How to Start a Pool Cleaning Business

Published on May 6, 2021

As you're exploring how to start a pool cleaning business, it can seem intimidating with all of the endless information.

This article will show you how to start a pool cleaning business with:

  • Solid branding
  • A steady stream of clients
  • The best pool service software
  • The most effective marketing strategies
  • Adequate legal procedures being followed

These pro strategies (and more) are among the best ways you'll discover in this simple guide to successfully and sustainably exploring how to start a pool cleaning business.

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1. Get Experience in the Industry

Prior to starting a pool cleaning business, it's crucial to seek adequate local certifications and have appropriate industry experience and knowledge.

By having adequate industry experience, you'll have all of the first-hand insight needed to:

  • Keep clients happy with smooth operations
  • Seamlessly manage everyday business tasks
  • Perform top-of-the line pool cleaning services

Plus, you’ll have an idea of how a pool business operates, and you’ll acquire the necessary skills to start your own pool cleaning business.

In addition, you can build relationships with other industry professionals and vendors through your place of work and conferences.

These networking connections can become great resources in the future.

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2. Take Advantage of the Best Pool Service Software

By far, one of the best ways to grow a successful business is by taking advantage of the best pool service software.

It might not seem important now. However, when you start out your business on the right foot, you’ll be able to fast track success by streamlining everyday processes like:

When you choose the best pool cleaning software, you’ll have the power to quickly scale your business.

Plus, Service Autopilot documents all of your everyday:

  • Job history
  • Invoicing history
  • Before/after photos
  • Job and property notes
  • Important client information

With Service Autopilot, you can automate daily tasks and access everything you need in one simple place.

Automations is the  #1 way to follow up  with clients. If you’re not using it, your business might still be successful - but it won’t grow. 

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In Service Autopilot, our automations send emails and texts to:​

Every lead after an estimate is completed
Clients after their property has been serviced​
Remind leads and clients to send you customer feedback​
Update outdated or declined payment information​
Inform them when a service can’t be completed due to unforeseen circumstances (i.e. weather)​
Remind them of maintenance tips (i.e. putting a cover on the outdoor faucet before the winter)​
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3. Decide What Services to Offer

Before you can get started on anything, it's crucial to decide which pool services you’ll offer.

Consider what you’re certified to do. Then, weigh that with the services clients in your area need and go from there.

Here are a few services for you to think about:

  • Pool repairs
  • Pool installations
  • Equipment repairs
  • Weekly pool cleanings
  • Residential, commercial, or both?
  • Bi-annual preventative maintenance inspections

In order to avoid buying loads of expensive equipment at once, it’s a good idea to start small with a few services and expand your services when possible.

For example, you could start out as a residential pool service provider offering weekly pool cleanings.

Then, once your business becomes profitable enough, you can expand your services into other avenues, like pool and equipment repairs, or even pool installations.

Once you’ve decided what pool services to offer, you can buy equipment accordingly.

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4. Focus on Business Branding

Now that you’ve decided what pool services you’ll offer, you’re ready to start branding your business.

Before we get started, think about who your ideal pool service client is… What’s their salary range? What’s their age? What do they care most about?

For example, if you’re targeting the average 40-year-old family parents, then you’ll want to focus on providing affordable pool services for the family.

By answering questions like these, you can pinpoint your ideal client so you know how to sell to them.

As you complete the steps below, keep reminding yourself of your ideal client.

These are the essential steps you need to take to brand your pool service business:

Choose a Name for Your Pool Cleaning Business

As you choose the best name for your pool service business, keep this factors in mind:

  • Ideal client base
  • Make it unique and easily memorable
  • Utilize best SEO practices on your website

Once you’ve chosen your name, check with your local database to ensure the business name isn't already in use.

Although, keep in mind, while most states have an online name search database, there are a few that still require mail-in submissions or in-person visits.

Register Your New Business

Once you’ve chosen a unique business name, it’s important to get registered before working jobs.

First, decide how you want to register your business — LLC or S Corporation.

In order to protect your personal assets from your business, you must register your business as a separate entity.

For tax reasons, the IRS doesn’t have an LLC classification, so LLCs are taxed as a different business type. The IRS classifies businesses as sole proprietorships, partnerships, C corporations, and S corporations.

For example, if your business is registered as a sole proprietorship LLC, then you’ll have to pay self-employment taxes (i.e. social security and Medicaid).

In other words, your pool service business’ entire profit is taxed for a particular year.

For this reason, many new business owners choose to register as an S Corporation to save money on taxes.

If you’re an LLC with an S Corp, then you (the owner) will be paid a salary. As a result, your salary will get taxed for social security and Medicaid (as opposed to your company’s total profit getting taxed).

As with any major financial decision, contact a trusted financial advisor to help you make the best choice for your business.

Establish Branding

Now that you’ve gotten the major legal stuff out of the way, and your pool service business name is official, you’re ready to begin branding.

To start, consider hiring a freelance graphic designer to create a logo for your business. A great graphic designer will create a logo using the right color values and style.

Then, after finalizing the logo, showcase it EVERYWHERE.

Just remember, the more money you spend on effective marketing strategies, the more likely you are to get a higher ROI (i.e. return on investment).

Sell more work with these pool service business cards!

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6. Hire Technicians

If you plan on hiring technicians, you’ll need to fill out an online application with the IRS for an EIN (i.e. employee identification number) if you’re in the United States.

Although, the process is different in Canada, where you’ll have to fill out an application for a SIN (i.e. social insurance number).

While, you might not plan on hiring employees right now, this process is pretty simple, so it might be a good idea to get it out of the way now.

In turn, when you’re in need for new employees, you can hire them more quickly since everything will already be processed.

5. DON’T WAIT to Get Business Insurance

Before accepting new clients, it's VITAL to get business insurance.

By far, business insurance is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your business from potential financial and legal implications.

Plus, business insurance also protects the valuable equipment you’ve invested in.

At a bare minimum, these are the three policies you should consider carrying for your new business:

Additionally, a few other insurance policies you can consider are:

  • Business Owner’s Policy
  • Cyber Liability Insurance
  • Commercial Auto Insurance
  • Professional Liability Insurance
  • Commercial Property Insurance

Talk with an insurance agent to create an insurance policy that meets your individual business needs.

7. Determine Pricing

In order to find out how much you should charge for your pool services, you need to know how much it costs to provide your services (i.e. overhead costs).

Keep in mind, this is where so many new business owners miss the mark.

Many new will price their services too competitively low (or worse, at random). Then, they don’t make enough profit.

While it’s important to take what other businesses are doing into consideration, don’t get too caught up in it.

ALL pool service businesses are different with widely varying overhead costs. As a result, it’s important to calculate your own costs and adjust pricing accordingly.

For example, if you’re working as a solo operation to start and are charging $35 a week, and then hire your first employee, your overhead costs WILL go up.

As a result, you'll need to raise prices to adjust for your higher overhead costs.

In order to build a profitable, long-lasting pool service business, these are the factors to consider: 

  • Fuel
  • Labor
  • Drive time
    • This is why route density is so important. The closer your jobs are together, the less time you waste driving—automatically route your jobs in Service Autopilot!
  • Chemical costs
  • Vehicle and equipment maintenance

Also, be sure to:

  1. Track time on each job
  2. Keep tracking overhead costs and re-calculating prices as needed
  3. Increase prices on least profitable clients first (as your test population)

These are just a few of the many factors you need to consider in calculating prices with maximum profitability.

Remember, ALWAYS meet with a financial advisor to ensure you’re setting realistic profit goals and to adjust prices accordingly.

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8. Create a Business Plan

A business plan is vital to the success of your business. If you ever seek outside help from investors or small business loans, they’re going to ask for your business plan.

Plus, business plans are great for streamlining your training process for new hires because they can quickly get an overview of your business operations and values.

Additionally, business plans help you stay focused on clear goals, keep organized, and prepare for the unexpected.

9. Meet With a CPA

A trusted CPA (i.e. certified public accountant) will help you to determine what numbers need to be set in order to meet profit goals.

In addition to your business plan being helpful for your financial advisor CPA, it also opens the door for you to acquire a small business loan.

Even though a financial advisor presents slight upfront costs, it’s an extremely valuable asset to your business.

Your financial advisor can help you to determine how low you need to keep your overhead costs as well as what prices you need to set to meet your goals.

In order to establish a successful business, a CPA is essential.

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10. A Few Finishing Touches Before Starting Your Pool Cleaning Business

Once you’ve validated your goals with a CPA, you can use the best pro marketing strategies to help you win the necessary clients.

Win the perfect clients by utilizing the best opportunities marketing has to offer:

In addition, it's crucial to offer clients 110% of your best work. In other words, go above and beyond their expectations to provide leading-quality services.

Especially when clients are new, they’re not yet attached to your pool business. Which means, first impressions are everything.

As a result, when mistakes are inevitably made, clients will be more likely to be forgiving since you provide overall excellent customer service.

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How to Start a Pool Cleaning Business That’s Wildly Successful

Now, you have all the tools and information you need to know how to start a pool cleaning business that’s wildly successful.

Even though there are a long list of processes you have to undergo to start a profitable pool cleaning business, this article simplifies the process.

Starting a pool cleaning business can seem intimidating, but when you utilize the advice and strategies, you’ll be well on your way to growing a long-lasting business!

Related: Pool Cleaning Pricing: The Ultimate Guide for Your Business

Originally published May 6, 2021 4:27 PM, updated Sept 27, 2022 6:39 PM

Alyssa Sanders

Alyssa is a Content Marketing Specialist II at Service Autopilot. Her bookworming began after she discovered the Harry Potter series. Her love of books evolved into writing and creating content. When she's not writing, you can find her watching a new sci-fi series or shoving her nose into a book.

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