POOL CUSTOMER WANTS SERVICE AND TRAINING

yaman

In The Industry
Jun 17, 2018
3
Bullhead City, AZ
Knowing that they are more than likely going to drop you in a few months, Would you take on a customer like this, and how much extra $ for training?
Also, they don't come out and say they want training but you can tell by their hovering over you.
 

Yev

Well-known member
Jul 29, 2014
554
Independence, KY
Am I correct to assume that you built the pool, and now the customer wants some training?

If so, I think that you have an obligation to do at least the following without asking for any extra money. A basic training,showing them how to check chlorine and pH. You also would train them on the equipment installed. If you install valves, explain how they work. If you provided them a manual vacuum, sow them how to hook it up ans use. If you installed a SWG, you give them a basic explanation.

This seems like a minimum basic that you have to do.

Now your concerns that they might want a bunch of time, and then drop you, I understand your point as a small business owner, where time does in fact equal money. How do you handle this in general?

If you are a poolbuilder, how do you handle this in general?

If you are not the PB, but just a pool service tech, I suppose that this is a constant worry.

Let me know some more details on your role and I'm happy to drop my thoughts.
 

JJ_Tex

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jul 17, 2019
2,157
Prosper, TX (DFW)
By your logo I'm assuming you are in the service and repair business. Also, keep in mind that you are asking this question to a forum of pool enthusiasts who regularly try and educate pool owners to take care of the pools themselves and fire their pool guy. With that said, here are my 2 cents:

- Only you can tell how busy you are and if you should "waste" your time with customers who may not use your services long term.
- Assuming you have the flexibility in your business model, I would come up with a charge for a "pool school" that covers the basics of pool ownership and how to do that themselves. I would think that pool owners would pay say $100-200 for this pool school.
- While you may not get regular business from your pool school graduates, everyone needs repairs and other service down the road and they would likely call you for that.
- Also, while the pool owner may have grand plans of taking care of the pool themselves after your pool school, it may not workout for them and you would likely be the one that they called for regular service.
 

mmardini

Well-known member
Jul 21, 2020
129
Palm Springs, ca
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Knowing that they are more than likely going to drop you in a few months, Would you take on a customer like this, and how much extra $ for training?
Also, they don't come out and say they want training but you can tell by their hovering over you.
why would you charge them extra if they are paying you to service their pool? It’s their pool and they have the right to watch you and ask you questions about how to clean/maintain their pool. It’s no different than asking your Gardner questions or watching how they trim your trees. I currently have a pool service company and I ask him a lot of questions and he showed me how to clean the filters at no extra charge. I plan to take over all care of my pool in the future and if I ever need a repair or need to go out of town I know who I would call first!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Mdragger88

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
21,947
Also, they don't come out and say they want training but you can tell by their hovering over you.
Maybe they are just trying to make sure that you know what you're doing and are doing things carefully and correctly.

Once they feel comfortable that you know what you're doing they might be more willing to let you do your job unsupervised.

If the customer is looking for training and they don't really slow you down any, then there is no reason to charge more.

However, if they want you to teach in a way that costs you a significant amount of time over just doing the job, they should be willing to pay for the extra time it costs you.
 

Mdragger88

Bronze Supporter
Jun 1, 2018
1,578
Hernando, Ms
I know that personally if you were my tech & took the time to educate & empower me with the teachings from this site I would be grateful & definitely refer you to my friends/family as well as call u if i had an issue in the future as well as maybe the ongoing physical maintenance that was required assuming I could afford to do so.
Many people need a facilitator to become confident in their pool care even if they have the desire to be independent but still need help occasionally, others have no such desire & will gladly pay you so they can remain oblivious. A good business person would cater to both clientele within reason & with the heart of a teacher.
I agree with the others that perhaps this client most likely just wants to be sure things are being taken care of properly. A little explanation to the hows & whys of what you’re doing will likely settle this. Do you leave a log with your clients with what you have done & why? That may be a good place to start. I’d surely rather service a well looked after pool than an unmaintained swamp every week 😊
For reference I have a cleaning business & it definitely makes my job easier when my clients clean up after themselves throughout the time i’m not there instead of doing nothing for 2 weeks - it doesn’t make me obsolete. I also make no secret of what i use or my methods. At the end of the day I provide a service- to make them happy with the state of their home. You’re providing a service that makes them happy w/ the state of their pool.
 
  • Like
Reactions: yaman

Yev

Well-known member
Jul 29, 2014
554
Independence, KY
A a service person, I am sure that you budget a certain amount of time per job. As long as the customers actions and questions aren't taking up too much extra time (maybe 5 to 10 minutes here and there) then I think that there is nothing wrong with the customers actions.

Customers fire companies all the time for doing things that offend them. What gets forgotten is that many times companies need to fire customers. A bad customer causes too many problems, and many times it is easier to cut ties rather than deal with a problem. Of course, this has to be done professionally, otherwise you risk bad yelp reviews,etc.

With that being said, if I were in your shoes, here is how my thought process would go.
Ask yourself these questions.
Do I have enough business that I can afford to lose this customer?
Do I have so much work that this customer is not worth it?

If you need (not just want but need) keep the customer, then I would ask the customer something like "When I'm here you are out here watching adn asking questions, which is fine. I like customers who are involved. But is there something that I'm not doing in a way that you like? I want to make sure that your needs are being met."

If they have no issues, and just want to learn more, you could move forward in the conversation with something like this. "I'm happy to offer some basic training for you, but unfortunately that takes a couple of hours to do properly, and that cant be done during my normal cleaning sessions. But we can schedule something, I usually charge $xxx for this service."

The reality of the situation comes down to this. If the customer doesn't want you to service their pool,it comes down to 1 of 2 things.

They are not happy with your work, and all you can do is find out what you can do better to keep them.
Or they want to do it themselves (either they are a DIY person or want to save money). For this situation, my sales sense says to stick around as long as you can, keep a good contact,and make money while you can. Remember that you do pool service to make money, and only paid for completed jobs. But if they are going to go DIY, and you can afford to lose them as a customer, the best way is to do it professionally and go ahead and help them transition to DIY as quickly as possible.

Of course that just my opinion, I could be wrong.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Mdragger88

Bperry

Gold Supporter
Aug 20, 2020
99
Knoxville, TN
When I moved into our home with a pool, I called a local company who offered a pool school for ~$250. He showed me how to vacuum, test the water, etc. it was a bit overpriced for what I actually got because he didn’t tell me about Pucks, CYA, and all that stuff. I can’t blame him as it was 100F and about 100% humidity and he was stung by a wasp replacing my pool pump so I cut him some slack cause I could tell he wanted to leave soon.

I hired a separate service to come out and close and then open the pool and those guys showed me everything. I think it was $300/close and $300 to open. Well worth the $600 to learn about all the chemical issues to watch out for and learn how to open and close the pool myself. They still recommended pucks, but I learned about that and CYA shortly after.
 

1poolman1

In The Industry
Jul 14, 2014
66
Sacramento
The liabilities that you take on when you "school" a homeowner are very great. If something goes wrong they will tell you that they did it, "exactly as you told me to." My insurance broker, also a lawyer, has always told us to avoid anything more than the very basics and point them to a store or the internet where they can find a wealth of information, like this forum. He has had to go to court over this same issue multiple times and says that the judge, or arbiter, or whatever, will decide in favor of the customer over 90% of the time
 
  • Like
Reactions: yaman