How To Start a Pool Cleaning Business [15 Steps]

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Pool cleaning services are in high demand due to the decrease in pool prices over the past few years. This explains why there are more than 80,000 pool-cleaning businesses in the US.

Even so, there is still money out there for quality service in the US’ 10 million residential pools and 300,000 public pools, which need reliable cleaners. One reason why cleaning pools is a great opportunity is that not everyone enjoys getting dirty.

Starting a business is never easy. We have developed a step-by-step guide to help you launch and develop your business successfully.

1. Assess the Business’s Potential

To have you started, here are some tips for being a pool cleaner.

Pros And Cons

There are pros and cons to pool cleaning, as with any business.

Pros

  • Startup costs are low
    • Catch some rays while working outdoors
    • Choose your hours and clients – you’re the boss

Cons

  • In most areas, seasonal work is available
    • Your motivation can be stifled by physical, tedious work
    • There is some training required

Pool Cleaning Industry Trends

It is predicted that the pool care and additional services market will continue to expand as the number of pool owners increases.

Industry Size And Growth

The US swimming pool cleaning services market has grown by 6% in the past five years to almost $8 billion. Due to the pandemic and increased emphasis on disinfection measures, swimming pool cleaning services are expected to remain strong through 2027. Pool cleaning businesses number nearly 75,000 in the US. There are approximately 145,000 people employed in the industry.

Trends And Challenges

Among the latest trends in pool cleaning are:

  • Robotic pool cleaners are being used
    • The popularity of sanitization options such as salt chlorine generators and AOP systems is growing

Pool cleaners face the following challenges:

  • Problems with supply chains
  • There is a shortage of labor

What Kind Of People Can Work In Pool Cleaning?

  • There are 84% male pool cleaners and 16% female pool cleaners.
    • Pool cleaners average a high school education of 53%.
    • In the US, pool cleaners are generally over 40 years old on average.

How Much Does It Cost To Start Pool Cleaning Business?

To start a pool cleaning service, you may need as little as $2,000 in capital, but you should expect to need at least $8,500.

You’ll need a few items for your pool cleaning business to succeed. Here’s a list of items you’ll need:

  • Kit for testing water
    • Skimmers and brushes
    • Chemicals for cleaning pools
    • Rakes for raking leaves
    • Vacuuming
    • To transport your equipment, you will need a truck or SUV. A trailer for a smaller vehicle would also work.
    • Contracts, invoices, and pricing sheets
    • Your cleaning supplies and your insurance, permits, and marketing costs will need to be regularly replenished. 

Earning Potentials

You can earn up to $200 per hour as a pool cleaner if you offer maintenance and repairs. Your income will be determined by your ability to complete jobs quickly and how many new customers you gain each month. 

If you work from home for the first few years, you can confirm 150 3-hour bookings yearly.

Your annual revenue would be $36,000 at $80 per hour. Assuming an 80% margin, you will earn around $29,000 per year in profit. Your bookings could rise to 250 per year if you gain more clients. You would raise your fee to $100 per hour at this point and hire staff, so your profit margin would shrink to around 50%. With $75,000 in revenue, you’d make a tidy $37,000 profit.

2. Get Your Certified Pool Operator Certification (Cpo)

Becoming a certified pool operator (CPO) is a great idea. Certification ensures you have the training and knowledge to provide quality pool service.

In addition to volunteering, you can learn the same at some local pool service business. Use this time to learn how to apply chemicals correctly and avoid wasting them.

If you are new to this field, spend some time learning the same.

A CPO certification provides you with the skills and knowledge mandatory to care for a pool, including chemistry knowledge, safety requirements, and best practices. While they are not required in every state to operate a pool cleaning business, they help you learn how to provide a higher level of service. 

3. Brainstorm a Business Name

Choosing the right business name encapsulates your business identity in a few words, so it should reflect your objectives, services, and mission. Since much of your business will come from word-of-mouth referrals, you probably need a name that’s short and easy to remember.

If you are having issues coming up regarding the business name, here are some ideas:

  • Names that are short, unique, and catchy tend to stand out
  • Choosing the names that can be spelled and pronounced easily. Such names tend to be more successful 
  • Your name should reflect the products or services you offer
  • Seek advice from family, friends, colleagues, and social media
  • SEO is improved by including keywords such as “pools” and “cleaning.”
  • Make your name expandable: “Jim’s Bakery” over “Jim’s Cookies.”
  • Keep names that are location-based away from future expansions
  • You can also use online tools to generate dozens of suggestions by typing in a few keywords and clicking “generate.”

Finally, choose among the names that pass this screening and proceed to register your domain and create a social media account. When you choose your business name and start with the branding, it is difficult to change it. In light of this, it is important to carefully consider your choice before establishing a business entity.

4. Create a Business Plan

Your business plan not only guides your startup’s launch and goal-setting but also helps potential investors and partners identify your company’s vision:

  • Business Plan Executive Summary: A summary of the entire business plan.
  • Overview of business, vision, mission, ownership, and goals.
  • Describe in detail your cleaning services.
  • Conduct a SWOT analysis of the market, which includes assessing market trends like variations in demand and growth prospects.
  • Identify your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, and create a list of what makes your services unique.
  • Examine your company’s unique selling proposition (USP) and develop sales, marketing, and promotional strategies.
  • Management Team: Description of the management team’s roles and professional backgrounds.
  • The operational plan outlines your company’s procurement, location, assets, and other logistical details.
  • A financial plan includes a three-year forecast of break-even analysis, cash flow, startup costs, profit and loss estimates, and a balance sheet.
  • Documents related to your business or finances should be included in the appendix

5. Register Your Business

Because you will be the only employee when you start a pool cleaning business, a pool cleaning business is usually registered as a sole proprietorship. 

To launch a business, you need to register your business. It’s a prerequisite for paying taxes, raising capital, opening a bank account, and other steps.

The registration process makes the whole process official. Once you complete it, you’ll have your own business! 

6. Register for Taxes

As a sole proprietor, you must use your social security number as your employer identification number. You can apply for your EIN online, by email, or by fax. 

Once you get your EIN, you must choose your tax year. Financially speaking, your business operates in a calendar year (January-December) or fiscal year, a 12-month period that can start at any time. Your business structure will determine which taxes you will pay, while your tax cycle will determine your tax cycle.

7. Open a Business Bank Account

Having a bank account is necessary before you can start making money.

Maintaining your business finances separate from your personal account will make it easier to file taxes and track the income of your pool cleaning business. It is quite easy to open a business bank account —inquire with your preferred bank to find out about their rates and features — as it is similar to opening a personal account.

Ensure you have a reserve fund of at least 90 days’ expenses in your bank account. The same will help if you experience problems with cash flow or unpaid invoices in the future.

You should also open a business credit card. It can help you access startup funding and build your credit history. Make sure the card has a low-interest rate and rewards for spending.

It’s important to examine your options and choose the best plan since banks offer various plans. When opening a sole proprietorship, ensure you bring your EIN (or Social Security Number), articles of incorporation, and other legal documents. 

8. Get Your Contractor’s License

Starting your pool cleaning business does not require a contractor’s license, but it’s better in the long run if you do.

Most states require contractors to be licensed for repairs worth more than $500 on pools. 

There are two reasons why most pool cleaning businesses don’t become licensed contractors, according to Erik Taylor, owner of Chlorine King Pool Service: 

  • Licensing is expensive. It can easily cost more than $2,000. 
  • The industry is not strictly regulated. Companies that offer repairs without a contractor’s license are often not held accountable.

Repairing a pool without a contractor’s license is illegal. It can put your business and your customers at risk. 

9. Get Business Insurance

Often overlooked, business insurance can be an important part of your success as an entrepreneur. Protecting your business from unexpected events can be crucial.

Commercial general liability insurance can secure your business from bodily injury and advertising damage claims against you. Without it, you will be liable for the claims on your resources.

10. Purchase Your Pool Cleaning Equipment and Transport

You’ll need pool equipment and a vehicle to haul all your equipment to clean your customers’ pools. 

The following tools are essential for cleaning pools:

  • Kits and strips for testing water
  • Swimming pool shocks
  • Algae brushes
  • A manual vacuum cleaner for pools
  • Leaf skimmers
  • Telescopic poles
  • Multi-purpose surface cleaner
  • Filter cleaners
  • Pool covers

These items can be found at any pool supply store or in your SUV if you have one. 

11. Prepare To Launch

Your business should be reviewed and improved as opening day approaches. 

Essential Software And Tools

You may wear many hats in business, from marketing to sales to accounting. Luckily, many websites and digital tools can simplify business tasks.  

You can boost customer service and account with good pool service software such as PoolTrac and PoolCarePRO.

 Accounting 

Quickbooks, Freshbooks, and Xero are popular web-based accounting programs for small businesses. 

In the early stages of your business, you might hire a professional to help you with basic accounting. The consequences of filing incorrect tax documents can be severe, so accurate filing is essential.

Kickstart Marketing

  • Increase business awareness and build your brand through your website, social media presence, and real-world activities. 
    • For example, you could offer a 20-30% discount to customers who refer a friend to generate interest. 
    • Make your store and website stand out with eye-catching signage. 
    • Promote your business at industry events and in your neighborhood by distributing flyers. 
    • Selling your products in person at local markets or trade shows is another way to sell your products.
    • Use humor and post a video about your pool cleaning services.
    • Promote customer referrals – Give incentives for new clients to refer you.
    • You can do targeted social media ads by choosing sites that will reach your target market.
    • Use Google AdWords to improve your search engine ranking. Research your keywords first.
    • Infographics – Use infographics in your content and post them

Finding Customers By Yourself

Pool cleaning companies start by pitching their services door-to-door. 

Google Maps Satellite View allows you to drop off door hangers promoting your business in neighbors’ backyards. 

It’s important to advertise your services during pool openings and closings when you start on your own. 

As demand peaks during these months, you should consider using software like OptimoRoute to plan your routes. The same will prevent you from feeling overworked and enable you to handle your new business sustainably. 

12. Focus on USPs

Essentially, unique selling propositions, or USPs, set a product or service apart from its competitors. Customers have many buying options in today’s crowded market, so your pool cleaning business will have an advantage if you can quickly explain how your company meets its needs. You should make sure that your USPs stand out in your marketing, website, and promotional materials, which will stimulate buyer interest. 

In the pool cleaning business, your USP could be: “Hot pizza in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed.” Domino’s has made its USP famous: “Hot pizza in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed.”

  • Pool cleaning that’s fast and reliable! 
  • If you commit to regular cleanings for six months, you’ll receive a big discount
  • Pool cleaning tools that are the most efficient and advanced

13. Networking

Despite not liking networking or using personal connections for business gain, you likely have considerable untapped business potential within your personal and professional networks. A Facebook friend from college may be running a pool cleaning business, or any of your LinkedIn contacts may know dozens of potential clients. Your cousin or neighbor might have been servicing pools for many years and can provide invaluable insight. 

It’s a good idea to review your professional and personal networks and reach out to those who may have a connection to pools or interest in them. Affiliate marketing can help your online business build relationships with potential partners, boost business, generate new customers, or find companies with whom to partner. Online businesses might also consider affiliate marketing to generate new customers.

14. Build Your Team

In the beginning, you might not need any employees. But as your pool cleaning business grows, you may need workers to fulfill various roles.

  • Technicians who clean and repair pools
  • Scheduling, hiring, firing, and accounting responsibilities of the general manager
  • Marketing Lead – SEO practices, social media strategies

15. Start Making Money! 

Typically, pool cleaning is a 9 am to 6 pm business. However, the schedule may vary depending on your customer. Many pool owners prefer pool cleaners who can come to them regularly. Consequently, you should be willing to work even on weekends. 

Conclusion

Please remember that a customer is more likely to hire a niched-down expert more familiar with their type of pool than a generalist. You are now ready to start your entrepreneurial journey. It’s time to get your pool-cleaning business off the ground.

It will be best to network with industry experts to improve your pool cleaning business skills. Ask around town, attend business meetups, or visit a pool chemical supply store.

It is possible to seek help from the steps mentioned above, whether you are taking your first steps or scaling up your pool cleaning business.