A well-maintained swimming pool can easily become a neighborhood hub for warm-weather fun, no matter the zip code. However, proper upkeep of your pool is critical to ensure you have it for years to come. A trustworthy pool maintenance professional can keep those waters safe and crystal clear—and that professional could be you.
If you’re interested in learning how to start a pool cleaning business, this handy pool cleaning business guide can help you take the plunge into starting a successful pool cleaning service.
1. Polish up your pool cleaning-skills
Before you plan to run a pool cleaning business, it will be helpful to familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of how to properly clean a pool. Just ask Daniel Conley of San Diego’s Exceptionally Clear Pools:
"Get experience in the field before working for yourself. Go work for somebody so you can get the skills and learn the business before having to learn it by yourself.”
Take time to build your knowledge and connections in the industry before becoming a business owner. Start with introductory steps like:
- Employment – The best way to learn is to do. Most pool maintenance services will take on first-timers or newcomers to the industry. See which companies exist in your area, and ask if they’re hiring. You’ll get firsthand experience of the cleaning process. You can also shadow pool cleaning companies for the observational experience.
- Certification – To run a pool cleaning business, look into certification. Some states require certification from the National Spa Pool Foundation for pool cleaners. However, getting one is a good move regardless—customers will appreciate the expertise and safety knowledge.
- Education – Pool cleaning involves a decent amount of chemical interactions, mechanics, and technical skills. Research safe and effective techniques for cleaning different types of pools.
- Network – Start to make connections within the pool cleaning industry as well as adjacent industries. Trade shows, supply stores, business meetups, and local shops can all help you form the base network of a future pool service business.
2. License your business to keep it protected
If you want to expand and protect your business entity, it can help to go the extra mile to set up a reputable organization—that means licensing, insurance, and other protections.
Licensing your pool cleaning service establishes customer trust and so much more. It also protects you from government fees and legal issues. If you want to make your pool cleaning services official, take these steps before opening shop:
- Obtain any required certifications (federal, state, or local)
- Open an official business address and phone number
- Register your business with the local government
- Verify your business on the U.S. Small Business Administration databank
- Open company-exclusive bank accounts
- Acquire business insurance
- Request an employer identification number (if applicable)
3. Build your budget
Every business is a balance of expenses and income. For cleaning pools, you’ll need to establish how you plan to spend and earn all money involved in your business before you touch a pool.
Jump into these top financial factors for your pool cleaning business plan.
Before you earn any money, you’ll probably be spending a lot. The best way to let the profits flow is to plan out your spending beforehand.
The size, services, and scope of your pool cleaning business will determine most of your expenses. Expect to include these spending accounts in your budget:
- Employees - Even if you’re only handling backyard pools, you may need employees on your cleaning crew. Depending on your predicted customer base, consider how many employees you’ll require. The average pool cleaner makes $14/hour, so factor that into your budget.
- Supplies – They’re the bread and butter of pool cleaning. To meet industry standards, you will need quality pool equipment and supplies. Common items include skimmer nets, wall skimmers, vacuums, baskets, water test strips and kits, and chemical solutions.
- Traveling – Pool cleaners must travel to various sites in order to provide their services. Budget for a van or truck (large enough to hold all supplies), as well as gas money.
- Marketing – Put aside money for marketing services, like print, online, and other mediums.
- Pool route - Some pool cleaning businesses choose to “buy” pool cleaning routes from a pool broker. A pool route is essentially a client list of local pool owners ready to hire your services. This initial investment can have plenty of potential profit since you won’t have to spend resources trying to build your client list from scratch. Check out brokers like National Pool Route Sales and Spring Board Pool Routes Brokers to get a sense of cost and potential profit.
- Business materials - Professionalism is a little about looks. Give your pool business a polished air with official business materials. Quality business cards, websites, social media accounts, and logo apparel all help your business stand out. Need some inspiration? Check out Blue Ocean Pool Service’s website. This business has been keeping Miami-Dade pools sparkling for almost two decades, and its sleek website speaks to its professionalism and its emphasis on customer service.
Understanding the value of your services can help you calculate your potential profit. These calculations can also help you understand how much to charge clients so you can offset expenses and lay the groundwork for a successful, self-sustaining small business.
Consider the type and price of pool servicing that your business will offer, such as:
- One-off visits
- Recurring visits
- Partial or minimal cleaning (leaf skimming, brushing, etc.)
- Full cleaning (vacuuming, power washing, etc.)
- Pool chemical readings & evaluations
Do a little competitor research in your neighborhood to see what other businesses are charging to understand what your community expects to pay, and make sure you charge within that range.
4. Implement technology
Bring your company into the modern age with digital services and features.
Nearly all businesses and customers have an online presence in today’s market. If you want to easily transfer funds, handle employees, and market your pool cleaning, you’ll need the right software and platforms. Consider these top digital tools for your business:
- Pool cleaning platforms – Yes, there is software made just for pool cleaning. Platforms like Skimmer and Jobber combine multiple tasks to streamline all of your pool cleaning business. These platforms include efficient scheduling, route optimization, quotes and invoices, and more.
- Employment databases – Schedule, track hours, and contact employees through an employment database. These tools make managing your staff a breeze, often connecting with payroll services to translate hours into salary.
- Payroll and invoice services – How will your business pay its employees and suppliers? Or receive money from customers? Consider if third-party payment services fit into your business’s needs. Quickbooks, Xero, ADP, PayPal, and OnPay are all popular options.
- Customer experience databases – Customers are the key to your business. Stay on top of all past and present clients with an up-to-date database. Platforms like Zendesk and Satmetrix store customer information, reviews, behavior, and segmentation to maximize your success.
5. Be on-brand
When summer comes, your pool cleaning business should stand out from the competition. So how can you start your pool cleaning business off right?
With consistent branding.
Branding is all about creating a likable and memorable institution. Through the power of visuals and slogans, you can attract more customers than plain services ever could. As you plan your pool cleaning business, see what branding qualities will set your company apart:
- Logo – A logo acts as the watermark of your business, the distillation of your company’s values and ethos. For a pool cleaning company, design something fitting (usually aquatic-themed) but original. High-end services may stick with a name logo, while casual services might choose a cute icon.
- Colors and visuals – The shades of your company uniform tell a story. See if “clean” colors like white and light blue fit your aesthetic. Or, if you specialize in heavy-duty pool cleaning, darker and serious tones might better match your service. Implement these colors everywhere—logos, apparel, van exteriors, websites, and more.
- Slogans – A slogan captures the spirit of your company. Try to create a six-word maximum phrase including the top action and descriptors you’d want to associate with your business name.
- Mission statement – While not the snappiest writing, a mission statement is crucial for every company. On your website, outline the major goals and purpose of your pool service. It’ll help customers understand not only what services you offer, but also how you operate.
- Value proposition – What makes you special? Is it a particular cleaning tool? Speediness? Affordable pricing? Consider your competition, and give your business one quality that no other nearby pool cleaning company has.
6. Promote, promote, promote
When it comes to local businesses, targeted advertising is key. The more you can capture the attention of local customers, the better. Start with these marketing mediums to broadcast your pool cleaning service:
- Business listings in your local neighborhood - Create a free Nextdoor business page to maximize your business’s searchability online, establish a digital presence for your business within your neighborhood, and make a splash in your local business scene.
- Print materials – A simple paper advertisement can make a heavy impact on your client list. Budget for fliers, door hangers, postcards, and other tangible materials to give customers something to remind themselves of your amazing services.
- Online ads – Easy to make and incredibly effective, online ads seek users in the digital space. You can use Nextdoor Ads to engage 1:1 with customers in your area and offer promotions to entice your ideal customers.
- Local media – Media outlets come with a preset audience—one that may be valuable to your company. Tap into communities via advertisements in local newspapers, magazines, and radio stations.
Dive into business growth with Nextdoor
Starting a new business is an adventure—but it can be a fulfilling and fun one. For your pool cleaning venture, tread above the water with these business plan tips. With a little elbow grease and strategy, you’ll be swimming to success.
Ready to take on your first pool? We can help you connect with customers at Nextdoor. By bringing together neighbors and businesses, Nextdoor makes it easy to keep and expand your customer base. With Nextdoor, you’re not just in the community—you’re part of the community.