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Webinar Recap: How to Find, Measure & Keep Top Talent

April 16, 2024

Skimmer recently hosted a panel discussion featuring Erik Taylor, the owner of Chlorine King in Florida, and Bryce Sirrine, owner of Beyond Pool Cleaning in Arizona. The conversation focused on all things labor, and got into the nitty-gritty of how to find, measure, and retain top talent in the pool service industry.

Keep reading for a recap of the discussion, or watch the whole panel on-demand here.

The state of the labor market

Labor continues to be the number one issue facing companies of all sizes. According to Skimmer’s State of Pool Service Industry Report, 2024 will continue to bring a challenging labor market with high competition for talent. And, despite finding and keeping talent being the second biggest challenge facing pool pros, 52% of survey respondents in the report said they plan to hire in 2024. Owners will need to focus on retention strategies to keep employees happy in a competitive labor market. 

For those looking to grow their staff this year, it’s important to understand what workers are looking for in an employer. According to the 2022 Deloitte Global Gen Z and Millennial Survey, there are several big factors that influence workers aged 18-43 to work for their current employer: 

Source: The Deloitte Global 2022 Gen Z and Millennial Survey

In addition, there are a few very influential reasons why someone might choose to leave a job.


According to Deloitte, while pay is the top reason someone might leave a job, it's not the top factor for choosing a new gig. Millennials and Gen Z (who are making up a larger and larger percentage of the workforce) care more about a good work-life balance and learning and development opportunities than financial benefits. However, if a job starts to encroach on that work-life balance, they will see other opportunities instead of sticking it out.

So, with these macro factors in mind, let’s dive into Erik and Bryce's tips on how you can attract and retain great employees for your pool and spa service business.

Q&A: Finding and recruiting top-performing techs

How do you find prospective employees?

Erik Taylor, Owner, Chlorine King: Erik says he primarily relies on word of mouth as well as friends of current employees. When those options are exhausted, he uses Facebook and places ads on Indeed. 

Bryce Sirrine, Owner, Beyond Pool Cleaning: Bryce finds the best referrals come from friends and family of his best employees. He used to work in the food service industry, so he poaches people he used to work with who are great service managers.

What do you look for in potential employees? 

Bryce: The right attitude. You can train everything except for the attitude. 

Erik: He also looks for a good attitude; if they’re clean-cut, speak intelligently, and are self-motivated, everything else is coachable.

Do you run background checks and/or drug tests on employees?

Erik: Erik doesn’t conduct a formal check. He also enjoys giving people with records an opportunity. However, his auto insurance runs a motor vehicle record (MVR) check on any drivers to make sure they’ll be accepted on his policy.

Bryce: Doesn’t run a background check but checks references and is pretty thorough in reaching out to old employers. He’ll go to their social media accounts and see how they conduct themselves online, but he doesn’t do any drug testing.

What do you offer as part of your hiring package?

Erik: They can take home the trucks and get a company credit card to pay for gas, etc, so they’re not out of pocket. Employees get a full wardrobe with long and short-sleeved shirts, tail hats, ball caps, beanies, rain and cold weather gear, and a riptide vacuum system to take home as well. Erik says there are also commissionable opportunities available in his company, and he takes his team on group outings and offers personalized perks like golf or gym memberships.

Bryce: It’s the work-life balance. All techs only work four days a week (which days specifically depend on their route), and there are no after-hours calls. They get full health benefits, including vision and dental, with 100% of premiums paid by the company.

Q&A: Measuring and rewarding your best techs

What is your training process?

Bryce: Everyone gets a 2-week ride along with hands-on training, with ongoing training after that.

Erik: Also provides ride along training for as long as they need and until they feel comfortable to go out on their own.

How do you use Skimmer to make sure techs are delivering quality service?

Erik: Skimmer keeps a history of chemical dosing, so you can figure out if they’re spending too much of your money on pools where it’s not needed. Skimmer also helps monitor the cost of each pool so you can tell if you’re profitable, how your employees are treating the pools, etc.

How do you help employees when they’re falling short?

Bryce: When you find something that’s wrong, treat it as a training opportunity and not as a failure on the employee’s part.

When do you know it’s time to terminate an employee, and are you back-filling before you terminate them?

Erik: Says he always tries to keep a floater on staff in case there are changes that need to be made. They also work on a points (demerit) system, so if an employee collects enough points, then it might be time to terminate.

Q&A: Retaining and incentivizing top talent

How do you keep your teams motivated?

Erik: Chlorine King has defined a pay scale system for technicians, which gives them something to work toward. Work-life balance is a great motivator, and letting them choose their schedule. 

Bryce: Beyond Pool Cleaning has fun competitions, like what tech spent the longest fixing a ‘destroyed pool.’ They share photos to show how bad those pools are and commiserate about it, and the winner of the worst pool might get a gift card. As mentioned before, they have team outings as well.

What are your vacation policies?

Erik: They also only service 48 out of 52 weeks, taking off Christmas to New Year’s as well as Thanksgiving (both paid). Employees also get wo other paid weeks off for whenever they want.

Bryce: They also only service 48 out of 52 weeks a year, and they close down for those four weeks: one week in March, one in October, one for Thanksgiving and one for Christmas. After a full year of employment, the employee gets a fifth week off whenever they want.

How are your employees paid?

Erik: His technicians are paid per pool and all other employees are on salary.

Bryce: Everyone is on salary, but pool service technicians have a salary range of +/-5%.

What kind of team activities do you offer?

Erik: They try to do non-work-related things together like going to ball games, bowling, and fishing. One year they even did a full team outing to the Daytona 500.  

Bryce: The last day of the month is always reserved for billing, so they try to get all the servicing done ASAP by helping each other out. This means all the billing can be done by the end of the day and everyone goes out together for a team lunch.

To watch the full webinar replay and listen to the live Q&A session at the end, head to YouTube.

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