Personal, professional changes lead California mom to pool career
By Michelle L. Cramer
Photography by Austin Mullen
Two years ago, Natalie Scott’s friend from junior high school posted an ad for a pool tech position with his company — a position he was willing to train. At the time, Scott was working in the hotel industry, trying to establish a new normal after a divorce and several office jobs. She needed something more flexible that would accommodate her schedule with her children.
“I said, ‘I’m going to send you my resume,’ ” Scott says. “He thought I was joking. [I realized] I could actually create a career with this. My boss saw my natural inclination toward learning, and when I left because the commute to work interfered with family time, he encouraged me to build something of my own. And I realize now, looking back, that my life experience helped contribute to the qualities that are needed to run what I’ve now started.”
In summer 2018, Scott registered her own company, Divine Pool Care, serving the San Diego area. She works out of her garage and is running everything by herself. Things have already changed a lot, though, from where she started less than a year ago, with a pool net and a two-door Ford Focus hatchback.
“When I got started, I didn’t have any money,” Scott says. “I didn’t have anything. [My car] was pieced together basically by duct tape — just falling apart. I was desperate and hungry for work. The moment I found out my pole could fit in that car threaded all the way to the dashboard, I was like, ‘All right — load up the back of my car with whatever I can fit and I’ll go back to the warehouse as often as I need to.’ So not only was I a female [starting in a predominately male industry], but I was a female doing this with a Ford Focus.”
Scott says it wasn’t long before the community began to notice and respect how hard she was trying with so little to start with. Nowadays, Scott has a truck. She works with a few companies, supplementing their service routes when they have too many clients and not enough techs. These companies also help Scott with repairs for her own clientele. She communicates with them through a system similar to the CB radios truckers use, which means they can hear Scott while she’s working and often chuckle at her reactions.
“I’ll get really excited when I see a tile that I really like and I’m like ‘Oooh,’ you know, just being genuine, honest and myself,” she says. “They just laugh because they don’t hear this kind of talk in the field. I’ll say things like ‘That’s cute!’ — mermaid tile is what I call some of these tile patterns — and they’re just definitely not used to working with women. It brings a laugh, and I’m OK with that.”
To that end, Scott would love to see more women in the pool industry, especially moms. “We know how to multitask very well,” she says. “I would love to see women not be intimidated by this kind of work and feel empowered that they can learn it and feel good at the end of their day. I think it’s just an unspoken, unadvertised world. I mean, I had no idea how much work I could have gotten — no idea.”
Scott attributes her entrepreneurial spirit to the “immigrant hustle” she inherited from a long line of strong, independent Argentinean women. She is excited about the future of her business, especially in the legacy she’s leaving for her children — 11-year-old twin boys and a 9-year-old daughter — who often go on jobs with her when they’re not at school. She’s working to teach them the ropes and assures them they’ll have good summer jobs when they’re older.
“Even just the need for marketing and content — they already know how to do a lot of that,” she says. “So I’d love to give them some training in different areas, and they can help wherever their strengths are.” As far as the future goes, Scott wants to keep learning and expanding her business.
“I’m definitely a baby in this, and when I’m working with these other companies I let them know that I’m here to learn and grow,” she says. “I eventually want to do everything. I’m building something from the ground up. I’m definitely still the wide-eyed and bushy-tailed entrepreneur in this industry. And I haven’t approached a day yet where I’m huffing and rolling my eyes about going to work. I truly love it. I’m very grateful.”