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 wouldn’t cut it, there is so much more to building a successful pool cleaning business from scratch. With tons of resources floating around the web about starting your own pool cleaning business, it is pretty easy to get overwhelmed, But don’t worry.
In this extensive guide, we’ll go over 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 13 step guide on starting a pool cleaning business and everything you will need to create a pool cleaning business plan.
Why start a pool cleaning business?
Did you know that there are around 80529 pool cleaning businesses in the US as of 2021 which is a 6.9% increase to the previous year. A recent research on swimming pool industry shows that the business is expected to bounce back from its previous revenue declines and experience steady growth.
How to start a pool cleaning business
Get the right training from the right expert
Understand the technical aspects of pool cleaning
Research your competitors and how they operate
Plan ahead for your financial needs
Complete all legal formalities
Open a business bank account
Determine your service types and pricing
Set up the foundation of your pool cleaning business
Invest in necessary pool cleaning equipment
Keep in mind that you work outdoors
Ramp up your team and business
Invest in pool service software
Always bring your a-game to customer service
Step 1: Get the right training from the right expert
While this may sound absurd, you shouldn’t really start a pool cleaning business unless you have hands-on, professional pool cleaning experience. All pool cleaning experts agree to the fact that you need to get some previous experience in the industry if you aspire to strike gold.
Having relevant experience and training will come in handy when things go awry during initial startup days. In addition to giving you the expertise to run the business, the right training will help bring you up to speed about the existing market conditions and opportunities that are up for grabs.
Networking with industry experts and influencers will give you the right amount of edge that you need to succeed in the industry.
Working for someone else in the pool industry before you start your own pool cleaning service will teach you the ups and downs of the industry without getting your hands dirty.
Step 2: 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 set of chemicals and filling the pool to the brim with clean water. You need to take efforts to ensure that the pool doesn’t become a breeding ground for algae and other microorganisms, else the reputation of your pool cleaning business will be up in tatters.
While a sanitizer may keep your pool from being turned into a black lagoon filled with pollutants, it is not the only pool chemical that you will ever use.
You need to add chlorine (stabilized and unstabilized), cyanuric acid, algaecide, clarifier and flocculant, chloramines, bromine, biguanide, baking soda, pH increaser, and other minerals to ensure that the pH level, alkalinity, and calcium hardness levels of the pool water is balanced enough to ensure a safe swimming environment.
Step 3: Research your competitors and how they operate
Learning about your competitors is the phase zero of your market research. Instead of doing all your research from the ground up, assessing your competitors, learning every little information about them will give you a competitive edge in the days to come.
Dissecting their product or service offerings and assessing their weakness and strengths will help you come up with a better plan to compete with them and take them head on. This research can help you put together a better service offering with exclusive features that will attract your customers and outwit your competition and bag you the war for business.
Step 4: Plan ahead for your financial needs
Starting a pool cleaning business from scratch comes with its own set of expenditure. As much as you wish to, you cannot keep spending cash out of your pocket to keep your business up and running, unless your pockets are bottomless pits of money.
So, before you plan to kick start your own venture, figure out how you can keep it running without any hiccups. You need to determine external sources of finance 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, you can start exploring options like venture capital funding, angel investment, bank loans, grants and other startup schemes, and even getting your friends and family to invest in your venture.
Step 5: Complete all legal formalities
Crossing the legal hurdle is a necessary evil that every small business owner must do. While it may look like all the legal formalities are just present to further delay your launch, almost all of them are created with the intention to protect the best interests of a small business like your pool cleaning startup.
The very first legal hurdle that you will have to face is to determine your business registration type. Every small business must be registered either as a sole proprietorship company or as a limited liability company. Also obtaining a business license for your venture is important to keep it operational within your geographic location as most states have restrictions and demand proper licensing to operate a pool cleaning business.
Step 6: Open a business bank account
Setting aside your business and personal finances separate can help business owners maintain long-term financial health. Opening a business deposit account is an easy way for businesses to keep track of their expenses and liabilities and provide proof that they are a legitimate pool cleaning business.
In addition to protecting your personal identity and improving the image of your business, a business deposit account can help build a business banking relationship which will come in handy when you need a loan for your business venture. Also, having a business bank account will simplify tax preparation, enable you to accept credit card payments, and come in handy when you want to sell your business.
All pool cleaning ventures need to have both public liability insurance and professional indemnity to protect themselves from third-party claims like dissatisfied customers. The right type of insurance has the ability to protect your business’ image when people are affected as a result of your services.
Step 7: 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 which needs to be cleaned. Understand how many hours you would need to spend to bring it up to a pristine condition. You can use the cost-plus pricing strategy where you add a fixed percentage to the costs incurred to provide your service.
Step 8: Set up the foundation of your pool cleaning business
In order to start your pool cleaning business from scratch, you need to complete a set of checkbox items like deciding on a business name, developing a website for your business, and registering your business on Google My Business for local reach.
It has never been more important to invest in marketing your business over the internet. Having a solid search marketing foundation in terms of a website and Google business registry will offer a variety of benefits that will increase in value exponentially year on year.
Step 9: Invest in necessary pool cleaning equipment
As an individual pool cleaning business, you can’t always depend on your customers to have the right pool cleaning equipment at their place. Even if you cannot afford to give your team an exclusive gear of cleaning equipment, it is a good practice to have a supply of basic pool cleaning equipment in your inventory.
Listed below are some of the basic pool cleaning equipments required:
- Leaf rakes
- pH test strips or Chlorine-pH test kits
- Disinfectants like chlorine
- Sanitizers (Alkaline or acid based)
- Service vans or trucks
Step 10: 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 if you don’t want to be the victim of a heat stroke. You may need to have a gear made up of water bottles, sunscreen, hat, swim cap, and a cooler all the time to battle the heat head first.
Additionally, you will need to ensure that all you pool cleaning staff have their safety gear in hand and have apps like Accuweather and Weather Channel installed in their mobile so that they know in advance what type of day they can look forward to.
Step 11: 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. However, 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.
Although there are a few nice-to-haves like creating an employee handbook and bringing a NED on board, you may have to ensure that you have checked all the must-haves like filing IRS forms, posting required notices, and adopting necessary workplace safety measures.
Step 12: Invest in pool service software
Initially, it may look like spreadsheets and online forms are doing great for your business. However, as your team and business starts to expand you may need all the extra help that you can get. The first avenue is having a pool service management software that simplifies your day-to-day operations efficiently.
Pool service software like Zuper can help businesses create and maintain work orders effortlessly with improved visibility and collaboration. With a centralized database to collect all work-order related information, organizations can shorten service delivery timeline, reduce costs, and measure employee performance without any 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 any scheduling errors. By automating pool service maintenance operations with Zuper, organizations can eliminate potential risks and compliance issues.
Step 13: Always bring your a-game to customer service
Gone are the days where pool cleaning businesses can take customer service as 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 it is often assumed that customer service is merely completing the service request of a customer to a satisfactory level, in reality, the claim is far from the truth. Everything from maintaining good customer records to collecting ample amounts of feedback from customers can make a difference in the field of customer service.
To stay ahead and derive more out of customer relationships, organizations need to streamline their customer service strategy. Modern field service management solutions improve customer experience across all touch points while mitigating risks and reducing costs.
After spending years working for other people in the pool service domain, equipped with a pool cleaning business startup checklist, you may be ready to start your own plumbing business. You have got the experience, the connections, the tools, the training, and the knowledge.
Once you get your pool cleaning business venture up and running, only half the battle is done. If you want to succeed on your own, keep looking for improvement and expansion opportunities and address them adequately as you take the leap from being an employee to becoming the employer.
Are you ready to kick start your venture? Have we missed an important item? Let us know in the comments section.