HOW TO BECOME A POOL GUY/GAL:
I start with the basic four qualities you need to be successful in the business. The first is you need to be a hard worker. This job is not for everyone. There is weather to deal with, wind, rain, heat, humidity, snow. You are doing physical labor all day long. I did a calorie count test and input the amount of weight I lifted all day and added in a rowing machine which is close to skimming the pool all day
and found I burned over 2000 calories per day. It can be rigorous. So if you don't like hard work or working in 100 degree weather, this job might not be for you.
A book I read years ago helped me and it might help you also is called The Go-Getter: A Story That Tells You How To Be One by Peter B. Kyne. It was first published in 1921. This book will give you a good lesson on what it takes to be successful.
I focus on not being lazy because this is one job that if you cut corners it will come back to bite you. A pool can turn from clear blue to a nice shade of green within a week in the Summer time. So if you don't do things with diligence you will be doing twice the work later. When I was formally trained way back in 1988 at the age of 16 the guy that taught me everything would say to me all the time that “You can't be lazy out here” - and it has stuck with me. So many problems can be avoided with hard work and attending to things right away.
You can learn the trade by watching my YouTube videos and by taking courses in your local area if they are offered. A great way to make sure you are qualified and ready is to get CPO certified. This National certification teaches pool professionals how to properly maintain their pool in accordance with state regulations and industry standards. You can get CPO certified through NSPF – National Swimming Pool Foundation. They also offer Online programs.
Here is their website for more info or you can also call them for more info: 719-540-9119
People skills are essential because you are running a service business and are providing a specific “work” in return for payment. You are not selling a product, the product is you and the service you provide. So you will make mistakes and customers will get mad and you will need to develop good people skills.
I take the trash cans in for some customers, drop off the newspaper in the driveway at their front porch, watch their house and feed their dogs when they are on vacation. Customers trust me so much that they will leave their house unlocked so I can enter and reprogram their automated system when they are at work. There are even customers that wait for me each week so we can chat. Every Christmas I give them a Christmas card and a gift. So remember you are providing a service and not just doing a job.
Good solid business skills are essential. You are in business to make money and you are not just out there “spinning your wheels.” So you need to learn how to draw up a business plan which includes charging enough per pool so that you actually turn a profit. Prices for service vary from region to region so it is up to you to set the best price for your area. It is not smart business practice to undercut your competition because they are probably charging what is needed to turn a profit and if you charge less... instead offer better service for the same price.
Getting your personal finances in order is a great way to get your business finances in order. A great resource that I used successfully was the Dave Ramsey plan to become Debt Free myself. Learning how to run your finances is critical and if you can't manage your personal finances you certainly won't be able to manage your business finances.
The last point I make is being an Honest person. Being a person of Integrity takes a lot of effort. I was never taught as a youngster the value of being honest, so I had to learn it as an adult.
If you lie to your customers and they find out, your reputation will be damaged. And in the service business, your reputation is everything. I was going to put a pool light in for a customer and discovered that the breaker was simply off. I could have charged the $180 and they would not be the wiser. But I sent them a text message informing them of the good news. I've charged up a D.E. Filter and left the backwash valve open, resulting in 5 lbs of D.E. going back into the pool when I corrected the mistake. I could have told the customer there was a torn grid, instead, I told them of my mistake. It took two weeks to get rid of all the D.E, but they respected me for being honest even though their pool was a mess. Honesty is the best policy.
So how do you get started in the business? You can get a truck, open an account at POOLCORP the parent company of SCP and Superior Pool Products and get your equipment and chemicals. Then you can solicit for accounts to service. This is a hard way to get started but doable if you start part-time and build up a route while working at another job. Over time you can build up a good business.
You can also work for a pool company for a year or two and learn the trade. This is also a good method and you can learn a lot that will help you later when you are on your own. Typically you sign a non-compete clause so you will have to get accounts out of the area you are currently working in. This is also a good way to see if you actually like the work and typically I say work a complete season so you know for sure. You might even like working for a company long term and it can provide a very good income.
You can also purchase a full or partial pool route from a Pool Service Broker. You basically purchase pools in your area. If you have the money to invest this is a great way to do it. Look at it like purchasing a business. If you started building a pool route from scratch and already know the trade, this is a great way to make your route bigger and bring in more income. In many cases buying pools makes sense.
To talk to an expert in this field you can contact National Pool Route Sales at 877-766-5757.
I also mention in the video that it is essential that you get a good Liability Insurance Policy. This will protect you from lawsuits if you do make a mistake that damages the customers property or person. For instance you add water to the customers pool and forget to turn it off. It floods their house and causes $30,000 in damage. They sue you for $30,000 and you are out of business. Instead , get a policy for less than $80 a month that will transfer the risk from you to the insurance company. It is just good business sense and you will sleep better at night. There are a few to chose from but I use SPPA, they are affordable and offer monthly payments. I highly recommend them.
Call them at 1-877-599-SPPA
No matter if you have 100 pools or 30 pools – get insured today.
So becoming a pool service professional is a great career choice and I hope you found this helpful. Start today and in five years you will be in a great place financially.