Are Discounts a Do or a Don't?

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Hands 320 Feat

Do you offer discounts?” That’s one of the questions I get asked most often from both customers and fellow pool pros (who get the same question from their customers just as often).

People who own pool service companies, especially those who are just starting to get their feet wet, are really tempted to offer a discount. “I want to give them a month free to thank them for signing on with me,” “I quoted $120/month, but they asked if I could do $115.” You know the drill.

When it comes to discounts, I have a pretty succinct answer: No.

Well, let me elaborate: No, I don’t give discounts...except in one case, which I’ll explain later.


Discounts, especially when it comes to customers who are haggling you for a better deal, are a slippery slope — once you open that door, you’re never going to shut it again. You might’ve given them a break on their monthly pool service, but now that their filter needs to be replaced, they’re back at it. “Four hundred and fifty dollars? Can you do it for $400?”

In my opinion, every little thing you do says something about your business. That’s why we take our trucks through the car wash every week, it’s why we keep an extra shirt in our truck to look presentable when meeting a new client. It’s also why I don’t offer discounts: it sends a message that I value myself and the work I can do.

RELATED: How to Raise Service Prices

And to take it from another perspective: You deserve to make a good wage without getting hassled. If I go to my dentist’s office and find out I need an $1,800 root canal, would I say, “Oh, ok, can you do it for $1,200?” No! That’s not how it works. They’re providing a service just like we are, so we shouldn’t be negotiating our prices.

I’ve also learned that the customers who immediately try to cut a deal with you on a repair or monthly service are often the most difficult customers you’ll deal with. If they decide they don’t want to hire you because you didn’t give them a discount, trust me, they’re doing you a favor.

Standing your ground on your prices is something that good customers understand and respect. Those are the people you’re looking to take on.


I always give discounts to law enforcement, military and first responders. (Typically a 15% discount.) And the reason why is because they put their lives on the line for us every single day — it’s really the least I can do to thank them for their service.

RELATED: $60/Month for Pool Service? No Way!

I know some people don’t do this. In fact, a competitor I was talking to at the distribution center told me he doesn’t offer discounts of any kind, including military/law enforcement/ first responders. I understand why — he’s someone who charges $90/ month for pool service, so he is running on razor-thin margins and can’t afford to offer discounts. This is yet another reason why you need to charge what you’re worth! Charging the right rates allows you to do things like offer discounts to the people who really deserve them.

Offering the discount as a thank you is its own reward, but I’ve also learned there’s another benefit to offering the discounts to to military/ police/first responders: they always pass me on to their law enforcement and military friends.

Charging what you’re worth allows you to say no to the customers who are ultimately not a great fit for you while also allowing you to give back to those who give so much to us. That’s definitely a win-win.

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