Great Pool Service Starts with a Family Business

IMG_0625My father started Pike Pool and Spa the year that I was born, which was in 1995. Being the son of a small business owner, I have found myself as a part time employee of his company for most of my life. Working for your father could have a rather negative stigma attached to it, in that it’s just the easy way out and no real lessons are learned and true responsibility is never taught. I assure you that this is not the case for me. I have learned that there are three things required to deliver great pool service for our customers.

I started helping him clean pools since before I could swim and while I may not have been helpful at the early stages of my employment, it was time spent with my dad. At that time, I was getting paid in packs of baseball cards which were well worth the time spent. While working for my dad over the years has been a good option for making money, I feel that the real profit that I have made is in the lessons and knowledge that my father has passed down to me. It is the goal of this article to share a piece of worthwhile information that my father, Tom Pike, has been drilling into my head since I could understand complete sentences and it is this. As an employee, you get paid to do three things. Let me explain.

Great Pool Service is about Solving Problems for the Customer

The first thing that you get paid to do is to solve problems. As a pool tech, problems are always showing up. Sometimes you show up to a pool and the cleaner isn’t moving and the pool has algae. Other times the pump won’t work or the motor won’t turn on. It would be easy to do the minimum work and let my dad know later that the pool was having some issues and he should take a look, but then that creates extra work for him. Instead, I could pull up the cleaner and remove the toy from where it was clogging it. I could take apart the pump and find the stick that had gotten stuck in the impeller, which was preventing it from working. I could solve the problems before my dad even knows they existed.

That way, when my dad brings up that he got a call from the customers complaining that the pool was clean, I could explain that I found the reason that the pool was green and that the problem was taken care of. Instead of taking an hour out of my dad’s day to drive to the pool, find the problem that I had never looked for, and fix it himself, he is now thanking me for doing such a great job. Since I solved the problem, my boss now gets to call the customer back and let them know that the problem has already been resolved, which means that the customer is now back to being happy.

Great Pool Service Makes the Boss Happy

This leads me to the next thing that we get paid to do as employees, which is to make your boss look good. Solving problems can be a large part of this, but it also involves representing your boss well in front of not just customers, but potential customers as well. The better that you make your boss look, the more he/she will want to keep you around and pay you more money.

This should certainly make sense, but a large part of it is also doing your best to not make your boss look bad. While mistakes will always happen, taking responsibility for them and fixing them yourself or asking for help when necessary can prevent the customer from developing negative feelings toward your boss, which is the opposite of what I am aiming for when working for my dad. The more that I can make my dad look good, the more he will trust me with jobs and show me grace when I do make mistakes.

Great Pool Service is about Going the Extra Mile

The last thing that my dad has taught me to do is to take risks that pay off. This principle always made less sense to me, because the very fact that it is a risk means that there is a good chance that things will go poorly. But as it has been explained to me over the years, I feel that I now have a pretty good grasp on it. Basically, the general employee will be able to perform their job at a competent level. The problem with this is that a boss like my father, and I’m sure most other bosses, are always looking for someone who stands out. The thing about standing out is that it means that you’re doing something that other employees are not doing, and that can be scary.

An example of this could be approaching your boss about a new idea you came up with, or that you gave a customer a deal on a product that you were not cleared to but you think it will make the company more money in the long run. In the pool service world, taking apart a pump and motor is a daunting task. To a boss like my father, it makes sense if him an employee just reports back to him that the motor is not working and that my dad should take a look at it.

It is very reasonable that the employee does not want to risk taking apart the motor by their self because things CAN GO WRONG. Parts could get lost, the problem could get worse, you could forget how to put it back together, and all the while, time is being used up. However, if things go right, you would get to report back to the boss, they would thank you, tell you that you did a great job, and pay you extra money for fixing the problem. The point is, it makes a big difference to a boss like my father when his employees are willing to take calculated risks that benefit both him and the company as a whole, and I’m sure that other bosses would agree.

My dad didn’t teach me how to be a good employee so that I could be the best pool serviceman in the business. He taught me this stuff because he knows that I am going to be out in the world trying to get jobs and trying to work my way up the ladder to success. I have been lucky enough to work with him in a setting where it has been possible for him to teach me. I know that I feel more prepared because of the time I have spent with him, and will always take the lessons I learned from Pike Pool & Spa with me.