When it comes to pool service and upkeep, David Van Brunt is more or less a walking encyclopedia. He has been working with pools since 1988 when he was 16 years old and a family friend trained him in the pool service business. In the decades since, he’s gone from cleaning filters to becoming one of the first and most well-known content creators in the industry.
Based in Los Angeles County, Van Brunt made a name for himself in 2012, when he posted his first YouTube video giving out swimming pool maintenance tips. Since that first post, Van Brunt has amassed 110,000 subscribers and 56 million views, metrics that speak to the more than 1,300 videos he’s produced. His channel caters to pool owners, operators and service professionals, with video topics ranging from pool care tips and product reviews to motivational content.
Looking back on it now, Van Brunt describes his YouTube stardom as “more or less an accident.”
“I made a [YouTube] video because someone told me that I could probably do a better video than what was out there back in 2012,” he says. “That was kind of the golden age of YouTube, and there weren’t that many people on there. Now, everyone is a YouTube star.”
Much like the start of his YouTube career five years earlier, Van Brunt’s foray into podcasting in 2017 began on a whim.
“Someone gave me a book on podcasting for Christmas, and I was like, ‘I can probably do this and transition the industry to a forum where you can tune in and listen, while you’re working out there,’ ” Van Brunt says. “Because it’s hard to watch a video while you’re working. But you can definitely listen to someone talking.”
For Van Brunt, what started as an idea quickly turned into a franchise, as his weekly show “The Pool Guy Podcast Show” has become a top industry podcast. Van Brunt recently announced he’s surpassed 1,000 episodes with more than 1 million downloads. His podcast contains similar content as his videos, but he also uses the format to conduct interviews with industry professionals across the board.
Despite his success, Van Brunt remains humble about his work. “These were simply ideas that I came up with and rode that wave,” he says. “It wasn’t anything special. I just put out good content, and I was pretty real — I still am. I don’t try to make myself bigger than I am.”
Through his growing online presence, Van Brunt has become a household name in pool care.
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“He’s at the parents’ table for sure,” says Harold Evans, board chairman and CEO of specialty pool chemical manufacturer Orenda Technologies. Evans has consulted with Van Brunt on various projects over the past few years and has been interviewed as a guest on his podcast several times.
Colleagues in the industry describe him as the torchbearer for pool care advice, with his podcast in particular charting the way for others in the industry.
“He’s the grandfather of the [pool care] podcast,” Evans says. “He’s ahead of everybody. We’re all trying to knock off what he started … He was the action before the action.”
Van Brunt attributes his success partly to years of experience in the trade, which includes not only the practical experience of cleaning pools — which he still does to this day — but also beta testing several products over the years and running a coaching business where he gives people one-on-one advice for a small fee.
“The unique thing about what I put out there is that I can talk about business, I can talk about specific pool care, I can talk about products,” Van Brunt says, “I’m kind of like Car and Driver magazine, where I have my hands in and my knowledge crosses all the boundaries of the industry … I just about know everyone and every company to some degree.” Peers in the industry tend to agree.
Van Brunt is also known within the industry for his website, swimmingpoollearning.com. The site is jam-packed with everything needed to pass pool 101. It has product endorsements and reviews, an advice directory and links to his latest content. On top of that, Van Brunt regularly updates a popular blog that includes additional context for his videos and podcasts. He is also the author of a pool service guide that can be found on his website.
For now, Van Brunt wants to continue riding the waves of the pool industry.
“I really don’t have a long-term goal set,” Van Brunt admits. “But the short-term goal is to continue doing what I’m doing, putting out the content that I’m putting out, and just to give back to the industry. When I step away from the industry, I want to have left something behind.”