Starting a new business involves many important steps. Remember, it is essential to seek professional advice with anything you learn here at The Pool Blog. This is only a guide. I can provide you step by step instructions to help you get started but it takes action on your part to follow through. Here’s a general outline to follow. Let’s get started on your first 7 steps…
Step 1: Define your business concept.
Starting a new business always starts with defining your concept. What is the scope of work you will be performing. We will get to all the fun stuff like opening bank accounts and collecting money later. For now, you need to list out all of the specific services you will offer, such as pool cleaning, maintenance, repairs, and chemical balancing. I recommend focusing your efforts on one particular service and since you are here reading this blog about starting weekly pool care business, I assume you are interested in weekly pool care. So, your scope of work would be, weekly pool cleaning & maintenance. This involves visiting a customer’s home once a week, cleaning, vacuuming, water testing, and providing general pool maintenance while on site.
Step 2. Conduct Market Research.
Analyze your local market to understand the demand for pool care services, identify your target customers, and evaluate the competition in your area. I took a deeper dive into Market Research in a recent blog post. You can link to that here, “Weekly Pool Care Business Startup Research and Market Analysis”
Step 3. Develop a business plan.
Create a comprehensive business plan that outlines your goals, strategies, financial projections, marketing plan, and operational processes. This will serve as a roadmap for your business and can be useful to look back on, improve, change, update as your business scales & grows. In other words, right down some goals. These goals will become fluid in nature as you hit certain milestones along the way. My focus was on financial projections. How many pools would I need to break even. How many pools would it take to replace my corporate W2 job income. I have owned many businesses over the years. My biggest fear or nightmare over the years is I would not be able to make payroll on a Friday afternoon. In our hay day we owned and operated a retail store, a second warehouse location with ten employees, six trucks, and a decent sized payroll budget we had to hit every other week. It is a healthy fear in business to have. It keeps you on your toes.
Step 4 Choose a Business Name.
This is not as easy as it was back when I started my first business. I started a lawn care business back in the late 70s. I started mowing my parents’ lawn which turned into a lot of the neighbors’ lawns. My company was called Turf Cutters. All I did was go down to the local print shop and order 500 business cards. That was it.
Now, you need to consider your online presence… Will you have a website? Will you be on social media? Will you have a google business page? I recommend all of these! When you come up with a business name you first need to search for the domain name. Search it across all social media platforms and do a thorough internet search. If the business name you have chosen turns up on any of these you need to change your business name and start over. You want the same business name across all channels. This will make your brand consistent and easy to find online.
Step 5 Register Your Business.
This will include registering your business name with the state you reside in. Next, you’ll want to apply for an EIN Employer Identification Number. You can do this all online. I recently blogged about “Choosing The Right Entity” I encourage you to read that before making your final decision on how you will set up your business. I encourage you to seek out and work with a local accountant, Bookkeeper &/or Business Attorney. Bookkeepers usually charge the least for doing a name search with your state to make sure the business name you have chosen is even available in your state. Bookkeepers will also register your business and apply for the EIN. I highly recommend choosing to run your business as an LLC. The process of registering your business usually takes up to 2-3 weeks. Be prepared to wait that long or longer before you can open up a business bank account. Take this time to complete the next two steps.
Step 6 Set up your Business Operations:
Establish your physical location for your business. For me it was our extra guest bedroom upstairs. I set up a desk and workspace for my business. It is equipped with a desk light, computer, printer, shredder, and a filing cabinet to file my business paperwork. I made space in my garage for my pool cleaning supplies, chemicals, and parts. This has worked well for a little over a year.
I just purchased a new 8′ x 12′ shed for my backyard. The new shed will hold all of my larger equipment such as my gas pump, vacuum hoses, pressure washer, parts & plumbing supplies. I also purchased an 8′ X 15′ shed for the opposite side of my backyard. This will hold chemicals used in my weekly pool care business. I am looking for a warehouse in my area that SCP can deliver my chemicals to on a weekly basis. All of this is changing, growing, expanding at the same time. You first work with what you have until you can save up enough to expand your operations.
Step 7 Develop Pricing and Service Packages.
I reviewed over 30 pool care companies’ websites looking for pricing, service packages, menus of services, etc. I took that data and refined it to meet my set of standards. I set up 3 pool care packages. Each of them has their own set of included chemicals and services. You will want to determine your own pricing structure based on factors such as the size of the pools, the services provided, and the rates in your local market and beyond. You are welcome to check out my website here, Pool Care Professional. Remember pricing differs greatly north to south. I mean it is staggering when you compare weekly pool care pricing between Indiana and Texas.
Starting a business requires dedication, hard work, and an ongoing effort to succeed. Review and update your business plan and strategies as your business grows. Do not skip any of these first 7 steps. They are paramount to your success!