5 Secrets Most Pool Service Companies Won't Tell You

Your pool is the focal point of your backyard. Make sure you find a reliable company to help service it. (Photo courtesy of Angie’s List member Julianne C. of Houston)

Your pool is the focal point of your backyard. Make sure you find a reliable company to help service it. (Photo courtesy of Angie’s List member Julianne C. of Houston)

There are many different types of swimming pool companies. From the Mom and Pop provider to the multimillion dollar Pinch a Penny, it can be hard to determine which is best for you. Just make sure you know the five secrets most pool service companies won’t tell you.

1. Skipped pool cleanings

The more pools your technician has on his service schedule, the more likely they are to skip your pool. Yes, pool technicians (not the good ones) will skip an account here and there to make up for lost time. When swimming pool companies are in the growing stage of their business, they often have too many pools and not enough employees to accommodate them.

Don’t just assume a technician skipped your pool; always give the service company the benefit of the doubt. However, if you think your weekly pool-cleaning service may have been overlooked, ask the service technician for a drop ticket. Any reputable company should have tickets they can leave on your door that detail the time they were there, chemicals used, condition of pool and services rendered.

2. Large companies vs. local pool service

One huge downfall to large swimming pool service companies are high turnover rates. Additionally, many of these pool companies hire inexperienced employees and provide minimal training. Pool technicians are chemists, engineers, plumbers and more, especially when repairs are concerned.

Monthly pool service rates are relatively low compared to many other home services; therefore, the pay they offer new employees is often low as well. This results in unqualified employees. It takes time to build a relationship, so look for an experienced professional that’s willing to do your pool service for a long period of time.

3. Charging more for pool chemicals

I've been astonished to hear a few friends complaining that their swimming pool company was charging a high flat rate and adding additional chemical charges onto their monthly bill. The majority of pool service companies charge one flat rate regardless of the amount of chemicals used.

Rock wall around swimming pool
You should pay a flat rate for chemicals, no matter the amount used. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Delia T. of Palos Verdes Peninsula, Calif.)

Service charges may increase due to seasonal changes or gas prices, but you should still be paying one flat rate that has been approved by you, the homeowner. In other words, you shouldn't be paying extra for acid or chlorine, but it’s standard to charge more if a special chemical was purchased specifically for your pool.

4. Used parts for pool repairs

One of the biggest income providers for pool service companies is repairs. Just like an automobile shop, pool companies receive their parts for less than it would cost you to purchase them. They mark them up slightly and charge you for their time spent doing the pool repair.

Beware of dishonest repair technicians who may opt for used parts instead of new ones to do your repair. These parts could be from a customer who just put in new equipment or even from a dumpster dive. Don’t sweat the small stuff, but if you're undergoing a $500 repair, I suggest you view the equipment before it’s installed.

RELATED: How Much Does It Cost to Resurface a Swimming Pool?

5. How to hire the right pool service company

Licensing in the swimming pool industry can be a confusing concept, which depends highly on the state in which you reside. In Tampa, Fla., for example, in order to provide pool cleaning services to residential swimming pools, you simply need to register with your tax collector and establish an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for tax purposes.

Here’s where it gets tricky. Major repairs to your pool equipment or to a commercial property may require a contractor’s license. Many smaller pool companies will sub out their repairs to companies that specialize in your type of repair. If you have any questions, talk to your pool technician to make sure he or she is properly licensed for the types of services or repairs requested.

MORE: Pool level dropping? Is it a leak or evaporation?


Editor's note: This is an updated version of an article that originally posted May 9, 2013.

 

About this Experts Contributor: Justin Pullara is owner and CEO of Simply Pools LLC, a Tampa-based swimming pool cleaning and repair company established in 2011. He has more than ten years of experience servicing residential and commercial swimming pools. As a small business owner he seeks to provide honest, competitive, reliable pool cleaning and repairs services to Tampa Bay and surrounding areas. Follow this #ALExpert on Twitter @SimplyPoolsLLC

As of May 9, 2013, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List.



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Don't make these 5 common pool care mistakes

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Avoiding pool care mistakes and following proper maintenance guidelines will increase your pool’s lifespan, ultimately saving you money, Pullara (pictured above) says. (Photo courtesy of Simply Pools LLC in Tampa)
Avoiding pool care mistakes and following proper maintenance guidelines will increase your pool’s lifespan, ultimately saving you money, Pullara (pictured above) says. (Photo courtesy of Simply Pools LLC in Tampa)

From dyeing your pool water to making your pool filter work overtime, avoid making these five common pool maintenance mistakes.

Comments

Wondering from the pool contractors out there...if you didn't properly pressurize and anti-freeze an inground line then when opening you caused it to burst, and you are the contractor who has taken care of the pool, chems and all, are you responsible for its repair? I seem to be haggling a bit with my contractor over this exact issue.

Hi, Dennis. This is Kiel from Angie’s List. We talked to Bill Lambert of Perma Pools in Indianapolis. Here’s what he had to say: "To close a pool, the water in the lines is blown out so there is no water in the lines, or a line could be filled with antifreeze.  This is done to avoid the line freezing, expanding and cracking.  If the pool contractor did not do one of those, and a line cracked because of that failure, then he would probably be liable.  Some breaks from freezing are identifiable (long cracks in the pipe) but many others are not.   Pipes can also crack, and glue joints come undone, from the heaving of the ground when frozen which would not be the contractors fault.  You say the line burst at the opening—I presume this just means the break was discovered at the opening."

This great info... Something to look into when I have mine installed!!!!

In January when we bought our house (Phoenix), we hired the pool guy who had been maintaining the pool for the three months while the house was on the market. He agreed to do it each month for a fixed rate, chemicals included. It was a verbal-handshake deal in which we promised to keep him year round and pay the same monthly rate year-round. And we got a small discount for referring my sister, who lives in the same community. He was supposed to be "off" on the week in which there are five Mondays in the month. A week ago I received a call from him, saying my pool and my sister's were not profitable enough to for him to "travel" to and was therefore quitting us. I paid for the entire month, but he was not returning on the 24th because it was a "five Monday month" (NOT!). My sister and I feel cheated. (No notice, swindled out of a week, breaking our contract, etc.) Anyone's thoughts on this?

You get what you pay for, and it's to much of an exspencive business to with our charging per visit. He should have rolled up an average cost to charge you, or charge you weekly and bill you at the end of the month.

I use my neighbor's pool. Right now they are in Mexico and they put me in charge of the pool. Best way to go!!!!

i use a water-clairafier to clean my pool along with a sand-filter.....works great for the last 12 years

No one has discussed cement or plaster problems. I watched as the steel rebar was installed in my pool. The job looked good, and everything was ready for the cement (gunite.) That day came, and it was like a three ring circus, everything and everyone jumping around on the steel, pumping gunite into the rebar. Some of these people looked like they took a break from their moonshine business to do summer pools. Well, at the end of the day, with a few minor disasters, all seemed well. After completion of the pool, it was a few months when orange spots sprang up in one small area. It was rust of the rebar seeping through the shallow gunite and plaster. I'll refer to them as "blooms." I paid to have the one bloom repaired. Cost was under a hundred dollars. I watched carefully and thought I could do the job. I did, and removed three other blooms like a dentist chipping away at a tooth. I even covered them with an epoxy before using plaster to fill up the holes. Oh, by they way the original spot that I was charged for came back. Fixed that one too. No problems years later. Sometimes you just have to learn and do the job yourself if it is to be done right.

I am curious: Why did you not ask the contractor who built your pool to do the rebar stain repairs? Is the pool contractor who built your pool not responsible?

high in liability....maintenance...unwanted friends...reduces you property value....WHY HAVE ONE??

Here's the God's honest truth about pools and prices. I own a pool company and I charge a flat one price covers the cleaning and chemicals. I charge according to if there are trees, a spa connected or if the equipment is old. I charge very low prices. Now here is the untold so called truth. I DON'T MAKE ANY MONEY IN THE SUMMER TIME!!! I spend all the extra money I make on chemicals because of bather load...suntan oils, kids peeing in the pools, trees shedding and all the extra rain we get in the summer time. I make good money in the winter time because I don't have to do as much. But then I have super cheap customers that expect me to "cut back" cleanings in the winter or lower their rates. I flat out tell them...no way. I'd rather lose a cheap customer than put up with being broke all year round with them. The best customer I have is one that knows how much things cost and just understands the price of doing business. I will go to the ends of the earth to keep these customers. I sometimes even pay for things out of my own pocket to keep them. The best way to have a great pool guy is to never complain...pay on time and offer him a glass of cold water when it's 100 degrees out. Pretty simple....but nobody ever does it. In 10 years I've only been offered maybe 10 times a glass of cold water. Because I do such good work my customers reward me by paying later and later and I'm poorer and poorer now than I've ever been. I need to look into another line of work because apparently pool "boy's" are on the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to making money.

Who is responsible to a rebar rust spot? the contractor who built the pool or the poolman who takes care of it? The pool contractor who bulit the pool says it is the poolman who is taking care of the pool? Is that true?

How long ago was the pool built? Is the rust spot actually from rebar and not from high iron or copper levels in your pool water? Or a stain from some other reason entirely. If your pool was built in the last couple of years and rebar is staining the plaster it is not the pool service companies responsibility as there is no way for them to stop it from happening and your rebar should not be so close to the surface of the plaster that it stains. If it turns out it's not from rebar it still may not be the service companies fault. You could have high copper or iron levels which would cause staining which would only be the responsibility of the service company if they are using chemicals, such as algaecides, that contain these properties. The only other way I can see the pool company being responsible is if they improperly added acid in the shallow end. All that being said if your pool was built more than 10-15 years ago neither may be at fault.

If you take samples of your water to be tested to a local pool store they generally DO NOT test for metals. You have to ask them specifically to test for copper and iron. Be sure and ask for all testing to be done if you have any rust coloring on the plaster or if you have a pool light with a metal ring that turns black. When using a pool service ask them which test kit they use and what they test for in the water. The kits which test for metals are more expensive and generally aren't used unless there is a known issue. There are chemicals which remove metal from the water - check for pricing, some can be more expensive than others but do the same job. The gunite is supposed to be 4 inches behind and in front of the rebar to reinforce the shape of the pool. It would be very unusual for the rebar to be "staining" the pool plaster. The only reason the rebar would move is if the rebar wasn't secured correctly with ties or if there were some massive ground shifting. Most (sub)contractors guarantee their work for 1 year.

I had a pool built in 2006 with rotating jets installed thru out the pool as recommend by the contractor. His comments about maintenance actua lily work! The pool needs to run everyday long enough to cycle the water twice, clean your pump filter every two to three weeks and replace at least every year. Then then most important part - 1 gal of liquid chlorine weekly (two if the temp is over 80) and add more if you see any green build up between dosages, this works great, only had a problem when I failed to do a visual inspection after rainy period or missed prompt chlorine dosage needs.

ever since I was a kid we just treated our pool ourselves... its not hard to get a pH and chlorine tester, in fact they frequently come as a two purpose kit. the test chemicals too are available at pool supply stores as is chlorine, shock, pH dumps, algaecide, etc. etc. ad nauseam. all it takes is a little research and elbow grease.

I'm in my 8th month of pool ownership, and I'm not having much luck figuring out how to maintain it well. The local store sold me a testing kit, chlorine, and a bunch of acid, so we test it weekly (or more), dump in the chlorine, and I still have clouds of orange stuff that brush off the sides. What am I doing wrong, and can anyone recommend a book or website that will teach me once and for all how to take care of this thing?

Pssst, pool stores and companies don't want you to know this but you can totally take care of your pool all by yourself. Learn what kind of filter you have, then google how to maintain it. 1. Unscented household bleach. Buy it in bulk. Don't believe them when they say you need lots of chems to keep your pool healthy. You don't. All you need is chlorine and that's what bleach is. They will yell at you, cuss you out but they're not making any money off of household bleach so do the math. You're not stupid. Don't be shy with it either. It won't hurt you and it just gasses out anyway (rather quickly unfortunately). NEVER USE PUCKS and fire anyone who puts them in your pool immediately. They are clueless and are harming your pool. 2. Buy a good test kit (Taylor, etc.). Not the kind with the color strips. Test at least once a week. If you're regularly putting in bleach you won't really need to fuss with anything but it's good to know your levels. 3. Buy a pool cover. Warms the pool, keeps debris out (mostly) and helps keep the chlorine from gassing out as quickly. My last pool guy made the mistake of thinking I wasn't paying attention until I showed him the footage of him doing essentially nothing. He didn't even bother looking in the skimmer most of the time. Literally spent 4 mins every Tuesday at my pool. Got sick of paying him to dump expensive and unneeded chems in the pool and occasionally cleaning the filter so now I do it myself and my pool has never been cleaner. I admit I'm hard to please but I demand a clean pool! It's amazing how much money you can save when you do a little homework and pay attention (daily) to the condition of your water.

Check chlorine and PH with the red/yellow kit, toss in chemicals as necessary. It takes me ten minutes per week to maintain a 21,000 gallon inground pool. Paying somebody to do exactly the same thing is ridiculous.

How do you go about finding someone to clean and help maintain your pool? I need help with my pool but don't want to just post something on say craigs list for fear of who I will get! My local pool company does not do it and their employees are honest about not being able to do it on the side. Any suggestions?

Bought my home in 1984. A swimming pool was the first major addition and it has provided many hours of pleasure for family and friends. The kids are out of the nest now so I have a qualified and licensed swim teacher who uses the pool every summer for pre-school and up classes. Remarkable program. I also have good, reliable, licensed "small" company which has kept my pool clean, safe and up-to-date for many years. Would be willing to share info on both of the above ( 33406 area) if interested. bigcatwpb can be found at the "big A". Happy summer to all.

I spent almost 30 years in the swimming pool industry from retail, to cleaning, to service, wholesale and have acted as a mfg. rep for safety covers, pool chemicals & liners, etc. I'm now retired but pools (chemicals) are still in my blood. I can't believe all the BS that people have written. It just shows what I've been preaching those 30 years. Pool people don't know as much as they think they do. Most companies (in the NE region) have employee problems because there is no work in the winter to keep good help. Each spring they hire who they can & hope for the best. It can't be helped. So no you're probably not getting experienced help. What the homeowner should be doing if they have weekly service is buy the basic chemicals from your service company (he's getting the same chemicals that are sold to your local pool retail store) and have your pool man check and add the chemicals needed that week. People, It's a no brainer - add the right amount of sanitizer (slow dissolving is better) for your size of pool every 7 days - shock your pool once a week (or more if a lot of water has been added, after a heavy rain, extreme heat or a heavier than normal bather load) with a quick dissolving sanitizer to boost up your free chlorine level - once a week check your Total Alkalinity and the PH level (kids usually get "burning eyes" not from too much chlorine but because the PH has dropped below 7.2, turning the water into an acid bath). One more note: To raise the PH, use Sodium Carbonate (this is NOT baking soda)....... To raise the Total Alkalinity, use Sodium Bicarbonate (yes, it's baking soda but the supermarket or container it's in won't tell you how much to use). With pool chemicals, using too much is just as bad as not using enough. An acid pool will look mighty crystal clear...... If you're not sure your pool is being tested correctly, buy yourself a kit or stop in at the local pool store a few times a year.

So, we are renting from friends, due to the prior renter stiffing them for thousands in rent and damages. I took over the pool maintenance, having never owned a pool before, but with determination to do a good job. The pool maintenance company paid for by the landlord was totally ripped off by their pool company; the tools had been stolen when I got the key (landlords live out of state); the pool was green with algae in January, the dry season, which should not see algae unless severely neglected. The pins had been removed from the timer, so the tenants had not been running the pump. We scrubbed, shocked, chlorinated, and tested constantly for a couple of months, until the pool was clear and the tests were all at healthy levels. I use a local pool supply store to do my testing, and purchase some things from them, to be fair. But I keep my chlorine a tad on the lower end of safe, use algaecide, and regularly shock. I have the most beautiful pool in the neighborhood, and don't invest a lot of time in it. It's all about motivation and diligence. Got a robotic pool cleaner, so I hit the spots that our 'Wally' doesn't do well - brush steps, corners, and around the underwater light and hose fitting for the vac. Love having a pool, don't do the chemicals calculating, support the local store, and get to enjoy the pool. It's a win-win situation.

no reason it should have taken longer than a week to get it beautiful again.....Out of all the chemicals in a pool store, once pH is balanced, the only chemicals needed to keep it clean are chlorine, a cal-hypo based shock, and sodium bromide (an algaecide)

My suggestion to all pool owners is to convert to salt water. I did so about three years ago and my eyes, skin and my costs are less painful. Just do it, the up-front cost is out weighed by the savings.

With salt, yes, you do save on not buying chlorine, but you're having to add in muriatic acid every week, the salt water is much more corrosive on any furniture around your pools, temperature changes cause the salt water to dissolve flagstone/moss rock around the pool... Oh, and that nice lil $500 salt cell? yeah, it goes bad every 3-5 years. the constantly higher pH and TA also increases the rate calcium scales out of the water at, dirtying up your tile line, waterfalls, and salt cell itself. Don't get me wrong, salt pools are absolutely wonderful to swim in, and are much better for you as a swimmer, but I wouldn't say they are "less maintenance" or "cheaper" than a chlorine pool -- it's a common industry misconception.

If you open your pool every season (as opposed to having it open year-round,) you should know that you are not going to get good free chlorine readings unless you first balance and stabilize your water. I once (at the recommendation of my pool supply store's computer analysis) added about 40 bags of shock on opening. The supplier never breathed a word about stabilizer.

Unwanted pool came with good house. Hard to maintain. Solution: (1) Cut down all upwind trees. You can't fight flotsam every day. (2) Drain, scrub, repair, repaint, retile. If you start from scratch, start well. (3) Replace underpowered pump, filter, robovac. Don't skimp here. (4) Maintain strict testing and treatment schedule. Disclipline matters. (5) Use at least once a year (6) When ducks arrive, stop using chemicals (7) When Green Pool Notice arrives, install mosquito fish and water lilies to pacify the Vector Control helicopter. (8) Enjoy your pond, fish, ducks, and eggs. On the hottest day of the year, dive in just once, like you used to do at the swimming hole where you grew up. (9) With the maintenance money you save, buy a new boat for a bigger lake. (10) If you have kids, buy them an above-ground pool that you can throw away when summer's over.

This is a great story to get people thinking about maintaining a pool both efficiently and effectively. I'm aware that if you have an existing pool, there's not many options at this point regarding the design. But! For those of you considering the idea of building a pool...it's IMPORTANT that you have someone who knows what they're doing to design your pool for you! I'm talking about a gunite pool...it would be difficult to change the shape of a fiberglass pool and you're options are limited to sections with a liner pool. Anyway, there are MANY factors that can make a HUGE difference in the cost of pool ownership. Consider this... Many people think, "the deeper, the better!" *You're using more electricity to turn your pool water twice daily, not to mention more chemicals with a deeper pool. Plus, most people aren't 8' tall so they tend to hang out in the 6' or less area of the pool. It's also really important to consider having a 'tanning ledge', also known as a 'kids step'. This is a shallow section, 18" or less, that gives people a place to relax and get some sun without having to worry about staying on top of a float. Also, if you own a pool, your children should be able to swim...but what about the kids that live up the street? You don't want to be in the news because a neighbor's kid couldn't swim...its a terrible thought, but it happens. I'm telling you, after many years of designing and selling pools (..and winning 2 national awards in the process), I've always gotten great feedback from people who weren't sure but took my advice on this. There are many other important factors, such as equipment set-up, options with plastering and so on... I'm not trying to write a novel here, but if there's a pool builder in need of a good designer/salesman...DanPoole09 is how to find me, and that's at yahoo. I'm in the Atlanta area but would consider some new scenery. By the way, look at my last name. Now wouldn't you rather have a Poole guy designing your pool for you? It only makes sense!

Forget about the toxic chemicals. Google natural pools, and you'll find many ways to create an all natural pool that is clean and will maintain itself. A natural pool is much healthier to swim in.

Pool info

And the biggest secret is that maintaining a pool is SIMPLE. I built and maintain our 20X40 in ground. It takes very little time, and very little chemicals. Chemicals are cheap! If you buy the chemicals, not the "pool supplies". Liquid Chlorine? That is Sodium Hypochlorite - which is bleach. Total Alkalinity Increaser? That is Sodium Bicarbonate - yep, baking soda. For algae, first off, if you maintain the proper chlorine levels, you will not have any. But as a standby, have 60% polyquat. Now this IS expensive. But, it contains zero copper - the worst thing you can put into your pool - like most cheap algaecides have. And parts for pumps, etc are cheap and easy to replace too. I replace my main seal on my pump every year or two. It is a $5 part. For all the o-rings, I found an o-ring maker, and ordered some - again, not "pool" labeled, so they were cheap. Pools are very much like boats. 95% of the items can be commonly sourced. But if you put the "pool" or for boats "marine" label on the item, it becomes 10 times as expensive. Know what you are actually getting, and you can save a ton.

Educating yourself in pool maintenance will save you soooo much $$$. It doesn't require hoards of time or muscle, simply your input. Test your water often so "nip it in the bud" prevention saves you from costly repairs and extra chemical additions. Further more if you have teens that use your pool TEACH them and have them help out as well, smaller children enjoy helping skim out debris too. Families that work together stay together:) Make it part of the fun and enjoy! God Bless

As a swimming pool contractor for over 30 years, I have seen my share of good, bad, and some downright terrible service and construction companies that represent our industry. However, swimming pool companies are no different from any other industry that services the consumer - you just need to find one that is reputable and one that fits your particular needs. As for the owner with the negative view of swimming pools in general, I say "Hogwash!" You get out of a pool exactly what you put into it, whether it be enjoyment, prestige, or just plain fun for the kids. It's kind of like buying a car - some people buy the base model Chevy while others buy the fully loaded Cadillac. Again, you get out of something exactly what you put into it! So enjoy your pool, and if you don't like one - then don't live in a house that has one. Move!

I Disagree also on one flat fee. We've been doing pools for 17 years and we would lose are ass if we did not charge for chemicals. A service fee is to pay the pool man for HIS WORK , vac pool. Clean tile ck. chemicals ,netting Ck baskets and salt mech. If have one . Also for gas in truck and pool net ect. So if you had lots of people in your pool u think the pool man should pay for that.? Cause that what we be doing if we paid for all the chemicals. And I'm not the dirtying one swimming or pee init or my dogs in your pool. So no people should pay . In Cal. People pay for there chemicals and. They don't bitch about. So I say no on flat fee. I sure know you would not work for free in100 deg. Weather for free so why you want the pool man to????

I was a pool man for many many years - maintaining a large number of accounts weekly. The cost of pool chemicals has skyrocketed like gasoline has and needs to reflect into a reasonable and customary fee charge. I used to charge a flat fee. Once I had a customer who decided that she was going to have a licensed swim instructor to give lessons in her pool. Guidelines had to be followed with regard to a standard temp increase to meet, and the possibility for health dept visits to insure water quality and sanitary measures. She complained about the chemical surcharge, quit my service and eventually got what she deserved for being greedy when the health dept shut her down, and the cut-rate pool man she hired lost out because he undercut the professional. Hire a good pool man. It is a biosphere that needs to be maintained like the human body does, being chemically perfect, filters cleaned to insure the health of the pool - much as the kidneys should stay healthy to keep the blood filtered and clean. It is a very sensitive environment and needs to be monitored closely by a professional who understands water chemistry - not an idiot who can dump a gallon of chlorine once a week and call himself a poolman. Plenty of those...just like Personal Trainers - too many idiots out there too, certified thru fly-by-nite unaccredited agencies certifying "trainers" who have no idea what they are doing either. I am now a physician and specialized trainer, so I can stake claim to call it on the less than mediocre goons who claim to be professionals in both professions. They're out there. Pay the money for the real professionals people. You get what you pay for.

We have a flat rate for chemicals on winterizing and closing, not weekly. You have a flat rate for checking water and cleaning. Pools don't need the same chemicals every week. Having a flat rate for chemicals is stock piling your customer with chemicals they don't need. BTW do more research, you must be an upgraded General Contractor to sub out to other company's. We're a small company, a contractor and focus on larger work not service. That being said we install purification systems to drastically cut chemical use. Buying a new pool without the new systems is like buying a new car with a distributer and a carburetor!

Some people, like me, don't buy houses with pools. We don't even go to look at them. They are a liability I would rather not have.

A pool is like an antique car ... it barely gets used, requires regular maintenance and never loses its value :)

not when there is a fire and the fire dept loses city-main water pressure. they can toss a pump into the pool and have 10,000-ish gallons of fire fighting love. seen it happen

Never owned a pool till i moved to Florida, if there is one place in America where one has to be on their toes it's Florida and the one thing Florida does not lack is pool companies and landscapers, and the large majority of them just feed off the retired citizens,I wasn't here a month when water was shooting out a pin leak, a part just before the motor, called a pool company they sent one of their pool people to come look at it and gave me a price, so here's what I did,when the man came back to install the part, I asked the Man doing the work if this is something he does on the side or would do on the side, (knowing that at some point the motor would also have to be changed) told him it gives you a chance to make some money and gives me a chance to save money, and as luck would have it the motor went, he came on his time looked at my motor came back two days later with a brand new motor, as I told him I didn't want a rebuilt or used, replaced it, he told me his wife takes care of pools cleaning and adding chemicals ect ect and for the ten dollars less, she is now our pool lady, she has removed stains that were on the bottom of the pool, the tiles are bright and clean and all for the same price, And you would think the story ends there but it don't, turns out my pool man had owned his own sprinkler company, I had sprinkler heads that needed attention well when he looked at my system and when he saw the wiring he was stunned said it was a mess all wrong, he rewired my whole system, told me how to change the heads and the heads I would need,and now all is well, now had I had to have a company come out, the two jobs would have cost me well over 2000 dollars, my cost was less than 550 including parts, all trades men and women would love to pick up extra cash on the side, and Florida being a right to work state they make nothing they get no over time pay no lunch breaks , My better half and I have become great friends with our pool people, same thing with our Kitchen, Lowes wanted close to 3000 plus for kitchen counter tops (not granite)just your basic, charged us 35 dollars for a man to come measure it, and would not give us the measurements in the end or our 35 dollars back , we found a company that did it for less than half the price and we GOT!!!! Granite!!! and a sink and when I asked the two men who came to put it in if they new anything about doing floors and back splashes one did, outside company wanted 1,600 for a bath room and Kitchen floor, along with a back splash for the Kitchen, the man who did the counter tops charged 800 not knowing what the other company was asking and he did a great job. and now all my neighbors know about My pool friend and Tile friend. Always ask if they do it on the side,

As a business owner, I would disagree with that tactic. I run an honest business who charges very reasonable prices for what I do. I would be offended if one of my employees was asked to do the job on the side instead of paying the business rate. This would also put the employees job in jeapordy. When a person does a job on the side, you risk poor workmanship and property damage and most people don't carry insurance for that sort of thing. Small business provide a lot of benefits for their local economy and sidestepping them isn't the best idea.

I as a customer hear what you are saying, BUT when we have a business come out and do an estimate for a job. We accept the bid, materials and time to install these items and something is "wrong or not acceptable".........WHY do we play heck in getting the "business" we hired to make it right........? when most of the time when we do hire the guy on the side, he or she does the job as effective, correctly and within the time slotted with no mistakes. So if more business's were honorable and followed through with job, then the practice of hiring the guy on the side would fade out.

You think you are saving money LOL you are hiring people that don't have liability insurance so when they do damage to your property you our screwed , they have no required workmans comp insurance so when they get hurt on your property you will be paying their medical expenses and more. they have no State license so they are working illegally , As a homeowner you can be charged with hiring an unlicensed contractor and be fined. Yes those of us that are state licensed charge more, we have to , we must pay for the insurance for all the above , we must take required classes to keep up with changes to the industry and state law , however if we fail to provide the services we contract for ,we are held accountable by the state. Lastly I will point our that most manufactures of pool equipment will not provide a warranty for the equipment unless installed by a licensed contractor.

And you wonder why pool companies are expensive. We spend our mony training and paying for them to come your house and you hire them "on the side". Those techs will lose their job if it is found out they are doing this. I'm not sure what business you're in or if you're in charge. Assuming you are in charge of people how would you like if they decided to do the work on the side and just take your customers.

Wow, that was one long sentence.

That's a great way to rip off the pool company owner, the same guy who took the time to hire, screen, insure and fairly compensate the guy you are trying to pay on the side.

I agree. As small business owners, it is not fair when our employees take business away from us to do work on the side. We pay not only for employee's hours worked, insurance, etc. but also for advertising, insurance on the vehicles they drive to each customer's house, ads in print, online, radio and TV, and this is very expensive. All for sneaky employees to take away business from the very company that is paying for everything else, and in many cases, using the same equipment, supplies, etc. so it is almost like stealing. Just hire a reputable company, and pay the price. You cannot call the company and complain if the person who does it on the side makes it worse or fixes it wrong.

As a pool company owner i can assure you that companies that include chemicals in their price will always reward the company. The customer will not receive chemicals that are costly but needed from time to time. Every pool is different and therefor require different chemicals so you can assume the company will factor in the cost of chemicals on the worst case and use that number to charge everyone so you will lose time after time.

If you lack the knowledge to repair or maintain a pool, you can do 2 things (a) get the info on Youtube.com, or (2) don't own a pool to begin with...

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