How to Start a Pool Cleaning Service

There are several homes and businesses with pools and owners who have little time to clean or maintain them. If you start your own pool cleaning service, you’ll be paid to keep these pools clean, free from debris and at the right chemical balance. Learn more about how to start a pool cleaning service, how much money you’ll need, how to register your business, how to hire your employees and the best strategies for marketing your pool cleaning service. 

 

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Benefits of starting a pool cleaning business

Owning a pool cleaning business consists of traveling to people’s homes and to establishments like hotels, gyms and apartment complexes to check the pool chemical balance and keep it clean. Some pool cleaning businesses also choose to expand their services and clean hot tubs and spas to stay ahead of the competition. Most pool cleaners earn around $50 to $60 an hour, making it a lucrative business to own. Common benefits of starting your own pool cleaning service include: 

  • Most of the work is completed outside: Owning a pool cleaning company allows you to complete a majority of your work outdoors in the fresh air, rather than spending most of your day sitting inside of an office.  
  • Doesn’t require a large budget: Starting a pool cleaning service only requires a small investment to get started, which covers basic expenses like transportation, pool-cleaning supplies and permits.  
  • Allows you stay in great physical shape: Moving around to different locations cleaning various pools means you’re constantly active, which helps you look and feel healthy and fit.  
  • Casual clothing can be worn on the job: Working outside in the heat means you’re able to wear comfortable clothing that keeps you cool, like khaki shorts and t-shirts, which make it easier to reach into pools as you clean or repair them. 

 

Estimate of how much money is needed

Before you officially start your business, take time to determine how much money to set aside to successfully run your pool cleaning service. How much starting your business costs greatly depends on the materials you already have. For instance, you’ll save yourself additional costs if you already own a larger vehicle to transport yourself and your tools to designated areas. Starting a pool cleaning startup typically costs around $2,000, plus business structure and licensing fees. Expenses you’ll need to cover include: 

  • Truck, van or other vehicle to store your equipment and transport you to and from different jobs 
  • Insurance, permits and licenses
  • Water-testing kits 
  • Pool-cleaning tools, like chemicals, skimmers and brushes and leaf rakes 
  • Marketing and advertising fees
  • Company-branded work clothes to wear on the job

 

How to register your pool cleaning business

To legally operate as a legitimate pool cleaning service, you must build your business plan and determine which licenses, certifications, and permits you’ll need to successfully run your company. Follow these steps to correctly register your pool cleaning business:  

 

1. Craft your business plan 

Write out your company’s business plan, which operates as a roadmap for what your business needs to be successful and your strategy for reaching your business goals. An impressive business plan lists your business’s mission statement, target market, income revenue projections business structure and marketing plan. Once your business plan is complete, you’ll share it with potential investors, partners and shareholders, so make sure it’s clear, relevant and free of grammatical errors. 

Related: How to Write a Business Description for a Business Plan

 

2. Research your target market

To know who you’re marketing to and where you’ll find the most business, conduct research on your target market and potential customers. Search your local competition to see where their customers are located and which services they’re offering. This helps you find ways to stand out from the competition and to better understand what your target market is looking for in their pool cleaning service. 

Conduct basic research on the local area you hope to work in, like how many pools are in your area and if they’re residentially or commercially owned. This way, you’re able to make more accurate income projections.

 

3. Determine your business structure 

Choosing your business structure allows you to establish your business as a legal entity and helps keep you from personal liability if your business faces legal repercussions. You must know your business structure for tax purposes. As your business grows, your business structure may change along with it, which is why you’re able to switch to a different business structure as needed later on. The main types of business structures for small businesses include: 

  • Limited liability company: With this structure, both your personal and business assets are separated. This means you won’t risk losing your house, car or other personal investments if your business experiences an unexpected financial hit. This business structure does require you to pay self-employment taxes, but your tax rate is lower than what you’d pay for a corporation business structure.
  • Corporation: This structure also offers legal separation between your personal and business assets, but provides less tax advantages and a higher tax rate than a limited liability company. This is often an ideal structure to pursue is you’re trying to attract outside professionals to invest in your business. It’s also a great option to choose after you’ve been operating for a few years and have expanded to a larger corporation. 

 

4. Sign up for a bank account and business credit card

It’s important to separate your personal and business finances to better organize and track your company savings and expenses. Open a dedicated business bank account and connect a business credit card to it. This gives you an opportunity to prevent yourself from accidentally spending your personal finances on business expenses, but it also gives you a chance to build your business’ credit history. 

Gaining stronger business credit helps keep all your finance’s under your business’ name, gain higher interest rates and heighten your credit lines. Having a separate bank account for your business also eases the accounting and tax-filing process for your company. 

 

5. Earn your certification

Some pool cleaning businesses that operate on a commercial level are required to earn their certification, depending on factors like location. Even if a certification isn’t required for your area, you may choose to earn one anyway. Companies that provide their pools to community members, like apartment complexes or community centers, often prefer or require the pool cleaning service they hire to have a certification, since they’re responsible for ensuring all visitors are safe swimming in their pool. 

Getting the proper training and certification also helps your company look more credible and stand out from the competition. Earn your Certified Pool/Spa Operation Certification from the National Swimming Pool Foundation, as this is one of the most respected certifications in the United States. It consists of two days of courses and training on pool maintenance and cleaning best practices.

 

6. Get the necessary pool servicing and small business licenses and permits 

The specific licenses and permits you need to operate your pool cleaning service depends on your local or state requirements. Conduct research to determine what you need to begin legally operating as a legitimate pool cleaning service.

The main license most states require is a Pool Contractor License or a Pool Contractor License for Pool Servicing. Requirements for this license often vary, but typically include a bachelor’s degree or four years of relevant pool servicing work experience. If you meet this qualification, you’ll have to take the Pool Exam before officially earning your license. 

You’ll also need a general small business license through your local government office. Visit their website to find business license information and to fill out the application. There are other certain permits or licenses your business must obtain, depending on your operations and where you’re located. These include: 

  • Permit to hang certain signage 
  • County permit 
  • Federal license 
  • Sales tax license 
  • Air and water pollution control permit

 

7. Draft your service agreement 

Many businesses require their customers to sign a service agreement before operating on and cleaning their pool. The statement should clearly state the client’s expectations and the exact service you’ll provide them. It also lays out the proposed payment terms and conditions you previously agreed on with the customer beforehand. 

It’s also best to state details regarding your intellectual property ownership and service level expectations. This helps clarify and re-state what’s expected of you and what you’ll deliver to customers. It also protects you from any legal repercussions during the job and guarantees that you’ll receive payment after providing the customer with an impressive service. 

 

8. Stay protected with business insurance 

To ensure your business is protected in case of any unexpected financial occurrences or losses, invest in business insurance. This protects your company’s finances if a covered loss happens. There many insurance policies available for a variety of potential risks or disasters that occur on the job. 

One type to make sure you pursue is General Liability Insurance, which is a common coverage that most small businesses use when first starting their organization. This protects you from any legal repercussions that could take place if any injury occurs on your property. When you start hiring employees, consider investing in workers’ compensation insurance. Some states require businesses with employees to have this insurance already. It covers your employees’ medical bills if they’re hurt on the job. 

Related: Planning for Business Success

 

How to hire employees

When you’re ready to bring new employees onto your team, start listing what you look for in an ideal candidate, and implement your recruitment strategies. Follow these steps to hire employees to work at your pool cleaning service: 

 

1. Determine what type of employees you need to hire 

As you gain more clients and your responsibilities start increasing drastically, it’s time to hire more employees. List the additional skills and experience you’d like your new employees to have and use it to determine which roles you’d like to fill to round out your business. Most companies hire several pool cleaners on their team to complete basic pool cleaning and servicing duties like checking and adjusting the water chemical balances, maintaining the pool filters and pumps and cleaning debris out of the pool.  

To make your company stand out from competitors, consider offering additional services like pool maintenance and repair. You could hire a pool maintenance repair employee who cleans the pool and also repairs different sections, like pumps filters, blowers or heaters. They could also work as a technician, fixing the light bulbs inside of the pool as an added service. 

 

2. Establish your hiring budget 

Understanding which type of employee you’re able to hire usually depends on the budget you currently have and the tasks you have available for new hires to complete. If you work in a seasonal location where the temperature is mainly only warm enough to swim in outside pools during the summer, try hiring a seasonal employee or college student to work only in the summertime. 

You could also hire someone to work part-time, which is around 20 to 35 hours a week, if you don’t have enough tasks or responsibilities to bring someone on full-time. If you plan to hire full-time employees, factor in wages for 40 hours a week and employee benefits, like health insurance and paid time off. 

 

3. Build your job description and post it on job listing sites 

Once you know the skills and experience you’re looking for in the ideal candidate and have a clear understanding of the role you’re hiring for, build your job description. Make your description clear, relevant to the role and free of grammatical errors.

Include your employee value proposition in the description, which details why the employee will enjoy working with your company and any impressive or unique benefits they’ll receive from working with you. Post it on job description sites and social media for your followers to view and share with their connections. 

 

4. Interview potential candidates

Collect applications and resumes that display the skills and education you’re looking for in an ideal candidate. Call them on the phone for a screening to learn more about their background and expertise to narrow down your selection further. When you have a handful of candidates you’d like to speak with, invite them to meet with you in person to help you better get to know them and determine if they’re a good fit for your company. Reach out to the candidates who you believe are best suited for the role.

 

Best ways to market your pool cleaning business

When you’re officially operating as a legal, legitimate business, it’s time to promote your service to help you gain a large clientele. Best ways to market your pool cleaning business include: 

  • Build your pool cleaning website:  Set up a website for your business that includes information about your organization and the services you provide. Clearly list your contact information so visitors can easily get ahold of you to request a quote or learn more about what you offer. Consider setting up a professional voicemail as well so customers can leave messages when you’re away. 
  • Post on social media: Build social media pages and writing engaging and entertaining posts to get your audience excited to learn more about your company or to use your services. Encourage followers to share your posts so they’ll reach a wider audience. Share pictures of cleaned pools to give clients a better idea of what your final product looks like.
  • Encourage customers to leave reviews or provide referrals: After you successfully finish cleaning a customer’s pool or after you’ve provided them with great ongoing service, ask them to leave a review online regarding their experience and satisfaction with your business. Encourage them to refer you to their friends, family or colleagues as well.
  • Market your company in late winter or early spring: An effective marketing strategy is to increase your promotional efforts in the winter or early spring if you work in a seasonal climate. This is usually the time clients are searching for a new pool cleaning service, so they’ll be more likely to find your ads and marketing materials. 

 

Frequently asked questions about starting a pool cleaning service

 

How much does a pool cleaning service cost?

The average costs for pool services include: 

  • Weekly services: $177
  • Monthly services: $190
  • Opening and closing: $266
  • Bi-weekly services: $267 
  • Repair, filter replacement and utilities: $400

 

How much money can you make cleaning pools?

Most clients pay around $50 to $60 dollars an hour for pool cleaning services, meaning you could earn around $2,000 to $2,400 each week if you work full-time as a pool cleaner.

 

What do pool cleaners do?

The services a pool cleaner provides often vary depending on the client’s needs. Their duties typically consist of: 

  • Balancing water chemicals 
  • Vacuuming the pool 
  • Scrubbing the tiles before filling it 
  • Brushing the pool’s sides
  • Emptying the skimmer baskets 
  • Cleaning the pool filter
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