Openings: More than just flipping a switch
By Marcelle Dibrell
There can be little doubt that with some of the record breaking storms that have occurred this last winter along the eastern seaboard, spring cleaning is definitely in order. Hurricane Sandy affected 24 states, from Florida to Maine, to Michigan and Wisconsin, leaving a trail of devastation and debris in its wake. As spring approaches, homeowners will be occupied with the cleanup, and pool service technicians along the east coast will be very busy with the task of opening-up pools for the season.
In huge portions of the United States, spring and fall make up the busiest time of the year for service professionals. The cold weather and imminent freezing pipes necessitate winterization practices. With spring approaching, service firms will begin gearing up by buying new equipment and chemicals, hiring seasonal employees, and training for the jobs ahead.
This year, the jobs ahead promise to be more demanding than ever. Even with some of the best pool covers available, clearing out these pools may still prove to be a challenge. And that’s allowing only for those lucky pools whose covers weren’t blown off or destroyed by Sandy’s untidy trail. Those pools likely have as much debris as they have water, and the clean-up efforts will be enormous.
In response to hurricane Sandy, the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP) has offered a couple of helpful tips to homeowners. They warn that standing water in a pool and spa provide breeding grounds for mosquitoes, and facilitates the spread of the West Nile Virus, well worth consideration in the months ahead. Service professionals will need to approach such pools with an arsenal of chemicals and equipment. The APSP also advises that even pools that have been winterized prior to the hurricane should be considered for re-inspection. Service firms will likely respond by hiring additional seasonal employees.
These employees will need to be especially trained in assessing the degree of damage incurred at each individual pool. A carefully trained service professional can help explain to customers and homeowners the reason for additional expenses at more severely affected pools, easing the blow of the maintenance price.
This will no doubt be a time of great profit for many service professionals, but only if they can adequately explain to customers the rationale for extra maintenance requirements to pool surfaces, decking, pipes, pumps, heaters and filters.
It would be prudent to have in place a price schedule that lists all of the items and services that a customer may be purchasing. The service professional can then either use one price schedule for all customers, or offer a discounted version to pools requiring major attention such as major water cleaning and equipment maintenance or replacement.
Without question, now is the time to begin ramping up business, and this year service professionals will probably have little trouble getting customers excited about readying their pools for the season.