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We rely on our smartphones for just about everything, from waking us up in the morning and getting directions to controlling household appliances. (Oh, and they're also helpful for calling and texting.) We're even beginning to replace our wallets with smartphone apps.
Apps may have proven indispensable for our personal lives, but their assistance can also be helpful on the job. Below, take a look at just a few apps that are sure to come in handy while on the pool route:
This free app is for pool pros and pool enthusiasts. Enter your preferred chemical readings for your test kit and Pool Doctor will tell you which chemicals to add to the pool and why. All results can be displayed in pounds, ounces, grams, kilograms, liters, gallons or a custom scoop size. The app supports regular, saltwater and bromine pools. It can also calculate how much chlorine is required to shock the pool and LSI, provided it knows all the required readings. | FREE
Robert Lowry has been in the pool and spa industry for more than 40 years and is known as a leading expert in water chemistry. In his career, he's consulted for some of the biggest companies in the industry, published 14 books on water chemistry and written countless articles and columns. On top of all that, he also created these applications to help pool and spa professionals.
Pool Acid Dose Calculator was developed to eliminate the trial-and-error method of perfecting water chemistry. It calculates the exact amount of acid necessary to lower pH and alkalinity in any size swimming pool or spa and gives an alkalinity reading shortly afterwards. Acid dose amounts can be given in a range of units including fluid ounces, quarts, ounces, pounds, milliliters, liters, grams and kilograms. | $5.99
Pool Chem Dose Calculator will calculate the exact chemical dose needed for 38 chemicals for any pool size in either imperial or metric measurements. The user only has to input pool volume and select what needs to be changed from a drop-down menu and the preferred unit of measurement. Users won't see any brand names — just what chemicals are needed to achieve the desired result. | $5.99
The NPC LSI Calc determines the Langelier Saturation Index for swimming pool and spa water, with exact adjustments for cyanuric acid and borate. This app uses mathematical equations to determine if pool or spa water is corrosive, balanced or scaling. Simply input water test results for pH, total alkalinity, cyanuric acid, borate, calcium hardness, total dissolved solids and water temperature. The background color on the results screen changes between green, amber and red depending on the results. Results are saved on the device to be reviewed at a later time. | $4.99
Facility Manager was created by a collaboration between NSPF and Counsilman-Hunsaker and is based on the Model Aquatic Health Code and NSPF’s Pool & Spa Operator Handbook. With Facility Manager, pool facilities can go paperless with all aspects of operational documentation, including forms, checklists and pool logs. The app is customizable to ensure all reports are completed and correctly filled out by staff and notifies managers of time-sensitive issues, such as pool closure. Facility Manager is available for both desktop and mobile devices.counsilmanhunsaker.com
This online-based app is built to make running a pool service company completely paperless by hosting contact and service information for all customers, mapping daily service routes for all technicians and listing items required for the day's route. All information is synced to the cloud, so any changes made are automatically updated for all users. When it's time to send out invoices, Skimmer itemizes services rendered during the month for each client and the billing rate for each. getskimmer.com | $29/month
PoolTrac Pro is a web-based app that tracks information about your facilities, including equipment status, cleanliness and water chemistry. It supports up to 1,000 pools and as many as 100 users per account. All records sync across multiple devices when updated and can also be viewed on the PoolTrac Pro website. Some functions include, but are not limited to, chemical calculators, on-the-job record logs, photographic records for service calls/work orders and location tracking for employees.pooltrac.com | $60/month
ServicePro was built by pool techs for pool techs. The dashboard automates route-planning and can be pre-programmed for both one-time and recurring service events. It also captures the pool's water chemistry, which chemicals were added, maintenance/cleaning updates and repair notes that are then sent to the homeowner in a post-visit summary. Homeowners can be reached through the app via text, email and phone call. In addition to automatically billing customers, analytics and management dashboards help manage the business end of pool service. Though currently beta testing, interested users can sign up for updates on the Sutro ServicePro website. sutropro.com
You've probably seen Square for Retail used at a cafe or food truck. Square Point of Sale, however, accepts payments from anywhere, enabling service techs to accept payment while on the job site. Work in an area with spotty reception? Square Point of Sale offers an offline mode to keep things running smoothly. Finally, it comes with a free Square Reader and can link to other software, such as Quickbooks, for accounting, analytics or inventory needs.squareup.com | Variable pricing
Quickbooks Online is the online, subscription-based version of Quickbooks. Quickbooks Online does not sync with the desktop software, but it does sync with these handy smartphone apps. | $35/month for Quickbooks Online Plus
Anything that can be done on Quickbooks Online can basically be done on this app: create invoices, manage expenses and cash flow and view profit and loss. The Dashboard Business Insights feature provides financial reports on your business. Team up with the Quickbooks GoPayment app to accept and track payments. You can even photograph receipts and attach them to business expenses. | FREE w/Quickbooks Online account.
This app streamlines finances for the self-employed business owners. One especially cool feature: a mileage tracker that utilizes your smartphone's GPS to track how many miles you've traveled for tax purposes. Other features include the ability to photograph receipts and attach them to business expenses, import business expenses from your bank account and create/send invoices from your smartphone. The invoice generator notifies you when invoices are sent and paid. Financial data can be exported to TurboTax: Self-Employed for tax season. | FREE w/Quickbooks Online account
Complete credit card transactions on the go with the Quickbooks credit card reader or scan a credit card with your smartphone's camera. The app also records cash and check transactions. Add a list of items frequently sold, which can include photos and prices. All data syncs with your Quickbooks Online subscription. Quickbooks credit card reader: $19 on Quickbooks websiteApp: FREE w/Quickbooks Online account
The Weather Channel app features local and global forecasts, real-time rain and lightning alerts, weather maps and a welcome screen that changes depending on location, current weather and time of day. The app comes with widgets to place on your smartphone's home screen so you don't have to open the app just to check the weather. | FREE
In addition to the weather forecast, AccuWeather features MinuteCast, a minute-by-minute precipitation forecast for the next two hours localized to an exact street address. Current weather conditions are updated every 15 minutes, and graphs on the home screen allow users to analyze recent weather trends. The app sends push notifications let you know if you will need a jacket or umbrella for the day. | FREE
This app provides weather forecasts from data crowd-sourced from backyard weather enthusiasts. View current weather conditions, 10-day forecasts and the UV risk in your area. The interactive weather map can be customized from different weather overlays, such as current conditions, satellite, webcams and severe weather. Users can join in the fun by reporting sky conditions and hazardous road conditions. | $1.99/year
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Three-quarters of Americans have a smartphone, according to Pew Research Center, and the average service technician is no exception to this rule. With a supercomputer in your pocket, it makes sense to use it for one of the trickiest parts of pool maintenance: water balancing. These software programs and apps can help.