Pool cleaning as an additional service?

JBNC

LawnSite Member
Has anyone branched out and done any pool maintenance on top of lawn care? I am in the early steps of writing a business plan and have considered this in the past when thinking about this. My main reason is that I want to start my own company in spring of 2013, maybe 2014 and because of my current job I can't go out and start doing lawn maintenance while working there. I could however, start doing a pool route this summer to help build up some clients and some capitol money for when I decide to go out on my own. The main idea being that I would be a one stop shop for grounds maintenance, obviously targeting higher end residential properties. I plan on offering basic maintenance(mow,trim,edge, blow), lawn care(fertilizer and weed control), and basic pool maintenance(opening/closing of pools and cleaning/chemicals throughout the season. At this time I would not offer any pool repairs) Also I know I would have to do lawn/pool during separate routes, wouldn't want to get grass/dirt/sweat into the pool. Would set aside one day just for pool care most likely.

Anyone do anything similar?
 

tyler_mott85

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Wichita, KS
Only issue I see with adding this service on is you're dealing with an entirely different set of skills and equipment.

It's fairly easy to branch out into say parking lot maintenance because you already have blowers, trucks with plows, etc. But cleaning pools is a whole different thing.

If you were large enough to have one full time guy doing it with his won set up it may be a good way to continue to add services for your clients but to do it yourself would be too much hassle, imo.
 

weeze

LawnSite Fanatic
actually if i knew anything about pools i would do that instead of lawncare. those guys show up and are done in 15min or less and probably get paid more than i do in an hour of work. i'm not sure of the going rate in pool cleaning is but they seem to be well off. the ones i've seen drive corvettes, big suv's, and such so they are making plenty of money. they do have those new salt water filter systems now that somehow produce their own chlorine or something so adding chemicals is not needed anymore if you have that installed. like i said i don't know all about it i just know about that because my sister put one on her pool. before she got that she was spending over $100 a month just to buy the chlorine and stuff that keeps the water from turning green. and that was her doing it herself. maybe someone that knows more about it can chime in.
 
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JBNC

LawnSite Member
I should have mentioned that I am a CPO(Certified Pool Operator) both locally and nationally. I worked at apartments for a while and have plenty of experience with cleaning and keeping the water balanced.

There would obviously be additional equipment expenses, but they are pretty minimal for a basic vacuum, pole, leaf rake, brush, skimmer net, etc. All equipment and chemicals could easily be thrown in the back of a SUV or pick up truck on the dedicated pool day. With a tight route there is definitely money to be made, was hoping someone else on here dabbles in pool maintenance..not much info on the internet.
 

greendoctor

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Honolulu, Hawaii
If you can keep the water balanced, not overchlorinated and not turning green there is money to be made. On one 1/2 acre high end property I take care of, I became the pool service in addition to the L&O applicator. Problems were unbalanced water, too much chlorine and general filth. The last guy thought throwing in a shot of soda ash and shock every week was good enough. He never even tested the water before doing it again. It took him about 15 minutes or less to do all of this as well. The water was so caustic that the owners could not touch the water. What was needed was rebalancing of the water, removal of excessive phosphates and mechanical cleaning, as in vacuuming/brushing. This was not a pool that would be easy to just drain and start over either. 50,000 gallons. 30x70 rectangle. Pretty hard to vacuum and brush just standing on the side. The first time I tried to, ended up falling in. Next time I wised up and jumped in, brush in hand. In a warm climate, it is tough to control algae without turning the water into bleach. So I did a little research and discovered that maintaining at least 50 ppm borate in the water will aid in its control. The borate also is a buffer that makes it much easier to keep the pH at 7.6. Right now chlorine is at 2 ppm, alkalinity at 90, pH is at 7.6, and cyanuric acid(stabilizer) is over 100.
 

Patriot Services

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Tampa FL
I maintain over 200 pools as part of my 300 total accout route. I guess you could say I dabble. The learning curve is fairly steep. You can easily blow the profit margin if you let a problem get out of hand. Knowledge of pumps and filters is a must. You can screw up a pools finish or a liner so top notch insurance is imperative. A real pro will have a hammerhead vacuum and tools to maintain SWG systems. If you really want to be a top shelf provider you will also offer deck and cage cleaning. Attention to detail is everything. People are picky about their water but they are 10x more loyal than lawn customers. Start slow and don't cut corners. Read everything. Join a pool op forum. Contrary to what you may see it takes more than a few jugs, a dip net and a pair of flip~flaps to make a business of it.
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JBNC

LawnSite Member
Glad to hear some people do offer pool services. I understand the consequences of screwing the chemicals up, and would definitely have insurance. I'm assuming residential will be easier than maintaining the nasty 50k to 100k gallon pools i was servicing everyday with my last job. I do have knowledge of pumps, filters, chlorinaters, etc. I jut wouldn't feel comfortable offering repair as one of my services. I do not have experience working with SWG systems so I would need to expand my knowledge in that area. Thank you guys for the insight.

Patriot- I've looked at the powervac and hammerhead vacs, I would love to invest in one of these, they are obviously a must have for a big pool service. Is there any other vacuums that are cheaper that would be okay just starting out? I'm assuming most legitimate pool companies use a self contained system and not a skimmer/ vacuum port one?
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Patriot Services

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Tampa FL
Unfortunately their isn't a lot of choice with the power vacs. The real saving comes in time of not having to service filters using a port hose. Power is second to none. I even use small catfish vacs for cleaning the popular attatched spas we have in FL. I won't do a commercial pool. Figure your costs and see if you can be competitive with your market average. Pool customers tend to be more quality geared than price.
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