Horn Family Pools puts its tagline into practice
Jeanette Horn may say she married into the pool business, but she has made Horn Family Pools fully hers and embraced the pool service industry.
“I just really enjoy it,” Jeanette says. “There’s always something to learn — it’s never monotonous.”
And it’s flexible. Thirteen years ago, Jeanette restarted a service company her husband and his business partner closed. At the time, their son JD Horn was young, and doing about 25 pools a week gave Jeanette plenty of time to chauffeur her son wherever he needed to go and made it easy to rework her schedule to fit his activities.
“I kept things very small because I was a mom who had a kid who was involved in everything, and my mom was also very dependent on me,” Jeanette says. “Once my son got old enough, he didn’t need me to run him around everywhere anymore, and I was able to grow.”
Now JD is enjoying the flexibility of the pool industry as well — he works for his mom and has been able to rework his schedule to spend time with his new baby. JD says having his mom for a boss doesn’t faze him; he’s used to her telling him what to do.
“It’s harder for me than it is for him,” Jeanette says. “Sometimes I want to put my mom hat on when I have to have my boss hat on. He does a great job — the customers love him.”
The company’s tagline is “Family values, professional service,” and while the family aspect is covered, Jeanette works hard to ensure they are providing the best experience for customers.
“She’s done all kinds of research,” JD says. “She’s put in a lot of time making sure she’s doing the right thing.”
Despite all the training, certifications and licenses, Jeanette still faces an uphill battle with some customers.
“When I first started, the customers I took on all knew my husband,” she says. “So, I got grandfathered in. They’re fine with me cleaning, but when it comes to the repairs, sometimes they want me to call my husband.”
“Sometimes they don’t take her seriously,” JD says. “She knows what she’s talking about. And because it didn’t come from a man, they didn’t take it seriously.”
Jeanette notices a lot more women in the industry now than when she started, and she’s noticed a change in men’s attitudes toward women coming into the industry. That being said, she’s still a bit of an anomaly in her area.
“There’s one [distribution] branch that I go into, and they’re like, ‘You’re the only female that comes in here that’s not picking up stuff for her husband,’ ” Jeanette says. “They just call me ‘pool girl,’ which is on my license plate.”
Horn Family Pools is on the precipice of needing to hire another employee, but Jeanette isn’t sure she’s ready to go down that path. Her goal is to create a sustainable business that she can pass on to JD.
“I would like it to be to a point where my son can take it and run with it,” she says. “And we can live off retirement.”
For now, Jeanette, who turns 50 next year, still loves what she does.
“I love being outside,” she says. “I’m getting older, so I appreciate the movement. And the actual cleaning of the pool — to me that’s very cathartic. It’s relaxing.”