Varin is the owner and operator of The Pool Guy pool cleaning service in Brentwood, and for this chlorine craftsman the changing of the seasons doesn’t change his schedule; pools in California need to be cared for 12 months out of the year.
“Out here (California) pools are open all year, unlike in the East, where you open a pool in the summer and close it up in the winter,” said Varin. “Here, pools need to be taken care of year round.”
In fact, said Varin, autumn is one of the busiest seasons, as leaves and other foliage fall into pools. Left unattended, they can clog drains and filters, which can lead to an array of poolside problems.
In winter, the potential for problems continues, including the occasional overflow when storms hit and excess water facilitates the need to drain a pool a few inches. Some newer pools have an automatic system that takes care of excess water when it hits a certain level, but for the older models, a good old-fashioned pumping usually does the trick.
As the weather warms up and spring and summer arrive, that means more swimming, more bodies in the pool, and the need for more chemicals.
“The more that people are in the pool, the more the chemicals have to be adjusted,” said Varin. “Too much chlorine burns the eyes, but not enough can cause problems too. Calcium build-up is a problem out here because the water is so hard, so that’s something that needs to watched. To keep a pool in good shape, they really should be serviced about once a week.”
The amount of service depends upon the size of the pool – or spa – but all need a steady schedule of filter cleaning, vacuuming, skimming and chemical cleaners. And between pool services, said Varin, owners can keep their pools sparkling with a regular regime of brushing.
“Pools love to be brushed,” he said. “The steps, sides and bottom. It all needs to be done.”
Varin, who services residential pools, began his personalized business five years ago and has enjoyed a steady flow of clients ever since. “It (pool service) is a luxury, absolutely, but we’re holding our own,” said Varin, who estimates he has between 75 and 80 current clients. “The work has been steady.”
So what should a potential customer look for in a pool service company?
“Number one should be reliability,” said Varin. “You need to know that they are going to show up when they say they will. There are a lot of pool companies out there, so customer service is very important.”
Clients should also understand the terms of the contract; meaning what the services will entail, whether it’s a weekly vacuuming and chemical changing, or just a quick skim over the top of the pool to pick out dead leaves.
Or other dead items. Some of the less pleasant aspects of Varin’s job include removing dead animals that have somehow fallen into a pool and drowned.
“Oh yeah, I’ve scooped out birds, frogs, rats, gophers and snakes,” said Varin. “People definitely don’t wait for your regular day to take care of it, and I get a lot of calls like that. I’ve also been bitten by customers’ dogs, been used as a fire hydrant, and had people call and tell me that their dog pooped in the pool. Those are the less glamorous parts of the job for sure.”
Still, Varin says he can’t beat the flexibility of the job, the opportunity to meet interesting people and the chance to work outside, instead of behind a desk.
“It’s good, I like what I do, I like being close to home and I enjoy working with people,” said Varin. “If someone calls and says they need a pool guy, I say “Great; let’s set a date and I’ll come out and meet your dog.”
For more information on The Pool Guy, call 925-321-0866, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.