Pool Guy (Gal) Basic Training Series
When you are first starting out in the business it is very easy to make mistakes and, in this article, I am going to share a few of the most common that I see. Even a simple mistake can cost you money and if you make multiple mistakes you can lose some service accounts or lose the bid on new accounts.
Many mistakes can be made during the bidding process. You get a call to come out and estimate an account for service. You show up and meet the customer. You don’t land the account. Why would this happen? Here are some common mistakes:
You were not polite and did not sell yourself properly. Always greet the customer with good manners and smile, “Hi Mr. Jones or Hello sir,” and then shake their hand. Make good eye contact and dress professionally.
Maybe you talked too much. Or asked too many personal questions making the client feel uncomfortable. Or talked too much about yourself. You want to keep the conversation on the pool and your service rates. Drifting too much out of a set script and you can talk your way out of a deal.
Also, make the bid concise with everything disclosed. For example: “For a pool your size it will be $90 per month. This includes the Acid and Liquid Chlorine but does not including any Conditioner, 3” Tablets or other chemicals. Those would be charged to you each month separately when needed. There is also, an $85 filter cleaning charge and I clean all the filters twice a year in March and then again in September. If your filter needs additional cleaning, there will be an additional $85 charge at the time of that cleaning.”
You don’t want the customer to question a charge on their bill in the first few months of service and become disenchanted with you. So be upfront about all the charges.
Another common mistake is underbidding the service account. Look carefully at all the factors around the service account. Large trees surrounding the pool will mean more time each week cleaning the pool. Pool running on poor or old equipment will mean more chemical usage. No automatic cleaner means you will be vacuuming the pool more often. A very large pool takes more time and chemicals. All of this should be quickly assessed and factored into the bid. If you bid too low, it is hard to come back the next month and tell the customer it will be $20 more per month. That doesn’t go over very well.
You are also assessing the potential client during the biding process. Is the customer someone you can work with long term or are there some red flags? Here are some red flags to look for:
Potential customer is rude and short with you.
They seem very demanding or overly picky.
The equipment is old and needs to be replaced but customer doesn’t want to invest in new equipment.
They complain endlessly about the previous service company.
They try to cut your service rate down when you give them your bid amount.
One even asked me one time, “Is it legal for my previous pool service to put a lien on my house for non-payment?” Not kidding.
And finally, don’t touch anything. Don’t open pump lids, don’t open the filter tank or filter air relief. Don’t touch the Automated System. Don’t pull the cleaner to the side to inspect it. It probably won’t happen, but chances are something could break at that very moment. Or you might have trouble putting the pump lid back on. Or the cleaner hose will snap as you pull it to the side. It is not your service account yet, so hands off. After you land the account then if something breaks you can fix it. I had this happen to me, so you are better off just standing by the pool with your hands in your pockets.
There are many more things that you can do wrong but if you avoid these mistakes chances are you will land the service account.