WHY & HOW TO HIRE A PROFESSIONAL POOL SERVICE
Owning a pool can be great fun. But it can also be a great deal of work. To keep it clean and the equipment working properly, it needs regular maintenance.
You may be tempted to do this yourself. Sweet Jennifer is the pool girl at the Romero home. She takes a sample of the pool water to a local pool shop who will test it and recommend chemicals. If the Romero pool needs a new motor or repair, she contacts Postorino Pool Service & Repair, a Rosie-Certified Partner (of course).
If you don’t want to be bothered with taking samples of your water to be tested or brushing down the pool, weekly service may make sense for you. At the very least, hire a professional service company for annual maintenance.
However, in the summer, in particular, when the wind and dust are whipping around and the temperatures are in the triple digits, this maintenance should be left to a professional.
Why You Should Hire A Professional
Safety & Consistent Equipment Inspection
Safety is the most important reason to hire a professional. Never cut corners when it comes to safety.
A pool contains chemicals (unless you use a chemical-free system). If not handled properly, serious injuries can occur. The CDC reports that pool chemical injuries led to an estimated 4,535 U.S. emergency department visits annually during 2008-2017.
A professional pool service company typically services every week. A trained professional is more likely to spot potential problems before you do.
“The importance of hiring a professional pool service company can be stated simply by weighing the cost vs. error rate of a non-professional,” says Barbra Postorino, owner, Postorino Pool Service & Repair. “In so many cases, diagnosing problems in a pool can be a result of multiple issues that are not always apparent right away. A good professional company has a background in many such instances and is alerted to look for underlying problems.”
It’s not just a bucket of tabs and a gallon of bromine we’re talking about here. It may seem as though you are paying more to have a professional clean your pool. In reality, a qualified pool professional will spot potential problems long before they turn into costly repairs, such as pump/motor replacement. They may also get better pricing on parts and supplies.
Proper Training & Certification for Repairs/Maintenance
A pool professional who holds certifications such as Certified Pool Operator, Certified Pool & Spa Service Professional, and others through the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA) are required to continuously engage in education to maintain their certifications. Independent Pool & Spa Service Association (IPSSA) members must pass the Water Chemistry Certification Examination upon joining.
“I highly recommend asking the pool service company if their employees are CPO Certified. If they have spent the time and money to become certified, they are usually professional in what they do. Just because you have a pick-up and a pool pole doesn’t mean you’re a pool professional,” says Craig O’Grady, owner, Desert Sun Pools, a Rosie-Certified Partner.
A pool service professional wears many “sun” hats — chemist, plumber, engineer, and problem solver. Choose a provider with these questions in mind.
How To Hire A Professional
Ask these questions before hiring a pool professional.
1 | “Are you licensed?”
The Arizona Registrar of Contractors does not require pool service companies to be licensed unless the project exceeds $1,000 (parts and labor) per project. The R-6 Swimming Pool Service & Repair license allows them to service and perform a minor repair of residential pools and accessories, excluding plumbing connections to a potable water system, gas lines, gas chlorine systems, and electrical work beyond the first disconnect. This classification does not allow the licensee to perform a complete replacement of plaster or pebble pool interiors and decks.
2 | “Do you carry liability insurance?”
To prevent being held responsible if anything goes wrong during the pool service or repair process, confirm they carry liability insurance that is up to date. IPSSA members are required to maintain liability insurance at a minimum of $1,000,000 coverage.
3 | “Where are you located?”
A local company is more likely to understand the issues and climate in our area than one located out of state. Pool issues in Arizona are far different than those in Florida, for example. Local companies tend to have staff that has been employed with them for several years, whereas, national pool repair companies often have higher turnover rates.
4 | “What are your qualifications, and are you a member of any trade or professional organizations?”
These questions go hand-in-hand.
Membership in trade organizations generally means the professional is willing to abide by a set of rules and ethics as set forth by the organization. They are open to having their company practices and customer relations analyzed, including having any problems reported. Trade organizations offer continuing education, training, and development to keep employees, no matter the position, updated on the latest industry trends, techniques, laws, and ordinances.
“In many repairs, there is a good chance that it stems from some fault in a system, or a product and diagnosing can have multiple layers. Knowledge of appropriate chemicals or equipment is most important when dealing with a problem,” says Barbara. “When working with an experienced professional company, chances are that they have continuing education in the ever-changing world of that same equipment or products. It is necessary to be kept abreast of all that is happening in the world of servicing and maintaining pools. Diagnosing a problem incorrectly can result in extra time and costs.”
Ask the professional to provide their credentials.
5 | “How responsive is your customer service?”
Hire a company that responds promptly to calls and whose technicians will pleasantly answer your questions or show you what you need to know.
6 | “How much do you charge?”
This should NOT be your first question. Remember, you get what you pay for. If the price is too low, you could be dealing with an inexperienced company that could very well cost more in the long run. You are paying for their experience and the convenience of not doing this task yourself.
7 | “May I have references?”
Word-of-mouth advertising is the gold standard for evaluating a company’s reputation. If you don’t know anyone who has used the company you are inquiring about, get referrals and call. Ask about the quality and timeliness of the repairs, pricing, and communications.
“Professional companies are licensed and bonded and are interested in always having a good relationship with their customers,” says Barbara. “Integrity is a big part of running any professional business and that drives ‘great’ customer relations.”
Following these simple guidelines will allow you to hire the right professional, resulting in more time spent in the pool than cleaning it.
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