It’s not always easy being the new guy. You’re now the stranger in the client’s backyard — skimming the pool, changing the filter, petting the dog or waving to the children.
A big part of making a newly acquired pool route successful is to be sure that the transition goes as smoothly as possible. When a new route is purchased, it’s standard practice for the seller to send a letter to his customers explaining that a transition will be occurring and that a new technician will be taking over.
The letter lets the client know who will be providing the services and doing the billing. The idea that a pool route can be purchased would probably come as a surprise to many clients, and technicians agreed it’s not a good idea to refer to the pool as being sold.
“You don’t want to tell the customer you’re selling their pool,” says Bryan Chrissan, owner of Clear Valley Pools in Murrieta, Calif. “It makes them feel like a commodity.”
It’s a better idea, technicians agreed, for a seller to introduce a buyer to the client as an associate.
During the transition period — usually 90 days — technicians said it’s not uncommon for the seller to continue to get calls from the client.
“They generally call you because you have a rapport with them,” says Chrissan. “But you have an investment to protect.”
The best practice, according to Chrissan, is to try to address their concerns, but also begin referring them to
the new technician. If a client has any problems with the buyer, the seller is well advised to see what can be done to resolve their concerns.
It’s not beneficial to either the seller or the buyer to lose a client. Unless the loss is tied to the buyer’s negligence, the seller has to come up with a replacement, or replace the lost income.
“You want to talk to the customers because you’re trying to salvage it,” Chrissan says.
As daunting as a hand-off of a pool route might seem, John Malnic, owner of JT’s Pool Service and Repair in Glendora, Calif., says most clients can accept it once they know their needs will be addressed without any glitches.“All clients really want to know is that there won’t be any drop in their service,” he says. “Once they know that, and they see the new guy is doing a great job, they’re OK with it.”