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How to Start a Pool Cleaning Business: 11 Easy Steps

Business
Published: 2 years ago, Last Updated: 5 months ago
Daniel Brown
Writer: Daniel Brown
Jackson Rhodes
Reviewer: Jackson Rhodes
Listen minutes

According to IBISWorld, the U.S. swimming pool cleaning services industry is worth $7.1 billion and is expected to increase by nearly $50 billion in 2032. Given the numbers, starting a pool cleaning business seems promising. Plus, if you like to work outside and have a flexible schedule, a pool cleaning business might be right for you.

But there’s a lot more to the job than working outdoors. Once you have completed all the necessary paperwork and obtained the required certifications, it’s time to move on to the next crucial steps in starting your pool cleaning business. If you are willing to put in the time to learn, continue reading this blog to find out how to start a pool cleaning business.

Write Your Business Plan

A business plan is a document that defines your company’s objectives and serves as a roadmap to achieve them. A business plan is also an important tool to increase your chances of qualifying for a business loan from the bank.

Close up on business plan documents

A business plan is composed of the following sections:

  • Executive summary: This section includes a brief overview of the business plan.
  • Business overview: This section details an overview of the company, its vision and mission, ownership, and corporate goals.
  • Product and services: Describe your pool cleaning services in detail.
  • Market analysis: This includes assessing market trends and prospects for growth and conducting a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis.
  • Competitive analysis: Analyze your competitors and assess their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Sales and marketing: Develop sales and marketing strategies and examine your Unique Selling Propositions (USP).
  • Management team: Write an overview of the management team detailing their roles and background.
  • Operations plan: Write your company’s office location, equipment, and other logistical details.
  • Financial plan: Declare three years of financial planning, including startup costs, break-even analysis, cash blow, profit and loss estimates, and balance sheet.
  • Appendix: Any additional business-related documents.

Register Your Pool Cleaning Service

To operate your business legally, you must register it with your local and state government. However, the process of registering your business differs depending on the state you operate in, and it is best to check with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to figure out how to register your business.

You can register your pool cleaning company under different business structures. The structure you choose for your business impacts your taxes and registration requirements. The four main options for a pool cleaning business are the following:

  • Sole proprietorship: A sole proprietorship is the most common structure for a pool cleaning business because you may be the only person working for the business in the beginning. There is no legal distinction between the company and the owner with this business structure. This means that you can keep all the profits but will be personally liable for all debts.
  • Partnership: Forming a partnership is like a sole proprietorship. However, instead of one owner, there are multiple owners called partners. The partners share the profits and are personally liable for all losses.
  • Corporation: When forming a corporation, the business is a distinct entity, and the owners are not personally responsible for the company’s debts. They take profits through shareholder dividends and pay a corporate income tax rate on any gains.
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC): An LLC is another common structure for a pool cleaning business. It combines the characteristics of a corporation and a sole proprietorship or partnership. The company is a distinct entity, and the owners are not personally liable for debts. On the other hand, an LLC doesn’t pay taxes at the business level. Instead, the income passes through the owner’s personal income tax return, avoiding the double taxation of a corporation.

Register for Taxes

After registering your pool cleaning service, the next step is to get your Employer Identification Number (EIN) to pay taxes. You can file for your EIN in multiple ways, such as online, by mail, or by fax. 

Business owner signing business registration paperwork

Note that you can use your Social Security number as your EIN if you have chosen to operate as a sole proprietorship.

Your tax ID is also required to open a business bank account and apply for licenses and permits.

Get Your Contractor’s License

You are not required to get a contractor’s license to start your pool cleaning business. However, you are legally required to be licensed as a contractor in most states if you will be conducting repairs costing over $500 per pool. However, obtaining a business license is quite expensive, costing more money than you can plan, which is over $2,000.

So, if you choose to focus solely on pool cleaning services and avoid any repair work, you’ll be fine without a contractor’s license. Obtaining the necessary licensing for your pool cleaning business not only demonstrates professionalism and credibility but also ensures that you comply with local regulations and can provide peace of mind to potential clients. 

Get Insurance

Business insurance protects you from unexpected events that may have a devastating impact on your company. Even if you registered your business as a corporation or LLC, getting business insurance can give you extra protection.

Close up on business insurance paperwork

Here are some types of insurance to consider for your pool cleaning businesses:

  • General liability: General liability insurance is the most common type of insurance. It can cover property damages and bodily injuries resulting from your products, services, and operations. Swimming pools are a common feature in many households, making the demand for pool cleaning businesses high. 
  • Business property: Business property insurance protects your property, equipment, and supplies in case of unexpected accidents or tragedies like fire and theft.
  • Equipment Breakdown Insurance: This type of insurance covers the cost of replacing or repairing equipment that has broken due to mechanical issues.
  • Worker’s compensation: Worker’s compensation provides compensation to employees injured on the job.
  • Commercial auto: Commercial auto insurance protects your company-owned vehicle.
  • Professional liability: This type of insurance protects against claims from clients who state they suffered a loss because of an error or omission in their work.

Get Your Pool Operator Certification (CPO)

To start your pool cleaning business, you need to have hands-on professional pool cleaning experience. Therefore, you need to obtain a Certified Pool Operator (CPO) certification that provides training in water chemistry, mechanical operations, filtration, pool safety, and best practices. Even though some states may not require a certificate to operate a pool cleaning business, it will be highly beneficial to get the knowledge you need to offer a higher quality of service. By acquiring the necessary knowledge, pool owners will not only receive a superior level of service but also enjoy a pristine and well-maintained pool year-round. 

Continuing education is essential for any business. Therefore, it is best to stay updated with the latest techniques and standards in the industry to beat your competitors. Keep an eye out for the latest products and read magazines that cover the newest swimming pool technology.

Lastly, build connections with industry experts to give you the edge you need to succeed in the industry. Consider joining business meetups and attending trade shows to make those connections. To stay ahead of the competition in the pool cleaning industry, it is crucial to offer exceptional customer service and invest in high-quality equipment and technology. 

Do Your Research and Determine Your Service Types and Pricing

Now that you have the necessary experience under your belt, it’s time to research and plan your pool cleaning business. First, consider the startup costs. Depending on the pool care services you want to offer, your initial capital can range from $2,000 to $7,500 to get your business off the ground.

One of the most crucial aspects of starting a pool cleaning business is making smart investments in tools, equipment, and technology that will streamline your services and enhance the overall customer experience.

 A significant portion of your capital will go toward pool equipment, such as:

  • Professional pool cleaning equipment (leaf rakes, pool filters, water testing strips, pool brushes, hoses, pool pumps, pool covers, skimmers): $1,500 to $2,000
  • Cleaning supplies (pool chemicals and pool filter cleaners): $500 to $1,000
  • Van or truck: $5,000 to $10,000
  • Insurance and permits: $500 to $1,000 per year
  • Marketing and Advertising: $500 per year

Now, think about how much you will charge for your services. If you are wondering how much pool cleaners make, pool service companies charge between $80 to $100 per hour. You could set your prices as high as $200 per hour if you also offer pool maintenance and repair. Being knowledgeable and skilled in the field of pool cleaning, maintenance, and repair will not only allow you to set your prices high but also establish your credibility and attract a larger customer base. 

Close up on pool cleaner using chemicals to test the water

Let’s say you would like to generate $20,000 in monthly revenue. At $100 per hour, you will need to work 120 hours every month. Therefore, you will have to book around 30-to-35-hour bookings per week to achieve your revenue goals.

Then, decide whether you want to start a pool cleaning business on your own, with a partner, with a friend, or with a team. Contracts are an essential aspect of starting a pool cleaning business, as they provide clarity and legal protection for both the business owner and their clients. While it may be tempting to offer a plethora of services, consider your strengths and areas of expertise when deciding the type of services you want to provide. Meanwhile, consider whether you will be working full-time, part-time, or seasonal.

Once you have determined the type of services you want to provide and your preferred work schedule, it is crucial to develop a well-organized scheduling system that ensures efficient and timely pool cleaning for your clients. Finally, think about your target customers. Would you offer your pool services to commercial clients, residential clients, or both? If you are targeting residential clients, consider focusing on apartment complexes, as they often have multiple pools that require regular cleaning and maintenance. 

Research Your Competitors

After determining your service types and pricing, the next step is to identify your competitors. Therefore, research your competitors in pool servicing and educate yourself on the products and services they offer. Assess their strengths and weaknesses to help you develop a strategy to compete with them and create better service offerings and a variety of exclusive features to attract more clients.

Moreover, researching your competitors will help you identify market gaps and present you with the opportunity to fill them.

Open a Business Bank Account

Consider opening a business bank account to separate your business and personal finances. By doing so, you can easily track your business transactions and keep your bookkeeping accurate and up to date. Tax preparation is also easier with a bank account dedicated to your pool cleaning business. It also helps keep track of business expenses and liability and proves the legitimacy of your company.

Additionally, a business account can come in handy when you need a loan from the bank. Having a strong credit history through timely payments and responsible financial management can significantly enhance your credibility and borrowing capacity with the bank.

Opening a business bank account is quite simple. Bring in your EIN, articles of incorporation, and other legal documents to open your new account. For more information, inquire at your preferred bank to learn more about their rates and features. 

To establish a professional image and streamline your finances, consider opening a business credit card exclusively for your pool cleaning business, which can help you easily track expenses and build credit for future growth opportunities. 

Offer Exceptional Customer Service

You are finally ready to start providing pool cleaning services to your clients! But first, you must think of your target market ways to keep them happy and ensure they will stick around. The most effective way to make sure your clients will stay loyal to you is by offering exceptional customer service.

Two young adults floating in pool

Additionally, in today’s digital world, one negative customer review may damage your pool cleaning business’s reputation and customer base. The majority of customers rely heavily on online reviews when choosing a service provider, making it crucial to prioritize customer satisfaction and maintain a positive reputation for your pool cleaning business. 

Consider the following tips to offer excellent customer service:

  • Always be on time
  • Communicate with your clients before, during, and after cleaning their pools
  • Educate your clients
  • Offer tailored services
  • Choose quality over quantity

Market Your Pool Cleaning Business

Once you have come up with a memorable and catchy business name that reflects the professionalism and expertise of your pool cleaning services, it is essential to brainstorm innovative ideas to differentiate your business from competitors and attract potential clients. 

Marketing is essential to spread the word about your pool cleaning business among potential customers. That’s why businesses use different marketing strategies and platforms to reach as many people as possible to increase business profits. When starting a pool cleaning business, having eye-catching marketing materials is essential to attract potential customers and showcase the services offered. Here are some practical ways to market your pool cleaning company:

Business Listing

Get your business listed on local search directories such as Google My Business. With Google My Business, potential clients can easily find you on Google’s web search results when searching for pool service businesses nearby. They can also get in touch with you, see reviews from past customers, and check photos of your work. Therefore, make sure that your contact information is up to date and encourage your clients to post positive reviews of your work online.

SEO-Optimized Website

Set a budget for your company’s website and optimize it by adding keywords relevant to your industry, such as “pool maintenance near me.” With SEO, your website can be listed on the first page of a web search result, significantly increasing the chances of people finding your business when searching for pool cleaning companies. Again, make sure your contact information is up to date for your client.

Printed Materials

Consider printing business cards, flyers, door hangers, and postcards to hand to businesses or people in your target demographic area who own pools.

Active Social Media Accounts

In addition to utilizing flyers, door hangers, and postcards, another effective strategy to promote your pool cleaning business is to strategically place posts on social media platforms that cater to pool owners and enthusiasts in your area.  

Don’t Ignore Questions

To provide exceptional customer service, be proactive in addressing any questions or concerns your customers may have regarding pool maintenance, equipment, or water chemistry. 

User-Friendly Mobile App

One effective way to reach potential customers and streamline your pool cleaning business is by developing a user-friendly mobile app that allows clients to easily book appointments, track their pool cleaning schedules, and receive updates on the status of their pool maintenance. 

Advertising

To attract new customers and expand your pool cleaning business, strategically invest in targeted online and offline ads to increase awareness and showcase the benefits of your services.

Sum-Up

After reading this blog, you have all the necessary information to start your pool cleaning business. First, you need to create a business plan, register your business, and get your contractor’s license. After gaining first-hand experience in the industry and making connections, you should obtain the required certifications and open a business bank account to separate your personal and business finances. Finally, offer exceptional customer service to ensure your customers will stick around and watch your pool cleaning business grow.


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