By Terry Arko
It is important for pool/spa service companies to continuously offer new services to help increase profits and grow the business by distinguishing themselves from competitors. One way this can be achieved is by adding a water treatment program using specialty chemicals.
Blue Water Pool & Repair Corp., a full-service pool and spa business in Orlando, Fla., is a prime example of how this can work. The company has been operating for more than 20 years and services hundreds of pool accounts; however, new services are continually made available to differentiate the business from competitors and increase profitability.
According to the company’s operation manager, Fred Johnson, the idea of offering a simple, new service called the ‘Algae Prevention Program Plus’ dramatically increased the company’s profits in a short period of time.
The program offering
The Algae Prevention Program Plus allows Blue Water to offer its customers the guarantee of algae-free water for three months each time they receive the service. In doing this, the company uses a phosphate remover and then applies a three-month algaecide.
“We guarantee the client will have pool water that not only looks better, but also feels better,” says Johnson.
The specialty products used do the work for the company, allowing them to give their clients a three-month water quality guarantee.
Implementing the program
Blue Water started implementing the program by having its service technicians take phosphate readings of all their client’s pools the month before the program started. After recording the readings in their logs, they could determine the proper chemical dosages based on the phosphate levels of each particular pool.
The company then gave its service technicians the ‘recipe,’ along with the tools to measure and apply the treatment to each pool during the next regular service call. Blue Water’s service technicians found that treating each pool with the algae prevention products was simple and took very little time.
Promoting the program
As a service company, there are multiple ways to communicate new offerings to clients. For example, Blue Water promoted their program by inserting a flyer into their customers’ monthly invoice. The flyer explained both the treatment process and the three-month algae-free water guarantee.
Rather than ask the client to agree to the service, they simply stated the program would be implemented the following month for a charge of $90. If the client was not interested in having the treatment applied, they were to contact the office.
“One of the company’s owners was quite nervous about my plan,” says Johnson. “He felt that, in this economy, many homeowners would not be inclined to pay more for this type of service and we might actually lose customers by setting the program up in this manner.”
However, despite this concern, Blue Water proceeded with the plan and only 21 clients opted out of the water treatment program.
The profitability of this type of program can be very high. In fact, Blue Water was thrilled with the results.
“I could not believe the profits this program generated,” says Johnson. “After treating all of our pool accounts, we averaged a profit of more than $70 per pool. In the first month of implementing the program, enough profit was generated—even after paying for the product, fuel, and labour—that we could have purchased a new truck.”
Service companies can learn a lot from this case study example. According to Johnson, since implementing the program the company has continued to receive calls from existing customers who are happy with their pools as well as from new customers inquiring about their service.
“By adding this service, even in a down economy, we are building customer loyalty and growing our business,” says Johnson.
Now is the time for pool/spa service companies to look creatively at their service offerings and see what additional, high-profit services they can offer to customers to increase earnings and grow the company.
Terry Arko has more than 30 years experience in the swimming pool and spa industry, working in service, repair, retail sales, chemical manufacturing, customer service, sales and product development. He is also a Certified Pool/Spa Operator® (CPO®) and CPO Instructor through the National Swimming Pool Foundation® (NSPF®). Arko is currently product specialist and for SeaKlear Pool and Spa Products a subsidiary of Halosource, Inc., a clean water technology company based in Bothell, Wash. He can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.