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Software Showdown

Program options are plentiful for pool pros

For businesses looking to up their tech in the new year, professional pool industry software may be the answer.

“Ten years ago, technology was a way to stay ahead of the game,” says Hal Denbar, CEO and founding partner of National Pool Partners. “Now, using technology is table stakes to play the game.”

Change can be challenging — especially when it comes to training employees on new systems— but the alternative is lost time and money, unsatisfied customers and poor tracking of business operations.

Dive in to learn about the software available, the special features of each option and why pool pros love them.

Skimmer

Founded in 2017, this Austin, Texas-based business is an all-in-one app that allows pool pros to streamline operations and stay organized on the go. Users can manage technicians and optimize routes, keep track of work orders and get real-time visibility into daily operations.

“Each pool or spa in the system has a customizable service checklist,” says CEO Jack Nelson.

“Once service is complete, an automated email is sent to the pool owner with photos, dosages and readings. All this information is tracked and stored in Skimmer, making it easy for pool professionals to bill and receive payment.”

The company isn’t limited to pool and spa servicers, either. Any company servicing a body of water like ponds, fountains and even aquariums may find the app useful.

Why clients love it

“My favorite feature is being able to run a P&L on every pool every month, or really at any time,” says Erik Taylor, owner of Chlorine King Pool Service in Seminole, Florida. “This way, we can make sure our margins are consistent, and we can spot pools that are minimally profitable or a complete waste of time. This feature also lets us know which pools to raise [price on] and when.”

Cost

Skimmer is $1 per service location per month with a minimum charge of $49 per month. It’s $1 per month regardless of location visits or how many bodies of water are at that location. If a location isn’t serviced in a month, there’s no charge.

Software Tip
Consider turning one staff member into a “super user.” Have them participate in all training offered by the software provider and allow them extra time to study and use every aspect of the program. This person can then be your go-to for any questions or problems and the point of contact with the software company.

RB Retail & Service Solutions

RB Retail & Service Solutions, located just outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is a single point-of-sale software for retail and service pool pros. From marketing to employee management, the pool software can be used for single service routes, multiple retail locations and anything in between.

“One of the things customers love about our software is how robust it is for techs in the field,” says Rachael Pritz, vice president of operations of RB Retail & Service Solutions.

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Through the app, technicians can log hours, optimize their routes, send electronic door hangers to customers as well as before and after photos, and pool owners can see where their techs are at. “The mobile application is versatile, and it’s also in real-time so they can send messages to the office staff and can email paperwork that would otherwise get splashed and wet from pool water,” Pritz says.

Why clients love it

“My favorite feature is the follow-up function where you can send a fellow staff member a follow up message related to a specific sales order or customer,” says Tracy Bond, owner of Great Valley Pool Service based out of Frazer, Pennsylvania. “These messages are kept in the customer’s profile so a history is maintained as well, which is useful documentation. We use follow-ups for billing issues, scheduling concerns, calls to customers, retail store inquiries, positive comments from customers or customer satisfaction concerns and service requests, among other uses.”


Cost

$99 per month per license

Pool Pro Office

Founded by Mark Richter and Gerard Beutler in 2005, Florida-based Pool Pro Office was developed to create a convenient place for managing all the moving parts that come with pool building.

“We specialize in the pool industry, but Pool Pro Office is so customizable it can work with any type of project,” says Richter, vice president of the company. “We have solar companies, electricians and playground companies that have used Pool Pro Office.”

Top features include lead management, pricing proposals, digital presentation builders, accounting, and project management and scheduling.

Why clients love it

“We are genuinely excited about the benefits this solution provides to our company,” says Jeremy Klapprodt, co-owner of Klapprodt Pools in Keller, Texas. “We have been able to maintain better accountability, and we appreciate the overall cultural change. Because we have so many things happening all at once, we can stay on top of it all remotely and in real-time.”

Cost

The subscription is based on the number of users. The initial user costs $95 per month with additional users at a rate of $25 monthly. There are no long-term contracts required.

Pool Brain

Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, and founded in 2016, Pool Brain is best suited for medium-to-large companies looking for guided workflows, automated alerts, automatic chemical dosing and built-in customer feedback, CEO Adam Beech says. One of Beech’s favorite features is the customer’s option to leave details about a job or technician with one click.

“If, for some reason, the customer does not feel satisfied, this gives them a very easy way to let the company know,” he says. “This means you can always respond to them quickly and fix a problem before they have time to write a bad review, complain to friends or call up other pool companies.”

Why clients love it

“On Pool Brain’s report page, our managers can see on one screen the revenue generated, the sales made, the cash that has come in and their customer feedback for the day,” says Denbar of NPP. “Those are the primary drivers for them running a successful business.”

Cost

$10 dollars per month with an additional charge of $39 per month per active technician at unlimited pool service locations.

Choose the software that works best for your business

When it comes to selecting a new software, app or business tool, pool pros may be tempted to try all of them. Before diving into a subscription or software purchase, consider your daily needs. In addition to the options above, companies like Evosus, Poolpep, Pool Service Software, Pool Office Manager, Jobber and Pay the Poolman are resources to consider. In the end, requesting demos and being willing to make a switch if something isn’t working are key when searching for the right software.

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