover Valet Pro — has more raw material within the product and an upgraded overall fit and finish. The Pro also features reinforced all-aluminum construction, attractive packaging and easy installation for delivery crews. “We have also simplified the offering for the Pro… one model for square and rectangular hot tubs up to 106 inches,” he says. Contrastively, the standard Cover Valet has two different shock strength options — over 96 inches and under 96 inches — depending upon the size of the hot tub.
“…The Cover Valet Pro has dual gas shocks and a full center bar spanning the cover seam. The lifter is cabinet-mount or deck-mount applicable and comes with all parts needed for either installation. Only 6 inches of rear clearance and 2 inches of side clearance (for mounting brackets) is required for operation. A five-year warranty is included with the Pro model.”
One of the more interesting aspects of the new Cover Valet Pro is its avenues of availability, which Cover Valet carefully planned. “We wanted to give our brick-and-mortar dealers a product that will have a limited online presence, giving the product exclusivity while increasing dealer profits,” McMillan says.
Among its dealers, McMillan says the Cover Valet Pro has been well received. “Despite offering limited availability through distribution to reduce online sales/fulfillment, dealer feedback and overall sales continue to outpace our expectations,” McMillan says.
top-mount, low-clearance lifter.
John Easton of Ace Swim & Leisure in Rochester, New York, has noticed multiple improvements from the original Cover Valet system, including that it is easier to assemble. “The cover was more stable when put on and taken off the spa [using the lifter],” he says. “We have not been disappointed.”
Easton says any time a product is not sold online, it is a benefit to brick-and-mortar stores. “Our salespeople spend a lot of time selling their products to customers, only to have them purchased online if we are not supported by our manufacturers,” he says. “We should not be considered showrooms for online retailers.”
The Cover Valet Pro’s stability has impressed Easton. “Having the bar go all the way across the spa cover helps prevent damage to the cover that we used to occasionally see with the standard Cover Valet,” he says, adding that the Pro model “operates smoother and seems to have less torque on the spa skirt.”
Ken Smith of Niagara Pools & Spas, based in New Jersey, echoes the sentiments about smooth operation.
“Customers like the ease of handling the Cover Valet Pro. It’s best selling-point is the hydraulic pistons, which make the cover easier to handle.”
While he believes it is a good value for the price, Smith says the Cover Valet Pro will only gain traction if installed by a professional hot tub company. “Because installing this style of lifter requires drilling into the side of a hot tub, the average homeowner has no idea about the framing on his/her hot tub,” he says. “Most will shy away from installing this themselves, making aftermarket sales challenging.” Both the original Cover Valet and the Cover Valet Pro are available for purchase. “For now, we will continue to offer the original Cover Valet in conjunction with the Pro for the foreseeable future,” McMillan says. “That said, a number of dealers have switched over exclusively to the Pro for their top-mount, low-clearance lifter.”