Sharing Pools (Looking for Feedback)

We’re building cloud-sync right now, and many people have also asked for the ability to share pools. It’s complex enough that we probably won’t get it perfect on the first try.

In the interest of getting as close as possible, I want early feedback as we plan out this feature. I’ll start with my (current) decision, and follow-up with more context.

This is your invitation to be relentless with feedback – if this isn’t what you want, let us know… Seriously, please tell me if you prefer something else.

Decision (tentative)
Teams. If you want to share a pool, you add the people & the pools to your team. We’ll have an insanely cheap “family” plan for households, where you make a Pooldash team & add your family to it. In the future, we can introduce the ability to share subsets of pools with specific team members… but we’re not there yet.

Here are the 2 main groups of users requesting this feature:

1) A family sharing their 1 pool (and sometimes a hot tub).

They either share 1 of their phones for all pool-care (which is annoying), or they re-create the pool on each of their phones (duplicate versions of same pool with no shared history between them).

Possible approaches:
a) Family members could just share a login… but:
- This wouldn’t work on different devices if any of them used “sign in with apple”
- They wouldn’t be able to see who performed what service (does that matter?)

b) Family members could each create their own login & share individual pools with individual users
- We’d need a way to send / accept pool-share invites
- We’d have to be careful about deletes / un-sharing / etc…
- Edge-cases:
* you shared the pool but not the hot-tub
* Mom shares with Dad, Dad shares with Son, Mom unshares with Dad… what happens to Son?

c) Each family could be a “team”, where all members have full access to all pools.
- This probably requires more initial setup / mental-overhead than people really want
- It does eliminate the above edge-cases
- It makes billing easier

^^ Most people think they want b but actually need c, so it will be our goal to present c in a way that aligns with their initial expectations.

2) A pool service company, with many service-technicians, managers, and pool owners.

It’s chaotic. Techs just use this app & then manually input data into their company’s system afterwards (if that system even exists). There is a large gap between big franchises & small companies.

Possible approaches:
a) Each company would create a team plan, and every technician would have access to all pools.

b) We could have different tiers of permissions, but that would introduce a lot of complexity & customer support (ex: “Bob couldn’t see the pool because it’s added to Craig’s Tuesday route”, or “You can’t edit the volume of that pool because you’re not an admin”)… In my experience, this approach is a siren-song (sounds great, but is actually bad & will get us stuck forever).

c) We could integrate with company’s existing systems for route-management (bigger companies usually have the pool info stored in a CRM, and we should just integrate with those vs competing against them).

^^ It’s my general philosophy to start small but not work ourselves into a corner. We’ll do a for now, and we can maaaaaybe add complexity over time (online billing, CRM integrations, etc…). However, I want to prioritize the needs of our actual current users over potential future enterprise buyers (lots of companies build for the managers, but it’s more fun to build for the workers).

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I feel your plan is not out of reason.
Personally being an individual I would like the ability to access on my phone for input and also on my tablet for review etc. However, my ultimate would be to input on phone and have a web or desktop application tie it all together where I can create reports, review trends etc… at my personal pool and spa.

I think your C (and a B hybrid) might be a better way… I recently went to Android phone, but I also use my iPad and some day I am sure I will go back to my iPhone (I hate my android). But I am also a Windows and Linux desktop user. I have never been happy that I am often limited between sharing what I pay for between these devices.

Instead of a sign in with apple or facebook approach, let them sign in and connect, but have the initial member share a link to sign in. Use a guid for a pool (or location).

For a family share, I really do not think that you need to limit access to a pool but not a spa. Usually Dad knows if Jr. was the one to test the pool. If it really matters to them, get the device name or something to go with the log?

I also think that one account with an account manager login and then each person is a user. That way if Dad shares with Mom, Mom shares with Jr. and Mom or Dad stops sharing Jr. isn’t hung out to dry.
But does Mom really care how much bromine was added in the first place as long as the spa is clean?

Does a 3-way share matter?

Item 2
In the future as growth happens (you can use the above model as a starting basis):
I also think you might want to consider a ‘charge per pool’ model.
My thought on a charge per pool model would be that a small start up can purchase a plan and it can grow as they do and not price them out of the market. 2-5 pools, 5-10 pools etc…add as you grow.

Being more of a desktop developer I can see the need or want of a manager or dispatcher wishing to access and report for client visits via their work computer. Track time at a property and what chemicals are needed and service recommendations. Encompass GPS tracking, time at location etc…

I realize that scope is more likely out of your initial range, but once implementing a cloud storage / data share it can be a logical next step.

A pool owner would love to login to their computer or phone and see when, how long the tech was at their residence (business) and what recommendations are made, what maintenance was performed and how the overall health of the pool is… Make them feel the added value their service team is providing with proper logging and tracking.

I am strong on the idea that your (future scope) should involve more than a smart phone app and include a desktop solution.

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Thanks for the thoughtful feedback, @psoup1965. I’ll try to respond to the major themes:

Build a web / desktop interface – Yup, 100%, we’re working on it.

Use the pool location for sharing – This could be interesting, but I’m generally shy about asking for more permissions than are strictly necessary.

Families will want to share all pools – Yup, totally agree, which is why I thiiiiink the teams model is the winner… but again, families probably just wants the pool to be clean & don’t care that much about this stuff, which is why the team feels heavy-handed.

Charge-per-pool: I think having different plans / tiers is a great idea – I just don’t know what those tiers should be yet.

I built this product several years ago (I don’t run it anymore), and I didn’t love the business model. I think that integration w/ an existing system for field-service management is probably a better option. My core-competency is a great poolside app, so my back-office portal won’t be meaningfully better than any other option… I’d rather integrate than compete w/ these.

Pool owner portal for viewing service details – I think this is a great idea. I tried calling a few pool-service places last year to ask if they’d be willing to pay for this type of thing, and most of them weren’t excited about it. They view it as an additional complication, and they’re selling the idea that owners should worry less about pool maintenance.

The only way I could sell that is if we got the customers to start demanding it, which is a long-shot… but I think the first step towards that goal is to build a great portal that DIY Pooldash users can have.