Service Licensing or Not?

I am looking for some opinions as to what license (if any) one must have to maintain a residential pool and why you think so. I personally think it is important for many reasons, but am facing some challenges with our county commission wanting to de-regulate our local pool cleaning license. If you have any specific reasons/incidents to support (or not) licensing please share them here.

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  • FYI - the test for the Texas RAI license only must be taken once; the fees to renew must, however, be paid every year.

    I and five of my staff will be taking a prep course at the SW Pool and Spa Show, and have already applied for and paid the licensing fees. Once we complete the prep course, we plan to schedule the actual test at the first opportunity to do so.

    I'll know how we did sometime late February or March...

    Bruce Hudson said:
    Rick, fellow Texans,
    The RAI only requires that you be at least 16 yrs old to take the test. The RAI Contractor (for all you independents) requires liability plus workers comp. My take on the regs is that to be an employee performing repairs, you will need to be licensed as a RAI and your employer must be RAI Contractor. Additionally, the test must be retaken annually to remain currrent. This, my friend, is crapski.

    Reading the regulations, this went into effect March 1,2008 and the grace period ended June 1,2008. Believe it or not, your earlier post is the first I heard about it, as embarrassing as that is. Many, many of us have apparently been in violation for a while. I will try and find out more and rest assured most of our friends remain unaware.
  • My last post reads very angrily. Sorry guys! I should have read it before posting. I am truly learning and enjoying the interaction and have come to the conclusion . . . .We are going to agree to disagree on this! I'm OK with that . . . . sort of :)
    Kim - I believe liability and auto insurance are a part of responsible business and should not be optional. As many of you pointed out having any license doesn't guarantee anything but accountability.

    I agree too, that health, life insurance and other benefits are up to you as an owner. They hopefully will never be forced on us but rather provide a way to be a better employer and then (hopefully) retain better employees.

    As for me and my local colleagues we stood up for what we believe and won. I can only hope the same for any of you.

    Those of you wanting regulation or something like it. Please be proactive. Don't wait until the other industries or government put something in place that affects your livelihood! One of you cited VGB as an example of Govt. deciding what we need to do. That is a VERY GOOD reason for you to act first. I'm happy to share what we have in place. Just ask.
  • i wish licencing would be in place and be able to be inforced. it seems that with the poor economy there has been an increase of one polers, which come into our area and under cut prices and mess up alot of pools by the lack of knoledge. these people do not have any logo's on thier trucks or posibly not even a dba, and when they go out of business we are stuck explaining why our prices are so much more. ie insurance, employee's, and servicing the customer the proper way. i wish the fine for not having a licene would be stiff.. on the other hand in our state we are now having to have an appliance licence in order to replace pumps,motors,heater,blowers,ect.
  • Hi Kris,
    I am with you on the issue of wanting other pool people to compete fairly with your company.

    But my point is this: Licensing (however comprehensive or not), and liability insurance, workers comp, (employer funded) health insurance, etc. should not be mandated by our so-called altruistic government. For example, I don’t want the government tell me I have to have insurance, or that I am not allowed to have insurance, or that I have to have a minimum amount, or that I can’t have as much as I want to.

    If you choose to have insurance, then that is your decision based on your priorities and means to do so. If you choose not to have insurance and a license, then you should have no trouble competing with the “fly-by-night pool people” in your area (we all have them btw). But I bet that you can anyway, no matter what.

    As I said before, our good-intentioned government cannot control all “single moms” in our country, cannot make everyone comply with ALL regulations, or purchase every mandated requirement, and cannot prevent ALL consumers to only do business with licensed companies. (Sure, it would be nice for the honest and hard working businesses if that were possible). But, it should be realized that it is futile to expect or want the government to be our big brother and make everything perfect and fair for everyone.

    There is a law against fraud and a law against damaging property (whether you have a license or not). But that never has prevented any of that from happening (with or without a license). But you still can use the legal system for possible recourse. That is one good purpose our government is needed to do for us.

    I say, keep things as simple as possible.

    I also want to say “Merry Christmas” to you. And I don’t ever want my government telling me I can’t put that on my December bill to my customers if I want to. LOL
  • Whoa Kris,
    We want accountability, just in another format. That may be pie in the sky, but.....

    Insurance coverage is very important, as are industry certifications (and, as I'm relearning, industry associations) LoL. I'm familiar with Fl. requirements having spent some years there. The father of one of my best friends was on the original license board and held one of the first licenses issued.

    Apparently Fl is reconsidering the license requirement? Change is difficult and will be cause for debate. We are at opposite ends it seems, with Fl. discussing dereg and Tx. discussing mo'reg. We both seem to prefer the old way and that's probably as it should be. Best wishes, and stay strong.
  • Hi Everyone,

    I have heard so many arguments for and against licesning. Thank you. I am truly amazed and enlightened at how polarized we are.

    For my area, licensing has always been a part of the program. i.e. if you want to service pools, great, here's the license you need and the requirements are . . .

    Now, after 40 years of requirements the county thinks de-reg is good 'cause "single mom's" need extra money and can't pass the (open book) test. Quite frankly, that really frosts me.

    If you don't want accountability in your neck of the woods. That's your perogative. You must not have derelict/fly by night pool people in your town. I wish I could say the same. But, if I have to carry liabilityy/workers comp/pool popping/commercial auto, etc. than so should the guy cleaning the pool next door . . . .

    I am all about minimal govt. intrusion. Some of you think regulation = govt. control. I don't think so. I believe it(regulation) brings accountability and legitimacy.

    We should be very prooud of what we do and not afraid to promote the value of our professsion.

    Regarless of our thoughts on this issue, I wish you all a very merry chrsitmas & a prosperous new year!
  • For all you fans of the Simpsons," DOH!!!" really fits huh?
  • Rick, fellow Texans,
    The RAI only requires that you be at least 16 yrs old to take the test. The RAI Contractor (for all you independents) requires liability plus workers comp. My take on the regs is that to be an employee performing repairs, you will need to be licensed as a RAI and your employer must be RAI Contractor. Additionally, the test must be retaken annually to remain currrent. This, my friend, is crapski.

    Reading the regulations, this went into effect March 1,2008 and the grace period ended June 1,2008. Believe it or not, your earlier post is the first I heard about it, as embarrassing as that is. Many, many of us have apparently been in violation for a while. I will try and find out more and rest assured most of our friends remain unaware.
  • Rick & Scott,
    I now understand better what you are saying and dealing with, and you make some very valid points and have legitimate concerns. You need to know that I don’t get involved with the repair work business on a regular basis, so I have to admit that I am a little bit uniformed on this issue. But wow, what a mess! Well, back to the drawing board for me, I want to think about this dilemma. I know I just don’t like the direction all this is going.

    I don’t want to give up on this issue just yet, so I am going to get Milton Friedman’s “Free To Choose” book out (I read it about 20 years ago) and see if he addresses this topic and had any solutions to suggest.
  • Hey there Bruce,

    As far as the plumbing apprentice thing, I work alongside my father-in-law who has been a self-employed Master plumber for over 40 years. I work with him on all sorts of projects and that is how I will accrue hours towards that certification. As far as the apprentice electrician, I can't and won't accrue hours as an independent, but thought I'd get the darn thing just for the sake of having it. I think it cost a total of $20. I'm just gonna hang it on the wall and throw darts at it............ Be sure and take the time to read the RAI requirements, as I believe they have to work for a RAI Contractor with a RAI Contractor license. Costs $125 to file for it and show proof of 300K of general liability, so not a very significant hurdle once you have your RAI. Keep me posted on when you plan to take the RAI test. I say the first one to pass it should be the beneficiary of oh, say, a bottle of Jack or something similar. Whaddya think?
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