State of the Industry 2015: Service

2015 SOI service chart 2015 SOI service chart

Marketing Magic: Word of Mouth

If you're doing the job right, word gets around. Service people said by far their most potent marketing weapon was their own excellent work.

"Still the best source of new work. Do a great job and people not only notice, they tell others."

"Clean-lettered vehicles are a retail storefront."

2015 SOI Service graph

"Nothing beats word of mouth, and it WORKS!"

I love (most of) my customers! Especially…

2015 SOI Service quotes

Problems with Salt

Throughout the survey, service techs voiced concerns about the salt chlorine generator — problems with its performance in pools, problems with customer expectations.

"Our industry image suffers due to the wide discrepancies in solutions offered by companies. All too often we find customers frustrated in the failed solution they purchased (mainly saline systems) and as a result, have become timid shoppers. It takes a great deal of time to re-gain their trust in our industry and view us as a consultant/engineer versus a pool pole and pickup truck provider."

Looking Back

photo of a squirrel saved from drowning

One of last year's feel-good stories: Pool guy Rick Gruber rescued a nearly drowned squirrel from a client's pool and captured the little guy's recovery on camera. The story quickly went viral.









Why it was a good year…

"More repairs and more accounts thanks to word-of-mouth and me becoming a better salesperson thanks to attending more industry-sponsored seminars (read Zodiac, Pentair, Haywood, etc.)."

Why it was a bad year…

"Our area has still not come back from the recession"

"Poorly quoted work."

"More do-it-yourself-ers."

Best part of the day…

2015 SOI Service quotes 2015 SOI Service quotes

Money Makers

These products really brought in the cash in 2014 — in order of popularity in our survey:

Variable speed pumps Salt systems Automation and controls Pool covers (safety, automatic, solar) Liners Heaters (heat pumps, solar heaters, gas heaters) APCs LED lights

Looking Back

photo of a service tech using an automatic pool cleaner

In "APCs: Cleaning Up the Backyard" (March 2015), we chatted with service techs who say automatic pools cleaners help them get to more pools in less time. In particular, a few say battery-powered cleaners are among the most important tools on the truck: "Most of the pools we service are right on the beach and are always filled with sand," says Chris Morelli of South Strand Pool Maintenance in Surfside Beach, South Carolina. "We have a staff of six, and five of them use the commercial grade Pool Blaster Max CG battery powered pool vacs — they are terrific for getting the sand out of pools."







Biggest change occurring right now in the service industry?

Overwhelmingly, respondents said the biggest change today is the profound effect of the Internet on sales.

2015 SOI Service chart and quotes

Other currents of change:

  • Automation

  • Communication with customers and how much easier it is with new technology.

  • New laws relating to pool service and building, some affected by drought conditions.

  • Service work for home warranty companies.

  • Consumers doing their own research. "Pool companies can look like crooks when the consumer sees how cheap stuff is online. The companies that offer the most professionalism and knowledge will remain in business while the cash grab guys will eventually hit bottom. If you are bad at what you do, you will be exposed for it. If you are good at what you do, you will be rewarded."

  • Variable speed motors

Looking Back


photo of a drillIn October 2014, we published "Lifehacks for Service Pros," a roundup of great shortcuts, tips and tricks to make your service routes easier and faster. Here's one of our favorites:

"I drill a few small holes in the bottom of my pool caddy, the bucket that holds my tabs and my trash bucket. This allows any water that gets in to drain out easily and quickly. If I get hit by rain, I don't have to worry about any of those items getting filled with water."

— Michael Rodarte Co-Founder, Classic Pool Service | Scottsdale, Ariz.

As the years have gone by, what have you grown to appreciate most about the service business?

2015 SOI service quotes

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