People seek out certain characteristics in a pool company ... a low price, good workmanship and strong customer service. Usually homeowners can only get two out of the three. Many consumers understand this: If they get the excellent workmanship and service they want, then price becomes secondary.

So how can you maintain that high quality?

Employ sound business practices, and make sure your company is properly licensed and insured. Have a fair, comprehensive service agreement. Send invoices out on time. And, keep an eye on your accounting. When you can offer all of that, people are more willing to pay for the whole package. We’ve had plenty of customers come back to us after going with a cheaper company that couldn’t deliver.

There also are many small touches you can offer to really stand out. Your client expects you to have good hygiene, a clean service vehicle and clothing devoid of last season’s pool chemical grime. It can be alienating when your customer is uncomfortable about shaking your hand.

What’s more alienating is if you try to dazzle them with fancy terminology. People need to know, in layman’s terms, what is happening with their pool. Show concern for the family’s welfare by giving them important safety information. Let them know what is new in the pool world. It is also appreciated if your company is set up to accept credit cards. It sounds basic, but many operations don’t do this.

— Javier Payan, owner, Payan Pool Service, San Diego