How To Estimate Pool Service Charges + Billing Software You Can Use
Running a pool service business is a balancing act of customer service and payment management. With the aid of billing and pool service estimating software, you can make this balancing act much easier.
Did you know 96% of customers will leave a company due to poor service? Accurately estimating pool service charges is an essential part of maintaining customer loyalty.
You earn their trust when you tell them exactly what to pay, when, and why. Surprising them with hidden monthly fees or changing prices at the last second will drive them away. Estimating anything in service companies is tough. Things take longer than expected, equipment breaks, and delays happen. And it's not always your fault (or your client's).
Thankfully, software solutions exist to make this easier.
Our goal is to assist you in building a pool service business that fosters trust. In this post, we'll explore the factors influencing pool service fees and demonstrate how to calculate them effectively. We'll also guide you in selecting the most suitable billing and pool estimating software to ensure consistent and precise charges for your services.
Table of Contents
How to accurately estimate pool service charges
Everything from pool size to the frequency of cleaning contributes to the final price tag. While accurate pool estimates differ from business to business, we’ll detail the common ways to estimate pool charges below.
One-time or monthly service
Residential locations and businesses alike usually prefer monthly services to keep their pools and spas consistently clean. However, you may get customers needing help rarely.
Charging, depending on frequency, will accommodate both your business and your customer. Discounts are an enticing benefit of monthly service – customers get a lower price, while your business gets repeat service.
If they only need service rarely, charge higher to make up for the chance of repeat business. For example, a one-time pool cleaning service could be $350. If your customer wants their pool cleaned monthly, you could reduce this to $250. We recommend a simple bullet list or grid showcasing the different prices on your website.
The location of job sites plays a significant role in determining the cost of pool services. Factors such as mileage and neighborhood characteristics can influence pricing. Generally, the closer a customer is to your office, the lower the price. As the distance increases, so do the fees.
To maintain transparency and avoid confusion, you should display clear location-based pricing plans on your website for your customers to easily access and understand. At Skimmer, we understand the importance of efficient route planning, which is why we have built-in route management functions that create the most effective routes for your pool professionals.
Optimizing your service routes can minimize travel time and expenses, ensuring that your pricing remains competitive and accurate.
Outdoor vs. indoor
When it comes to pool services, there are differences between outdoor and indoor pools that can affect pricing and maintenance requirements. Outdoor pools are typically exposed to various weather conditions and environmental factors, such as leaves, debris, and algae growth, which can demand more frequent cleaning and maintenance.
On the other hand, indoor pools are generally protected from these elements, reducing the need for regular cleaning, but they may require more attention to ventilation and humidity control systems to maintain a comfortable environment. Understanding these differences and adjusting your services and pricing accordingly is essential for providing accurate estimates and meeting each client’s unique needs.
The type of water used in a pool, such as freshwater or saltwater, can also impact the cost of pool services and maintenance requirements. Freshwater pools typically use chlorine as a sanitizing agent, requiring regular monitoring and adjustment of chemical levels to maintain a clean and healthy swimming environment.
In contrast, saltwater pools use a salt-chlorine generator to produce chlorine, often resulting in lower maintenance demands and fewer chemical adjustments. However, saltwater pools may require additional care for pool equipment and surfaces due to potential salt-related corrosion.
Are you servicing a large pool or a small sauna? The size is directly proportional to effort, so your pricing plans should reflect this. You can price based on the pool or sauna’s physical size or the estimated amount of hours the job will take. You can even do both. For example, a 20 x 40 ft pool could take five hours to clean. If you charge $50 per hour, that’ll add up to $250.
Pool filter type
The type of filter your customer uses will greatly affect the price. Some filters are easier to maintain than others, so create pricing plans based on each.
- Cartridge filters are common and affordable, so your service charge should be lower. These filters rarely exceed $100 for installation or replacement.
- Sand filters are a little more expensive due to needing replacement sandbags. Expect a price range of $200 to $500 for the filter. Expect between $15 to $25 for the sandbags.
- The most expensive pool filters are diatomaceous earth filters, so increase the price for installation or maintenance. Expect a price range of $500 to $1,000 for a new installation.
If you’re worried about possible errors in calculating prices, billing software solutions can help.
Types of billing software for pool cleaning businesses
Ensuring timely payments for your pool cleaning business is crucial, and invoicing and billing software can streamline this process by automating invoicing tasks. There are various types of software available to help you manage your billing process more efficiently, and they can be broadly categorized as follows:
Payment processing software
While invoicing and billing software primarily focus on promptly creating and sending accurate invoices, payment processing software manages different payment methods and portals.
As there are numerous ways to pay for services today, this software helps you keep track of multiple payment methods, fees, and transaction details, simplifying the reconciliation process.
Integrated pool service software
For businesses in the pool service industry, integrated software solutions like Skimmer can offer a comprehensive set of tools tailored specifically for pool cleaning businesses.
These platforms include invoicing and billing features and incorporate other essential functions such as route management, inventory tracking, and pool estimating. By using an integrated solution, you can manage all aspects of your business from a single platform, increasing efficiency and reducing the chances of errors.
Features to look for in pool estimating software
Pool construction and cleaning projects need features that make jobs faster and more accurate (not to mention establish clear financial expectations with your clients). Make sure whatever pool estimating software solution you choose has at least the following features:
Accessibility from the office or the job site
You shouldn’t be confused about where to click or what to do to manage billing. User-friendly features include drag-and-drop editors and built-in tutorials. And this is kind of a given in service-based businesses, but you shouldn't have to be tethered to your office desk to generate estimates, quotes, and invoices. Your software of choice must have mobile support and all the features you need on the go.
You can’t overlook the customer portal when at least 67% of customers prefer a self-service option. This handy online feature allows your customers to complete tasks from the comfort of their homes.
Customer portals for pool business can include helpful features such as:
- Filling out forms
- Making online payments
- And submitting feedback on their experience
Check out our post on accepting payments for a deeper dive into this topic.
You've got enough on your plate. You shouldn't have to remember all your clients' invoicing schedules, payment methods, and price points. If there's one thing pool builders and pool service pros can confidently give to the robots, it's automated invoices.
Most pool service billing tools allow you to send multiple invoices at once at regular intervals (a handy feature when pool businesses often depend on repeat business). You can also use convenient templates to fill out customer information quickly. This tool is ideal for larger businesses that receive a high volume of customers. However, smaller businesses should still consider this feature to save time.
Learn more about Skimmer's automated invoicing features here.
Alongside automated invoicing, many pool estimation software platforms feature automatic payment reminders. (Imagine all the wasted time if you not only had to remember all your clients' invoicing patterns but also remember to chase them down for payment. When would you get anything done?) This hands-off feature helps you remind customers of upcoming payments without taking time out of your day.
Setting up billing software for pool cleaning businesses
The transition between your usual business operations to new billing software doesn’t have to be bumpy. In fact, these programs often come with support to ease the transition.
Import customer data
Accurate customer information is essential to building and maintaining trust. If you forget your customers’ names or emails, you may contact or bill the wrong people. Billing software can import customer data from pre-existing programs such as Excel or Google Suite.
We recommend reading up on your billing software’s compatibility to see if it can import data from the programs you’re using. If not, you’ll have to enter everything manually yourself.
You can import customer data such as:
- Customer name and address
- State and/or neighborhood
- Contact information (such as phone, email, or fax)
- Payment method(s)
Set up payment processing
Smooth payment processing creates happier customer service experiences. Multiple payment processing methods increase the number of people who can work with you (and the likelihood that you'll be paid on time).
The most common online payment methods used are:
- Debit cards
- Credit cards
- Apple Pay
You can test payment processing by submitting a small payment to see if it goes through.
Customize your invoicing
Do you get a wide variety of customers who need different services? You need the option to customize an invoice or create your own templates. Once you choose the most suitable billing software features, you need to integrate the program with your existing tools.
Integrating billing software with other systems
The great thing about modern business is that it's all run by software, making all of our lives much easier. And the great thing about software is that developers are very kind to build integrations allowing all your mission-critical tools to "talk" to each other.
Here are some examples of integrations most pool estimating software will support.
Do you already use accounting tools such as QuickBooks or FreshBooks? Choose billing software that can integrate with your system so you can keep track of service orders and invoicing simultaneously.
Integrating billing software with scheduling tools like Calendly, Google Calendar, or Microsoft Outlook can help streamline employee and customer appointment management. By importing employee or customer information, you can effortlessly connect your billing system with your scheduling program, ensuring timely invoicing and resource allocation.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems
Integrating your billing software with CRM systems such as Salesforce, HubSpot, or Zoho can help improve customer data management. This integration enables you to track customer information, payment history, and service preferences, allowing for better customer service and targeted marketing efforts.
Project management tools
Connecting your billing software with project management tools like Trello, Asana, or Monday.com can enhance collaboration and communication within your team. This integration ensures that everyone stays updated on the status of ongoing projects, completed tasks, and pending invoices, resulting in better overall project execution.
In conclusion, we've explored the importance of accurate pool service estimates, their influencing factors, and the various billing software available for pool cleaning businesses. We've also discussed the benefits of integrating billing software with other essential systems to streamline your operations and ensure a seamless customer experience.
Skimmer is a pool service management software that helps pool pros grow by ensuring consistent, premium, and profitable service across every customer touchpoint. As a comprehensive solution tailored to the pool service industry, Skimmer offers features such as inventory management, route optimization, and seamless integration with your sales process, making it the ideal choice for your business.
Watch a demo today and experience firsthand how Skimmer can transform your pool service business.