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(This story was written by Jan Thomas, from Austin Texas)
I am the owner of one of the best pool companies in my opinion. I started my business about six years ago and the business has doubled in profits almost every year since I started. This is a great business to be in, especially for me: First of all, I opened my business in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It is a great place to have a pool cleaning service for several reasons: 1.) It has a very high concentration of swimming pools; almost every house has a pool. 2.) It is an affluent area of Florida so the people have money to pay for the service, but because many of them are wealthy they expect exceptional service – so that is what I provide.
Obviously I had to get fully licensed and insured. But the hardest part of starting the pool cleaning service was getting the initial accounts. I found that I had to go above and beyond all the other pool companies out there in order to secure clients. I found that it wasn’t necessarily giving the customer the cheapest price, because like I said, Fort Lauderdale has a lot of wealthy people, what they were all looking for was that “something extra”. I found that they did not want to see me; they just wanted to come home to a sparkling pool every day.
Once I had secured my first ten accounts in Fort Lauderdale, I started getting referrals from the clients, and that was when the business started to pick up. Then I had my nephew, the computer whiz, create a website for my business to compete with the other pool companies, and business picked up some more. Before long I had 50 accounts and had to hire my first employee.
Hiring my first employee was a little bit tricky. I had to decide whether or not to hire someone with pool cleaning experience or hire someone with no experience and train them to do the work just the way I liked it to be done. I decided to go with the latter and hired a nice young man named Jose. He was a fast learner and he spoke both English and Spanish (always a plus for Fort Lauderdale Florida). Between him and me, we really pushed out the work and gave exceptional service. We gave in extra “freebies” such as free leaf skimming in the pool, which is pretty standard, however, we also brought a leaf blower and cleared out all the leaves around the pool so that during the week, the chances of more leaves blowing into the pool was minimized. Also, checking the Ph is obviously a standard, however, we also offered free algae testing. Another free item we included with our service was pool filter cleaning and if the customer has a Jacuzzi tub or spa we would check the Ph and clean that as well at no cost. This was above and beyond what most pool companies do.
Before long I had over 100 accounts and our service far exceeded other pool companies in Fort Lauderdale and I was bringing on my second employee. The business was growing in leaps and bounds: I couldn’t be happier about the success. Next I hired a pool repair man who specialized in pool leak detection and repair. He turned out to be a great asset because he had years of experience, it was just one extra service that we could offer and advertise.
Eventually, I was at 500 accounts and we were also making pool repairs daily. I decided the next thing for my business to grow was to join forces with a contactor in Fort Lauderdale that could actually build a swimming pool from start to finish, and a hurrican window contractor who also did screening. This was a marriage made in heaven. Even if I had a customer that did not need a brand new pool, many of them wanted updating and for them money was not an issue. We had so many new creative things that our company could now offer: mood lighting or underwater lighting, fountains, waterfalls, adding on a “swim up bar”, pool resurfacing, or even just upgrading the pool system itself to a salt water swimming pool, or adding a swimming pool heater. The services I could now offer were complete and priced better than other pool companies.
Today, I have over 750 accounts, 5 full time employees, one of them a black belt from a Fort Lauderdale martial arts school Velocity Martial Arts, as well as the pool leak repair man and the contractor that I work with on a regular basis. My customers love to spend their money trying to “out do” the neighbors when it came to fixing up their pools with the latest gizmos and gadgets. I still get so many referrals and my business continues to bloom. For me, opening this swimming pool business has been a lot of hard work, but very rewarding and very lucrative. I enjoy what I do and I enjoy making people happy. My client’s consider their pools as a vacation spot in their own backyards and they like coming home to a refreshing, clean swimming pool. My experience of building one of the most diverse pool companies in Fort Lauderdale has given me the American dream.