4 Secrets Pool Companies Won't Tell You

Updated June 28, 2021
closeup of swimming pool with stone edge, concrete patio, and black lawn chair
tammykayphoto - stock.adobe.com

Pool companies can help keep your family swimming pool looking and feeling great, but there are some secrets even the best pool servicers may not tell you

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It doesn’t get much better than a lazy summer Sunday spent lounging by the family swimming pool. But it takes time, effort, and money to maintain that inviting oasis. Many pool owners choose to enlist the services of a good pool company to keep those calming, crystalline waters flowing.

When you peer behind the curtain of even the most reputable pool service providers, though, odds are you’ll discover some essential secrets your pool company doesn’t want you to know. This guide gives you the down-low.

1. You Might Not Always Get What You Pay For

If you’ve ever tried to maintain your pool on your own, you know it’s a lot of work. To keep your swimming pool from turning into a cesspool, you’ve got to be part chemist, part repair technician, part plumber, and part landscape artist.

Little wonder that so many homeowners choose to outsource their routine pool maintenance to the pros. Unfortunately, though, compared to other service and maintenance professionals, pool companies have pretty low margins.

While the relatively lower monthly costs of hiring a pool service company may be good for your budget, you may pay the price in the service you receive. The hard work and modest pay mean a lot of turnover in the pool service industry. And given the low service fees, companies have to gather lots of customers quickly just to survive. 

As a result, your service might skip a weekly cleaning now and then just to try to keep up in the busy season. 

However, it’s the exception rather than the rule, at least for good and ethical pool companies. Don’t just assume a technician skipped your pool; always give the service company the benefit of the doubt. However, if you think your weekly pool-cleaning service was overlooked, ask the service technician for a drop ticket. Any reputable company should have tickets they can leave on your door that detail the time they were there, chemicals used, the condition of the pool, and services rendered.

2. They Sometimes Rachet Up the Cost of Chemicals

There’s nothing more gnarly than nasty pool water, and that’s why maintaining the proper chemical balance is so important. But, unless you’ve specifically ordered some kind of special agents or additives for your pool, you shouldn’t have to pay extra for these cleaning chemicals. 

Because maintaining your pool means keeping the appropriate water chemistry needed to keep your water clear, blue, and free of algae and other contaminants, the cost of the necessary chemicals should automatically be included in your monthly service fee. The majority of pool service companies charge one flat rate regardless of the amount of chemicals used.

Service charges may increase due to seasonal changes or gas prices, but you should still have only one flat rate that you have approved beforehand. In other words, you shouldn't need to pay extra for acid or chlorine.

3. They May Use Old Parts for Pool Repairs

As we’ve seen, pool servicers do a lot of hard work for relatively little pay. And that can make the temptation to cut financial corners pretty great. 

Pool service companies get most of their income from the cost of repairs. For example, the price of a heater repair can exceed $700 for parts and labor in some markets. And charges for repairing or replacing a vinyl pool liner can soar above $3,000. Just like an automobile shop, pool companies receive their parts for less than you would pay to purchase them. They mark them up slightly and charge you for time and labor.

But dishonest repair technicians may choose used parts instead of new ones to do your repair. And who knows where the parts came from? Perhaps another customer who just installed new equipment? Wherever the parts come from, they almost assuredly don’t have a warranty, and that could mean a big headache for you later on. Don’t sweat the small stuff, but if you’ve ordered a significant, expensive repair, you should definitely ask about the parts before they’re installed.

4. Bigger Doesn’t Always Mean Better

Your family pool isn’t just an oasis. It’s also an investment. And you don’t want to entrust that expensive resource to just anybody. So going with the large, national chains for your pool service probably sounds like common sense.

In fact, though, building a positive and enduring relationship with a local pool company may serve your needs better in the long run. 

Large national swimming pool service companies have notoriously high turnover rates because of the relatively lower pay paired with the intensity of the labor involved in such a job. Additionally, many of these pool companies hire inexperienced employees and provide minimal training. 

Rather than depending on a large chain where you may never meet the same pool technician twice, you may find that a local company with an established reputation and higher employee retention works better for you. After all, it takes time to build a relationship, so look for an experienced professional to do your pool service for an extended period.

partial view of rectangular pool with concrete patio area and colorful patio furniture in background
OceanProd - stock.adobe.com

The Takeaway

The family pool holds many of life’s greatest memories. But maintaining your oasis takes time and effort. Finding the right pool service company can help immensely with this—but only if you know their secrets.

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