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Meet Mark Montegani of Pool Heaven in Huntington Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mark Montegani.

Mark, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Pool Heaven Inc. started with two pool service guys that partnered into a pool service. My partner and I founded and started Pool Heaven while going to college. We started like most businesses with a few customers. My partner graduated with his college degree and moved on to a different career. I dropped out of college to go full throttle with Pool Heaven.

I advertised in several local advertising outlets and worked on promoting Pool Heaven with referrals from current customers while working as a subcontractor for another pool and spa service and repair contractor. Once Pool Heaven grew to an adequate size, I was able to focus 100% on growing and building Pool Heaven. I got my contractor’s license in pool service and repair and worked very hard for several years. Business owners wear several hats, so I had to learn accounting, marketing, customer service, etc.

At this time, I remember thinking ” I can’t wait for my phone to ring off the hook with business!”. Now I joke to myself “Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it!” After several years, I had more work than I could handle and had to decide if I wanted to add employees and continue growing or keep it simple and more comfortable. Hiring employees adds risk and expense, but I felt it was worth it if I could responsibly train and guide this company into something bigger than myself. The first employees are the hardest and I learned quick that growing and hiring does not translate into more profit in my industry. You’re building something bigger than yourself which takes sacrifice and thought. You need more insurance, planning, training, etc. Through sacrifice, I was able to expand the business and find and train capable and talented workers.

I continued training and marketing and saw that this sacrifice and hard work was building a true corporation that could one day sustain itself with proper guidance. My profits were tight and credit was hard to obtain, so it was very difficult and financially straining. I stressed customer service and quality work to my employees and always tried to compensate properly to keep my capable and talented workforce. Our workers always seemed to appreciate and like working for us.

After a decade or so, one of my employees was so valuable to my business, I invited him to partner into the company. Ryan Gustafson is now a partner of Pool Heaven and manages all operations. As a team, we were able to form a structured corporation with management and standard operating procedures that we continue to model and expand with. The hardest part of business ownership is letting go and allowing others to learn and perform management functions to continue the mentoring and growth of skills in your work force, but there is nothing more rewarding than witnessing this growth in capability and knowledge.

Employees need to see they have careers that can grow in financial rewards and responsibility which we constantly need as we grow as a corporation. This is our secret to employee retention. We spend a lot of money training and mentoring our workforce and do all we can to retain our skilled workers. We are a solid team that looks after each other and if the corporation grows, so does our workforce in financial rewards and management positions.

Don’t get me wrong…it is very expensive and challenging to grow and allow others to take control away from ownership, but like I said earlier, there is nothing more rewarding than watching your corporate structure take hold. I can honestly say that this once, tiny small pool service is blossoming into a self-sustaining corporation with its own checks and balances to compete and survive in a competitive market.

We are now focused on slowly adding territory to our service area for continued growth as more of our workers grow in skill and capability. We went from a once small, owner operated business to a structured corporation with 11 employees and over 500 pool cleaning service customers. There are still lots of challenges with operating a small business, but I am very proud of our growth and performance as a team. Remember in the beginning, I felt it would be worth it if I could responsibly train and guide this small pool cleaning service and repair business into something bigger than myself. This is one success I can check off my list.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It has been smooth as sandpaper! lol ….

O.k., the first struggle is getting enough customers to live. The next struggle is what to do once you succeed with that. I decided to keep growing and hire employees. Management takes time to learn and you have to manage and train while funding a legal business. This is extremely difficult. From liability to financial overhead, there was loads of sacrifice and the rewards are years away.

You need funding, time, and constant management and mentoring. Good credit and reserve savings is a must to fund the infrastructure as you grow. A business owner is constantly learning and innovating the business model for efficiency and perpetual quality of service. The goal is to leave the customer with the same end product as when the owner was servicing swimming pools and this is an enormous feat even with enough capital. Funding and keeping the same quality of service as the original owner is a constant struggle.

Pool Heaven – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Pool Heaven is an expert pool and spa service and repair contractor located in Orange County, Ca. We specialize in monthly, recurring pool cleaning service and pool and spa equipment repair. We are knowledgeable of all the different equipment makers and control systems.

I am most proud of my company’s ability to perform high quality service and repair. We have weekly meetings to constantly mentor our whole team and I am amazed at the amount of knowledge and experience I witness in these meetings. I would say our dedication to mentoring and training our pool service and repair staff is what sets us apart. We really focus on the customer and while we make mistakes like everyone else, we do all we can to make things right all the time.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
To me, success is a company that can produce a high-quality service/product while progressing as a company where the whole team feels included and gains. Our success would be a company that continues growing and evolving with tomorrow’s needs and challenges. Our whole company needs to mentor and train for the future. We have goals and targets for growth of revenue and profit, but we also need to focus on using that revenue to position for an even better tomorrow for the whole team at Pool Heaven and our customers and future customers. A company structured and aligned to mentor and train its workforce to produce the highest quality service possible is what we strive for put simply.

Pricing:

  • Our weekly pool cleaning service starts at $95 per month
  • We have every other week options for pool cleaning service in certain areas for $75 per month

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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