As a swimming pool owner, how can you make sure the person you hire to service your pool and maintain the equipment is qualified and competent to do the work?
A residential swimming pool represents an investment of many thousands of dollars, yet some homeowners turn over the responsibility for keeping the pool in good condition to someone who simply offers pool service at a bargain rate without thoroughly checking insurance and qualifications before allowing one of them on their property.
There are thousands of independent pool service men and women across the country. No one knows exactly how many because they are generally unregulated. Here are four steps to be sure the person you hire has the training and experience to do the job properly:
1. Ask for proof of liability and workers’ compensation insurance. Anyone who doesn’t have both of these policies should be automatically disqualified.
Liability insurance protects you in case something the service person does damages the pool, the equipment or any other part of your property. Workers’ compensation insurance protects you if the service person is injured while doing work on your property.
2. Ask if he or she has any certification in water chemistry, equipment maintenance and repair. Proper chemical balance can be tricky, and it is essential in keeping your pool safe and sanitary. Maintenance and repair of equipment often mean working on electrical and gas systems. You want to be sure anyone who performs such work is properly trained. Improper and inadequate swimming pool repair work is both costly and dangerous.
Some counties and several national organizations, such as the Independent Pool and Spa Service Association (IPSSA), the National Swimming Pool Foundation (NSPF), and the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP) offer a wide range of training and certification to swimming pool service technicians. Competent service technicians take formal training to improve their skills and increase their knowledge. They will be happy to prove it.
3. Ask to see a business license. They are required in most cities, and it is an indication that you will be treated as a business customer, not just a way to earn beer money.
4. Ask for a formal, written swimming pool service contract. You can’t be sure of what you are paying for if it’s not in writing.
Most swimming pool technicians are competent and well trained, but you can’t tell by looking. The old saying in the pool service industry is, “Anyone with a pickup and a pole can call himself a poolman.” Without checking before you hire one, you may not find out if you have a qualified person until it’s too late.
Carefully screening a swimming pool technician before hiring him or her not only protects your swimming pool investment, but the health and safety of your family, as well.