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Tips For Homeowners
Why Year-Round Professional Pool Care Is So Important
Hi, I'm Lance Maynard, owner of Lance's Pool Service. Tucson's cold winter season often causes pool owners to wonder, "Why do I have to pay to maintain the pool when I can't even use it? Wouldn't it make more sense and save money to take care of it myself during the off-season? And if I do have to pay for service in the winter, shouldn't the monthly rate be much lower?" These are questions I've heard many times. The truth is, maintaining a swimming pool correctly is a complex balancing act. The equipment must still operate, debris must still be cleared on a regular basis (even more so during fall and winter because of the extra leaf debris and winds), and most importantly, the chemistry must still be professionally maintained.
Many people make the assumption that because there are few/no swimmers using the pool (and therefore less chlorine used), that winter water chemistry is very easy. This is incorrect, for several reasons. PH, alkalinity, cyanuric acid levels, calcium build-up, water clarity, algae prevention, and of course, chlorine levels, must all be carefully balanced and corrected on a regular basis, throughout the year. Imagine if you decided to stop maintaining your vehicle or stopped refueling it altogether because you begin to drive it less frequently. Just like that scenario, eventually something will go wrong, because your pool is always in use, even if there are no swimmers in it.
Now that we understand why your pool must still be serviced in the off-season, let's talk about that last concern: price. It is not unusual or unreasonable for a homeowner to suggest that the monthly service rate be lower during this time. However, this idea does not take into account one simple fact: most pool service companies pro-rate their monthly service for the whole year in order to keep their rates competitive. I'll explain: let's say your pool service is charging $120 per month for full service year-round. If he were to charge a lower winter rate, he would have to increase his summer rate as well. Typically in order to stay profitable he would charge $100 per month for the 6 cooler months and $140 per month for the 6 warmer months. This means that his annual gross revenue (and your total cost of service for the year) would be the same whether he charged seasonal rates or one average monthly rate. This is why our year-round rates can remain competitive, because we factor in all seasons and charge an average per-month cost.
There are a few service companies that charge around $80-85 in the winter and around $100 the rest of the year. This heavily reduces profit margins, which they recoup by servicing a very large volume of pools. This, inevitably, reduces the amount of time and attention spent maintaining each pool, and drastically decreases overall quality of service and customer support.