Essential Third-Party Services You Need to Run Your Pool Business

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Like many of you, I started my pool service business as a one-pole operation. In those early days of Chlorine King, I quickly learned a lesson: It’s hard to do everything it takes to run a pool business by yourself.

When you think about it, as a one-pole business, the act of working on pools is one of the smaller tasks on your plate. You’re also the sales guy, the accountant, the bookkeeper, the marketing guy and the HR rep. It’s a lot of hats to wear, and if you don’t strategize, you run the risk of burning out.

When I found myself spending too much work time away from the backyard, that’s when I realized I needed to start outsourcing some of those tasks. Today, I’m a firm believer in using third-party services because they help me streamline my business operations, save me time and give me peace of mind. And, to put it bluntly, they do all the stuff I’m not great at.

Whether you’re a single-pole company or manage a fleet of techs, these are the third-party services I would recommend:

A REGISTERED AGENT

When I first started my business, the first thing I did was hire a registered agent. In loose terms, an RA is a person you designate to accept tax and legal documents on your company’s behalf. I decided to hire one because they help me keep my business compliant with the state — they manage my annual filing with the state, for example, and they filed my LLC for me when I started. I pay $250 per year for this service, which I consider money well spent.

A BOOKKEEPER

A bookkeeper manages your books, makes sure expenses get put in the right categories and sends you a monthly profit-and-loss report so you see how your business is doing. And at the end of the year, they prepare documents for your accountant.

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To me, a bookkeeper is an invaluable resource because having one means you’re not constantly monitoring the books to make sure everything is correct. If math and spreadsheets aren’t your jam, why spend all kinds of time on it when you can pay someone to do it for you — and do it better than you? Mine costs $100 per month, and in my eyes, that’s more than worthwhile.

AN ACCOUNTANT

My accountant is responsible for filing taxes at the end of the year and determining whether I’m going to get a return or if I need to pay taxes. The reason why I hire these people, especially for the financial stuff, is because they have guarantees that their stuff is correct. Even though I’m signing on the line and I’m responsible, they fix anything they do incorrectly under my name.

You guys are probably wondering why I have a bookkeeper and an accountant. “Can’t one person do both?” And the truth is yes, both my accountant and bookkeeper can do both services. But I like hiring separate people because it’s two more eyes that are going through my finances, and they can correct each other as needed and generally keep each other in check.

A PAYROLL SERVICE

I didn’t have a payroll service during my first year in business. Because I was the only employee and wasn’t issuing a check to anyone, I figured I didn’t need one. So I took money out of the company as needed, which turned out to be a tax nightmare.

I was asked to collect and submit all these documents, and I didn’t know what I did with them because I didn’t know I had to keep them, so as you can imagine, the whole situation snowballed.

Having a payroll system in place eliminates a lot of those problems. I use Gusto, a service that issues payroll checks to myself and my employees, withholds taxes and automatically pays those taxes to the state every quarter. So again, that’s one less thing I have to think about because that service does it for me.

BILLING SOFTWARE

Let me tell you a quick story. I got married during that first year of my business, and I was on my honeymoon during my typical billing period. I remember spending three hours of my honeymoon filling out invoices, and all the while, I was wracking my brain, thinking “there’s got to be a better way.”

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So I found a program called PaythePoolMan, and now it literally takes me five seconds to run billing. It’s three clicks of the mouse. I absolutely love it.

SERVICE SOFTWARE

The great thing about being a pool tech today is that there are so many software options that are designed to help you make the most of your day. I mentioned I use PaythePoolMan for billing, but that program (and many others like it) offer billing as part of a suite of helpful services for pool businesses. Service software can also tackle route optimization, so they draw up the most efficient route based on your stops; record management, so customer information can be logged and referenced in one place; customer communication tools, like automatic reminder texts of upcoming service or late payment notices; water balancing tools; and more.

If you want to get a leg up on the competition, these software programs can make a big difference. There are dozens to choose from, too, many of which have a free trial, so you can test it out for a few days before making a big commitment.

When you run a service company, one of your (many) goals is to cut costs where you can. But some things, like accounting and billing, just make sense to outsource. Paying a few bucks to get yourself out of the trap of busywork is a great way to keep your business running smoothly.

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