How to Successfully Start a Pool Cleaning Business
Early mornings, a flexible schedule, and having your truck in the driveway by 3PM are all great reasons to own a pool service business. Do you have what it takes to get your pool and spa service business off the ground?
In this guide you’ll learn about the most important business fundamentals for this industry so you can be successful. These tips come straight from the source: numerous experts shared years of wisdom, learnings, and experience with us so you can be successful in this industry.
We’re going to share six important steps to follow when it comes down to starting this business on the right foot.
6 Steps to Starting a Pool Cleaning Business:
- Get educational and technical experience from other experts before you start.
- Learn everything you can about chemistry.
- Get the right field service management software in place, like a CRM.
- Start working on your business etiquette and customer service diligence.
- Build a brand to help your marketing strategy liftoff.
- Get the business technicalities out of the way before you hit the pavement running.
1. Get pool cleaning and service experience
This might be a bit of a buzzkill, but you shouldn’t start a pool business unless you have previous experience in this industry. Nearly every pool expert we spoke to affirmed the importance of getting experience or training before diving in.
Bill Andreieux, Owner of Everclear Pool Service and Repair, stresses “training, training and more training,” before starting up a business, marketing, and gathering clients.
“Get yourself educated on what you’re doing. You don’t want to go out there and try and collect customers without a knowledge of the business. Online training, manufacturer training, anything you can find to get yourself up to speed on what you’re going to be doing out there.”
Get yourself educated on what you’re doing. You don’t want to go out there and try and collect customers without a knowledge of the business.
There are lots of ways to gain experience. Two great ways to get experience include working with others, getting your experience in the field, and also networking with industry experts. Of course, a combination of both methods will put you in the best position to be successful. Try networking around town and talking to people to find the best experts around.
Daniel Conley, owner of Exceptionally Clear Pools, recommends the former. “Get as much experience in the field before you actually start or start working for yourself. Try working for somebody for a while first, so you can get the skills and learn the ins and outs of the business with somebody else before having to learn it by yourself.”
Benjamin Schmalz, Lead Pool Service Technician at Clearwater Services Incorporated, recommends the latter. He says it led to a successful and stable career under a seasoned expert. “Talk to people who have been doing it for a long time. Learn anything you can from them. I got lucky, my boss has 30 yea
Get as much experience in the field before you actually start or start working for yourself.
2. Know your pool and spa chemistry
Chemistry isn’t just a highschool or college course in this industry. You can’t start a pool business until you understand water chemistry for pools.
You can take classes at conferences, talk to local professionals, or do some research to brush up your chemistry skills. If you’re really green around the ears, don’t be afraid to learn from another expert. Ask around town, join a business meetup, or walk into a local pool chemical supply store and ask questions. Lots of people are willing to talk.
Don’t skip this step––it could cost you your reputation, or lots of cash in wasted chemicals!
3. Get a good client relationship manager (CRM)
Outfitting your new business with tech might not be on the forefront of your mind, but it will help get you on the track for success. If you don’t agree, take some advice from Hal Denbar, CEO of Patriot Pools, in Austin, Texas.
Today, Hal’s on track to owning the largest single location pool service provider in America. He didn’t get there by fluke. He spent a lot of time massaging out processes to ensure his business was running efficiently.
Jobber was part of the reason why we were able to grow from three to 35 employees in less than five years.
Hal says that having a Field Service Management Software, like Jobber, was crucial to his company’s success. It helped keep his team on the same page and make sure that important customer service details weren’t overlooked.
“Jobber was part of the reason why we were able to grow from three to 35 employees in less than five years. Without it, our growth wouldn’t have been entirely possible, or as easy as it has been. It’s been a missing puzzle piece that allowed our growth to happen,” Hal explains.
How did Hal get where he is today?
Read Patriot Pool's story
Learn his tricks of the trade that led to his successLearn more
You need a reliable way to keep track of important details like client property information, invoicing history, work history, detailed technician notes, and photos. It’s helpful for team transparency, troubleshooting, and staying on the ball with invoicing.
4. Practice diligence and customer service from day one
Customer service is what separates the winning pool service businesses from losing ones. Randy Mahler, President of Oceanview Pools LLC, explains why so many professionals fail, and how simple it is to succeed.
“Show up on time and do what you said you’re going to do. If you do what you say you’re going to do, and show up when you say it again to show up, you’re going to beat 80% of the guys in this business.”
Customer service doesn’t need to be daunting. It can be as simple as asking your clients what they want. At the end of the day, if you can tailor their experience, you’re going to sell more than anyone in town.
Show up on time and do what you said you're going to do. You're going to beat 80% of the guys in this business.
Here’s where you should start:
- Show up on time.
If you’re struggling with time management then practice arriving to your personal appointments early, meticulously schedule your day-to-day, and set timers to understand how long it takes you to complete each task. When you’re ready, adopt this into your business schedule. When you’re ready to stay true to your word, give each client a call (or send them an automatic appointment reminder from Jobber) and let them know what time you’re going to be at their home to service their pool.
- Make an effort to communicate.
Whether you can catch your clients before the appointment or maybe after you wrap, a bit of effort in communicating with your clients will go a long way. If you can’t reach them, make sure you’re making an effort to explain what you did during the service. If you didn’t see them, then shoot them an email update after each service appointment, or leave them a hand-written note in their mailbox with an update.
- Take time to educate your clients.
Spend time during your service calls to talk to your clients about their unique pool needs. Explain why you are using certain chemicals and which ones are best for their needs. You’re more likely to stand out when you put in a bit of effort to form a relationship and show them that you’re truly an expert on the subject matter.
- Don’t take on too much when you make a route.
You might be tempted to jam pack each day with homes, but always remember that quantity affects your service quality. If you can’t provide quality service to your clients, then word might get out around town.
4 Customer Service Tips When You Get Started
- Show up on time.
- Make an effort to communicate.
- Take the time to educate your clients.
- Don’t take on too much when you make a route.
5. Build a brand for your business
Branding adds an easy level of professionalism and a marketing boost to your business. Plus, it comes in so many forms: uniforms, vehicle wraps, business cards, invoices, and customer service standards.
You should focus on branding right off the bat, even if you’re not quite ready to start marketing your business. It’s an essential component to your business plan because it helps you build your reputation in your community.
Here’s what you should focus on:
Firm up your company name and logo
Choose a professional name and logo for your pool business. You can choose your name based on your city, your work ethic, company values, or a great pun. For example: Crystal Clear Pools Austin, or Deep Water Grand Rapids.
Make sure you’re happy with it because your company name should appear across your website, company van, uniforms, invoices, and business cards.
If you’re looking to design a logo for your business you can try Canva or Looka. These websites help you create your own logo and put it on your marketing materials and website. However, if you’re not design-savvy, then consider hiring a local designer or branding agency to help you out. This option is more pricey.
Differentiate your company with a solid value proposition
There’s a lot of competition in the pool service industry, so what are you doing that’s different? What value do you bring to the table? The answers to these questions is called your value proposition.
It’s the unique offering you bring to the market.
The key here is to offer something that others can’t bring to the table, or offer something that is missing from the current pool service marketplace in your city.
For example, you could offer the best customer service in town (Just like Hal Denbar from Patriot Pools), or maybe you’re open to offering an algae-free guarantee.
Work with your passions, strengths, and gaps in the market to determine how you can stand out from the crowd and attract more customers. You can even use your value proposition in your marketing materials and branding to help you get more interest!
Create a strong website
Start by purchasing a custom domain from websites like GoDaddy, Squarespace, or Wix. Make sure that you include your company name in the URL. Some of these domain hosts also offer email domains too, which allows you to brand your email address with your company name.
Although purchasing a customer domain and email domain are an effective and professional investment, you can opt to get your business online with a free Google MyBusiness account and Facebook Business Page.
The point here is to get your business online and provide your prospects with a place they can get in touch with you, find your contact information, put in a work request, and view your client reviews.
After you’ve picked a domain and a web host, you’re going to want to build a knockout website that helps your prospects connect to you and book appointments. Start by checking out this fantastic website building guide. Once you get the basics down, you can start experimenting with custom code to help you get your website where you want it to be. However, if you don’t have the time and energy to build a website, you can hire a local web developer to help you get the website of your dreams.
Brand your vehicles and uniforms with your logo, contact, and business name
It might seem like a small detail, but company branding is a big deal. Randy Mahler, President of Oceanview Pools LLC, says that it’s one thing that helps distinguish you from the guy who looks like the kid with the lawnmower wanting five bucks to mow your lawn. “You want to be a professional. Signage on your vehicle and shirts that identify is always good.” Randy says that it helps you show clients that you are there to do business.”
It’s always a great option to work with a local design and print shop who can help you knock it out of the park.
5 Steps to branding your pool service business:
- Firm up your company name
- Get a logo
- Differentiate your company with a solid value proposition
- Create a strong website
- Brand your vehicles and uniforms with your logo
6. Get the technical business out of the way
Before you hit the road and start working, make sure that you have some of the technical parts of starting a business out of the way so you don’t run into problems down the line.
Two of the most important things to get out of the way are establishing as an LLC and registering your business with your local government. You’ll likely need a business address to do this, so consider purchasing or renting a P.O. box. Becoming an LLC is important as it protects your personal assets and separates your from your business assets (in case you damage property, for example). Being a registered business in your city is important for legal reasons, too. Both help you keep your business by the book.
Did we miss anything? What would you recommend to others who are hoping to start a pool service business? Share below in the comments section!