The Pool Boys

Image of a pool in yard

Who Needs a Pool Boy?


Situation: Childhood friends Justin Morehead and Zac Nicklas felt that owning their own business would put them in control of their fate, and that working hard and smart to build a successful business would enable them to be in control.  This attitude led them to the Galveston County Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in 2010.  The SBDC helped guide them through different business ideas, provided essential training, and linked them to a variety of different business events. 

Solution: The effort paid off.  Coaching by the SBDC resulted in the creation of The Pool Boys in January 2011. Justin and Zac had worked in the pool and spa industry and observed that there was a wide range of quality being provided in a mostly unregulated industry, and that a business focused on providing top notch customer service and high-quality work would separate them from the competition. 

During their journey they have offered a range of services and products.  By working with Doug Baumann of the Galveston County SBDC they have continually assessed profitability, inventory turns, and other key metrics to arrive at three key components to their business:  equipment repair/installation, weekly pool maintenance, and retail sales of pool supplies.   

They have 7 mantras that they abide to while running the company:

  • Work ON your business, not IN your business: find time to work on strategy, goals, and growth. 
  • Learn.  Ask questions and build relationships with people you can learn from.
  • Give value. 
  • Don’t be cheapest.  Often consumers relate cheap prices with cheap work.
  • Don’t be greedy.  If you take all of the profits for yourself, the business won’t grow.   
  • Relationships.  Customers value someone that will educate them, communicate with them and follow up. 
  • Ask for help. 


Impact/Outcome: The Pool Boys has generated nearly $4M in sales, continue to grow, and are profitable.  Their journey included many challenges, such as learning to increase pricing to a level that reflects the high quality that they deliver, expanding on their services, and buying better vehicles for service routes - complete with full-color ‘wraps’ advertising their company!  They have 7 employees and expect to hire more soon.

Justin and Zac switched from a LLC to be taxed as a corporation because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs act.  It has helped them to keep more money invested in their business to support growth.

As they look to the future, alternatives such as purchasing a building and expanding their brand into other geographies are being considered.  They may use SBA-guaranteed financing for these activities.  Zac would also like to pursue the SBA Emerging Leaders initiative.

This article does not constitute or imply an endorsement by the SBA of any opinions, products, or services of any private individual or entity.