Skimming leaves. Testing water chemistry. Cleaning grime off of pool walls. These are not the activities most people envision themselves doing when they’re planning a new backyard pool. And yet these tedious tasks are as much a part of pool ownership as all of those fun activities you’d rather be thinking about.
It’s no wonder many people choose to outsource their pool maintenance. Of course, hiring a pool service costs money – perhaps $100 a month, depending on the size of your pool and where you live. And unfortunately, as with any service, it can be a struggle to find someone who does a good job for the money.
So, should you suck it up and do your own pool maintenance, or hire a pool guy to do it for you? The short answer is… well, there is no short answer. It mostly depends on what you can afford and how much you value your time. But let’s take a deeper dive into the question.
Pool services come in lots of different packages, but for the right price, you can hire someone to do everything required to keep your pool up and running. That includes skimming, cleaning, applying chemicals, and routine maintenance of pool pumps and other equipment. It also includes opening and closing your pool (generally for an additional charge).
Hiring someone to do those humdrum pool maintenance tasks frees you up to spend more time enjoying your pool. In most cases, the pool professional visits your home once a week, possibly while you’re away at work. In other words, you never even have to think about pool maintenance – as far as you’re concerned, the pool stays clean automagically.
Another good reason to hire a pool service professional is that you can take advantage of their expert knowledge. Sure, you can learn to maintain your own pool, but do you really want to? What happens if you have a mysterious algae problem? Can you fix minor mechanical issues and/or identify major ones? There are many situations where your friendly neighborhood pool guy can be a real asset.
Most people who choose to forgo a pool service do so for one simple reason – to save money. Whether it’s $80, $100, or some other figure, the monthly cost of a pool service is significant and adds up quickly over time. A shrewd pool owner can save a lot of money doing their own maintenance, and can even turn around and invest some of those savings in automatic pool cleaners and other equipment that makes the job easier.
When you do it yourself, you can also be sure the job is being done right (or, at the very least, that an honest effort is being made). Sadly, you can’t say the same for all pool services. Because pool guys are under pressure to service as many pools as possible, they’ve been known to skip scheduled visits when they think they can get away with it.
Pool service professionals may also push you to make expensive upgrades, charge you questionable fees for chemicals and the like, and generally do whatever they can to squeeze more money out of you. In that respect, it’s a lot like dealing with a car mechanic. If you don’t understand the work being done, you could easily fall prey to a dishonest technician-turned-salesperson.
The Reality Check
Still on the fence? You can always try maintaining your own pool for awhile. Worst case scenario, you find you don’t like it (or don’t have the time) and hire a pool service at that point.
If you do hire a pool service, make sure it’s a good one. The advantages of having a pool guy only materialize if he actually knows what he’s doing. If the pool service does what it’s supposed to do – that is, making your life easier by taking pool maintenance off your plate – the extra cost becomes a heck of lot easier to swallow.