Let’s fast forward just a little bit to month 6. Rudy is back to 40 accounts like when he started. And Joe, POOL ROUTES FOR SALE is also now at 40 accounts! And he kept his budget of $5,000. This is amazing! So which way is better in your eyes? A lot of us will probably say it’s Joe, hands down. He saved all that money, and it’s all profit moving forward. Others of us might say, I like what Rudy did. He had everything in place from day 1, and although he’s still paying for it, it seems less stressful and manageable.

photo: flicker user Ruth Hartnup

The answer is, you’re both right. It’s not which is right or wrong; it’s what type of person you are? Let’s wade into the deep end. What kind of details weren’t mentioned in this hypothetical story? Let’s imagine both Rudy and Joe had the same bills each month. Mortgage, auto, insurance, food, etc. Rudy was able to pay all of his expenses from day one. Even though he took on a substantial financial obligation, he was already making enough money to provide personal and business expenses.


On the other hand, Joe had to pull out of savings each month until he reached his goal of 40 accounts. Do you think that could be stressful? Or maybe in a slightly different scenario, Joe went and got a part-time job to make sure he could pay all his bills while he built his pool route? I did this. I worked three jobs at one point while I built my route.

photo: flicker user Martin Cooper

What else wasn’t mentioned in the story? How about the time spent each day for each person. Rudy spent, on average, 5 hours a day and only worked four days a week. He had time for grandkids, cooking classes, even teaching others about the pool industry. Shoot, maybe he even wrote a children’s book 😉. Joe, on the other hand, was on-call all the time. Every time the phone rang, it was a potential new customer. Rudy had all his customers saved in his contacts. He would only answer a number if he recognized it.

Joe’s throwing Rudy under the bus

Everyone else went to voicemail. Joe didn’t feel like he could take that risk. He wanted to be ready to answer right away. Joe spent about 6 hours each day and even worked on the weekends until he hit his goal. What about the time involved going to do bids and estimates? Rudy made five bids in 6 months. He only wanted 40 accounts, so there was no pressure on him. Joe made 150 bids in 6 months. We didn’t talk about how Joe didn’t get the account and the time spent going from one place to another. Joe doesn’t believe in over-the-phone estimates, smart man.

photo: flicker user Janice Waltzer

At this point in the story, you are probably thinking I’m pro buying a route? You’re mistaken. I’ve heard horror stories about route purchases over and over again. I’ve heard of brokers lying, sellers lying, customer information is incorrect, equipment not working when they said it did (see sellers lying above), terrible bookkeeping, incorrect addresses, wrong phone numbers, accounts that haven’t paid their bill in 3 months, escrow releasing all money to the seller ahead of schedule, non compete clauses being broken, and the list goes on and on and on. And my personal favorite I wanted to save for its sentence – the broker writing in the fine print of the contract that if the buyer sells any of the accounts purchased through this transaction…the broker is entitled to make their commission of the future sale.

similar article Buying a Pool Route – Pros & Cons

No, this is not a joke! Do you still think I’m pro route purchase? Hopefully, you don’t know what to believe, haha. I’ve heard of some that went the advertising route, and they were full in a matter of weeks! And they only spent a couple hundred in ads, while most was all word of mouth. How can you argue with that person that they should consider a route purchase? You can’t. (results not typical)

50 Shades of Blue!

The fact is, both of these methods work, and both ways have horror stories. People are successful in buying routes and are also successful in not buying them. The main deciding factor should be your risk tolerance. No one else is going to pay your mortgage, buy your food, and make your family feel secure. Don’t be so quick to listen to all the mouths telling you what you should or shouldn’t do. Whether you decide to buy a route or not, YOU are the one that will determine the success of your pool company with POOL ROUTES FOR SALE

Our mission is to have every pool company work together to maximize profit, minimize travel time between stops and be kind to the planet. We do this by enabling the swapping of accounts to build efficient routes

Joe Wilmot, President/CEO of Pool Trader

Pool Route Purchase

Before I even start, I need to clarify something. You have to think of a pool route purchase. In this context…you are buying a business. Does that bring a little more weight to the situation? But this is precisely what you’re thinking of doing. This subject is talked about very casually within the industry. And a lot of the time, there are more who are against it than for it. They claim, “I can take that same money and advertise to build my business for way cheaper.” And these people aren’t wrong. I have done this personally! But is it that much cheaper?

Let’s tell a hypothetical story and timeline of 2 pool pros. Their names will be Rudy and Joe. Rudy has decided to purchase a route of 40 customers while Joe has decided to build from the ground up by advertising only, but his goal is also 40 customers. In this story, I’ll use others’ real-life details in the pool industry while some made-up but realistic information. Like Rudy and Joe – excellent fake names 😊

Pool Route Purchase

Rudy goes online and searches for a pool route for sale. He gets “routed” to a pool broker. He finds the 40 pool route in the general area he wants to operate, and the price is $50,000. The broker provides the details, paperwork, notary, escrow, warranty (90-day pro-rated money-back guarantee if the customer is lost at no fault of Rudy), etc., and the broker makes a 10% fee for this service. (this usually comes out of the seller’s side) Rudy doesn’t need any training, and he’s fully knowledgeable in the pool industry. He starts working right away and has a monthly income of $4,000 for service. Repairs and additional services are extra per our industry standard. So let’s leave Rudy for the moment and meet Joe.

Pool Route Purchase

Joe is going to advertise and build from the ground up.  He thinks he can do this for 1/10th the cost and get just as many customers. Joe set’s aside $5,000 and begins to create his ad campaign. He spends two days getting everything in order, logo, wording on the ads, FB marketplace account, Google account, etc. He even creates a profile on a couple of other social media platforms to advertise for free! The ads launch, and the posts are made. One week passes, Joe has zero accounts. The second week goes by, and the traffic has started to come in.

The phone is ringing, and Joe is going out on bids and estimates. End of week 2, Joe has two clients on the books. Week 3 comes, and the traffic has dipped just a little bit, but Joe ended up getting two more customers for a total of 4. Week 4 is here. Joe continues to have the ads run every week. He is making posts almost every day on the free sites. The best week yet, Joe gets 3 for a new total of 7 at the end of one month. The monthly income on the books is $700 going into month 2.

Buying a Pool Route lll

At the end of the month, Rudy lost two customers. One was his fault, he left the gate open, and the dog got out. The other wasn’t his fault; the owner sold the house, and Rudy couldn’t keep the account. Rudy decides he will give a couple of customers an incentive; if they advertise word of mouth for him, he’ll compensate with a month of free service if he gets new accounts. So his monthly income is down to $3800, but he did get a credit back for the one customer. Joe did the same thing as Rudy, and he gave them an incentive to all his customers to help him grow and compensate with a month of free service.

Let’s move to month two now. Rudy ends up getting one new customer and ends the month with 39 total. Nothing else to report on Rudy; let’s visit Joe. That’s far more exciting!

Joe is hitting his stride! He tripled his business and now has 21 accounts. He decided to double down the amount on the ad spend each week, and he also doubled the amount of time he spends on social media. But, he has not increased his original amount of the $5,000 ad spend, just increased the weekly spend to speed things up. And a few customers referred him to new clients to have some free service coming once the new customers have stayed on for at least a couple of months. Joe is no fool. In a previous venture, he would promise free service before verifying an excellent new client. Not this time. End of month 2, Joe has $2100 incoming on the books. Half his ad spend is gone at this point.

Month 3 – Rudy is unchanged. He has 39 accounts and $3900 on the books. Back to Joe

Joe decided to keep the higher ad spend in place. He is confident he will get to 40 accounts this month but doesn’t hit the goal. He got a few new customers, but he also lost one because he left the gate open. These darn gates are hard to remember to close when you’re so busy. And that customer had also referred Joe to one of the new clients, so Joe lost that one too because they want to use the same pool service. Lame. But Joe stays positive, and he ends the month with 28 accounts and $2800 now on the books.

Our mission is to have every pool company work together to maximize profit, minimize travel time between stops and be kind to the planet. We do this by enabling the swapping of accounts to build efficient routes

Joe Wilmot, President/CEO of Pool Trader


Buying a Pool Route – Part ll

You are on the hook, Mr. advertiser. You are always waiting for the phone to ring in the hopes it’s a new potential client. Then you have to get their info. Then you have to make the bid. Then you may have to wait until they have gained two other offers from other services before you know if it’s going to be you. Don’t forget…I am one of you, Mr. advertiser. I’m not bagging on you. I’m just saying out loud what no one else seems to say. So did that one account only cost you $100? What is your time worth? Are you keeping track? This is Buying a Pool Route – Part ll

Buying a Pool Route
Buying a Pool Route – Part ll

I’ve Done Both

In my decade-plus in this industry, I have both bought and sold pool accounts. I’ve also advertised throughout my career. What are the pros and cons I’ve personally experienced? In buying a route, while it is more expensive out of the gate for these accounts, the peace of knowing it’s done is precious to me. Knowing I don’t have to advertise because I’m instantly booked is a beautiful feeling. And although the stress of the financial obligation is real, I would have that anyway being in business for myself.

While advertising to fill your route may not hurt your wallet as bad out of the gate, it can add up over time. And you’re always in “sales mode.” I don’t mind that, and thousands of other pool pros feel the same. I’m in business for myself, so I’m in sales mode anyway most of the time. It boils down to what type of person are you? Would you rather have the company in place for a higher price? Or would you instead build it from the ground up for less out of pocket but more time involved?

Buying a Pool Route – Part ll

Some of the things not mentioned above. When a route purchase goes bad! Does it happen? Yes. Why? Usually, the purchase didn’t involve due diligence. There are some nasty people out there, even in the pool industry. Shocking! No matter what you’re buying, don’t just take people at their word! That is the number one complaint on these transactions; the seller wasn’t honest about it. Could it have been avoided?

In most cases, yes! No one held a gun to your head and made you buy that route. Was it a good deal, right? And the guy has to move out of state in 2 weeks because of some emergency, so you need to act fast and with cash. Or even worse are the stories that involve a broker. Now, these can be gut-wrenching. You go through an entity that you are supposed to be able to trust. You sign the paperwork, you have things notarized, you even have the money go through escrow! Is it a concrete safe transaction, right? LOL… no more than a car dealership, my friends.

Similar Article Buying a Pool Route – Pros & Cons

They Didn’t Even Kiss Me First!

Do you know someone that’s said, “I’m never going to a dealership ever again!”? Pool pros say the same about brokers. Does that mean brokers are bad? No. Does that mean you should never buy a route through a broker? No. But if you do go that “route,” know what the potential risks are. Like you would with any purchase, right?

On the advertising side. You could spend a lot of money and get zero accounts. Knee jerk response usually is, “well, you should expect that you dope, no one uses door hangers anymore” or “they didn’t know what they are doing. I know how to make killer FB Goog ads, and my phone rings non stop”. Again…bully for you, guy, drive for you. This doesn’t make my statement false. People will lose money on advertising, FACT. Does that make it the wrong choice? No. Does that mean I shouldn’t advertise and buy a route? No.

The Good, The Bad, and The WTF Did I Just Do?

It means there are risks on both sides of the pool. You have to decide what kind of person you are and what your risk tolerance is. There is no right or wrong way, and there are pros and cons.

Our mission is to have every pool company work together to maximize profit, minimize travel time between stops and be kind to the planet. We do this by enabling the swapping of accounts to build efficient routes

.Joe Wilmot, President/CEO of Pool Trader