Swimming Pool Routes: Service, Sales, and How To Buy A Route

Owning pool routes is a great business opportunity. Learn the pool business and make money cleaning pools with quality pool accounts.

Pool Routes

People having pool cleaning business are more common than in times past.  More people are looking for new ways to supplement their incomes.  With the increased layoffs, people are in need of additional income sources. This need for income has led to the increased number of route sales. 

Homeowners and businesses with pools and spas need the help of a qualified pool business to keep their pool clean and managed.  Another reason for the increase in pool routes for sale is because of the relatively high profit margin from parts, labor, and pool repairs.

Well maintained swimming pools can be a lucrative business.  Keeping customers happy means having residual monthly income as service fees are charged to maintain the customer's swimming pool.  Working with brokers may increase your chances of selling your pools in a timely manner.

How To Choose A Pool Service

Thinking about buying a pool route but are unsure what to do?  Would you like a good side job making some real money?  Don't go out there unprepared.

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Pool Routes For Sellers

A swimming pool broker can help with your business records.  Pool brokers are able to leverage their pool contacts and introduce new routes to them as potential purchases.  Many pool business owners may choose to grow their business by acquiring other routes of different sizes.  They will analyze and offer you a professional opinion on the value of your business and pool routes for sale. 

Pool Routes For Buyers

By using a broker, you can save time in locating a route for sale. Call around for the best prices and be sure to ask many questions. They should assist you in all aspects of the financial records of the potential pool purchase.  Many pool brokers have free company profiles. They should have up-to-date listings in your area.  Another good avenue is your local pool store.  Talk to the employees and see if they've heard of other pool guys that are complaining about their routes, or want to sell them off.  Give them your name and number and check in with them once per month.  Ask if you could post a "POOL ROUTE WANTED" ad in the store.

"The Universal Laws of Pool Chemistry and Physics That Apply Equally To Every Outdoor Chlorine and Salt Pool In The World."

My friends, the above quote is one of the most important parts of your swimming pool chemistry.  There's not one outdoor chlorine or salt pool in the world that doesn't bow to the Universal Laws of Pool Chemistry and Physics.  If you're having problems with your swimming pool chemistry, you're not alone.  Thousands of pool owners just like you have the same issues every Summer.  But there's nothing wrong with you.  You're NOT wrong. What you're TOLD is wrong.  The information you're getting about your pool simply goes against the Universal Laws of Pool Chemistry & Physics that apply equally to every salt and chlorine pool in the world.  Any advice given to you about your pool will either CONFIRM or CONTRADICT these applicable laws.  

Folks, this is absolutely 1st Grade stuff.  Easy beyond belief!!  If you can add chlorine, sweep, and empty the skimmer basket, you can have a perfect pool!!  

When You Buy A Pool Route

You can also check online ads such as Craigslist or put an ad out there mentioning your interest in acquiring a pool route.  There are also several pool route websites on the internet.

IMPORTANTWhen buying a pool route be sure to get, in writing:

  • Training Period: Minimum 30 days
  • Guarantee Period: Minimum 90 days
  • No Compete Period: 5 years

I actually had to go to court against the other pool guy for the "no compete" issue.  He was doing some shady things behind our backs after we purchased his route, so be careful.

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Important Pool Route Questions

Before you start your own pool service business, there are some questions you need to ask:

How many can be done per hour/day/week?

Normally 15 per day / 75 per week. 2 per hour, including driving time. A good cleaner can expect between $6 to $8 per residential stop. A repairman will be paid $30 - $45 per hour plus service call and parts mark-up.

How long does it take to clean?

20 to 30 minutes. This may vary depending on the size of the pool, weather conditions, etc... The busiest time is usually March through August.  Remember this is a business and you must treat it as such. What would you rather do?  Clean one pool that takes 1.5 hours or in the same amount of time, clean 3 pools?  

How much training?

Normally 2 to 4 weeks, but it can be sooner if the buyer catches on.

Any certification or licenses?

You should get a business license. Most cases you don't need any additional certifications to service residential accounts. Commercial accounts will probably require liability insurance. In some areas health certification and a contractors license.

Where does one person max out?

About 70 - 100 accounts.

How much does a route cost?

An established route can cost anywhere from 8 to 12 times the monthly service, depending upon density, rates, area, and longevity.

Is there room to negotiate?

Depending on the motivation of the seller, yes, sometimes. October through February are the best times to purchase.

What's the overhead?

Conservative overhead will range from 15 to 20% which would include your chemical costs, postage, gas, cell phone, etc... You may need to have a small bit of storage for your chemicals and parts.

What can I charge?

That depends on some factors, but mostly you want to stay within the competition range. Find out what your competitors are charging. Don't charge a monthly rate of $200 when others charge $80.

How much do I want to do?

Again, this depends upon your experience and expertise. Do you want cleaning only? How about cleaning and repairs? Chlorine and/or acid washes?  Or maybe you just want to do repairs?  The choice is up to you. Maybe you'd like to start with cleaning and as you gain more experience, transition into repairs.  

One Last Thing

There are many tools to help you with your business, from software and accounting, pool supply stores, to credit and financing.  But most never offer any advice on handling customers and dealing with the public.  What to do when a customer is 3 months behind on paying you?  Do you have the gumption to personally talk to them?  Write them a collection letter?  Call them until they pay?  What if it's an older lady who refuses to give you the key to the gate?  How would you handle it?  Or when there's a huge storm that blows through your area and now you have 50+ pool owners in a panic calling you and demanding your immediate attention?  You have to clean THEIR pool right NOW or they'll find someone else to do it.  Or when one of your competitors is posting negative and untrue comments about you on social media?

Yes folks, all this is true and more.  Before looking at pool routes, consider all aspects of the business.  Only then can you make an informed decision.  

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