This last summer we truly began to understand the market and shockingly how our competitors operate leaving us to ask how they could still be in business?
First of all this last summer thus far has been the most difficult and challenging since the coronavirus debacle began. The road to recovery has not been an easy one and we are left pondering how we made it this far considering that California Gov. Newsom had implemented the most draconian lockdowns in the nation. Well, here we are and we are making plans for the 2022 Southern California pool/beach season. Actually in reality, pool and beach season is year round which means we operate 365 days per year.
We are currently looking at several items such as recruiting/retention of pool and beach lifeguards, expansion, adding new services such as in-home swim lessons and even looking at starting a non-profit lifeguard association.
As far as our competitors are concerned we have learned a lot about them through many different avenues including personal experiences. We have definitely learned how not to operate a business and to keep doing what we are doing as it is working great! We are fortunate in that we have information coming in from clients, colleagues and even former lifeguards that have worked for these competitors. Based on all feedback, we can confidently say that we are the most professional and highly rated lifeguard provider in the Southern California region. We plan on staying that way!
The following are ways in which we differ and are preferred over our competitors:
- Most others will demand or require full or partial payment/deposits up front with no guarantee of a lifeguard or pool monitor
This practice has caused much distress for many who have called to book a lifeguard with a competitor, paid a deposit online and even booked a lifeguard weeks ahead of time only to be notified a week to just hours before a scheduled pool party that no lifeguard is available. Who does this? We have had moms call us balling their eyes out because they thought they could not get a lifeguard on such short notice. This is something that should never happen to anyone!
As an example, we would like to share one of many experiences from this summer:
One of our newest clients just prior to calling us contacted a national company for lifeguard services and had paid a deposit months prior to the event however the company called the client the day before the event to tell them that they had no lifeguard available. The client was furious as she had used the online form and paid a deposit for services only to be told, Oops, sorry”!
A discussion then took place regarding the deposit and the company made it very difficult for this client to get it back. Apparently things got heated. This is not the first time this type of incident has happened with this particular company and in fact we have documented quite a few times this has happened.
When hearing about this, we did everything we could to fulfill this clients request for a lifeguard on such notice but we did it!! Once again as has happened numerous other times, we had to bail this company out because of their shady practices. We expect that will continue to happen until enough people start calling this company out on Yelp or other types of sites as Google listings, etc. Through this experience, we gained a loyal client who will never use anyone else.
We have never required a deposit or full payment for a booking and in fact we never book a job unless we know for a fact that we have a lifeguard. We never make promises we can’t keep! Our standard operating procedure is that when someone calls or emails us for a booking, we put the event up on our job board and wait to see if any available lifeguard assigns themselves to the job. When that happens, we then call the client to inform them we have a lifeguard. This is usually followed by a confirmation email.
Payment for services is not expected until the day of the event and usually after the event is completed. This is how we have done it for 15 years!
- Most others will assess a cancelation fee if a client postpones or cancels a booking
While this practice is common among our competitors this is a practice that we do not engage in. In our professional opinion we also find this practice extremely unprofessional and seems to punish clients for postponing/canceling a booking.
We recently heard an account of a client having to cancel a booking due to a family death however the company in question accused the clients of lying and refused to issue a refund of the deposit saying it is being used as a cancelation fee instead. Again, who does this? Who are they to accuse someone of lying and then keeping their money?
We have never had a cancelation fee because after all, things happen. It does not matter if the client is lying or not, we always give everyone the benefit of the doubt. It is not up to us to determine if a client is lying or being truthful.
- Most others will assess a rush fee for last minute bookings
There are times when a client has called us saying they got stood up by another company and no lifeguard available prompting a frantic search for a replacement. In most cases we have been able to accommodate the last minute booking but there are times we have not been able to making the situation worse for the client calling.
In this instance we have never assessed a “rush fee” and we never will! If we are able to offer an available lifeguard, we will happily do so as long as we know that the kids at a pool party for example are being closely monitored.
- Some companies try to assess mileage fees and travel time fees
We recently worked an event that was an hour north of our headquarters yet we never asked for mileage or travel time fees. The event required additional lifeguards that we did not have and when we showed up we were informed that the other company attempted to gouge our client for such fees. They were told to stand down by the organizer and rightfully so.
The cost of doing business is also realizing that doing whatever it takes to satisfy each client should be a priority. We realize that and we go above and beyond to satisfy our clients no matter where they call from. In fact we have been driving to events an hour and a half away with no issues. We do what it takes to make sure that our clients are getting exactly what they deserve and more!
- Some companies are attempting to gouge for the sake of making up for lost revenue
We understand that the pandemic lockdowns have caused many to close up shop and lose business however there are some companies attempting to gouge clients by charging absolutely astronomical fees for services. During our time in business we have only raised our rates once and have no plans on doing so again. Our fees are what would be considered standard in this industry however we have identified some companies charging up to $100 per hour per lifeguard which is highway robbery.
Our advice is that if a company attempts to charge you more than $65.00 per hour, you should probably look elsewhere.