You believe this is the right time to start a pool cleaning business or expand your services to meet the growing demand caused by the pandemic and the arrival of summer.
You know that just being the best pool cleaning service provider will not cut it; there is so much more to building a profitable pool cleaning business from scratch. With tons of resources floating around the web about starting your own pool cleaning business, it is easy to get overwhelmed, but don’t worry.
This comprehensive guide will cover everything you need to know about setting up and growing a pool cleaning business. From understanding the industry and water chemicals to purchasing the right pool cleaning equipment. Here is a thirteen-step guide on starting a pool cleaning business and everything you need to create a pool cleaning business plan.
Why start a pool cleaning business?
Did you know that there are around 80,529 pool cleaning businesses in the US as of 2021? That is a 6.9% increase from the previous year. Recent research on the swimming pool industry shows an expected bounce back from previous revenue declines with predictions to experience steady growth.
How to start a pool cleaning business
Get the right training from the right expert
While this may sound absurd, you should not start a pool cleaning business unless you have hands-on, professional pool cleaning experience. All pool cleaning experts agree that you need to get some previous experience in the industry if you aspire to strike gold.
Relevant experience and training will come in handy when things go awry during the initial startup days. In addition to giving you the expertise necessary to run your business, proper training helps with market awareness. Knowing market conditions makes it much easier to understand what opportunities are available and which ones are appropriate for you.
Networking with industry experts and influencers will give you the edge you need to succeed in the industry.
Working for someone else in the pool industry before starting your own business will acquaint you with the ups and downs of the industry without having to get your hands dirty.
Understand the technical aspects of pool cleaning
Maintaining a clean pool is anything but easy. It is not just about cleaning the pool with the right chemicals and filling the pool to the brim with clean water. You risk ruining the reputation of your business if you do not ensure that the pool does not become a breeding ground for algae and other microorganisms.
While a sanitizer may keep your pool from turning into a black lagoon filled with pollutants, it is not the only pool chemical you will ever use.
You will be using many chemicals and minerals to ensure a safe swimming environment. Among these are chlorine (stabilized and unstabilized), cyanuric acid, algaecide, clarifier and flocculant, chloramines, bromine, biguanide, baking soda, pH increaser. Each of these serves a function, but they all work together to ensure that the pH level, alkalinity, and calcium hardness levels are balanced enough for people to swim safely.
Research your competitors and how they operate
Learning about your competitors is phase zero of your market research. Instead of doing all your research from the ground up, assessing your competitors and learning everything you can about them will give you a competitive edge in the days to come.
Educating yourself on the product and services offered by your competition and assessing their weaknesses and strengths will help you develop a better attack plan and help you compete with them. This research can help you create better service offerings with exclusive features to attract more customers, outwit your competition, and win you the war for business.
Plan ahead for your financial needs
Starting a pool cleaning business from scratch comes with expenditures. As much as you might love your company, you cannot continuously spend cash out of your own pocket to keep your company afloat unless your resources are unlimited. So, before you kick start a venture of your own, figure out how you can keep it operating as smoothly as possible. Locate external sources of funding that will help cover all your business expenses—from startup investment to staff wages and equipment expenses.
Unless you are set on self-financing your business, start exploring options like venture capital funding, angel investment, bank loans, grants, and other startup schemes. You might even consider friends and family investing in your venture.
Complete all legal formalities
Dealing with legal hurdles is a necessary evil that every small business owner must contend with. While it may seem like all the legal formalities are just there to delay your launch further, most of them are created to protect the interests of a business like yours.
The first legal hoop you will jump through is determining your business registration type. Every small business must be registered either as a sole proprietorship company or a limited liability company. Also, obtaining a business license for your venture is essential to keep it operational within your geographic location. Most states have restrictions and demand proper licensing to operate a pool cleaning business.
Open a business bank account
Separating your business and personal finances can help business owners maintain long-term financial health. Opening a business account for deposits and withdrawals is an easy way for businesses to keep track of their expenses and liabilities. It also helps prove the legitimacy of your company.
In addition to protecting your personal identity and improving the image of your business, a business account can help build a business banking relationship which will come in handy when you need a loan. Tax preparation will be easier with a bank account dedicated to your business. Additionally, if you want to accept credit card payments, it is best to do this with a business account. It will make your accounting cleaner and come in handy should you ever want to sell your company.
All pool cleaning ventures need public liability insurance and professional indemnity to protect themselves from third-party claims like dissatisfied customers. The right type of insurance can protect your business’ image when people are affected as a result of your services.
Determine your service types and pricing
While it may be tempting to cast a wider net by offering a plethora of add-on services, offering too many specialized services can spread your resources thin. So, it is always better to determine the strength of your team and offer pool cleaning service types related to them.
Also, before you quote a price for your services, assess the pool to be cleaned. Understand how many hours it will take you to restore it to pristine condition. You can use the cost-plus pricing strategy and add a fixed percentage to your costs to provide your service.
Set up the foundation of your pool cleaning business
To start your pool cleaning business from scratch, you need to complete a checklist of items. These include: deciding on a business name, developing a website for your business, and registering your business on Google My Business for local reach.
Marketing your business over the Internet has never been more critical. Having a solid search marketing foundation for a website and Google business registry will offer various benefits that will increase in value exponentially year-over-year.
Invest in necessary pool cleaning equipment
As an individual pool cleaning business, you can’t always depend on your customers to have the right equipment at their place. Even if you cannot afford to provide each team member with their own cleaning gear, it is good to have some essential equipment in the company inventory that team members can check out while completing a job.
Listed below are some of the essential pieces of equipment required to clean pools:
- Leaf rakes
- pH test strips or Chlorine-pH test kits
- Disinfectants like chlorine
- Sanitizers (Alkaline or acid-based)
- Service vans or trucks
Keep in mind that you work outdoors
Since pool cleaning is an outdoor job, you need to have all your personal hygiene and outdoor gear ready to avoid being the victim of heatstroke. You may need to have water bottles, sunscreen, a hat, a swim cap, and a cooler at all times to battle the heat.
Additionally, you will need to ensure that all your cleaning staff have their safety gear with them and have apps like Accuweather and Weather Channel installed on their mobile devices to know in advance what type of day they can expect.
Ramp up your team and business
While it is easy to fly solo and manage all appointments yourselves, eventually, there will come a time when you need additional help to manage the business. But, before you go ahead and hire your first employee, there are a couple of things that you need to do, like filing documents and paying taxes to the government.
Before you get on a hiring spree, get an employer identification number. Once you have an employer identification number, register with your state’s labor department and get worker’s compensation insurance before setting up your payroll system to withhold taxes.
Creating an employee handbook and bringing a Non-Executive Director (NED) onboard may sound nice to have. But first, you need to ensure that you have checked all the “must-have” boxes. Filing IRS forms, posting required notices, and adopting necessary workplace safety measures are all essential to getting your business off on the correct foot.
Invest in pool service software
Initially, it may look like spreadsheets and online forms are doing great for your business. However, as you start to expand, you may need all the extra help you can get. The first place to find that help is by investing in pool service management software that simplifies your day-to-day operations efficiently.
Pool service software like Zuper can effortlessly help businesses create and maintain work orders with improved visibility and collaboration. With a centralized database to collect all work-order-related information, organizations are able to shorten service delivery timelines, reduce costs, and measure employee performance without human intervention.
Zuper’s inbuilt reporting module gives an accurate view of the complete process at any time and speeds up decision-making. 360-degree visibility and audit trails keep the pool service operation process transparent and reduce scheduling errors. Organizations can eliminate potential risks and compliance issues by automating pool service maintenance operations with Zuper.
Always bring your a-game to customer service
Gone are the days when customer service could be an afterthought. In today’s digital world, one negative customer review can spoil the reputation of a business and even shake the loyal customer base considerably.
While people often assume that customer service is merely completing a customer’s service request satisfactorily, in reality, that claim is far from the truth. Everything from maintaining good customer records to collecting ample amounts of customer feedback can make a difference in the customer service experience.
Organizations need to streamline their customer service strategy to stay ahead and get more out of customer relationships. Modern field service management solutions improve the customer experience across all touchpoints while mitigating risks and reducing costs.
Once you have spent several years working for other people in the industry and you have equipped yourself with a checklist of “to-do” items, you may be ready to start your own pool cleaning business. You have gained the experience, made the connections, and obtained the necessary tools, training, and knowledge to succeed.
You have won half the battle once your pool cleaning business is successfully running. Build on your success, keep looking for improvement and expansion opportunities, and address them with an eye toward long-term success as you transition from being an employee to becoming an employer.
Are you ready to kick start your venture? Have we missed an important item? Let us know in the comments section.