Many pool maintenance companies pride themselves on providing a spectrum of services — openings, closings, filter cleanings, repairs, etc. Proven Water Solutions isn’t one of them.
The Manahawkin, N.J. firm is interested in one thing, and one thing only: Chemistry.
That’s because one of its founders holds a Ph.D. in chemistry and recently retired from a long career in the health care and pharmaceutical industries. Fred Smetana, Ph.D. most recently served as vice president of research and development at Church & Dwight, the Arm & Hammer company. He describes himself as a “chemist’s chemist.”
Smetana and his business partner Robert Flynn, who has nearly 20 years in the service industry, are capitalizing on their combined expertise to deliver what they believe is one of the most comprehensive water-treatment services around.
“We’re not going to do all those other things that a traditional pool service [company] does,” Smetana said. “We don’t add value there.”
Their proprietary approach to weekly water care is three-pronged: Proper sanitation, pH control and eradication of recreational water illnesses (RWI) through UV or ozone.
It’s the latter category where they see the greatest opportunity. While controlling harmful bacteria is certainly a concern among commercial pool operators, there tends to be less emphasis on the residential side. “But ... the challenges are the same,” Smetana said. “There are humans going into these pools with residual products on their skin, illnesses and residual fecal matter on their bodies. These things end up in the pool water.”
Smetana and Flynn are getting homeowners wise to the dangers of RWI. They believe their message of awareness and protection will resonate with higher-end clientele — people with big pools who host big parties and might not think twice about hiring a boutique service to safeguard them and their guests from nasty things in the pool. “It’s like an insurance policy because it gives you some additional protection,” said Flynn, who also owns New Jersey Pool Repair.
They even have a podcast.
Proven Water Solutions developed a program using the latest water-testing technology, the duo said. Accurate readings means precise dosages.
They maintain that an insistence on equipment upgrades will separate them from the pack. They estimate that only 20 percent of pools in the northeast have automated pH control. That is especially important with saltwater systems, known for their dramatic pH spikes. And almost none, they said, have RWI protection.
“We are going to make sure that any client we take on has the equipment they need,” Flynn said. “That’s what differentiates us from a lot of guys. We’re talking about it and we’re going to get this equipment installed.”
Flynn and Smetana do not think it’s unreasonable to expect homeowners to hire Proven Water Solutions for weekly sanitation and another firm for other pool-related tasks. Such parsing of services is common in the lawn-care industry where some businesses are extremely specialized — some focus on fertilization, others mowing and trimming.
“It’s new to the pool industry,” Flynn said, “but it’s not new to the consumer.”
Eventually, Flynn and Smetana would like to develop a certification program to instruct other service firms in the Proven Water Solutions method.