According to "Pool and Spa News," pool contractors faced a tough market in 2009. The top 50 contractors accounted for $2.2 billion in revenue in 2006; that figured dropped to $882.6 million in 2009. Pool professionals offered additional services to clients, such as maintenance and repair plans, to offset the loses in revenue. Pool contractors should analyze growth areas in the pool industry and establish themselves early in new, wealthy residential areas. Each state has different regulations covering pool contractors.
Get bonded. Local insurance and bonding companies can provide surety bond coverage to pool contractors. You must secure bonding before doing any type of contract work. Because of the high costs of pool installation, bonds come at a high price in this industry. Get your bonding approved by your local contractor's licensing board.
Secure workers' compensation insurance for all your pool company employees. This should satisfy your local licensing board requirements. Even if you have no staff, you need to carry this type of insurance. Contact a local insurance broker to discuss coverage.
List and follow the requirements of the local contractor's licensing board. Your licensing board will oversee accreditation and licensing. May times this type of "swimming pool contractor" accreditation also covers work on related items such as spas, hot tubs and solar heating equipment.
Register your representatives. Some state laws require all representatives who solicit, sell, negotiate or execute swimming pool contracts to register with the state. In California, for example, the Contractor's State License Board registers every agent as a "Home Improvement Salesperson." If the agent works for more that one pool contractor, he must file separate registrations with the license board.
Abide by county laws regarding installation and repair of swimming pools. Los Angeles County, for example, requires discharge lines connected to a fire hydrant if the pool has a capacity of 5,000 gallons or more.
Market your services. Join your city's chamber of commerce to network with other pool contractors. Join industry groups like the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals, and any local pool associations in your region. Create a business logo to display at client's homes while you're working. Distribute fliers and brochures to new homeowners and home construction companies. Create a referral system to encourage clients to spread the word about your services.
Purchase pool design software to help your customers visualize what the pool will look like in their homes. Software prices are about $400, as of September 2010. The website Structurestudios provides a free trial of its program, with the option to upgrade to the full version.
- Swimming pool and pool house image by Jim Mills from Fotolia.com