I know I know, I have posted a similar blog before, however it seems this subject needs to be re-addressed.
So, the time has come to hire a pool service company for either your lawn sprinkler system, swimming pool or spa now that the weather has finally decided it is Summer! This will be one of the best decisions you can make as a homeowner. A pool good service company will in the long run save you money on maintenance of your lawn sprinkler, pool or spa. And best of all… ALLOW YOU MORE FREE TIME WITH YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS!
Ok, so most of you will open your search engine whether it be Bing, Google or IE and type in “lawn sprinkler”, “pool” or “spa” service in your area. All of a sudden there are hundreds if not thousands of sites n front of you, and to be honest they are all very similar. Of course they say “ABC Co. has best prices”, “ABC Co completes work faster then competition”, etc. All this thrown at you can become very intimidating and confusing to try to locate a true service professional, and in your area. A lot of time, the “paid” advertising comes up and they can be located in Kalamazoo not even close to you.
I have over 30 years experience in the lawn sprinkler, pool & spa industry and at this time would like to share some important information with you, information that maybe you know from experience or my previous blog or this information is new to you as a 1st time reader of this blog. Either way, continue reading as this may help you in the future.
Hiring a Pool Service Company
#1 Do they carry all licenses required by law to do business? Are they certified to perform the work needed?
If the service company does not have a business license, a certification or other required license…DO NOT ALLOW THEM TO PERFORM ANY WORK! Do you know how few people actually ask this question? Out of 10 calls, 10 do not ask! Although this information will not eliminate all of the companies that pop up from your search, this would be the 1st step in hiring a company. In New Jersey, a HIC License (Home Improvement Contractor License) is required to replace a screw in an electrical outlet, so it is DEFINITELY required for doing lawn sprinkler, pool or spa repairs or maintenance. Also in NJ, the DEP (Dept of Environmental Protection) requires an Irrigation License as well as continued certification education in order to perform any work on any lawn sprinkler system. If on the website they list their “license” number due your due diligence and check this information with the local licensing board.
#2 Do They Carry Proper Insurance?
If the pool service company you are speaking with does not carry proper liability insurance, call another company! You may think it is acceptable to hire a company without knowing this, I mean what could possibly happen? Hmmmm, have you ever bumped into a bottle of clorox bleach in your home, spilled boiling water, dropped something fragile and had it shatter, or worse? Let’s be honest, we all have had some sort of “accident”. Sometimes it can cost money to replace either the item that got damaged or for the medical treatment due to the “accident”. Now what happens if the service company has an “accident” on your property that ends up being costly to repair? If they have insurance, it should be covered. If they don’t have proper insurance, well……….. (birds chirping) they disappear, don’t answer your calls or emails, they just vanish. Now, isn’t that question important?
#3 Customer Service
Does the pool service company have normal office hours? Do they answer the phone or does it go right to a voicemail? Did they keep the appointment? Did they communicate with you? All of this is important. Common sense tells you the 1st time they come to you will be the absolute best experience with them, this is true with meeting anyone. HOWEVER, what about if you need to call them back? Do they respond? Do they stand behind their work? Service Companies ( clients also) should be held to very high standards from the very beginning. The service company should be knowledgeable, courteous and able to rectify any problems you have before, during and after the work has been performed. On this same note, it is easier to have the service company provide good customer service if when you contact them, you have as much information as possible, explain any issues that may have arisen, be reasonable and most of all allow the company a reasonable time to rectify the issue you may have. As my grandma used to say “You can’t make Honey from Vinegar.”
#4 Do they look Professional?
Do they have cheap looking magnetic signs on the sides of the truck? Did they arrive in an unmarked vehicle? Let’s face it for less than $20 I can buy cards and be a “Pro” at anything I choose, but does that really prove I know what I am doing? Does it prove I am what I say I am? From the first time you visit their website to the time the arrive to perform the work, did it seem professional? When you contacted their office, was the phone answered by a professional sounding, knowledgeable person? When they arrived, did the vehicle look professional to you? Were the technicians clean cut, polite and properly identified themselves? All of this may not seem important, and to some maybe it isn’t, but I cannot tell you how many times I hear “thankfully I reached a company where someone answered the phone” or more commonly ” the company I was using does not return my calls”. It seems to me that if I hire an unprofessional service, I am asking for sub-par service and if had only listened to my instincts when I “spoke with”, “met with” or “saw” for the 1st time the un-professionalism, I would be much less frustrated.
Although this is usually the main issue people are concerned with, I mention this last as this causes the most problems for the homeowner. Cost vs. Value is a topic more people should discuss. I mean if in the industry you have called 3 different companies whom are within a couple dollars of each other and all of a sudden you call someone and they are substantially cheaper, are you doing the happy dance? Of course you are, everyone likes to save money. BUT WHEN you have a problem, NOT IF, WHEN you have a problem and suddenly you cannot reach this company (or person), was it really worth it? Did you really save any money? Again I cannot tell you how many times I have received calls into my office telling me “the company I was using doesn’t return my calls” or ” the company I used went out of business”. BEWARE the low bid companies, as they probably won’t be there when you have a problem.
Let me explain how a low bid company might make up their money (and do not be fooled, they will make up their money!)
- Did the service company charge extra for work that “Must be performed” or they could not finish what they came for in the first place?
- Did they charge an exorbitant fee for this service?
- Does it seem they are constantly finding more expensive problems as they are working? (In some cases additional repairs may be found, but if it is continuous this is suspicious.)
- Have they sold you any equipment at ” drastically discounted prices”?
- Have they overlooked any obvious issues which would allow them to charge additional “service call” fees for them to return?
A reputable service company should be able to give you an idea (based on information given to them) of an approximate cost of their charges for common items. A reputable company should also have a procedure that may be explained if prices quoted may be different and also if a second appointment may be required. Again BEWARE of the low bid – you will probably find the “savings” did not outweigh the cost to have a professional company perform the service the 1st time.
If you are now ready to contact a professional, the Certified Pros at Elite Lawn Sprinklers, Pools & Spas will be happy to assist you with all of your Lawn Sprinkler, Pool or Spa needs. Call our office Monday – Friday 8am – 4pm our knowledgeable staff is available to answer your questions.