2015 Pleatco Perfect Pool Guy finds humility in his achievement and values camaraderie in the pool service industry
Photography by Kris Knutson
John Oldfield started small. After working two years for his father-in-law Dick Nichols, owner of San Jose, California–based Genie Pool & Spa Service, Oldfield purchased seven pool-service accounts from him in 2005. “There’s not a better guy to get your feet wet with,” Oldfield says of Nichols. “You couldn’t ask for a better mentor or trainer.”
In the beginning, Oldfield could do his entire pool route in a day, so he did a number of odd jobs — such as patio and backyard work — to keep the momentum going. But now, 10 years after incorporating, Oldfield Inc. exclusively provides pool maintenance, service and warranty installations for pool equipment. Oldfield has three employees helping him with the business and 62 pools on the route each week. He’s also the Region 10 director for the Independent Pool & Spa Service Association, Inc.
Oldfield says he doesn’t see anyone as his competitor, but as his friends. “I really like working with other pool guys on projects because it helps me learn continuously,” he says. In fact, Oldfield is participating in a project with several others in the industry, building a pool pro-bono for a wounded veteran.
However, it’s clear that others feel there are some things that set Oldfield and his company apart. In 2015, a friend nominated him for the Pleatco Perfect Pool Guy award. “I got a call directly from Howard Smith [owner of] Pleatco to tell me that I had won,” he recalls, adding that he was surprised he even made it as a finalist. “I was shocked. Apparently they liked what they saw, and it’s been a whirlwind ride ever since. It’s been fantastic.”
After that, he submitted a video and did telephone interviews, and remains humble about the award. “I’m doing the same job that every pool guy out there’s doing, and I don’t think there is anything super special about me or my business, or how we do things,” he says. However, if he had to pick some things that make Oldfield, Inc. stand out, he says that he prefers quality customers to quantity. “And we don’t nickel and dime every little product,” Oldfield says. “What’s more important to us is a satisfied customer, and we’re willing to do whatever it takes to get that because your name is everything in this business.”
And while Oldfield appreciates many people in the industry, he’s most grateful for his wife, Jennifer, and their four children. “My wife is a rock star,” he says. “Without her support, I wouldn’t be able to have the time that I do to devote to my customers and other guys in the pool industry.”