Rob Moore | Vice President of Operations Beltway Pools
About This Episode
Rob Moore from Beltway Pools joins John to chat about the hottest topic of the season, pools! Rob shares some important tips if you’re trying to decide on installing or renovating a pool; the difference between fresh and salt water pools; and hiring the right contractor to get the job done successfully! Tune in for this special new episode just in time for summer!
[00:00:05] Speaker 1 All right. I’m John Jorgenson and welcome to another episode of the Go with John Show. Today we have Rob Moore with us from Beltway Pools. Welcome, Rob.
[00:00:15] Speaker 2 Thank you, John.
[00:00:16] Speaker 1 So, Rob, tell us a little bit about just just a real quick synopsis on what is your company do? Give us kind of a cliff notes here at the beginning of the show.
[00:00:25] Speaker 2 We’re a pool service company for residential pools, primarily. Okay. We do maintenance repairs, you know, pool cleanings with the renovations on existing pools. Right. We are not a pool builder. Right. But other than that, once your pools built, we can pretty much take care of anything.
[00:00:44] Speaker 1 Gotcha. So? So everything from renovations to maintenance. And then you have you have regular pools like service contracts. So if somebody has a pool, you’ll come in once a week. Do you come once a week? Once a month? How do you guys do that?
[00:00:56] Speaker 2 Oh, we have packages. We have weekly packages. We have biweekly packages. It really depends on the customer and their know how to maintain the pool themselves. Gotcha. You know, sometimes we just go open their pool and winterize it at the end of the year. They take care of the rest. Okay. Sometimes they know what to do. But there, you know, people in this area are constantly traveling and they just need a little bit of help. So, you know, we’ll go bi weekly for them. And then some people have no idea what they’re doing. And, you know, we go weekly to, you know, basically take care of the whole process.
[00:01:30] Speaker 1 Yeah, that would be me. I have no idea. So. So how did you get into the pool business?
[00:01:35] Speaker 2 Oh, this was about 15 years ago. I was on low times at that point, and my mother actually was a property manager at one of the local communities in Alexandria. Okay. And her pool company, the owner of the current pool company she was with maintaining the commercial pools or the apartment buildings, highways and stuff. He said he was looking for people. I needed a job at the time. Right. And the rest is history.
[00:02:04] Speaker 1 Oh, that’s great. Yeah, that’s great. So. So what is. What is what is it you like best about work? Like, what has kept you in the business for all these years?
[00:02:14] Speaker 2 Oh, you know, money’s good. Yeah, that’s one for sure. I mean, you know, it’s a niche I fell into. You know, I didn’t think I’d be doing this 15, 15 years later if you would have asked me. Yeah. But, you know, you stick to something, you develop a skill set. It almost becomes such an investment that, you know, you’re just like, you know, I don’t want to start over with something else, right? That’s pretty much I mean, what I like about it the most is probably what I dislike about it the most. Sometimes, you know, you just never know what to expect day to day. Right. It’s you know, so many situations are different. You do get to meet a lot of interesting people, you know, form some relationships with them. You know, personally, the part I like the best is probably, you know, talking to pleasant customers and, you know, forming relationships with them. I truly enjoy that.
[00:03:08] Speaker 1 Yeah. So what do so when you and I were speaking yesterday on the phone, we talked about, you know, some of the things that that you kind of come across because you guys do renovations. Mm hmm. And I think one of the most interesting things that that I would like to learn today is what what are the types of things that have that? What types of mistakes have people made in building their pools that you’ve had to come back in and kind of fix when you do the renovation? What goes wrong with with initial builds that you have to renovate?
[00:03:42] Speaker 2 Well, a lot of the pools, you know, you’ll find different. I mean, there’s so many pool builders, you know, and everybody does things a little different. Right. And it’s not necessarily right or wrong or, you know, something that’s messed up can be cleaned up or fixed. A lot of the renovations we do primarily are pools that have been built and they’ve, you know, stood the test of time. They’ve exhausted the materials that are on their pool and it’s time to, you know, give it a facelift. So there is so many I mean, to, you know, sum it up with our limited time, I would say, you know, the three primary things on a renovation are your coping stones around your pool, right? Your tiles around your pool. Right. And your plaster surface. So, you know, when you’re looking at your plaster surface, a lot of times, you know, the the surfaces get worn down. Plaster starts to get more porous. Algae will settle in. You’ll get blooms everywhere of algae. The pool becomes harder to maintain. Mm hmm. That being said, you know, with tile and coping, you know, you usually have caulk joints behind your coping. If it gets worn down, you know, it’s over the whether you should replace it. Every couple of years we run into customers that don’t do that and or they weren’t recommended by their. The company maintaining it and or they just don’t approve it. When you’re recommending, that happens a lot. What ends up happening is, you know, water can get behind the pool shell, you know, then you get freeze expansion in the winter. You start creating, you know, hollow areas under your stones, behind your tiles. You know, tile starts to fall off the pool. And at that point, you know, you’re you’re at a any time you maintain a pool, you should really, you know, keep up with the maintenance. It’s like changing the oil in your car. If you don’t change your oil in your car, you’re going to blow a head gasket or something and it’s going to cost you even more money to fix it. So I urge customers that if you are in a situation where you’re recommended by a pool company, I mean, you can get a second opinion if you would like, but you should go ahead and take care of the problem while it’s going to be cheaper to fix.
[00:05:54] Speaker 1 Right. Do you think so? One of the big things I hear is the caulking under the coping. Is that. Is that kind of a big deal?
[00:06:01] Speaker 2 Yeah, yeah.
[00:06:02] Speaker 1 It’s pretty expensive to replace that.
[00:06:04] Speaker 2 No, I would say on average, I mean, you know, expensive is relative to who you’re talking to. Sure. You know, I would say, you know, on an average sized residential pool, you’re looking at around $1,000 to rip out the clock. You know, but a lot of times when we’re proposing stuff and this is all over the pool industry, and I think this is important for pool owners to understand a lot of prices the pool companies provide appear very expensive. Mm hmm. But a lot of things you do on a pool look simple to the eye, but are more intricate when you get into it. Right. You know, when you take out caulking, you know, you have to wait for the joint to dry out. You don’t want to necessarily just rip it out and install it the same day. Yeah. It’s not going to hold up. It’s going to bubble. You know, you don’t want to do it when the temperature’s too cold, you know? Yeah. In the springtime, you know, that’s when the weather’s a little unpredictable. You don’t know it. Despite the most unpredictable weather of the year, you get rain unexpectedly. You, you know, you get freezing temperatures at night sometimes. Sometimes it’s great. And, you know, we have to conform to that. And there’s a lot of juggling and maintaining a balance. You know, in the pool industry, you have probably until, you know, from like February, March until May or June to really you have to like February, March till May or June to really, you know, make your money, do your business. You know, once the summer hits, a lot of times, I mean, you know, you’ll get a few jobs here and there, but it’s mostly maintaining the pools that are up and running. Right. Everybody wants pools open around Memorial Day or right before Memorial Day. And, you know, pool companies to, you know, make a living. You have to take on as many jobs as possible. Right, in that small frame of time. Yeah. And that’s everybody. So, you know, we do the best we can, all of us in the industry, not just us. And, you know, sometimes customers will run a little impatient, you know, but we’re doing the best we can with what we’re, you know, dealt in the past couple of years. With COVID hitting, there’s been a lot of shortages on chemicals. There’s been a lot of, you know, problems in that area, obtaining parts materials. Right. You know, resin was a shortage, you know, resins made for PVC plumbing. Yeah. And, you know, so therefore price goes up, then our price passes on to the customer. Yeah. You know, unfortunately. But that’s just the nature of it. You know, computer chips, those have been a big problem. A lot of our salt generators and people like salt systems are are pool heaters. They require chips. Yeah. So, you know, we get shortages of that. So, you know, we do the best we can with what we’re dealing with. But if you’re dealing with a company that’s having problems getting stuff, I try to encourage you to stick it out with them. Yeah, because chances are if you go somewhere else, you’re going to run into the same problem, whether they tell you that or not.
[00:09:14] Speaker 1 Right. Right. So what is. So let’s talk a little bit about saltwater pools versus freshwater pools, because I know there’s been a big transition over the last decade, really from people going to the saltwater pools. So what’s your opinion on the two or the pros and cons or.
[00:09:31] Speaker 2 Yeah, well, if you ask different people, you’ll get two different answers, you know?
[00:09:36] Speaker 1 So what do you think?
[00:09:37] Speaker 2 Well, customers or sorry, pool contractors, you know, and naturally, I think in any industry they like to recommend and work with what they’re familiar with. Right. You know, salt has been around for a while, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s relatively new. Sure. You know, people like salt because it softens the water. It’s less irritable on their skin. Yeah, well, a lot of people don’t know. Is that when you. Are using a salt system. You add salt to the pool. It passes through a generator called a salt cell and it generates it in the chlorine. Right. So you’re still getting the chlorine in the pool, but salt cells are beneficial because they’re. It’s more that makes the pool more self maintainable. Mm hmm. You know, you don’t have to make chemical adjustments as much. Salt is corrosive. If you have salt in or out of salt system and you have a heater with copper tubes, which is mostly what they’ll install if you don’t have a salt system, you need to switch over to, you know, a titanium heater with a titanium heat exchanger or cooper nickel tubes so it can sustain, you know, and last more than two or three years as opposed to a copper tubing, which salt is going to corrode and rust. It’s going to bleed stains into your plas, into your pool, onto your plaster. So from that standpoint, I encourage everybody to go salt right now, especially because of the chlorine shortage. Right. Salt is still available in good quantity, you know, and depending on the electrical situation you have at your pool, you know, you can get a brand new salt system for around $3,000. But, you know, that takes out the chlorine usage. A lot of companies last year we had calls for probably in like August, I would say, from a lot of customers that were like or pool owners that were using another company and they said, hey, my company ran out of chlorine. They can’t maintain my pool anymore, you know? And we took on what we could. But, you know, we were with that challenge, too. Thank God we made it through the summer. But, you know, if you get the salt, you have less problems to worry about with that.
[00:11:52] Speaker 1 Right.
[00:11:53] Speaker 2 When you sell your house, it’s more attractive. You know, if you have a saltwater pool, you know, whether people know what it is or not. They know the reputation of it. They know the stereotype of it. Yeah, they’re going to want to buy that house, you know, with knowing there’s a saltwater pool.
[00:12:09] Speaker 1 Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s good. That’s good. That’s good information. So I think you sounds like you if you were going to put a pool in your house, would it be saltwater, freshwater?
[00:12:20] Speaker 2 Oh, I’d probably go with the saltwater. Okay. I have access to the direct pricing, so I got.
[00:12:27] Speaker 1 Yeah, I got. I gotcha. All right. This is a great spot for us to take a quick break. I’m John Jorgenson. We’ll be right back with will be back with more with rob more from beltway Paul. Stay tuned. This is John Jorgenson with the Go with John Show and we’re back with Rob Moore and Beltway Paul. So Rob, tell us a little bit about when you do some renovations and you go in there, what kind of general design flaws do you have to overcome? What have you run into that that maybe the original builder didn’t get quite right that you’ve got to correct?
[00:13:09] Speaker 2 Well, I think the more fair way to approach this is if you’re planning to get a pool. Let’s start with the you know, we’ve you know, the first step, right? I would talk to the pool builder. Placement of the pool is very important right now. You don’t want a pool very close to your house. You know, if it leaks, you know, you I’ve seen flooded basements.
[00:13:31] Speaker 1 I have seen that, too, you know.
[00:13:33] Speaker 2 And that flood restoration gets expensive. So, you know, some places, some set ups, you know, in tighter city areas, they don’t, you know, have that have an option. But to do that. So if you really want a pool, just I would get some contractor out there to, you know, check your waterproofing, you know, make sure at least that you’re preparing yourself to, you know, prevent anything that could possibly happen. Right. Another thing is a lot of backyards are you know, you got an uphill, downhill situation. Right. You know, it’s always better if you can help it to place a pool uphill. There’s hydrostatic pressure in the ground. A lot of people don’t know that. So what hydrostatic pressure is, is when it rains of the ground underneath the pool, you know, builds up pressure. Right. There are hydrostatic vessels inside the floor of your pool that most of the time are spring loaded, sometimes not. But, you know, that valve will open up if the pressure and if you empty your pool, you sometimes you get groundwater coming through that because the pressure in the ground is more than the pressure in the pool.
[00:14:46] Speaker 1 Right. And better, better for the valve to open and let the water in than the pressure break the concrete. Right.
[00:14:51] Speaker 2 Well, what ends up happening and we’ve seen this before, it’s it’s very rare, but a whole entire concrete pool will lift out of the ground.
[00:14:58] Speaker 1 I’ve seen it. You should look it up online. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
[00:15:01] Speaker 2 Three, three, four or five inches crazy. And you know, if you’re lucky, it’ll go back down. But at that point, pipes are broken. Yeah. You know, a lot of room for ground settlement gets created. Yeah. So, you know, if you’re up hill, you’re not dealing with that as much. You know, so but if you’re getting a pool renovated, you should always if your pool is going to be empty for an extended period of time, more than a few weeks, it would be recommended to pull those plugs out. Sometimes you had to pull them out. Even the spring loaded ones can be faulty. Sure. You know, so you just you don’t want that issue because then you’re getting into thousands of dollars for, you know, repairs. And so when you’re winterizing your pool, a lot of people ask this question. They’re like, you’re going to empty my pool out. No, we’re going to drain it down about 18 inches where the frost line is around here. And but we need to keep weight in that pool for that very reason. So but back to your question. So placing things uphill, you know, placing it is in reference to your house. That’s another thing electrically when you’re getting things installed, you know, make sure everything’s up to code. Make sure that the company that you’re with is pulling the proper permits. You know, you don’t want to go sell your house later. And then a good inspector comes in with the home inspection. Right. And he can find that you don’t have things to code. Right. That could in certain counties. You know, I know Fairfax County for sure is a real big stickler on stuff like that. Right. And you don’t want to get stuck with it. You know, sometimes when you buy a house, you’re buying other people’s problems. Right? So that would be one thing I would say.
[00:16:41] Speaker 1 I would say electric. Sorry to interrupt you, but. But electricity and water, you know, you want to make sure.
[00:16:46] Speaker 2 Yeah. You also want to make sure things are properly grounded, you know, bonded. You don’t you know, that could be a huge issue. So I would really, you know, take all that into consideration. Another thing is just, you know, when you’re getting your pool built, you know, if you’re not getting all the features and maybe you want to get some later down the road, talk to your home builder, your pool builder, and, you know, tell them I may be interested in an automation system later that will operate things automatically. Right? I may be interested in putting a rock wall or waterfall on this pool later. You know, that design may get made, may change a little to easily allow for that stuff later. But most of the time when you’re getting a pool built, it’s better to get all the features at once. It’s going to be cheaper for you, right? Because they’re not coming back in to redo something. They are doing it from scratch. So that’s encouraged a lot of pool builders right now in this industry. Since COVID. Remarkably, with people losing jobs and struggling with money, the demand for pool builds has skyrocketed.
[00:17:54] Speaker 1 Right. Because people have been trapped at home.
[00:17:56] Speaker 2 Yeah. And, you know, a decent concrete pool build can be like 100, $150,000. So it is an expense. A lot of them will finance and work with you. But I can tell you the major builders around here are booked out all the way through 2023. Crazy. They are just so stacked up. I get calls about it all the time. So, you know, again, it’s something you got to plan for. Plan for carefully. You know, talk to them about the stuff I mentioned. I think those are the main importance is the location of the pool placement of it. If you have a hill and also to, you know, prepare for the future, if you want to add additional things and if you could swing it, go ahead and get it all installed at once.
[00:18:43] Speaker 1 That’s great advice. That’s great advice. Fantastic. So let’s move on to the next. We got a couple more things we want to try to hit before we run out of time. So tell us. Yeah, you’ve got a story you brought for us today.
[00:18:56] Speaker 2 Oh, yeah. You asked me if I had any entertaining stories.
[00:18:59] Speaker 1 Yeah. Well, would you want to entertain the audience? Yeah.
[00:19:02] Speaker 2 Oh, okay. I’ll. I’ll give you a two for one special here. So I’ll let you know a funny pool story and also let you know how I met my wife at the same time.
[00:19:14] Speaker 1 Fantastic.
[00:19:15] Speaker 2 Yeah. So I worked commercial pools for ten years. Okay, so. And with commercial pools, you are you are getting a lot of companies are getting lifeguards from Eastern Europe primarily. Right, that come over and work on a J-1 work and travel visa through the State Department. Sure. That’s depleted a lot in the last couple of years, which just made commercial pools struggle a lot as well. But anyways, so back in 2009, I met what would be my wife. She’s from Ukraine, right? And she came over and worked she worked at this pool in Alexandria for about three years. She eventually became the pool manager there. Mm hmm. So I was her supervisor. So, you know, we met on very unprofessional circumstances. But anyway, I got a phone call one day from a kid that was probably 14, 15. He was a patron of the pool. Right. And he said, hey, you’re your lifeguard. Called me a douchebag. And and there was two guards at this pool side, a 5050 chance he was the girl I was dating. So I was like, okay. I said, What did she look like? He described exactly my wife and I was like, Great. So I’m going to be stuck between the company I’m working with and the girl I’m dating, so not a good position to be in. So I gave her a call and I said, you know, first I was kind of impressed, you know, like she’s still learning English, you know, that’s a pretty advanced word. So I ended up calling her on the phone and I said, Hey, I just got a call here. Did you call the kid a douchebag? He goes, I absolutely did. He was being one. Yeah. And I said, You can’t do that. She goes, Why not? It was the truth. I was like, That’s not how it works there. I said, Oh, so what was he doing? She said, he was she was taking all the kids toys in the pool and and the parents were complaining. So I said, Hey, douche bag, get out of my pool. You know, you’re done. I took his pool pass and he’s not coming back. And I was like, You know, you’re going to create a big problem for me here. You know, their parents are going to call. He’s a minor. This is going to get out of hand. Yeah. So anyway, about a day later, I get a phone call from a random number and I answer it. And it’s the father of this kid, right? And I’m just slapping myself in the forehead going, Oh, here we go. Yeah. And he said, Hey, my child came home and said that your lifeguard called my son a douchebag. And I was like, Oh. I was like, Yeah, I heard about that. I said, I am very sorry, sir. I said, I apologize. You know, they are from Eastern Europe. The culture is different. They’re learning stuff here. That’s part of the program. I’ve handled it. And he goes, No, he said, I don’t want you to apologize. And he said, My kid’s always a douche bag. And he said, I wanted to go over there and commend her for doing that because he needs to learn a lesson. Right. And, you know, I was like, man, there’s still parents around that, you know, are teaching their kids discipline. Right? So, yeah, it will end up working out in the end. But it is, you know, very nervous situation at the time. So yeah.
[00:22:22] Speaker 1 Yeah, fantastic. So so that is that is great. So how long you’ve been married?
[00:22:27] Speaker 2 Oh, it’ll be 12 years this September.
[00:22:30] Speaker 1 Oh, congratulations.
[00:22:31] Speaker 2 Yeah, thank you very much.
[00:22:32] Speaker 1 Artistic. That’s fantastic. So in wrapping up our conversation today, thank you for sharing that, by the way. It’s a great story. Yeah, absolutely. So in wrapping up the conversation today, tell us a little bit about what makes your. Company. Great. Well, you know, so this is kind of the part of the show where I want to give you the floor to to if there’s folks listening that have a pull, maybe they’re not happy with their full service company. Why should they call your company? And what are the benefits of using Beltway pulls?
[00:23:02] Speaker 2 Well, this is well, tell anybody you know, we will never trash another competitor. It’s for us. It’s it’s in bad taste. It shows no class. Sure. You know, we’re all out there trying to make a living. But I tell people that all poor companies pretty much do the same thing. They get materials from the same people. They’re going to try to execute the job in mostly the same ways. I think what separates poor companies primarily is the basic fundamental of customer service. Right? You know, that’s what’s going to separate the good companies from the bad companies. We are very big on customer service. You know, every company has a mission statement. Our mission statement at the end of our mission statement, it says, we treat you like a neighbor, not a number. You know, we want to form personal relationships with people. You know, I want to know you on a first name basis. Hmm. You know, when people call me and, you know, they say, hey, Rob, you know, that makes me feel good. I know I’ve established that connection. I know they know I’m in their corner. They can call me for issues, communications, another big one. You know, there’s a lot of a lot of people that’ll run into issues and they, you know, they duck and hide from the customer til they find out, you know, you know what the answer is. Just reach out to them. Tell them what it is. You know, it may not be the most popular answer at the time, but trust me, you know, homeowners appreciate that. You know, give them an update. Even if the update is I have no update. You know, it definitely helps. So, you know, with that being said, I think, you know, our our our slogan for our company is built with passion, driven by integrity. You know, you got to be, you know, integrity to us, you know, doing the right thing when nobody’s looking, you know, making sure that, you know, customers are taking care of not only because you want to make the money. Yeah, that’s why we’re in business. But, you know, to show them that you care. You know, we have customers that fall on hardships. You know, everybody does. Or or, you know, they’ll they’ll they’ll suffer a loss in their family. And, you know, and we reach out to them, like, not to even talk about polls just to say, hey, you know, how are you doing? Or reach out to text someone to say, hey, happy birthday or or, you know, hey, a soul on Facebook. Your kid graduated, you know, you know, it is about the polls. But at least for me, if we were just focusing on the polls, this job will get very boring, you know? Right.
[00:25:33] Speaker 1 Right. Well, then you wouldn’t hold any position with any company for 15 years if you were not about the people.
[00:25:39] Speaker 2 Yeah. Yeah. I mean, there are some out there that are strictly about the business, you know. But, you know, with me, I like to relate to the people. It makes me enjoy my job more. You know, it it it gives me, you know, a rewarding experience. At the end of the day, I want to go to bed every night and know that I did the right thing by everybody. Yeah. You know, you everybody makes mistakes, you know, own up to it, you know, be forthcoming, be honest, communicate well with the customer and show them you care more of you care past their pocketbook, you know.
[00:26:14] Speaker 1 Fantastic. Well, Rob Moore, thank you for coming in today. Really enjoyed the conversation. Rob Moore with Beltway Pause. What’s your website?
[00:26:23] Speaker 2 We are a w w w beltway pollster.com.
[00:26:26] Speaker 1 There you go. That’s a winner. And your phone number, how can people reach you if they want to call?
[00:26:30] Speaker 2 You can call us at 7036655333. It directs directly to my cell phone number. So you talk to me directly.
[00:26:38] Speaker 1 Dial the digits. Rob Moore, thank you for coming in. This concludes another episode of the Go with John Show. I’m John Jorgenson. And go out there and build something extraordinary.