You’re a property manager charged with overseeing a commercial pool at your South Florida resort, condominium or club. You have staff caring for the grounds, but the pool is a different story. It requires more attention and knowledge of chemicals and pool mechanicals. There are codes and regulations that must be met in order for the pool to be open to the public. (“Pool closed” is not an option at your resort—people expect to enjoy the water.)
You’re hiring a commercial pool service, but how do you select the best professional for the job?
Here are four questions to ask before hiring a commercial pool service to help you choose a knowledgeable, experienced partner to maintain the safety, health and beauty of your commercial swimming pool.
1. What training and certifications should I look for in a professional pool service?
You should look for a certified pool/spa operator (CPO) that is trained in all aspects of pool and spa maintenance. Certification shows a pool provider’s commitment to education and integrity. It also the pool service provider invests in people and puts quality first. You can’t cut corners when maintaining a commercial pool. There’s too much at risk—namely, the health and safety of guests. Proper chemicals and equipment must be used, and a pool operator should understand all of the pool mechanicals so potential problems can be flagged immediately.
Take-Away Tip: Not all pool service companies have certified employees on staff. We know this sounds surprising! Be sure to ask.
2. What responsibilities does a typical pool provider handle during a pool service visit?
Maintenance for your South Florida commercial pool includes vacuuming, skimming, brushing and cleaning trap baskets. It requires using commercial-grade equipment—and the majority of properties do not have the tools on site that are capable of handling the job. Water chemistry must be tested and properly balanced, including analyses of pH, alkalinity and calcium levels. Filters must be cleaned, and the pool should be inspected for potential problems.
Unlike residential pools, commercial swimming pools are required to meet specific regulations for the health and safety of swimmers.
Also, commercial pool maintenance should occur at a minimum of 6 days per week. The biggest problem we see is when facility managers choose to do their own pool maintenance a few days a week and hire a pool service to do maintenance the remaining days. During those few days of in-house care, a lot of issues can crop up—especially with heavy use, such as during busy weekends. That means the pool provider has to spend extra time handling problems to correct water balance and ensure the pool is up to code.
In addition to all of the maintenance tasks listed above, a quality commercial pool provider will:
- Work with on-site engineers to manage problems
- Communicate with facility staff
- Maintain the spa (including regulating temperature)
- Assess the pool for potential problems
- Note: Every commercial pool is different and maintenance programs must be tailored to suit pools’ needs.
Take-Away Tip: Weather and use impact the cleanliness of the pool and its chemistry. A professional pool provider like Reef Tropical will ask you about pool use and service visits should be tailored to your pool’s needs.
3. What’s the cost of hiring a professional pool service vs. maintaining the commercial swimming pool with in-house staff?
Do you have the time, experience and supplies to get the results you expect from your commercial pool? Even if you decide to do it yourself, pool maintenance isn’t free. First, you’ll have to pay for chemicals. Not to mention, you must know how to properly measure and use these chemicals in the pool, otherwise you could upset a delicate balance and, worse, cause health and safety issues. (Too much chlorine can burn skin, for example.)
You also need tools to care for your pool. Even if you have tools already, you probably aren’t investing in the latest tools when they come to the market like a quality professional pool service does. Consider the cost of making a mistake with chemicals, or not properly cleaning the pool.
Take-Away Tip: Commercial pool maintenance from an experienced provider like Reef Tropical is like having an insurance policy for your pool. When the pool operator is conducting regular maintenance, he or she will constantly be looking out for other issues. This way, you’re protecting the safety of swimmers, and preserving your investment in the commercial pool.
4. Can you assume the liability for caring for your own commercial pool?
A certified professional pool provider like Reef Tropical has the appropriate liability insurance and workers’ compensation coverage. This is critical! You don’t want a service provider working on your property in any capacity unless they are fully insured.
Also keep in mind, pool service is a specialty for a reason. Sometimes, our certified pool operators end up diagnosing other issues while they are maintaining a commercial pool. At Reef Tropical, we design and build pools along with maintaining them. So, we can pinpoint infrastructural issues before they turn into huge expenses.
This saves property managers money and time.
For example, a good pool provider will let you know when to use the warranty and care for mechanicals before they fail. It could cost you a lot more to fix an improperly maintained pool than to pay a pool service professional.
Take-Away Tip: Even if you have staff to help maintain the pool, the question you really need to ask yourself is: Do you have the experience? Does your team have the knowledge, tools, communication skills, ability to resolve issues and understanding of regulations?
If you are certain that you want to care for your commercial pool, we suggest partnering with a pool provider that can train your in-house staff and check in on a monthly basis to check water balance, ensure that all settings are correct and mechanicals are working efficiently and effectively. Reputable pool providers will do this for you.
5. Can You Give Your Commercial Pool Full Attention?
Commercial pools require an account manager—a single point of contact who can work with a pool service provider to address maintenance, small fixes, equipment checks, mechanical equipment replacements, detect leaks and arrange for minor renovations. There are so many “moving parts” with commercial pools. They require a high level of attention due to the amount of people involved, including owners, guests, property managers and vendors. When you piecemeal pool work to many vendors, you can run into accountability and quality issues.
Take-Away Tip: The best strategy is to identify a single source who is responsible for the pool. This will prevent any finger-pointing and assure that no important tasks fall by the wayside.
Professional Maintenance Protects Your Commercial Pool’s Safety, Health and Appearance
A professional pool provider will be sure that your pool system is operating at its peak. Your pool system is probably the greatest asset on your commercial property. It’s a significant investment, so it makes good financial sense to keep it in the best condition possible by enlisting in an experienced pool service provider.
There’s a great deal of science involved in caring for pools. This requires ongoing training, the right equipment and chemicals, and knowledge of how the total pool system works. For all of these reasons, we recommend that property managers enlist in a professional to maintain their swimming pools.
If you’re vetting commercial pool providers, we encourage you to subscribe to our blog and read more about what to expect from a reputable, certified pool provider. Call us any time. We’d love to walk you through this process. Reach us at 305-367-2005, or fill out this simple contact form and we’ll get in touch with you.