Coachella Valley Pools  

Coachella Valley Pools
Coachella, California
Pool cleaning, maintenance and repair

How Pete the Pool Guy found peace and community in a new career

Pedro “Pete” Paloalto started in the industry in 2002 helping his father-in-law clean pools. What began as a favor quickly turned into a passion. Enthralled by the work, Paloalto launched a second business, Paloalto Pool Service, working evenings and weekends while maintaining his full-time job as a personal banker. 

“I would go suit and tie to the bank and then clock out, change and go clean pools in the [late] afternoon,” he says.

By 2007, the workload from his growing pool service business was overwhelming, and he was at a crossroads, needing to decide between his banking career and pool business. Fate intervened when the economy took a downturn. 

“That pretty much made the decision for me because I started losing pools,” he says. “People were losing their jobs, and the first people they let go were gardeners and pool guys. I needed to stay where the steady paycheck was, so I stayed in banking.”

Paloalto spent the next decade in banking, but in 2017, his career took an unexpected turn when he began experiencing anxiety attacks. 

“I was at work in my office, and I felt like a trapped animal — like I couldn’t breathe,” he says. 

Taking a monthlong leave of absence, Paloalto sought medical advice and explored ways to manage his anxiety. During this period, his father-in-law suggested he return to the pool business, offering freedom, flexibility and fresh air. After discussing it with his wife, Paloalto founded Coachella Valley Pools with a renewed focus on education.

“When I started doing it the second time around, I started meeting a lot more pool guys on social media and heard about the Pool Nation podcast,” he says. “I was learning from the podcast, from YouTube, I started going to trainings — just furthering my education, improving my service and focusing on the chemistry side of things to make sure I understood everything.”

Paloalto’s hands-on approach, combined with his pursuit of knowledge, helped improve his service and eventually led to him sharing advice as Pete the Pool Guy on Instagram. His posts, which included practical advice and motivational messages, quickly garnered positive feedback. 

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“I felt God telling me to use this as an opportunity to uplift and motivate people,” he says. “Things like — keep your head up. Sometimes it’s a long day. It’s hot outside. You still have 15 more pools to go, and you feel like giving up. Keep on pushing, focusing on one pool at a time, and do the best job you can do.”

Collaboration and community are at the heart of Paloalto’s philosophy. 

“It’s about helping each other out,” he says. “There are a lot of pool guys out there who are willing to help. They’ll answer questions; they’ll go that extra mile for you. They don’t have to — it’s not their job, it’s not their responsibility — but they’ll still do it.”

Since leaping back into the pool business, Paloalto has grown his business to manage around 95 pools. He recently hired his first full-time employee and provided him with a truck for his route. 

“It all goes down to one thing — peace of mind to be able to provide for my family and not be stressed out,” he says. “I can put on headphones, listen to some music or a podcast while I’m cleaning a pool and get the immediate satisfaction of starting with something dirty and turning it clean. Seeing the before and after fills me with a sense of accomplishment.”

Paloalto has ambitious goals for Coachella Valley Pools, aiming to become a one-stop shop for service, repair and building needs. However, his immediate and most cherished goal is allowing his wife to leave her banking job to stay home with their children and focus on her growing cookie business. 

“We feel like it’s the prime time right now — this is when [our kids] need us the most,” he says. “[Now she can] focus on the cookie business and the kids, helping to manage the pool company — stay home and don’t worry about the banking anymore. That was my first goal, which we’re about to accomplish [this summer]. After that, we have to start hitting that big one [of future expansion].”

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