What About Pool Repair Licensing, Insurance, Bonding, ...

I am often asked if I am Licensed, Insures and Bonded. Most people who ask don't know what, if anything, these things provide to them as a customer.


If you just want a quick summary:


“Over the last 30 years, I have been licensed, bonded, and insured. No, none of this has ever done anything for my customers, BUT add expense which I passed on to the customer in the form of higher rates and costs to them. I have never once seen these certifications benefit a home owner for basic repairs, equipment replacements or pool service. If you are “Building a pool” or remodeling from the ground out, then these things are of benefit.”




            a.) Business Licensing: Everyone who does business in a location, and collects sales tax (Doesn't pay those taxes up front, when they buy the parts, and doesn’t charge by the job, but splits out parts and labor.) Is required to collect sales tax and be licensed in every community he does business in.


If the contractor doesn't pay tax on the wholesale amount, when he purchases all items, he is required to collect that tax from you, the client, based on the retail amount, and to pay all of that tax money to the government on a quarterly basis. You have a choice, pay taxes on the wholesale amount from someone that offers a “all parts included” price, with no seperation of parts and labor, or get that separation of parts and labor on your bill, and pay those sales taxes on the higher amount.


                        i.) This means that if I am licensed in all the communities I work, you, the client pay more in taxes. It doesn't give you anything. It doesn't say that I am a better service man or repair man, it just means you are going to pay more taxes. I am not a democrat. I believe you have been taxed enough. If you would like to pay more in taxes, the government does, I believe, take donations. Just write them an extra check if you feel you should pay more.


One more thing, tracking all of those taxes for every repair, in each of the 6 different communities I regularly work in, is very time consuming. For this reason, “if” I went through all of this trouble to give you the exact prices I am charging for parts, I would charge more per service call to someone else to do all of the processing, open up tax accounts for each community I service, make the deposits, the service fees on the accounts, … so, not only would you pay the taxes, you will pay an additional fee for all the hassle, time and expenses I would incur as well. This is why I ONLY offer all included rates and I do not offer to break out the prices for individual items.


Ok, but let’s say that you don’t think my prices are fair. Fine. This works for me. Order everything on the internet that you think your job will require, and call me to do the install. You agree to pay my standard service call rates for each hour, in advance. I will show up to do the repair, and will give you up to 1 hour of my time and repair efforts for that service call. You might just save yourself some money.


Here’s the problem. If you do not have all of the parts and supplies(Yes, if I am not going to be paid to run to the parts house, get the parts, and drive back, it’s your job to provide supplies. I guarantee I will have the tools to do the job.) or if you have the wrong part or supplies, you just paid for a service call that includes up to 1 hour of my time. And if I can’t do the work with what you have, you are on the clock. If you decide to run to the store to get the correct parts, or the other parts you didn’t know we would need, I am on the clock. After one hour I am off to my next job, unless you paid me for a second hour, … in advance. If it takes you 10 minutes to get to the supply house, 10 minutes to get the right part, and 10 minutes to get back, you just wasted half of a service call. If something else is missing, or you can’t get the part at that shop, you get to try again.


I can pretty much guarantee you that the amount of money you save purchasing anything on the internet, paying for shipping, waiting while your pool is down, just doesn’t save you anything, and might cost you hundreds more.  


You risk paying hundreds more, and on top of that, having a green pool which can cost you more hundreds, … to save 10%. 


No pool man is going to stand around waiting for you to get what you need, don’t have, and you weren’t willing to pay him to go get, for free. The time we spend waiting could be spent doing other work and making money, or it could be used spending time with friends, family, ...


One more thing. The Tax License is irreversible. I can’t just do it this once. Once done, I am responsible for quarterly tax filings for the perpetuity of my business. No, I can’t give you my prices, or break things out into parts and labor.


            b.) Pool Industry Licensing: In Arizona, there are no "Pool Service Technician" Licenses. There are no "Pool Repair Technician" Licenses. There is only a "Pool Builder" License, and sub licenses for electrical, plumbing, equipment install, … The people with this licenses are qualified to act as general contractors to "Build" you a new swimming pool or do major remodeling.


Does this licensing mean that they know how to troubleshoot and fix a pool light? No. Does it mean they can do ANY repair? No. Does it mean that they know anything about pool service at all? No. Chances are, those with Pool Industry Licenses "IN ARIZONA", will know little or nothing about pool and Spa Repairs or Service. They specialize in major repairs in specific areas, and couldn't care less about anything not in their area of expertise. They are building new pools.


So how does this type of licensing help you. Pool Industry Licensing doesn't help you at all, UNLESS YOU ARE BUILDING A POOL FROM SCRATCH, or completely rebuilding a pool from the dirt out. Then, you “need” this licensing.


            c.) Insurance: I have never heard of ANYONE, in 35 years, collecting from an insurance policy because their pool service, or repair technician botched a job. Yes, I have heard of botched jobs. Hundreds of them. Mostly second hand from customers telling me what the previous guy did.


How are you going to find out if the pool guy is insured? How are you going to find out who his insurance is through? His coverage limits, … How are you going to find out if the possible "mistakes" he can make are covered? His deductible? Answer, you can't. This is why I have never heard of an insurance pay out, … EVER.


So what do you do? Make sure that the integrity of the repair / service technician is impeccable by getting references, if you are worried. Talk to your friends, neighbors, get on the BBB web site and check out their name. Become a member of Angie’s list ... I am insured. I have never needed insurance. I never will. I had it for a while. I never used it.


I do good work. I take care of all my customers, and I get referrals from many other pool businesses because of the quality of my work and my 30 year reputation for doing right by my customers. I stand by what I do. That's the insurance you want. Someone who has done outstanding work for your friends, neighbors, fellow employees, ... for years. Someone other pool men call when they want a job done right, and don’t want to do the work themselves, …


            d.) Bonding: Bonding only covers people for specific events listed in the bond, and to the limits on the bond. For example, I could get a bond against the improper installation of "Pump Lids", or some problems that either would cost nothing if I botched it, that I never work on in the first place, or that are completely unrelated to the field I am in, and I would be "Bonded". I could get a bond against anything bad, but only get a $100 bond, limiting the payout, if you fulfill the conditions of the bond, to $100. Explain to me how bonding, helps you, the customer, in any way? So you are bonded? What for? For how much? What are the conditions for payout?


            e.) Suing: Suing of people making $35,000 or less per year is meaningless, in most cases, as they own nothing of value, your court costs would exceed your gains. In the rare instance their spouse makes a ton of money, they are incorporated and will go bankrupt before you see a penny. GET THE REFERRALS FROM THOSE YOU KNOW! Check out the BBB…


            Over the last 30 years, I have been licensed, bonded, and insured. No, none of this has ever done anything for my customers, BUT add expense which I passed on to the customer in the form of higher rates and costs to them. I have the types of insurance that protect my customers from liability should I hurt myself on their property. As far as the rest goes, 99% of the people I work for don't care as long as the price is reasonable, they get outstanding work, they get the best products for the price, and I am there to cover any problems that might crop up within 24-48 hours. The other 1% ask about these things, but never ask for a copy of the Bond certificate, or the insurance certificate to see if what they are "Worried about" is covered, and to what amount. In other words, NOONE, in 30 years, even when I was Licensed, Bonded and Insured, EVER got enough information to see if those things were of any benefit to them at all. our best insurance, your best bond, and it is the only


            IF YOU ARE GETTING A POOL BUILT, OR COMPLETELY REBUILT FROM THE GROUND OUT, MAKE SURE THAT THE COMPANY IS LICENSED, BONDED, AND INSURED AND GET COPIES OF THEIR LICENSE, THEIR BOND, AND THEIR INSURANCE SO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE CONCERNED WITH IS COVERED! THEN CALL THE COMPANIES THAT DID THE BONDING AND INSURING TO MAKE SURE THEY DIDN'T JUST MAKE THOSE COPIES UP IN PRINTSHOP. IT DOES HAPPEN. Get the exact limits and terms for each of those things, and what it is that you need to do in order for you to get a payout if there is a problem. As always, if you aren't going to ask for copies, and you aren’t going to check all of the details, why bother even asking if they are licensed bonded and insured.


People can say anything over the phone, and, like I said, Licensing, Bonding and Insuring probably won't cover any of the repairs you are going to have done on your pool, even if they do have these things.


            Sorry folks, know the people doing your work. Know the quality of the work they do, and get all of that from the people you know. Ask around. Find someone that has had the same pool man for over 5 years and likes his work. Find someone that has used the same pool repair man for 15 years, and likes their work. That is your best Insurance, your best bonding, and it is the only licensing I want from those that are working on my possessions.