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A pool installation business builds pools for residential homes, commercial properties and living communities. Some also conduct pool repairs, check-ups and removals. Today’s pool installation businesses use a wealth of tools, skills and methods to install, repair and even remove pools. Primarily serving households, pool installation businesses also build pools for larger communities. They’re capable of creating custom pools while adhering to community and city guidelines to ensure the safety of those using the pool.
Who is this business right for?
A pool installation business is ideal for any worker who enjoys working with their hands, conducting services outdoors or who loves swimming pools. Any hands-on contractor who’s had work as a pool technician may wish to take matters into their own hands, making money while installing high-demand luxury items in homes and communities alike.
What happens during a typical day at a pool installation business?
A pool installation business doesn’t only install pools. Often, it creates the materials needed for such installation. A pool installation business judges a pool’s chemistry, setting its plaster, installing its equipment and ensuring its durability throughout many months. Because a pool isn’t simply a basin, a pool installation business must install and know how to repair and remove pumps, filters, draining systems, pool lights and pool equipment.
From an administrative standpoint, a pool installation business must market its products and services, finance itself, obtain licenses, obtain permits and adhere to industry regulations. They must also contact wholesalers to source any equipment being installed.
What is the target market?
While a pool installation business can serve multiple communities and businesses, it’s better off prioritizing residential clients. Many homeowners undergo renovations, installing pools as a result. Over time, backyard pools can be damaged due to misuse or improper care. Commercial properties, meanwhile, have consistent maintenance conducted—either by in-house workers or an external contractor. Preferred clients are easy-to-deal-with homeowners, ones who will favor noninvasive services.
How does a pool installation business make money?
While a pool installation business can make money by managing pools, repairing pools, checking up on pools or even removing pools, they primarily gain revenue via pool installation. The installation process is lengthy, and providers must take great care in reducing wholesale costs, labor expenses and timeframes to maximize each installation’s payoff.
What is the growth potential for a pool installation business?
A pool installation business has quite a lot of growth potential. In fact, the job’s annual growth between 2012 and 2017 has been about 3.9 percent. Pool installation is a $9 billion industry, and it’s only growing. As a small-time provider, you may find it difficult to break into larger markets. That said, the swimming pool construction industry carries a low capital intensity level. It’s a specialty service, relying heavily on employee knowledge and skill.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful pool installation business?
You will need to understand pool construction at an in-depth level. Prior experience as a pool contractor helps, as does experience as a pool installation company technician. As a business leader, understanding emergent technology, capital costs, marketing, management and finances helps. Computer software, more than ever, is being used as a pool installation aid. For this reason, any background in IT is a plus—although it isn’t mandatory.
What are the costs involved in opening a pool installation business?
Fortunately, the initial investment to start a pool installation business isn’t too high. It ranges between $39,900 and $65,000, which includes initial franchise fees, supplies, equipment and building materials. If you want to extend services to pool cleaning, expect to pay an additional $2,000 or so for the equipment.
What are the steps to start a pool installation business?
Once you're ready to start your pool installation business, follow these steps to ensure that your business is legally compliant and avoid wasting time and money as your business grows:
- Plan your business. A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. A few important topics to consider are your initial costs, your target market, and how long it will take you to break even.
- Form a legal entity. Establishing a legal business entity prevents you from being personally liable if your pool installation business is sued.
- Register for taxes. You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
- Open a business bank account. A dedicated checking account for your pool installation business keeps your finances organized and makes your business appear more professional to your customers.
- Set up business accounting. Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
- Obtain necessary permits and licenses. Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
- Get business insurance. Insurance is highly recommended for all business owners. If you hire employees, workers compensation insurance may be a legal requirement in your state.
- Define your brand. Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
- Establish a web presence. A business website allows customers to learn more about your company and the products or services you offer. You can also use social media to attract new clients or customers.
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
Where can I find a business mentor?
One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.
Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.
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What are some insider tips for jump starting a pool installation business?
Above all, you’ll need to focus on a niche market. As stated above, it’s often more lucrative to serve residential areas—due to their service potential. If you decide to prioritize commercial properties and living communities, however, choose a location which has a lot of development. College towns, downtown areas and recently gentrified areas are fantastic locations for a pool installation business. While apartment complexes may eventually run out of space, surrounding areas being filled with residential homes, soon after, can provide a solid cross market.
How to promote & market a pool installation business
Even if you’re focusing on residential homes, it’s a good idea to market to apartment complexes. Living communities are frequently well-connected, acting as a “central hub” for local pool businesses. Homeowners associations, too, are great resources. Don’t forget about private residential businesses, and distribute business cards where possible. While online marketing as a pool installation business may not be lucrative, few tactics beat distributing printed ads and business cards at home good stores, pool builder offices and pool supply stores.
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How to keep customers coming back
Many of your customers will be attracted via home improvement. So, if you can spot a Home Depot, Ace Hardware or a similar location, consider promoting your pool installation business there. Customer retention business, as a pool installation company, is difficult. Unless you’re offering check-ups, maintenance and repair, you’ll likely experience one-time customers. That said, a lot of apartment complexes are part of an association. If this is the case, target other connected complexes. Become close with the property management team, and become a consistent provider.
How and when to build a team
Pool installation requires a lot of legwork. Ideally, you should acquire a team of at least five workers before conducting services. Between financing, management, installation and material sourcing, a pool installation business can become burdensome if not handled appropriately.
State & Local Business Licensing Requirements
Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a pool installation business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.
For information about local licenses and permits:
- Check with your town, city or county clerk’s office
- Get assistance from one of the local associations listed in US Small Business Associations directory of local business resources.
Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, check out our informative guide, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.
Pool installation businesses should require clients to sign a services agreement before starting a new project. This agreement should clarify client expectations and minimize risk of legal disputes by setting out payment terms and conditions, service level expectations, and intellectual property ownership. Here is an example of one such services agreement.
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Certificate of Occupancy
A pool installation business can be run out of a storefront or warehouse. Businesses operating out of a physical location typically require a Certificate of Occupancy (CO). A CO confirms that all building codes, zoning laws and government regulations have been met.
- If you plan to lease a location:
- It is generally the landlord’s responsibility to obtain a CO.
- Before leasing, confirm that your landlord has or can obtain a valid CO that is applicable to a pool installation business.
- After a major renovation, a new CO often needs to be issued. If your place of business will be renovated before opening, it is recommended to include language in your lease agreement stating that lease payments will not commence until a valid CO is issued.
- If you plan to purchase or build a location:
- You will be responsible for obtaining a valid CO from a local government authority.
- Review all building codes and zoning requirements for your business’ location to ensure your pool installation business will be in compliance and able to obtain a CO.
How much can you charge customers?
Pool installation varies depending on the materials used. Most, however, cost about $60,000. This offers a good bit of revenue, as the initial cost of goods is approximately $20,000 to $30,000. If you’re considering providing pool services, anywhere from $40 to $200 per week—depending on the pool’s size and needs—is a viable price range.
What are the ongoing expenses for a pool installation business?
Firstly, you’ll need to pay your workers anywhere from $10 to $50, depending on their experience and job. Pool cleaners, of course, should be paid far less than installation technicians. Again, overall expenses are about $20,000 to $30,000, depending on the materials used.
Concrete pools cost the most to install, at about $50,000 to $100,000. Vinyl pools, meanwhile, cost about $35,000 to $50,000 to install. Fiberglass pools cost between $45,000 to $85,000 to install. As a rule of thumb: Most materials cost about $50 per square foot to install, modified for the material used. You’ll need to pay for a solid insurance policy, and you’ll additionally need to depreciate your equipment. If you want to establish a warehouse, you’ll need to pay about $13.20 per square foot. A small shop, meanwhile, can cost as little as $11 per square foot—if you want a small location to promote your services.
How much profit can a pool installation business make?
Every year, a decent-sized pool installation business can net around $200,000 in revenue. That said, successful pool installation businesses are incredibly good at managing expenses. Some top pool installation companies, in fact, make about $700 million in revenue. If you’re in the top 50 pool installation providers, you can make a lot of money.
How can you make your business more profitable?
Expand quickly. Whether you’re providing services to residential homes or living communities, you’ll need to expand your service area as far as possible. Offer other pool-related services dealing with cleaning and maintenance.