Pool cleaning as a business is considered a seasonal enterprise because it peaks during the summer season. However, it can be a year-round revenue maker if you can snag contracts with the right commercial establishments.
As of the early part of 2022, there are 74,610 businesses of this nature in the United States. The industry showed a 2.1% growth in 2022, while its average yearly hike is expected to reach 5% from 2017 to 2022. (1)
If you’re planning to start this kind of business, consider these eight steps to increase your chances of being successful both on and off-season.
1. Understand the industry better
Before launching a business, you must familiarize yourself with the industry. By familiarizing yourself with the industry and competition, you can identify the sector’s strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities and use these to provide added value to your clients. Find out where to buy the cheapest pool cleaning supplies, how to sustain revenues during off-peak seasons, and which markets can generate the best income. Know how to charge for your services and understand the factors that impact these costs.
Without enough knowledge of how the pool cleaning industry works, you have difficulty in growing your new business and understanding how to service your customers’ needs the best.
2. Craft a business plan
The next step is to create a business plan that provides an overview of your business, its structure, and operations strategies. Making a business plan helps to provide you with clear goals and objectives which makes it easier to determine how to go about achieving those. A business plan also enables you to choose your niche and identify your target market. (2)
Consider what equipment, expertise and technology you will need in order to carry out your daily operations. You may wish to invest in industry specific business management software like Jobber to provide you with an internal structure that maximizes efficiency and enables you to scale easily. (2)
A business plan consists of several sections, but typically contains the following:
- Executive summary
- Company profile
- Management structure
- Market analysis
- Marketing and sales plan
- Financial plan
- Funding strategies (3)
Note that other types of businesses could include additional sections not mentioned in the list above. The financial plan should be as detailed as possible and you may wish to include elements such as what pool service estimate template you will use in an effort to convert prospects into paying customers. Don’t overlook this as a very important step.
3. Apply for business licenses and registration
Some states may require a separate pool contractor license apart from the general business license or insurance. Additionally, your staff may be required to obtain a certification.
Whatever documents you may need, make sure you have them before launching your business. An enterprise must not operate without obtaining the necessary papers and government authorization. Failure to get these pertinent documents will lead to hefty penalty costs and closure. (2) (3)
4. Look for funding source(s)
After identifying the essential resources for your initial operation, such as a capable office laptop, you need to find ways to raise capital. Several options are available, depending on how much cash you have on hand and how much you need. Applying for a bank loan is one of the most popular solutions. However, it may be better to approach government-backed agencies and grants without a good credit history to back you up. Venture capitalists and other non-traditional platforms can also be explored. (2)
5. Get your finances in order
With enough cash to get you through for about one year, you can start getting your finances in order by opening a business account in your chosen bank. Doing so can provide your business with enough legitimacy and help you with organizing your business and personal finances, such as tax payments.
6. Buy pool cleaning equipment
Start buying essential pool cleaning equipment and chemicals. Brushes, rakes, cleaning chemicals, water testing kits, skimmers, and filter cleaners, will likely cost you USD$2,000 at a minimum. This excludes the truck, permits, license fees, and marketing expenses. A good rule of thumb is to buy in bulk to save a few hundred dollars. (2)
7. Hire your staff
After purchasing your essential pool cleaning materials and service vehicle, start slowly building your team. Depending on the size of your business and your chosen clients, you can start with a team of two pool cleaner positions, an operations manager or administrator, and marketing staff. The operations manager should be in charge of the daily business operations, while the marketing staff must hit the ground running and help you with your promotional strategies.
Note that a considerable portion of your overhead expenses will go to employees’ salaries, so make sure you hire the correct number of people with the right skills.
8. Implement your marketing and sales plan
If you’re a new player in the industry, it’s necessary to work double-time to build awareness for your pool cleaning company. Focus on your target market and reach them through traditional and digital forms of marketing.
Online marketing strategies could include creating a website as well as business social media accounts, adopting specific search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, and paid digital advertising. You may also offer discounts to ‘early birds’ or the first few customers who choose to use your services.
Complement this strategy by reaching out to potential customers by phone or cold calling. If you have enough money to spare, conduct existing home, office, or establishment visits. Encourage friends and family members to recommend your pool cleaning services to their network of colleagues and friends.
Launching a pool cleaning service can be profitable if you can establish a niche in the industry. More than having enough capital to start the business, you should pay more attention to knowing the ins and outs of the industry and coming up with a solid business plan that will have your business sufficiently equipped, staffed, and marketed.
- “Swimming Pool Cleaning Services in the US- Number of Business 2003-2028”, Source: https://www.ibisworld.com/industry-statistics/number-of-businesses/swimming-pool-cleaning-services-united-states/
- “How to Start a Pool Cleaning Business”, Source: https://stepbystepbusiness.com/business-ideas/start-a-pool-cleaning-business/
- “How to Start a Pool Cleaning Business”, Source: https://www.thebalancesmb.com/small-business-ideas-pool-cleaning-service-4045992