To cope with the current economy, service executives across the nation are coming out from behind their desks and returning to routes.
The trend can be seen mainly among companies that have historically
provided pool service, but also came to rely heavily on
construction and renovation revenue during the past decade’s
pool-building boom. As that income has dwindled, these companies
have refocused their attention on service contracts to provide a
much-needed financial buffer.
“We’ve been through about a $400,000 drop in
[construction and renovation] business over the last couple of
years,” said Jeb Henn, owner of Henn Pools, LLC, in Darien,
Conn. “Since there’s not enough to make my income on
that side, I’ve had to go back to the service
Henn has been able to find plenty of service work, but new hires
are expensive. “To put a [technician] equivalent to myself
out on the road, I’m looking at $30 to $35 an hour,” he
said. “Unfortunately, that means the ‘head bottle
washer’ has to start running routes again.”
Service-only firms haven’t escaped the economic pinch either.
“During the boom time, everybody’s business was
growing, and then we came to a point where everything kind of
collapsed,” said Dan Jonaitis, owner of Arizona Pool
Specialists in Scottsdale, Ariz. “There’s just been a
reduction in clientele.”