Maximise the potential of your site service visits…
The lifeblood of the majority of specialist UK and Ireland swimming pool companies, service calls offer a steady income stream that is manageable, profitable, both most crucially, predictable. While emergency call outs can carry a premium for unpredicted works, planned service contracts can be scheduled and completed on a weekly, fortnightly, monthly, quarterly or even half-yearly basis. The service call is also a selling window to be optimised for pools that would benefit from efficiency upgrades.
“Service contracts are very important as they keep good contact with our customers, probably representing 25% of our total turnover,” comments Glyn Lucas Managing Director of DG Pool & Leisure. “It is hard to quantify an average hourly service charge,” he comments. “But a full commercial site survey of swimming pool and spa, checking dosing, UV, including a balance tank clean, to PWTAG standards, can be £4-5K per year plus parts,” Glyn suggests. Glyn says service calls are vital to the optimum running of swimming pools. “Service support calls are absolutely imperative,” he urges. “Pools need a full water test to protect them, over and above their own in-house testing.
“This needs to be carried out by skilled maintenance and highly trained professional engineers. A service visit offers a window of opportunity to flag up improved energy efficiency or other optimum performance upgrades. “We do not offer incentives like commissions to promote specific products,” Glyn emphasises. “We would rather do what’s best for our customers and their sites, on an individual basis. “We would recommend variable speed drives, but only if a flowmeter is fitted, so as the systems design performance can be achieved. “There is no point in turning the pumps down if the pool goes cloudy or green,” he adds.
Service calls can go wrong if the engineer arrives without correct parts for the job. Says Glyn: “A routine scheduled service should be one hit! There should be no chargeable return visits. He continues: “Some companies do a cheap service contract that looks good and then write a report and charge for basic service items. “DG Pool & Leisure prefer to include them in the costs and attend once!”
Reigning UK Pool Contractors of the Year, for Buckingham Pools, service calls are crucial part of the business; representing about 15% of total turnover. Typical charges for service calls greatly depends on location and requirements. The average for a domestic pool is £200.00, whereas a commercial pool would be £550. Fundamental points would be covered on a routine service visit includes:
• Vacuuming, backwashing, rinsing, topping up and recording all equipment readings.
• Comprehensive on-site chemical analysis and adjustment to ensure a safe swimming environment.
• All strainers and baskets cleaned to maintain system efficiency.
• A detailed report, record, and history available for each visit.
• Customised check lists for feature equipment.
“Service calls are crucial to the optimum running of swimming pools,” says Laura Norris, Service Manager at Buckingham Pools. “Pool equipment that is regularly maintained will continue working efficiently and safely, giving the client peace of mind and saving them money in the long run,” Laura continues. “We would recommend customers maximise the potential eco-performance of their swimming pools with products like variable speed drives, efficient pool covers, modern, efficient equipment and running the pool on a shorter cycle, i.e., 12 hours per day and not 24-hour schedules,” Laura adds.
Many products are available to improve energy efficiency for instance, such as variable speed pumps, air-source heat pumps, and pool covers,” says Laura who adds: “Solar covers are also a great addition to an outdoor pool.” A family business with nearly 50 years of specialist swimming pool history, the Lincolnshire based, Asher Swimpool Centre team, rely on service calls for 42 per cent of its annual turnover. A significant 31 per cent of those service calls are on calendar basis while 11 per cent are emergency call outs. With a dedicated service team working separately to their pool construction commitments, a typical routine service, priced at £120 plus vat, will entail:
• Pump basket clean
• Skimmer clean
• Pool vacuum
• Filter rinse
• Water quality test and adjust accordingly
“Typical issues we come across are blocked pump baskets, due to leaves and pine needles, to arriving to find the pool has turned completely green,” says Andrew Asher. Andrew adds: “The service visit is an ideal window to check if pool covers, pumps and other plant are looking old and unreliable. “After a few years of taking the manual strain, the urge to go more automated is tempting for many customers, with an opportunity therefore to sell cleaners, auto dosing, semi auto rollers, solar covers and the like,” says Andrew.
Asher Swimpool Centre
Tel. 01400 272583
Tel. 01925 852351
DG Pool & Leisure
Tel. 01403 711581