Pool Pro Panel: Tips on Succeeding in the Pool Industry & Customer Relations

Everyone has to start somewhere. In the pool industry, it can sometimes be a long haul to reach your goals. And there is the added fact that we are in customer service whether you see it that way or not. One aspect is the pool service and the other is customer relations. I sat down with 6 of my group members and we talked about their successes and failures.

The members of the panel are:
Karl in Sacramento and owner of Pool Ninja Pool & Spa Service
Dean in Chandler AZ of Big Family Pools
Lance in Tucson AZ of Southwest Pool Service
Brennen in San Diego CA of Blue River Pool & Spa
Chris in Tampa FL of Pool Guardians
John in Coachella Valley of J&J Flawless Pools

Each member has a unique background and also services a different area so the challenges although similar do differ. All are excellent examples of successful pool service pros.

Here are some qualities that I think you need to be successful in the industry:
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.

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.

You need to be 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.

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