My wife showed me a magazine recently, one of those fake magazines that’s really just ads made to look like articles with pretty pictures of homes and the things we “need” in our homes. One of the fake articles was about maintaining your pool and the importance of choosing a professional company. The article said you want someone with the most experience and someone who knows chemistry and won’t take shortcuts. “Clearly, choosing a company with the most experience just makes sense.” The article says. This line of thinking is all good until the reader gets to the advertising part of the article and it mentions a company by name as the best company to meet the criteria.
Unfortunately, the company the magazine names as the best company to “…provide weekly pool care, fix or replace pool equipment, clean up green pools and more.” is an unlicensed company. The company lists a CPO certificate on its web site but has no contractor’s license to fix or repair pools. The fact that the magazine got confused or fooled is one thing, but the real risk that homeowners in Florida use unlicensed workers on their pool is all too common.
So as a homeowner here is what you need to know:
To clean or chemically treat a residential pool:
Current law allows a company with an occupational tax certificate to clean or chemically treat a residential pool. No state license is needed but that company or individual cannot legally do anything else to your pool. No repairs, no plumbing, no equipment, no remodeling, or building- just cleaning and chemicals.
Risks- Homeowners who hire unlicensed workers are responsible for the Workers Comp, and liability insurance of injured workers or users of the pool, the fines associated with unlicensed work and the cost of fixing or replacing damaged equipment. No contract made with an unlicensed contractor is valid under DBPR rules, and manufacturer’s warranties on equipment are void if installed by an unlicensed contractor.
To clean and chemically treat a commercial pool:
Commercial pool maintenance is governed by the FL Dept of Health, and DOH requires operators of commercial pools to get a certificate of training, often referred to as a Commercial Pool Operators (CPO) certificate, to clean and add chemicals to the commercial pool.
These CPO certificates are not licenses under the FL Dept of Business and Professional Regulation, and do not allow for any contracting, so again a CPO can do no repairs, no plumbing, no equipment changes, and no remodeling or building- just cleaning and chemicals of commercial pools. Holders of occupational tax certificates are not qualified under DOH to maintain a commercial pool.
Risks- Commercial facilities using occupational tax certificate and CPO holders to perform unlicensed contracting are opening themselves up to tremendous liability- all that a homeowner above faces plus the risk to unaware users of the improperly repaired pool and DBPR and DOH fines and sanctions.
To maintain, repair or remodel a residential or commercial pool:
A state Service, RPC or CPC license holder as verified on the DBPR website is the only individual or company allowed to legally clean, chemically treat, repair, re-plumb, add and change equipment, and remodel a residential and/or commercial pool. New pool construction is limited to the RPC and CPC license categories respectively. Licenses under DPBR can be either limited to a county or State wide Licenses.
Advantages- By choosing a licensed contractor you have some assurance as contractors must be background checked, pass a basic business test, show financial wherewithal, and carry the proper insurances. Homeowners mitigate risk, have insured workers on the job, and get valid warranties and contracts from licensed contractors.
Bay Area Pool Service holds the highest level of license in Florida for Pool Contractors- a statewide Commercial Pool Contractors License- we are licensed to do anything to any pool in the state including building new pools. We also hold a statewide gas and liquid propane license to allow us to work on Gas Pool Heaters. All of our employees are background checked and we carry all necessary insurances to protect you, our clients, when we work on your premises.
Rest assured you have picked the right company- “We Do All The Work, You Have All The Fun”! TM
Quotations from, Florida Home magazine- Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties edition, p. 20, August 2012