How to Start a Pool Cleaning Business [In 12 Steps]

The market size for swimming pool cleaning services in the United States is approximately $6 billion. That means there’s a huge market for businesses that provide great pool cleaning services.

Maybe that’s exactly why you’re here. You plan on taking advantage of the demand for pool cleaning services by starting your own business. Starting a pool cleaning business could be the best decision you ever make. But you need to make sure that you follow the correct plan to turn your business into a successful one.

The most important steps when starting a pool cleaning business are hiring the right people and establishing a connection with your target audience through marketing outreach. It’s also important for you to purchase the right equipment and use the right software.

Don’t worry if you’re not familiar with everything that goes into starting a pool cleaning business. We’ve put together the following guide to give you a step-by-step look at what you need to do.

1. Write a Business Plan

The is the first thing to do once you make the decision to start a pool cleaning business. Your business plan is a document that will detail how you’re going to create a profitable pool cleaning company. Most business plans contain the following pieces of information:

  • Executive summary
  • Company description
  • Market analysis
  • Organization and management structure
  • Service or product lien description
  • Marketing and sales approaches
  • Funding request outline (only if you need funding and plan on asking for it)
  • Financial projections

This might seem like a lot of information to put together. But it’s important to be detailed here — especially if you need funding to start your company. Check out this resource if you need additional guidance.

Determine Your Target Audience

This is one of the most important parts of creating your business plan. It’s essential that you understand who you’re going to be servicing with your company. To do that, you will need to determine who uses pool cleaning services in your area.

Generally, pool cleaning services are used by wealthier individuals and families. That’s because it typically costs more to own a house with a pool. So your services should be geared towards meeting the needs of a wealthier demographic group.

Research the Competition

It’s also very important to figure out the competitive landscape for pool cleaning companies in your area. You need to understand who the competition is and how they operate. You need that information because it will help you formulate your own plan.

The goal here is to set yourself apart from the competition somehow. You can do that in a few ways. You might offer superior rates. Or perhaps you provide same-day service. It doesn’t matter how you do it. You just should be able to articulate what makes your company different from others.

2. Apply for Licenses

Only some states require pool cleaning businesses to apply for licenses. Some states, like California, don’t require any licensing at all. It’s important to figure out whether you need a license before opening your pool cleaning business. You could face hefty fines if you begin operations without one.

Another thing to mention here is that you will need to register your business even though you don’t need a license. For example, you’ll likely need a sales tax permit and an employer identification number.

How to Figure Out Which Licenses You Need to Start a Pool Cleaning Business

There are no federal licenses required to clean pools. But since your state might require one, you need to know how to figure out whether you need one. Figuring this out is a pretty simple process, thankfully. You just need to visit your state’s health authority website. 

Some Examples

To see how this all works, let’s consider a few examples. Pool cleaning companies in California don’t need any licenses per se. But the state does require a written contract for all home improvement projects over $500. In order to enter into this contract, a state contractor’s license is needed.

Florida is more stringent with its requirements. The state has three different license classes for pool contractors. But you won’t necessarily need these if you just clean the pools. 

What you might need is a Certified Pool Operator (CPO) license. This is required for working on commercial and public pools in the state of Florida. You can compare these examples to the state of Arizona, where there is no licensing requirement for pool cleaning professionals.

How to Figure Out Which Licenses You Need to Start a Pool Cleaning Business

There are no federal licenses required to clean pools. But since your state might require one, you need to know how to figure out whether you need one.

Figuring this out is a pretty simple process, thankfully. You just need to visit your state’s health authority website. Once there, they should provide information about which licenses various types of businesses to need to operate.

3.Purchase Business Insurance

Insurance is essential to the long-term health of your business. Without it, you put yourself at risk of losing everything in the event of an accident. That’s why it’s important to figure out your insurance before beginning operations.

There are a few different types of insurance that you’ll need. The first is general liability insurance. This covers your pool cleaning business from third-party injuries and property damage.

Next, you’ll want workers’ compensation insurance. This protects you from employee injuries that occur on the job.

Besides these, you may also want to look into completed operations and commercial property insurance. These will give you extra assurance that you and your company are protected in the event of nearly anything.

4.Advertise Your Business

Advertising is another important part of getting your business off the ground. It’s the only way to let people in your area know what you do and how you can help them.

That being said, not all advertisements are created equal. You’ll want to invest some real time and energy into coming up with a marketing strategy that works for your business. There are several factors to consider here.

First, you need to identify your business goals. Use your understanding of your target audience to inform how you’ll reach those goals. For example,ads targetting older homeowners will need to different from ones targeting younger ones.

This is also a good opportunity to use the research you did on your competitors. Use your understanding of their pool cleaning business to differentiate your own. This is one of the best ways to stand out from the competition and to establish a niche for yourself.

Once you come up with a marketing strategy, you’ll need to put it to the test. You should always track the results that you’re getting from the ads that you run. When the results don’t line up with your expectations, you’ll know that it’s time to make a change.

Try These Time-Tested Marketing Strategies

There are lots of different ways to connect with your target audience through advertisements. The most effective marketing strategies rely on multiple channels rather than just one. Here are some things you can try:

  • Establish an online presence with a website and social media
  • Try email marketing campaigns
  • Run ads during TV shows that you know your target audience watches
  • Advertise on Google Search by targeting SEO keywords relevant to your area
  • Leverage your existing customers by asking them to leave you online reviews
  • Consider direct mail advertisements

5.Decide Whether You’ll Franchise

This is one decision that you may have to make while opening up a pool cleaning business. You can join a franchise instead of starting your own company from scratch. Each path has its own benefits and drawbacks. Consider the following:

Pros of Franchising

  • No need to create a brand from the ground up
  • May receive help with your startup expenses
  • Benefit from an existing pool of clients that know and trust your brand
  • Can simply follow a business strategy that’s already working instead of having to discover your own

For example, if you’re dreading having to build a brand from the ground up, franchising could help you avoid that. But if you’re starting a business because you want complete freedom, then franchising may not be a good idea.

If you decide to franchise, here are some of the top pool cleaning franchises you may want to look into:

  • Pinch a Penny
  • America’s Swimming Pool Company (ASP)
  • Poolwerx
  • Pool Scouts

Cons of Franchising

  • You will have to pay a percentage of your revenue to the franchise company
  • You’ll have less freedom over how you operate your business

There’s no right or wrong decision here. Franchising is great for some people and a poor fit for others. You just need to figure out what matters most to you and base your decision on that.

For example, if you’re dreading having to build a brand from the ground up, franchising could help you avoid that. But if you’re starting a business because you want complete freedom, then franchising may not be a good idea.

6.Purchase Equipment

You’re going to need to buy some gear before you can start cleaning your customers’ pools. Here’s what you should buy while getting started:

  • Poles
  • Hoses
  • Skimmers
  • Cleaning products
  • Chemicals
  • Test strips

In addition to this, you’ll need some gear to keep yourself protected while being out in the sun all day. With that in mind, make sure you have water bottles, a cooler, a few hats, and lots of sunscreens.

That’s really all you need to get started. Pool cleaning businesses don’t require you to purchase a ton of gear upfront.

7.Decide Which Software You Need

As your pool business grows, you will need an easy way to keep track of your expenses and revenue. That’s why most pool cleaning business operators chooes to invest in software. Business management software will allow you to manage every aspect of your company from a single place.

There are a few different options you can use. Many service industry professionals rely on QuickBooks. This customizable software is the industry’s standard. It should be everything that most pool cleaning business operators need to manage their company.

Another option that you may want to look into is ServiceTitan. This is a service industry software that was designed to suit the needs of pool cleaning businesses specifically. It’s used by more than 100,000 service professionals throughout the world.

Ultimately, it’s not all that important which software you pick. You just need to make sure that you find it easy to use and that it can help you manage your finances. Most options will meet these criteria.

8.Secure Financing If You Need It

Starting a new business can be expensive. You may not have all of the money that you need to do so on hand. However, that doesn’t mean that you need to wait to begin pursuing your dream of starting a pool cleaning business. Instead, you may just want to look into financing.

Financing is a good fit for business owners who need upfront cash to set up their operations. You can use the money you get to buy gear, run ads, and hire staff, among other things. Pursuing financing can give you the ability to run your business as you wish without having to waste your savings to do so.

There are a few different types of financing that you may want to look into. Here’s an overview of what you can choose from:

  • Merchant cash advance – $5,000 to $200,000
  • Business term loan – $5,000 to $2,000,000
  • Business lines of credit – $1,000 to $500,000
  • SBA loan – $50,000 to $5,000,000
  • Short-term loan – up to $500,000

The exact amount that you can qualify for will vary based on your personal situation. For example, if you’ve already developed a customer base, you may be able to qualify for more financing.

One thing to note is that you may want to check with multiple banks before agreeing to a loan. The terms that you may get can vary considerably from one provider to another. So it’s a good idea to shop around a bit to make sure you get the best deal.

9.Build a Website

Building a strong website will be critical to the long-term success of your business. You need a good website where customers can go to verify that you’re legit and browse through your services. Websites are also a great way to generate more interest in your company with SEO-based content.

When putting together a website for your pool cleaning business, there are a few things you’ll want to include. Here’s a quick overview of what you should focus on:

  • An appealing home page
  • Easy-to-find contact information
  • A blog that informs your target audience on topics related to pool care that matter to them
  • An About Us page that describes your company’s story
  • Reviews from real clients
  • A breakdown of your services

One last thing that you need is a way to collect leads on your site. When a new lead visits your website, it’s important that you make it easy for them to leave their information. For example, you might want to add a contact form to your site that collects info from your website visitors.

Another idea is to use website visitor tracking software. Products like LeadLander will tell you who’s visiting your website and how they’re interacting with it. With this information, you can selectively target leads that you have the best chance of converting.

10.Decide Which Forms of Payments You’ll Accept

Of course, you also need to decide how you will allow your customers to pay you. Nearly every pool cleaning business will accept cash. But most also accept credit cards, debit cards, and personal checks.

You have some flexibility here to choose the payment methods that work best for you. But your focus should be on making it as easy as possible for your customers to pay you. This fits in line with a broader business goal you should have, which is to reduce friction as much as possible for your customers.

For example, older homeowners tend to enjoy paying with personal checks. So if that’s your target audience, you would want to make sure that you accept personal checks.

Picking the Right Payment Processor

If you’re going to accept cards and checks, then you’ll need to partner with a payment processor. These are companies that process the payment methods you accept and put the money in your account.

Picking a payment processor can be tough because there are so many available to choose from. But generally speaking, you should try to find one that displays its prices on its website, if possible. Many companies in this industry hide their per-transaction costs, which makes it difficult to figure out how much they would actually charge you.

Additionally, you should take some time to read through online reviews. These are a great resource to reference. The reviews are left by merchants who have used the processor before so they can provide a first-hand account of its quality.

11.Hire Employees

Businesses that thrive do so because they hire the right people. Your pool cleaning business will be no exception to this rule. You’ll need to make sure that you hire people that represent your brand in a positive light. Of course, you’ll also want to hire people that are good at what they do.

Hire Skilled Employees

How to Find the Right Employees for a Pool Cleaning Business

Finding great employees can be tough. But it’s never been easier to reach a very wide audience with your advertisements. There are many different channels that you can use to connect with workers that might be a good fit for your company.

Online job sites are great for this. Platforms like Monster and Indeed are used by millions of people every day. If you post ads on these sites, you’ll almost definitely get some resumes to look through.

Social media is another excellent resource that you can use for this. You can run targeted ads on platforms like Twitter and Instagram. Or you can just post from your company’s account.

It’s not difficult to get people interested in working for your company. The tough part is deciding who’s the right fit for your team. That’s a process that will occur primarily during your interviews.

How to Make the Most of Your Interviews

To really maximize your hiring process, you need to first optimize your interview process. That can be tough if you’re not familiar with leading interviews. However, you’ll be fine if you follow a few simple, yet important practices.

First, it’s important to begin the interview by putting the applicant at ease. You want to get to know the real them. And that will be tough to do if the interview is too formal. It’s best to use a friendly tone and try to establish a rapport before getting start.

It’s also better to ask open-ended questions whenever possible. Your goal should be to get each applicant talking. If you’re doing most of the talking, that’s generally not a good sign. It just means that you may not be getting to know the person as well as you should be.

Ultimately, interviews don’t have to be challenging. You’ll get a good feel for the relative strength of each applicant pretty quickly. At that point, it’s just about making sure that they can do the job and that they’re going to stay with your company for a while.

12.Decide on a Payroll Service

There are tons of different payroll services out there for you to choose from. Most of them will work just fine for a pool cleaning business. For example, you might look into partnering with one of the following payroll services:

  • Square
  • Intuit
  • ADP
  • OnPay
  • Quicken
  • Paychex
  • Paylocity

Any of these services will be able to provide you with everything that you need to manage your company’s payroll. So check out some online reviews to figure out which offers the right blend of service and cost for your needs.

The Bottom Line: Is Starting a Pool Cleaning Business Worth It?

Okay. We’ve covered a lot. But let’s get to the bottom line. Is starting a pool cleaning business actually something that’s worth doing? The answer to this question will depend on some of your personal goals and existing employment opportunities. But, generally, yes, starting a pool cleaning business is a good idea.

That’s because pool cleaning businesses typically make between $75,000 to $85,000 per year. Now, that assumes that you’re running the company properly and that you have a steady flow of customers. But that’s a good income.

Here’s another way to look at it: Pool service business owners can make about $50 to $60 per hour cleaning pools. That equates to between $2,000 and $2,400 per week. If you were able to keep that up all year, your business would make $104,000 and $124,800 per year.

That being said, it’s important to note that pool cleaning is a somewhat cyclical business. The demand for your services won’t be constant across the entire year. When people aren’t using their pools, they may not call you to clean it at all.

This means pool cleaning business operators do need to plan ahead some. You should be aware that your income may be much higher in the summer months than it is in the winter. But if you can make that work, then starting a pool cleaning business could be a great idea.

Small Business Quest. Most Rights Reserved. 2019- 2024