We had the good fortune of connecting with Tim Murphy and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tim, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
It was a natural progression. I never sat down and said, “I’m going to start a business.” I cleaned pools all through my teenage years into my mid-twenties and always wanted to do more. I had been cleaning pools for ten or twelve years and getting pretty bored with it when someone I knew approached me about building a pool. I jumped at the opportunity. Through that experience I fell in love with building swimming pools and wanted to keep building more. I didn’t even consider it work, it was just something I really liked to do. I enjoyed the whole process–from designing the backyard to working with subs–that goes into creating a new backyard.
What should our readers know about your business?
When I was getting going I loved being the young guy with fresh ideas in the pool industry. I figured out a formula to build quality pools that made my clients happy. Because we could deliver a quality product, the rest took care of itself. I wasn’t just the sales guy, I was more hands-on and managed the construction side of the business to make sure everything was built properly. A lot of business owners will step back more, but I got my hands dirty. I think this was really important in making sure that the whole team understood the importance of quality, which I believe has been very important for the growth of the company. Building Presidential Pools was a ton of hard work and daily grinding. We never planned to build two thousand pools in a year, but as demands on the business grew we continued to grow with it. Over fifteen years, from 1991 to 2006, we built the capacity to transform backyards for thousands of Arizona families in a year, without skimping on the quality that our brand was built on. We started out building twenty-seven pools a year with three employees to peaking at over two thousand pools and three hundred and fifty employees. We did all of this with no debt. The only debt we had early on was a lease on the copy machine. My uncle taught me to avoid debt, and I took that to heart. Everything that the business earned went back into the business. We made a lot of mistakes along the way. The important thing is that we always learned from them. We learned a lot of lessons about processing forms, working with subcontractors, and every other piece of the business. We learned that it didn’t make sense to use cheap hardware on our pools and now insist on using quality hardware that lasts. One of the big lessons we learned was to always take care of the clients (even if they weren’t always correct). This was before social media, which has forced most companies to work this way. This focus on keeping the customer happy paved the way for a lot of our success. I’m proud that we’ve built a sustainable business that serves Arizona families in an important way and provides jobs for a lot of great people. I’m incredibly proud of our team our whole team and the Presidential Pools brand.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Phoenix is absolutely beautiful 10 months of the year, so I like to do things where we can enjoy the weather. Hiking is always great. So is baseball spring training and concerts. One of the big things we do every year as a company is host pool builders at the Waste Management Golf Tournament. It’s an incredible event and we absolutely love it. Phoenix is a vibrant town with so many great things to do. I grew up with Mike Mastro of Mastro Steakhouse, one of my favorite restaurants in town. We actually just celebrated the retirement of one of our long term team members there recently. We’re also in a great location with multiple climates. You can go from pine trees and snow to the desert and sand machines in a couple of hours. We’re a five hour drive from San Diego and a four hour drive to Mexico. I love it here!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My uncle, J.E. Murphy, started his own insurance business and had always done his own thing. He was really successful and a huge inspiration to me growing up.