Born and raised in Imlay City, MI, a small town 50 miles north of Detroit, Jon Krawczyk, owner of Superior Pools, was exposed to entrepreneurship at a young age. His father owned a car lot, his mother owned a salon and his grandparents owned a carrot farm. Krawczyk learned the importance of hard work and what it means to run your own business. His entrepreneurial journey to Florida started in 2000, when his parents moved to the southwest part of the state to pursue a new opportunity.
"One of my father's former bosses, Doug Kennedy, moved to Florida and started his own pool company," Krawczyk said. "When my dad moved, he partnered with Doug and, together, they started Superior Pools in 2001. Doug taught my dad everything he needed to know about the pool business. While still going to college in Michigan, I'd come down during the summers and work with my dad. In 2004, after I graduated, I moved down and started working full-time for the business."
Even though Krawczyk had a Sports Marketing Degree, the opportunity to work with his dad and eventually take over the business was too enticing to pass up. Even though the job wasn't quite what he expected, Krawczyk rolled up his sleeves and was determined to take Superior Pools to the next level.
"I originally thought I'd have a nice office job," Krawczyk said with a laugh. "I ended up in the field for the first five or six years. It wasn't easy, but I learned a lot and gained a lot of respect for the entire pool building process. After paying my dues, I moved up to management. In May 2011, out of nowhere, my mom was diagnosed with stage four melanoma cancer and died shortly after. My dad was devastated. He couldn't take it and moved back to Michigan. Things continued on with the business, but after about a year I had a talk with my dad about the future of Superior Pools. From that conversation came a buyout agreement and, as of 2013, I was officially an owner. The buyout just ended in 2018. This is the first year I'm 100% owner."
Started in 2013, Krawczyk made some sweeping changes. For one, he added pool cleaning and remodels to the list of services offered by Superior Pools. He also changed the way they built pools and how they consulted with prospective clients. Krawczyk explained the reasons behind these decisions.
"I saw my dad put hundreds of thousands of dollars into the business to keep it afloat during the recession. He kept all of his employees and was really good at saving, but still had to put a lot of money into it. When I took over, I added things like cleaning services and remodels for when the next downturn happens. I also changed how we build pools. At least 90% of the industry will sub out most of the steps to build a pool. We do 95% of our own build-outs. It costs us three times as much to do that, but we're able to control quality and scheduling. This has led to pools being built in 30 to 40 days, much quicker than industry standards, and very satisfied customers. We also greatly improved our website, started to do more custom pool designs and established a rule that customers had to come into our showroom before we agreed to start work on a pool. We don't sell, we teach. We want all of our customers to see working with us as a true partnership and one that delivers real value."
Along the way, Krawczyk also made the decision to focus more on individual homeowners versus builders. As he pointed out, with the builders, you're always chasing money and you're always the middle man. The result is a lack of communication and finger pointing. As someone raised in the Midwest, Krawczyk is a firm believer that your word and your handshake mean everything.
Krawczyk's changes, his hard work ethic and his commitment to excellence has earned Superior Pools several distinguished awards over the past few years. In 2016, 2017 and 2018, they were name one of the top 50 pool builders by Pool & Spa News. In 2018 and 2019 they were also recognized as a top 50 service provider by Pool & Spa News. They've also accumulated tremendously positive reviews on platforms such as Google, Facebook and Angie's List and were voted by fans to have the #1 pool in the world for the past three years.
Krawczyk shared his thoughts on what lies ahead for Superior Pools. "We definitely want to expand," he said. "At the end of the day, my ultimate goal is to get to a point where I'm able to work on my business and not in it."
What advice does Krawczyk have for aspiring entrepreneurs? "Change is scary and hard, but you don't want to regret things when you're older," he said. "You only have one life. If your business is not successful, don't give up. Educate yourself online for free and find a new approach. Whatever you do, give it 110% whatever it is and don't be afraid to try something different. My dad didn't have experience building pools. He came down to Florida and built over 100 pools because he called people back and followed up on his word. Outwork your competition and have a mindset that you can always get better and grow. Also, surround yourself with other successful professionals. A lot of my advice comes from experienced professionals. Lastly, my two best friends are Google and YouTube. They're always there and can teach you anything you want to learn."