After a 20-year career in the sciences, Kirk Bradley started On-Time Pool Service in 2004 with nothing more than a used pickup, some equipment, and a modest marketing budget. “We were just missing customers,” he recalls.

Still, he wanted to buck a certain image that service technicians carry. “Residential pool care is such a ‘low cost of entry’ business in Florida, so it tends to be low-tech and low quality,” he says. “Everything we do is aimed at elevating the customer’s image of the pool service industry.”

It didn’t take long to corral those missing customers. Thanks in part to word of mouth and a direct-mail marketing campaign “with a few twists,” On-Time accumulated a route of 625 residential pools over the years. Bradley only purchased 25 accounts in 14 years of operation. The others were gained organically earned through customer service that’s delivered with “pride and expertise,” Bradley says.

“Business picked up pretty quickly.”

Even with this success, Bradley recognizes the need to adapt and change.

“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often,” Bradley quotes Winston Churchill. “If we do not continue to improve, we will be passed by our competition.”

In an effort to maintain control of this large roster of customers while demonstrating its knowledge, On-Time adopted a new customer relationship management (CRM) system. Service managers were given smart tablets to access the CRM on route, allowing them to respond more quickly. The digital system replaces the outdated hand-written “visit report” given to customers for each weekly service.

On-Time also began sending out a welcome letter to new customers detailing invoice and payment methods. The letter offers a professional touch and acknowledges the firm’s commitment to their pool care, Bradley explains.

The strategy showed clients that On-Time keeps its finger on the pulse — a necessity in today’s climate: “Tomorrow’s successful pool service company will respond to an increasingly young and technical savvy pool owner.”