The season 10 premier of Mike Rowe’s popular show, Dirty Jobs, featured replacing the vinyl liner on what can only be described as a swamp.
In the show, Mike helps out as Dan Duker, owner of Vinyl Pools LLC in West Palm Beach, Florida, does what he does every day, although he admits that this particular job rates an 11 on a scale of 1 to 10 in terms of disgusting.
Dan is a second-generation pool professional who began learning the tricks of the trade from his father, Dave, at the age of 12.
Dave built this pool years ago and wasn’t in the least surprised to see that the pool was in the condition it was in.
“If you build enough pools, you can spend the rest of your life replacing liners,” Dave said.
Dan bought the business from his father seven years ago, and he makes a good living. He generally works alone, although family members sometimes stop by to help. He says he has no desire to become a swimming pool conglomerate, and that he’s found a balance in doing 100 pools a year. At about $5,000 a pool, with a profit margin of about 50 percent, he can both provide for and spend time with his family.
The TV episode began with sucking out 9,000 gallons of sludge. With the water mostly gone, Dave, Dan, Mike, and a cousin got to work with shovels, mucking out the pool, finding the occasional frog. While the other men wore heavy work boots, Dave worked barefoot, explaining that he has neuropathy.
That was the hard part, but Dave said his son had never been afraid of hard work.
“You can’t teach work ethic,” Dave said.“Eitheryou’vegotit,oryoudon’t.”
Next, using a putty knife, they scraped the roots and debris out of the bead receiver to prepare it to hold the new liner. They tore out the old liner. The men prepped the old surface with some cement, to even it out, and lined the walls and steps with foam, gluing it down flat with spray adhesive.
The next part Dave made look easy, but Mike was there to say it wasn’t.
“it’s a marathon, not a sprint,” Mike said throughout the day.
They spread out the new liner, inserting the bead into the bead receiver, before the final step of vacuuming the wrinkles out of the now completed pool.
Toward the end of the job, Dan’s 5-year-old son, Darren, showed up to help out. Like Dan had done since his own childhood, Darren frequently assists at his Dad’s jobs and will one day probably inherit the business.
Check out Dirty Jobs on the Discovery Channel if you want to feel good about the work that you do.
“Hard work, skilled labor, and the willingness to get your hands dirty can lead to something that looks a lot like success,” Mike said.