Pool Service Business Tips: What We Learned at WPSS
We asked experts in the pool service business to share their biggest learnings from running a business and attending the Western Pool and Spa Show.
We spent March 21-23, 2019 in Long Beach, California at the Western Pool and Spa Show. It’s is one of the largest pool service industry trade shows of the year—with a schedule filled with classes for everyone from the beginner single poler to the advanced pro. Add to that an expansive exhibit floor and the show is three busy days of learning tips and tricks, getting up close demos of new tools, and of course, meeting other people in your field.
While at WPSS, we asked a few attendees for their biggest takeaways—and we have a few of our own as well.
What we learned at the Western Pool and Spa Show:
1. It’s all about chemistry. Proper water chemistry can also help you be proactive when it comes to persistent issues like algae—and having a preventative maintenance routine could save you from being surprised by an algae bloom. “When it comes to balancing your water chemistry and everything, I learned that the alkalinity plays a lot bigger role in everything that you do,” Justin Samuels, a pool technician from Shotwell Pools and Spa shared. He learned that maintaining your pH levels is a lifesaver. “Just makes the job easier, so when you go to the pool, you don’t have to get surprised by an algae attack or things like that.”
2. Test with yourself first, clients second. Bob Dunn, the owner of Cool Blue Pool Service says testing a product in his own pool makes him more confident in his solutions and leads to less headaches. “I’m confident about how the product works instead of just throwing it out there and learning on the fly. Instead, I use it for six months, sometimes a year, and then if it works great, then we’re off and running. It just helps my customers put more confidence in me. That’s huge. And, when I do recommend something, they’re much quicker to say, ‘Yeah, let’s do that,’ because everything else has worked in the past. I don’t have customers who leave me. “
3. Train before you start building your client base. “Training, training and more training,” is Bill Andreieux, Owner of Everclear Pool Service and Repair’s most important tip for someone starting out. “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 gonna be doing out there.”
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4. A good brand can help your hire better staff. Moly, a member of Jobber’s marketing team took away a key point for the hiring process, thanks to a great talk at our booth by the Pool Chasers. “That you need to market your business toward potential employees as much as you need to market toward potential customers. When people are job searching and look you up on social media or the internet, the prospect of joining your team is going to be much more compelling if they see a smart looking uniform and clean trucks and equipment.”
5. Show up on time and be understanding if customers miss an appointment. Even when you remind a customer, they might not be there when they need to be. Charles Dunbar, the owner of Dunbar’s Pool Service, says you need to be forgiving. “Customers are really impressed when you show up on time. And wait ten minutes for the customer, and then leave a door-knocker saying sorry we missed them.”
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6. Make customers feel heard. Brittanie West, an office manager for A Clear Choice Pool and Spa Services Inc., knows the value of being seen as someone who lives up to their brand. “It’s really important that you say what you’re going to do and you do it and make sure that you’re following up with the customers and things like that. They’re being heard, that’s the biggest thing. Because customers want to be heard with their concerns.“
7. Word of mouth is important, so impress your customers. Brittney, our Social Media Manager, was impressed by how important word of mouth is—and considers your social media presence as part of that. “Know what separates you from the competition. Having a strong brand and being professional is key to impressing your customers and getting referrals for future customers. Word of mouth is still the top way for pool cleaning businesses to grow, so you want to make sure that your customers are happy and would vouch for you. Set the bar high, but also keep hitting that bar. You need to present yourself as knowledgeable, professional, and above all: show up!”
8. Relationships are important. Megan, a member of Jobber’s sales team, learned just how important building strong relationships can be. “The pool care industry really works hard to cater to their customers by providing various invoicing options, service schedule options, and lots of transparency. The quality of the relationships with their customers are just as important as the quality of work.”
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9. When all else fails, a great software like Jobber can help. Nathan White, Repair Manager at Patriot Pool and Spa shares how having the ability to get information from his team in the field can help him answer calls no matter where he is. Nathan uses Jobber and it helps him provide industry leading customer service. “Techs on site take pictures, take notes, and put them in jobs. So, if a customer calls in and asks me a question, I can actually pull up a job, see a picture of it, understand exactly what they are talking about, and easily give them directions. I’ll say, ‘pull that yellow lever,’ and they’ll be like, ‘where are you?!’ I’m actually looking at it from the office, and we can get it fixed.”.
How this Pool Service Business Grew 9x in Less than 5 years
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More Things We Learned At WPSS
Missed this year’s show and hoping to grab a few learnings? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! At the Western Pool and Spa Show, we also hosted two panels with Greg and Tyler of the Pool Chasers. If you missed them, you can still watch our recordings on Professionalism: What We Learned While Running A Service Company and Company Culture: Appealing To A New Generation on our Facebook Page.