When you hear the question, “do you know a good pool guy(or gal)?”, what is the first thing that comes to mind? You may imagine some gruff but chipper guy named Stan with sun beaten skin and chlorine stained jeans trying to make some cash for the evening festivities. He may not be too careful but he does a good enough job for a low price that you don’t want to make waves. Pun intended. The reason you use that guy is because you trust him; he seems simple and trustworthy.
And that is all we want from any technician or service rep that comes to our house, an honest, hard working person that will give us the straight scoop on what’s wrong with our pool. Sadly, finding a good pool tech is just as difficult as finding a trustworthy mechanic. We know how hard it can be so here are a couple of tips to use while doing research to find a good pool man.
This is the first stop I make when attempting to find any type of handyman; normally sourced from friends, family and your neighbors. The people you know in life will give you the straight truth about their experience.
The thing I prefer about word of mouth over internet reviews is that we do not need to weed out spammers or customers who have an unwarranted grudge. Also they are likely to suggest the specific person they worked with so you can receive the same service.
For the pool owner without access to trusty local sources of opinion, we can reach out to places like Yelp or Angie’s List. Review sites like these provide a wide scope of customer interaction with a company. Whereas your neighbor’s experience is likely with only one of a company’s many representatives, a review site gives the reader a wide swath of experiences so you can see a pattern of business practices.
When reading review sites, we must be cautious not to focus on one particular review but to concentrate more on the overall pattern. For example, if a particular pool company has 30 five-star reviews and 2 one-star reviews, then the overall experience should be above average. The nature of customer service is that not every customer will have a happy experience. With that being said, there are some customers who go on sites with an obvious (and most of the time) warranted axe to grind. When it comes to reading reviews; “Go with the Rule and not the Exception.”
Also take into consideration the date of the reviews, as a review from 2009 will likely not be up-to-date with the current staff. With any business there is turnover of personnel so the great manager or service tech they reviewed three years ago may no longer be with the company. The spotting of trends is key with dates as well. If the most recent reviews have declining ratings, it is best to jump to the next page.
Bigger Is Not Always Better
The tendency for most is to go with the big names in pool maintenance. But big names do not always equal great service. Remember pool services are companies worried about the bottom line just like any other business. Their job is to sell you parts, chemicals and maintenance packages to keep themselves in the black. The larger brands especially stress “up-selling” and other techniques to browbeat a homeowner into extra work they may not need. Upselling could be as simple as suggesting adding a gasket kit to your order, which in most cases is more precautionary and helpful. The things we want to avoid is a salesman pushing a whole pump replacement on a panicking or naive homeowner when all they need is a motor replacement. No one likes to be swindled so do your homework.
P.S., No matter the way you find the pool service, always make sure they are licensed. “Pros are the way to go”