While demand for public swimming pools has decreased due to the pandemic, domestic markets’ demand for pools and hot tubs have seen an increase. This is an exciting outlook for established owners in this industry, or those looking to buy a swimming pool service.
Swimming has long been a popular activity in the UK, but few people have the tools or understanding needed for maintenance or repairs, let alone refurbishments.
While the global pandemic hit the public pool sector hard, from which it is still recovering, the private sector has seen steady growth. For example, from 2020 to 2021, hot tub sales increased between 400 - 500%.
Registering and Licensing
All businesses in the UK must be registered with the government for tax purposes.
While the regulatory requirements for beginning a pool cleaning service are less stringent than those for other service and repair firms, you will need sufficient training before working on any pools, particularly public pools.
There is no single qualification or training course required for maintaining and repairing pools. Many people begin as labourers or pool technicians to gain hands-on experience first.
In order to move into the technical side of the sector, certifications in related fields such as water treatment, mechanical or electrical maintenance, or heating, ventilation and air conditioning are necessary.
You must also be on the Gas Safe Register if you plan to work on gas-powered pool heating systems.
You may also want to consider a membership with a BSPF registered organisation like The Swimming Pool and Allied Trades Association (SPATA) for additional support and access to a wider clientele base.
And don’t forget to check the UK government recommended site, ABI, for advice and information on insuring your swimming pool service business and employees.
Expanding Your Swimming Pool Service
Diversifying business services is crucial for those who want to continue expanding their clientele reach and growth potential.
Most pool service businesses cater to customers in the residential and commercial spheres. You may offer services to homes, schools, hotels, leisure centres, and gyms, among other locales.
Now more than ever, clients rely on information they find online. This means that it is essential to invest in a professional website. Your site will often be the first point of contact for customers, and even when you are not online or available, your website will be there to demonstrate your value.
The Importance of Ongoing Market Research
It may be worth investing in industry reports, magazines, and other subscriptions like IBISWorld. These will help you stay updated on current and predicted market trends.
The wet leisure market continues to see positive growth, and many industry leaders are optimistic that these trends will continue over the next five years.
The swimming pool and service industry are largely dominated by small businesses, with no major players in the sector owning market shares of over 5% in the UK.
Smaller businesses may not have to contend with as many big-time names as other industries, but competition can still be fierce. You must conduct thorough market research if you wish to expand and find new potential services to help your company stand out.
Demand for energy-saving products is steadily growing in the swimming pool and leisure industry. This may be a worthwhile avenue to explore.
Other businesses are now offering 24/7 repair and maintenance services to fulfil a need within residential and commercial sectors.
Try Googling your most highly rated competitors to see their prices, strengths, weaknesses, and services for more ideas on how you could expand your business and close the gap.
While the swimming pool industry has faced considerable difficulties in recent years, with many commercial facilities forced to close during the pandemic, the future looks positive.
Private hot tubs and pools have seen a rise in installations in the last couple of years and, alongside all public and private ones already in place, will need professional maintenance.
Pool closures have also increased the need for repairs and even refurbishments. The recent change in UK Covid laws and rules has encouraged thoughts of reopening facilities which require services such as repairs and refurbishments before being used again.
One of the challenges expected is finding suitably skilled and qualified staff. With an estimated 60% of businesses in the wet leisure industry being SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises), finding new workers and keeping up-to-date with the latest regulations, guidelines, and standards is tricky.
More and more businesses are joining Trade Associations such as BISHTA, SPATA, and ISPE to receive advice, training, and workshops designed to enhance the business knowledge of employers and their employees.
Some Industry Facts
The first heated swimming pool dates back to the 1st century BC, built in Rome by Gaius Maecenas.
There are an estimated 3,170 swimming pool sites in the UK.
The cost of filling a swimming pool with water is usually between £2 and £2.50 per m3. This might cost anywhere from £65 and £100 for a private pool of ordinary size.
Marketing Your business
Marketing a business can be difficult. With many service businesses having only 1 to 5 employees, you may not have the personnel or know-how needed to market your company successfully.
As previously discussed, having an up-to-date and professional-looking website is a crucial part of marketing any business in 2022. Customers look online to check the trustworthiness of services before they choose them. Your website must be seen as reliable and even better if potential clients can see your previous work.
We all know that social media can play an important part in modern marketing. Why not try holding a competition to increase interest in your services?
You may also want to think about offering discounts for customer referrals or positive online reviews, as these can make a considerable difference in how your business is viewed and how many people are willing to choose your services over others.
Financing Your Business
Financing a business can be one of the most challenging hurdles to overcome.
In the UK, there are several options available to business owners looking to finance starting, running, and growing their business.
Multiple financing options are available whether you need to purchase equipment, chemicals, training courses, or something else.
- Apply for a business credit card. A credit card may be particularly useful for those looking for assistance with immediate cash flow as most business cards come with an interest-free period of around 56 days.
- Loans are suitable for those in need of a substantial sum of money. You can get a secured loan with better interest rates if you offer security like property or machinery. Otherwise, you may be able to apply for an unsecured loan, which will have higher interest rates.
- Business grants are also available through the UK government. Grants tend to be more challenging to find, usually require a written proposal and have a longer wait period.
Selling Your Business
If you are considering selling your business, planning is essential.
Try and establish a date of when you want to sell and use the time in between to strengthen your business strategy and increase profits to enhance value and make the business more sellable. Some factors you’ll need to consider are:
- Whomight buy your business?
- Can your businessfunction without you?
- Consider negotiation terms to make the purchase more desirable.
- Ensure all your processes, financial records, and licences are up-to-date and systemised.
If you’d like to understand your business’s current financial health, and how much it is valued at, you can conduct a free valuation using ValueRight.