Jeff Crolene has rock solid integrity and practices what he preaches. $33, 000 gross income for May, June, July 2008.
To whom it may concern,
After reading the complaints against Jeff I felt compelled to write our personal experiences that coincide with some of the complaints.
Jeff and his family have been nothing more than honest and upfront about his program. We have found that the boot camp was just the tip of the ice berg when it came to our investment. The bottom of the iceberg, the big gigantic part that you don't see at face value, comes in the form of support, from emergency phone calls, to questions about billing customers, to the latest and greatest in pool and spa chemicals and equipment.
I did not know Jeff before boot camp, now he is my mentor, my teacher, my coach, and a big fan of our success. His integrity and professionalism are rock solid. If I had to narrow it down to one sentence I would tell anyone interested in the pool service business that “Jeff practices what he preaches". Not only does he teach others how to be successful, but he also runs a successful pool service business himself. He follows the same system that he teaches us all to do.
I am proud to be a Pool Inspector and I know that all Pool Inspectors that work the system and maintain open communication will be successful. I am very sad for Owen, Francisco, and the few others they mention because we all have the same opportunity, but they're letting it slip through their fingers. I believe that if they would honestly reflect on their relationship with Mr. Crolene they would have to assume some of the responsibility, by their actions or inactions, for the circumstances that led to the dissolution or strained relationship with Mr. Crolene and Pool Inspector.
Here are a few points I felt I wanted to address.
Owen Tao's complaint “…they charge .76cents a card when i can get cheaper elsewhere…"
The price of the post cards is in fact 64 cents each, not 76 cents as you state. It includes a 6" x 11" full color, heavy duty card stock, double sided post card with great graphics, a qualified mailing list of pool owners and postage. Also, take in consideration the expense Mr. Crolene paid to have a graphics artist design the card and to top it off, testing thousands of these mailers for himself before presenting the finished postcards to others. Mr. Crolene even went to the expense of providing me with an initial 2, 500 post cards for free in order to test them for myself. The results were so positive; I've continued to take advantage of this type of marketing in addition to the other methods he's taught me. Why would I change something that works and costs far less than buying pool accounts?
Owen Tao's complaint"…there is not one single pool equipment in the classroom when we attended, everything was all him talking…that was three days of that nonsence and two days we went out to two swimming pools…"
Mr. Tao fails to mention that in addition to “all him talking", Mr. Crolene provided an in depth, point by point Power Point presentation along with photos that was projected onto a screen. When making critical points, he also utilized a white board in addition to any hand outs during class. In my experience the 3 days of in class lecture was informative and entertaining. It included:
• Intro to pool service industry
• Pool Inspector advantage
• The business plan
• 25 golden rules
• Water chemistry 101
• Equipment and hydraulics
• Setting up your business office
• Setting up your truck
• Cleaning pools
• Filter types and filter break downs
• Testing and adjusting water chemistry
• Multiple income strategies
Regarding no equipment in the classroom, we did not need any physical equipment in the classroom because we had our practical or hands on experience with the physical equipment in the field.
The two days in the field included:
• Cleaning pools
• Breaking down, cleaning, and inspecting filters
• Taking water samples and adjusting the chemistry
• Learning the basic function of the pool
• How to determine the flow of the water
• How to redirect and change the flow of water
Jeff would verbally test us on the flow and direction of the water and he would have us show him the route or flow of water at different pools. We took water samples and based on the readings, he would quiz us on how we would adjust the chemistry on that particular pool. Each of the students in my class had multiple opportunities to do the practical hands on applications and were quizzed directly. We also went to three major wholesale supply houses. We gathered pool product information and learned about the major pool equipment companies in the business. Also something I thought was very interesting, Jeff had us watch the other pool service people come and go from the supply house. This is where it cemented in my mind what Jeff meant about the “million dollar image" he teaches. We saw one pool service working out of a four wheel drive jeep covered in mud and another was a young kid wearing a hooded sweatshirt with no truck logo. Compared to Jeff's truck at that time and my truck now, any customer can see that when we pull up in front of their house that we are professional and serious about our trade. I am very proud of my Pool Inspector business and logo and would go head to head with any pool service existing in my area and in fact I do on a daily basis.
Owen's complaint “…after the class was over he would not return calls on a timely manner, he said that there is ccc program which stands for call crisis center, whenever we call someone would be there to answer the phone if we needed any help when we are out on the field, he would respond the next day, that does not do us any good when we are in the customers backyard trying to figure out what the customer is asking us, we end up only making a fool of ourselves…"
In my experience Jeff gave me three phone numbers, his 800 number, the direct office number, and his personal cell phone number. If I had a business question or want to chat about the cost of chemicals I called the office, but if I was in the field and I had an emergency I called the cell phone. For example, I installed a new pump motor and when I fired up the pump after the installation all was well. I shut it down and cleaned up. Before I left the customer's house I turned on the pump one more time and it made a funny humming sound and then a click. I freaked a little and called Jeff's cell phone. He picked up and I explained the situation. He told me that when you replace a motor and a go kit, everything is very tight and may have to break in a little and what I heard was the motor attempting to turn over. Since the motor was stiff and not broken in yet, it made the humming sound attempting to turn over and the click sound was the high limit switch safety mechanism designed specifically for this purpose to turn off the motor so it would not burn up. Jeff said when it had a chance to cool down it would attempt to turn on again. Eventually it would break in and start smoothly after a few days. He was absolutely right! The point is that Jeff was there for me and calmed my fears. As I recall, this phone call took place while he was out to dinner with his in-laws and family.
Another example is when I did a meet and greet for a potential customer that had an above ground pool that was totally green with algae. I told them I could do a green to clean with chemicals or a drain and fill. He elected to drain and fill the pool himself and would have it ready for me to do start up chemicals within a week. When I arrived, I tested the water and adjusted it accordingly. I returned the next day, 14 hours later, and when I looked over the edge of the pool at the water it was as black as a cup of coffee! I was so panicked that I can remember my hand shaking while trying to dial Jeff's cell phone. When Jeff answered I told him the story. He asked where I was and I told him I was at the customer's house. Jeff wanted to know where the house was and I told him it was at the end of a small country road. He asked if I thought the house was using well water. I responded that it must be since the address was outside the city limits. Jeff asked me if yesterday when I adjusted the chemicals, the chlorine read zero. I told him, yeah that's right. He asked the size of the pool and how much chlorine I added? I told him the size and the quantity and he proceeded to explain to me my situation, “You have a pool filled with well water that has high amounts of iron in it. When you added the chlorine, the iron and the other metals in the well water came out of suspension and basically the chlorine rusted the iron in the water. Now this is what you're going to do…go down to your wholesale house and buy three quarts of HASSA super stain out, add it to the pool, turn on the filter and go back at the end of the day." By the end of the day I could see the bottom of the pool again and by the next morning it was a beautiful sky blue.
I ask you, where could I have read that if I had no idea what was going on in this situation? I could not have turned this thing around in such a timely manner without Jeff's help. The point here again is that Jeff answered the phone and knew what to do. This type of confident knowledge was achieved through his years of experience in which I can access, almost any time, by placing a phone call. His support has been priceless.
Owen's complaint “...his wife answers the phone…"
You know what they say, “behind every great man is a great woman". In my experience, Jeff's wife is a wonderful, talented business person. Christine is one of the best customer service reps you could hope to learn from. We're regularly on the phone with her, asking questions about billing, collections, and how to continuously improve our customer service skills. We feel having Christine is just another added bonus.
Also, it seems to makes good business sense that Jeff's office has the ability to field phone calls also. If I am trying to reach Jeff and he does not answer the cell number the first time, I call Christine at the office and she calls Jeff every 15 minutes until she reaches him. Last week, on July 31st, at approximately 9 a.m., this part of the system happened while I was talking to Jeff. Another Pool Inspector called in while we were discussing a new chemical product that came on the market. Jeff took the emergency call from Chris G., a Pool Inspector in Texas. I called Jeff 15 minutes later to see if he was available and while we resumed our conversation, his wife called to ask if Chris G. from Texas was able to contact him. This is just more proof that in my experience Jeff's support is always there. And for the record, Jeff is not a mind reader; his support mostly starts with a phone call from the Pool Inspector to Jeff. He provides support willingly and generously.
Owen's complaint “…you'll see that he is always changing things…"
From my experience I am very happy that Jeff is proactively upgrading and improving the system for the benefit of all his students. Change is what makes the world go around. He takes the time, the resources and the money to continuously test new ways in doing business that sets us further apart from the competition. I also realize that he has a business to run, and marketing is an ongoing process of testing, testing, and more testing. I'm thankful he takes that approach to business and we need to make changes in order to adapt to the economic climate, now and forever.
For example, when I went to boot camp there was no website and now that there is one for my customers and potential customers to view my offered services. When they see the website it solidifies their confidence that they have chosen the right person to enter their property and give them premium service.
Change is tough for some people, but where would the Ford motor company be if they were still making the Model A. Some call it change, but I'll call it progress. Whatever you call it, it's a good thing.
Owen's complaint “…succussfull sixteen year old kid on his website is his one and only son Justin Crolene, i dont think too many people would trust having a sixteen year old kid messing around with their expensive pool equipment…"
Well Owen, I think you're right about this, the average person would not want an average 16 year old kid working on their pool, but since Justin is above average and has had Jeff's training and mentorship, all of his customers respect him as a knowledgeable and professional pool technician. Oh and by the way, Justin is pushing 18 years old and has more experience than you and I combined.
Any teenager who wants to work hard and learn from the ground up to be a business owner is a man in my book. Justin does not know it, but he has set the mark for us on our customer count. We are always trying to catch up to him, but as soon as we get more customers, so does Justin. Good going Justin!
Owen's complaint “…you do not want to drive your truck with the logo poolinspector on it…"
In my experience, “Oh, Yes I do!" People have stopped me at Costco during family shopping, when I'm on my route, and when I'm at the wholesale house. I catch other pool service tech's doing double takes when they see the Pool Inspector logo. It says so many things…like I am the professional pool service that they want to service their pool, that am confident and knowledgeable and experienced to do their repairs, and that I'm on top of things in regards to all aspects of their pool and spa and will service them with integrity and professionalism always keeping their best interest at heart. My Pool Inspector logo says all of that and it represents the business I have built and am continuing to build with Jeff's training, support, and mentorship.
Owen's complaint "… please do yourself a favor and go buy yourself a pool route, at least you would have instant income and the support of the person that is selling it to you… do not waste your money on this scam…"
Owen, by your own admission I watched on the video clip, you bought a route of 62 pools for $54, 000 at $870 per pool. You lost 21 pools which had a value of $18, 270, which was a 33 percent loss of your investment. (I hope you're not burdened with making payments on your original $54, 000.) You said you had no support and I quote, were “screwed over by the pool brokers", so I don't know why you're now saying it's a good idea to buy a pool route?
My wife and I almost made the same catastrophic mistake. We looked at a route of 65 pools for $80, 000. We decided that a $16, 000 investment on boot camp was better than an $80, 000 gamble on a pool route. Our research indicated that a 30% loss of customers was common from a pool route purchase which would have given us a $27, 000 loss. We also would have found ourselves without any additional help, training, or support like you found yourself.
Instead we spent $16, 000 for boot camp and an additional $6000 to set up our business, purchase service equipment and chemicals, and to set up the office equipment and supplies for an initial total investment of $22, 000. Right now in our 15th month as a Pool Inspector, as I write this letter to you and the world since you've brought it to the internet, you should know that we have accumulated 45 customers at an average service charge of $135 each, by following Jeff's system. Not only do we feel our accounts are superior to what we would have purchased, but our turnkey value, if we were to sell our route today, is over $72, 000.
I also want to say that when we factored in all the extras that Jeff taught us about, during the months of May, June, and July we billed out an average of $11, 000 per month. That's $33, 000 in 90 days! I also sold my first pool and spa acid wash the other day to a local hotel for a total of $1, 700. All I can say is the results speak for themselves.
I write this letter on the behalf of myself, my wife and my children, and also on behalf of all the successful Pool Inspectors and all of our customers. Not only did you personally attack Jeff, but you attacked my business, my family, my integrity, my character, my professionalism, and my lively-hood and when the other totally satisfied Pool Inspectors read what you said about them and their business' you just may have a tiger by the tail. These attacks are the things that initiate class action lawsuits.
I wonder at what point you thought you knew more than Jeff and at what point you decided you did not need his help. You had the good fortune of having customers and experience when you arrived at boot camp compared to when I arrived at boot camp with zero customers and zero experience, like your classmate Francisco. I have been successful by following the system because I have nothing else to go on, except that I believe in the system and the Crolenes. How is it that in my 15 months experience I have 45 customers and you claim only to have 41 customers with over 2 years experience plus you purchased a pool route?
I invested less money than you, but my return is priceless having Jeff's continued training, support, and mentorship. I learn something new almost every time I service a new customer. I know you realize that support and mentorship is the key to success since you wrote about your excitement that the “million dollar pool man" helping you for free. Would you give away your services for free? Realize that Mr. Baird is a business man, Owen, and maybe you have paid him for his services to date…it just hasn't been with money.
As far as Francisco from Tampa is concerned, you complain that there is no system, when in fact there is a system, but you choose not to believe in it. The system is alive in my area and working well for me and my family.
Another of your complaints addresses having no prior knowledge of pool service or swimming pools in general, which described me to a T. I was a chef for 20 years and the only thing I knew about water before boot camp is that water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit and boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit. When I got home from boot camp, I immediately went out to solicit work, but mostly people called me from the post card advertising campaign. Prior to attending boot camp, I never walked into a backyard and discussed a swimming pool with a homeowner either, but it's just like everything else – there's a first time for everything and it comes with nervousness, apprehension, a little anxiety, and some element of excitement.
Contrary to another of your complaints, Jeff did in fact demonstrate the function of a pool. He taught us the flow of water and he taught us well enough that we could go to any pool never seen before and figure out the flow and label the plumbing. In fact, my classmate called me shortly after boot camp and told me he was called to a house specifically to make sense of all the pipes, pumps, and valves. The home owner wanted to be to be shown the flow of water and what each valve did and to have the plumbing labeled. Before his onetime visit was over, he was actually given the monthly pool service by the home owner based on his knowledge and professionalism. Remember, my classmate never cleaned a pool before boot camp either. He also mentioned he got over 70 calls and 50 accounts on his initial “free" post card mailing. At least 50 people thought he was a competent enough to service their pool, even though he was brand new.
Oh by the way, I knew very well going into this venture that it was not a franchise. Jeff made it clear that it was not a franchise and it was written in plain English on the website, poolsuccess.com. The website was also clear to explain that this opportunity was not a get rich quick scheme and that you would have to work really hard. Like everything else in life, you get out of it what you put into it. Jeff gave us all the tools to succeed, but if you don't take action there will be no reaction. If you don't send postcards, you won't get phone calls. If you don't answer the phone, you won't get clients. If you attempt to sell your services from a chair instead of driving to homes to sell yourself and your services, you won't move forward at all.
Again, I would encourage you to take a deep breath and honestly reflect on your relationship with Jeff and try to see if you need to assume some of the responsibility, by your actions or inactions, for the circumstances that led to the dissolution or strained relationship you have with Jeff and Pool Inspector. I want you to be successful for your sake and the sake of your loved ones. I'll end with the quote from Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can or think you can't- you are right"