Startup Costs: Under $2,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Franchises Available? No
Online Operation? No
Swimming pools can be a haven on a hot day, a source of pride for homeowners, and a necessity for apartment and condominium complexes and hotels and motels. But keeping them pristine is not a job for the uninitiated or those with no time, and besides being unsightly, a dirty pool can be costly. Business owners whose pools don't meet local health department standards can be fined or have their watering holes closed down, which can cost not only money, but also customers. But if you like working outdoors with the sun on your back and the sound of water at your feet, then you can banish the pool pH blues with a pool-cleaning service. You'll make weekly rounds, checking and adjusting chemical levels, maintaining pumps, skimmers, filters and other equipment, and doing routine cleaning. In addition to pools, you can service spas and hot tubs, too. The advantages to this business are that you can start part-time if you like with a minimal investment; you get to work outdoors; and pool cleaners have a sort of mystique in our social consciousness. You'll need a good working knowledge of pool-cleaning techniques and supplies, from pH levels to chlorine tablets and beyond. You'll also need the physical strength to manipulate poles and skimmers through the drag created by water all day and the motivation to work quickly and efficiently.
Your clients will most likely be homeowners and owners of apartment and condominium complexes and hotels and motels, but you can also target schools and health clubs. Establish relationships with pool supply stores and pool builders in your area, leave a batch of your business cards and ask them to refer you to their customers. The best way to sell to businesses is to introduce yourself to the manager (or maintenance manager if it's a large facility) and leave your business card and flier. If you don't get an immediate offer--which you probably won't--check back or call to remind them that you're available. For homeowners, purchase a mailing list of pool owners in your area or check with your county tax assessor's office--it may have a list of pool owners on file. Then send a brochure or flier--you can offer an introductory discount or a free pool checkup.
In some states, you need to be certified to clean pools used by the public--be sure to check with your local health department. You'll need poles, hoses, skimmers, chemicals and test kits, and a pickup truck or trailer to carry them around in. And don't forget your sunscreen and a hat!