For 32 years, the voice of the pool and spa service professional.

Survey Says: Labor charges — Where the real money is

There’s everyday pool maintenance and then there’s the really labor intensive jobs.

Service professionals with even a little experience under their belts understand that this is where the real profit lies. Last issue’s billing survey showed that service professionals across the country charge their customers about $100 a month for once-weekly pool cleaning, chemicals included.  That’s great, and it is the foundation of their businesses.  But when you can make over four times that in a single visit to install a heater, well…

Labor charges are the focus of this issue’s editorial content.  What do you charge to replace a pump?  How much is your average acid wash?  What do you make to open and close swimming pools for the seasons?

The way service professionals approach pricing on some of these jobs varies greatly.  Consider for example, new swimming pool chemical start-ups.  This year, most of the respondents to the annual Service Industry News Survey indicated that they provide new pool chemical start-ups, but their pricing for this service was all over the map.   

This is a job that really matters.  Controversies aside, the way that a brand new pool is chemically treated can have a lasting impact on both the pool’s lifelong cosmetic appearance and long-term durability.

Nationwide, while the median charge for this service is about $400 for an average-sized residential swimming pool, some service professionals make double that.  And why not?  Done correctly, this time demanding job requires multiple visits a day with frequent brushing and chemical adjustment for an entire month. 

Interestingly, however, a number of firms reported that they charge only $100 for this service.  Asked why, they responded that providing new pool start-ups builds a foundation of loyal customers.  And that makes sense, too.  The customer gets used to spending a little money and no effort for a pristine pool. 

As service technicians help their customers in the everyday aspects of pool maintenance, specific extra-charge chores continue to be important profit centers for service firms across the country. 

We asked and you told us how you price your more labor demanding work. 

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