After working for others in the pool business for nearly a decade, Jason Coment, owner and founder of H2O2 Pool, decided in 2015 it was time to start his own business. His company, Pool Shark Service, which was later renamed Pool Shark Commercial Service, started off like most pool service businesses. However, what he's doing today is far from ordinary. Coment shared the story behind the journey and how his patent pending innovation has the potential to disrupt an entire industry.
"I've always been an entrepreneur at heart," he said. "I've worked for others, but I've also had various businesses over the years. After working for another service company in the Tampa Bay area, I realized I could make my own hours and make a better living by branching out on my own. We primarily focused on residential the first two years before adding commercial services. This is also around the time when I took over control of the company from other family members that helped get it off the ground."
Once the business was up and running, Coment took note of a significant number of customers asking about reducing chlorine levels because their kids were allergic or their eyes were burning. He'd heard these concerns before, but this time, after repeated requests, he was determined to do something about it.
"I started doing some research on safe ways to reduce or even completely eliminate the use of chlorine," Coment said. "I found an Australian company working with new technology and concepts that used peroxide to treat pools. The use of peroxide was effective, but they were using food-grade peroxide which, when used to treat a 15,000 gallon pool, costs a fortune. I looked at the use of peroxide as just one piece of the puzzle. I kept researching and discovered that UV sterilization in conjunction with peroxide worked really well. However, we still needed something else to get pools through the rainy season, which tends to increase levels of bacteria and algae. That's when we discovered ozone and bio-engineered enzymes needed to break down organic material. Along with a centrifugal pre-filter, these elements were the final pieces to the puzzle."
Through the combination of peroxide, UV sterilization and ozone, Coment created a cyclical process where all three elements work together to clean pools without the use of harmful chemicals and bi-products. There are other companies that make the various components, but no one has put it all together to offer one comprehensive package. For this reason, and for the fact that Coment's system is the first innovative pool cleaning method in over 100 years, he filed a provisional patent to protect his idea.
"Most people don't know this, but the by-products produced when chlorine reacts with organic materials are carcinogenic," Coment said. "In addition to providing a better way to clean pools, this new system is also addressing a health issue. There's also an environmental component. If you go to the Environmental Protection Agency's website, you'll see that the biggest contributor to ozone depletion are the two compounds of chlorine and bromine."
The chlorine free service was initially more expensive than traditional service. However, Coment recently secured a partnership agreement with a large supplier of peroxide, allowing them to offer the chlorine free service at no additional charge. Hooking up and using the new system is as easy as having someone install the equipment, receiving the "ingredients", which are delivered to your door, following the instructions and enjoying the results. Customers will have everything they need to maintain a clean and chemical free pool.
Looking ahead, Coment's goals and ambitions are more in-line with those of a tech startup planning to scale. "Anyone in the continental U.S. can purchase the equipment and then receive everything else they need through a monthly subscription fee," he said. "We'll send them everything they need. There are 10 Million pools in the U.S. Our goal is to go after residential first. Once we're big enough to affect policy changes around the requirements of chlorine in commercial pools, we'll expand into the commercial market. For now, we're focused on customer education and helping them look past the old way of doing things."
What advice does Coment have for aspiring entrepreneurs hesitating to take the plunge? "You have to take the first step," he said. "Don't quit your day job right away and go 100%. You can easily set up a website, do some marketing and some other things after-hours to get the ball rolling. You'll know when the time is right for you to quit the day job and go full time on your business. The biggest thing is that you have to start somewhere. Also, don't be afraid to make mistakes. If you do make a mistake, fix it and keep moving forward."