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Thread: What's the Going Rate for Certified Pool Operators?

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    What's the Going Rate for Certified Pool Operators?

    We have a community pool in the mountains of western NC. We've learned a lot from TFP this season and have run the pool ourselves, but we may need to contract most of the work out to a CPO and use our TFP knowledge for monitoring and decision making more than daily upkeep. But we're not sure what a reasonable rate would be for a contract pool operator. Factors:

    o 50K gal plaster pool. 50 years old, with some quirks that add daily effort. We've found that keeping it in top form requires about 2 hours a day.

    o We're remote: solid half hour from nearest population center and its pool supply shops.

    o We're talking contract, not W-2.

    o Pool is open only from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

    I know some of the folks on the forum are CPOs. Appreciate any guidance you might be able to give, especially a price range. (per hour?, per month?)

    Thanks!!
    50-Yr Old, 50,000-Gal, In-Ground Plaster-Covered Brick

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    Re: What's the Going Rate for Certified Pool Operators?

    Are you talking having the contractor there 5 days a week? or 7 days a week?
    24' round above ground, 13500 gallons, vinyl liner, 18" Sand Filter

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    Re: What's the Going Rate for Certified Pool Operators?

    Well, we've been working it 7 days a week this season, and it's gone well.

    On the one hand, some days there's noticeably less to do, though on others there's more (like debris in the water after a good mountain storm). So realistically one could skip a day.

    But on the other hand the health department requires that the chemistry be checked and noted daily. Also, this is an old pool and its systems can't be ignored for long periods of time (multiple days). And from a liability standpoint, the pool needs daily inspection to discover any safety issues as soon as they occur.

    I appreciate your input on this. Obviously we're in the middle of a decision-making process.
    50-Yr Old, 50,000-Gal, In-Ground Plaster-Covered Brick

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    Re: What's the Going Rate for Certified Pool Operators?

    Well if it was me, and I live in a rural area, I would charge an average of $120 per trip (1 hour driving, 2 hours maintenance). Times 97 days that would be $11,640 for the season. But, I might throw in opening and closing the pool for that much looking at that number....lol. Now if it was just to check the water and do a safety/equipment check (no cleaning) I would probably charge $40-$50 per trip depending on what my time averaged. So that would be around $4,000 to $5,000 bucks for a season (no opening or closing). Neither one of these prices would include chemicals or repairs (unless minor).
    24' round above ground, 13500 gallons, vinyl liner, 18" Sand Filter

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    Re: What's the Going Rate for Certified Pool Operators?

    $40/hr? No wonder TFP fills such an important DYI market. I had seen figures closer to half that, but got the impression they were for W-2 employees, perhaps for large pools. I noted your distinction in excluding opening, closing, chemical, and repair costs. Appreciate the thought of a water/safety/equipment-check-only trip. Thanks!

    Other perspectives also welcome!!
    50-Yr Old, 50,000-Gal, In-Ground Plaster-Covered Brick

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    Re: What's the Going Rate for Certified Pool Operators?

    Well, that would be me as a business operator or contractor, the $40 an hour ( I try to get $60....lol, figuring mileage, hours spent away from other jobs, insurance, etc, as well as that fact that all of the liability would be on me taking the job on as a professional, with a tricky pool ....). Now if you were to hire an individual part time at $10 per hour and send them to CPO training that might be a more viable option.
    24' round above ground, 13500 gallons, vinyl liner, 18" Sand Filter

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    Re: What's the Going Rate for Certified Pool Operators?

    Yes, the $10 CPO approach has been tried multiple times. The result is that the ones who do good work eventually realize they're being low-balled and won't stick around. The flunkies are happy to stay ... and run the pool into the ground. They exact their cost in damage to the pool.

    So I guess my question -- and you've answered it -- was what a talented, self-respecting CPO would realistically charge for quality work.
    50-Yr Old, 50,000-Gal, In-Ground Plaster-Covered Brick

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: What's the Going Rate for Certified Pool Operators?

    It seems to me that your best bet may be to try to find someone local, perhaps someone that is retired and wants something to do, and pay them something over $10 per hour. The problem I see in this is finding someone willing to work 7 days per week, I know in my own business experience it is hard enough to get people to work 6 days per week, it is even hard to find them that will work weekends at all.
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
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    zimm's Avatar
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    Re: What's the Going Rate for Certified Pool Operators?

    Do you have lifeguards? I was a lifeguard out of college for the summer and was a certified pool operator- that let me run and guard a small apartment complex pool by myself. And I got paid $10 an hour back in '93 when most lifeguards got $5.75.
    45'x12' 17k gal, IG plaster, Pool Pilot Nano+ SWG, 1/2hp Whisperflo pump, PAC-FAB TA-60D sand filter, Raypak 266 heater
    Pool School + Test Kit + Pool Math = Trouble Free Pool

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    Re: What's the Going Rate for Certified Pool Operators?

    Thanks, Isaac-1. Sounds like if we were to insist on working the $10 end of the spectrum, we'd need to find that ideal candidate that has 1) capability and 21) no sense of the dollar value of their own time.

    Or put it another way, while there's both good and bad to be found at both ends of the spectrum, the "bad" (from a management standpoint) is worse in the $10 end, calling for added management effort. Sounds like if we want to work the $10 end, we need to have really clear processes and a commitment to watchdogging those processes. I mean, we can either get smart -- like participating in TFP -- or pay closer to the $40 for someone else willing to get smart.

    I'm less clear on the middle ground. What kind of folks might we attract in the ~$25 range. Would it meant the best of both worlds or the worst?

    I think in the end, what the community leadership will need is to take responsibility not unlike an individual pool owner caring for their private pool using BBB. You're helping me see this. Really appreciate your guidance!

    @zimm -- Saw your post just as I was writing this one. No, there are no lifeguards. It's a pool-community combo that doesn't quite justify a larger operation (complete with lifeguard), and yet is subject to the govt regulations of public pools as well as the laws of Nature that keep pool operation challenging. But you're bringing out the point that either the community can afford a pool or it can't, and it needs to decide which it'll be.
    50-Yr Old, 50,000-Gal, In-Ground Plaster-Covered Brick

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