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What to know before adding pool installation services

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While pool installation can be a lucrative business, it’s crucial to be fully ready for the challenges it can throw your way. (Photo: Feverpitched / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images)
While pool installation can be a lucrative business, it’s crucial to be fully ready for the challenges it can throw your way. (Photo: Feverpitched / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images)
Rock Wisley
Rock Wisley

As pool installation services continue to grow as a viable option for landscaping companies, the question of where to start looms large.

“My No. 1 tool, if you want to call it that, a landscape person or company needs to invest in, that would be themselves,” says Rocky Wisley, president of Serenity Hardscapes in Memphis, Tenn. “That includes them and their company and their ability to be able to rightfully perform these large projects.”

Wisley shares what landscape contractors looking to add pool installation to their lineup of services need to know before diving in.

Education

According to Wisley, the swimming pool industry has a wide variety of continuing education classes, all the way from design to engineering, construction and maintenance. He recommends landscape contractors who don’t already have a working relationship with a pool contractor start their journey in this arena.

“If you go to a basic 201, you’re going to leave there and be like ‘Holy cow, I’m glad I didn’t jump into this thing. Maybe I need to think about teaming up with an expert or a mentor to help me,’” he says. “There are plenty of people in the industry that will help people work their way in. I mean, the door is always open for everybody.”

Wisley recommends the Pool and Hot Tub Alliance’s Genesis program for beginners.

“With Genesis, they have an entry-level course into the swimming pool construction,” he says. “That’s for concrete pools. It’s a three-day course where we cover all aspects of the swimming pool construction.”

Genesis offers landscape contractors several different pathways into the pool installation and pool building business. Starting with the entry-level class, students can work their way up through the ranks to eventually earn a master pool builder certification.

“That first class is great. It’s not enough information to say, ‘Hey, I’m good to go and build,’ but it’s enough information to build off of and get you thinking,” Wisley says.

Costs

Wisley says landscape contractors should be aware of the monetary aspect required to add pool services — from education to insurance and licensing.

In some states, like Texas and Florida, he says, licensing isn’t required. However, in others, like Wisley’s home state of Tennessee, a contractor must be a licensed pool builder.

“Whatever your region and whatever those requirements maybe it’s going to take some time and money to get set up,” he says. “Then you got insurance, and once you start bringing in a policy for pools, you’re going to have a cost associated with that, whether you’re (consistently) installing pools or not.”

After taking the recommended courses and ensuring they are licensed and insured, Wisley says contractors should be in a good spot to start to installing pools.

“That’d be a good start since landscape contractors are probably going to have the necessary equipment already in their arsenal,” he says. “That would include excavators, skid-steers and maybe even dump trucks as far as moving the earth.”

Even still, Wisley, a master pool builder himself, says continuing education — as it is in the landscape industry — is crucial as technology continues to evolve.

“I can’t emphasize enough the continuing education path,” he says. “Once you get all those things and you start protecting yourself. You’ll be a force to be reckoned with because you’re going through it.”

The last tool a future pool installer and builder needs, Wisley says, is experience.

“Time and experience will build your confidence and your abilities to install pools and to keep it going,” he says. “There are days where I’ll lose my butt on pools, and I’m like, well, that sucked, but we’re going to make it up on the next one.”

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Rob DiFranco

Rob DiFranco is Landscape Management's associate editor. A 2018 graduate of Kent State University, DiFranco holds a bachelor's degree in journalism. Prior to Landscape Management, DiFranco was a reporter for The Morning Journal in Lorain, Ohio.

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