Today we’d like to introduce you to Jerry Jurden.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Jerry. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Company started in 2010 under a different owner. I have an Information Technology background, but decided to purchase the company in 2013 despite having no experience in the pool service industry. My vision was to develop an efficiently-run, honest company in an industry marked by dishonest technicians and small, one-man operations. Upon taking the company over, I had 4 employees, including myself.
Now, four years later, we have almost tripled our revenue and have 10 employees, including myself. We currently have plans to double again in the next three years.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I had limited experience in business management, and no experience in the pool and spa service industry, so the first year was mostly learning the ins and outs of a new industry while trying to service our existing customers. In that process, I had a hotshot employee that was woefully underpaid when I took the company over, and coming from a place of limited experience, I did not proactively make an effort to pay him what he was worth, and ended up losing him as a result. I’m still upset about that. He now owns his own company.
Also, having come from a white-collar background, I tried to apply the same techniques managing blue-collar employees that I had done with higher-paid white-collar employees in the past. I found out very quickly that those techniques do not work, and that the mindset of blue-collar workers in this industry is vastly different than the professionals I had been used working around in the IT world. I had to adjust very quickly.
Please tell us about Champion Pool Service.
We do commercial and residential swimming pool weekly service and repair. Our bread and butter is residential weekly pool service, but we also service several commercial customers and do above-ground repairs on pool equipment, pumps, filters, etc.
One thing we are known for, and what sets us apart in the industry, is the experience of my staff. Other companies at my price point tend to hire lower-experienced workers and pay them less in order to pad their bottom line. I on the other hand seek out individuals with higher levels of experience and pay them what they are worth.
My technicians have an average of eight years’ experience in an industry where the average is about two years. As a result, we have more satisfied customers and have less employee and customer turnover than the average in our industry.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
One of the hard lessons I learned when taking over a company that someone else has built, is to quickly identify who your top performers are and make sure you do what you need to do to make them feel comfortable in the new environment and make sure they are being compensated appropriately. It is a traumatic experience for employees of a company to be taken over by a new owner, especially small shops with 20 or fewer employees. You have to figure out quickly who your A-players are and lock them in.
As a former IT professional, I had grand visions of transforming an industry still struggling with the use of technology. I have since had to temper that ambition after seeing slow adoption and some struggles of my own employees with relatively simple technology. It’s different trying to introduce tech in a blue-collar environment.
People are somewhat entrenched in their longstanding methods, and learning and adoption of new technology is done at a much slower pace and in smaller increments than you would see in other industries.
- $139 – Residential Weekly Full Service – Starting Price
- Address: 1100 Rolling Meadow Dr.
- Website: www.championpool.com
- Phone: 972-442-1697
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/ChampionPoolService
Photo by Champion Pool Service