Pool Service...To Hire or Not To
There are Pros and Cons for both options. Since I service pools for a living I am a little biased but I will start by taking the opposite position first and you can weigh the decision of doing it yourself. There are some benefits of doing your own pool.
I hate Debt as it destroys marriages, keeps you from becoming wealthy and makes only one person rich - the banks that hold all the notes. Debt steals your freedom and makes you a pseudo employee of the Bank. So I am for saving money when it comes to doing your own pool. And if you don't hire a pool service you can save $800-$1,000 a year. That is a lot of money that you can put towards paying off your credit cards, student loans and car payments. You can also reinvest a portion of that savings and purchase a good automatic pool cleaner and maybe new pool equipment to keep your pool looking great. Pool Service is a luxury item and if your budget is already tight and in the red, then hiring someone to do your pool is a bad idea.
A typical green pool that I clean-up
DOING IT YOURSELF TIPS:
If you service your own pool and don't do it right your pool can end up looking like this. There are a few things you need if you plan on servicing your own pool -time, chemistry knowledge and functioning pool equipment. If any three are missing you pool will turn on you.
You need time to properly check and balance your pool. If you work 60 hours a week or have commitments out of work that you do each week and hardly step in your backyard then you don't have the time to do your own pool. You will also need time to clean your filter and make sure everything is running correctly. And you will need time to fix any problems with the pool right away.
You will also need to know the basics of how to check and balance your pool properly to keep it sparking blue. There are just four basic things you will need; chlorine, some Conditioner to protect your chlorine from the Sun, pH Up and a base to raise the pH if it gets too low. I recommend a good test like this Taylor K-2005. It will test your Chlorine, pH, alkalinity, Calcium Hardness and Conditioner level. A good test kit is a must have if you want to keep your pool from turning green on you.
If your pool equipment is old and not functioning properly you will have a battle on your hands to keep your pool looking blue. It is essential that your pump and filter be in top shape if you plan on doing your own pool. I suggest replacing your pump or filter right away if they are not working correctly. It will save you a lot of money on pool chemicals as you battle algae and a green pool. It is just must easier to bite the bullet and put in new equipment then to try and keep the old stuff running. Your pool will be much easier to maintain with good equipment. And make sure you put the correct size filter on your pool otherwise you will have water clarity issues. Half the battle in maintaining your pool is the equipment.
The last thing I would suggest is to invest a few hundred dollars in a good automatic pool cleaner. This will save you time in cleaning your pool each week and will keep the pool clean all week long. There are a lot of options on the market today and I have extensive reviews of automatic pool cleaners on my YouTube Channel. It is a large upfront investment but a good cleaner will save you hours each month and you will be glad you invested in one.
These are some things to keep in mind if you want to do your pool yourself. It can be done if you have all these elements in place. If you feel more comfortable hiring someone here are some suggestions.
HIRING A POOL SERVICE COMPANY:
If you find that you are not up to the challenge of servicing your own pool then hiring a pool service is a good option. But like anything you need to do proper research to find a good qualified pool service company. Here are some tips for you so you won't get burned by a flaky company or inexperienced pool guy.
The best place to get a good pool service is a referral from a friend or neighbor who already is using a pool service company. Just searching the internet or the phone book (does anyone still use one?) can be a bad choice. There are a lot of good qualified pool service companies but also a lot of shady ones. Make sure the company at least has a business license in your city or neighboring city. If they have a contractors license even better. The thing to really look for is if they carry Liability Insurance. This is a sure sign that they are legitimate and won't simply just disappear on you. I carry a total of $4 million dollars of Liability Insurance and it cost me over $1,450 a year for my policy. If you are interviewing pool guys and they don't carry Liability Insurance I would pass on them. Not that anything is likely to happen with your pool but it is just a reassuring thing if the person doing your pool is committed enough to carry the proper insurance just in case the unthinkable does happen. They should also be able to provide you with some names and numbers of customers whom they service currently. Basically you are venting this person thoroughly so you won't have any issues. I unfortunately get lots of calls from people with green pools who already have a weekly pool service. That is basically like hiring a housekeeper who leaves the house messy and dusty each week. Not good.
BIG POOL COMPANIES VS. THE POOL GUY:
There are benefits to hiring a large service company verses a sole proprietor and drawbacks to both. A large service company usually will charge more but they will have a dedicated repair service and billing department so you will more than likely get a higher quality of customer service. The problem is that the pool guy that is back there one year may be a different guy the next. There is no guarantee that the pool guy they send out will stick long term.
The individual pool guy is a good choice since you will get to know him better and he will be the same guy you see year in and year out. They may not be very speedy with repairs and problems as with a larger company. But the regular pool guy, if he is good, is someone whom you will trust. Customers leave their back doors open for me so I can get in their house when they are not home to adjust their automated control panels for them. I take the trash cans in for some of my customers and even help them when their cars won't start. All part of the job ;)
WHAT I SUGGEST:
I would hope that you can take care of your own pool or at least give it a try before hiring a pool service company. It can be frustrating at times and you may be wondering why you even have a swimming pool. But it can be done. If you find that you can't handle it then hire a qualified pool service.
We would be more than happy to take care of your pool for you. After all that is how we make our living. Someone has to do it ;)