Excerpt: Within weeks as the pandemic spread across the country in February and March, Amy and Cody Morgan lost their executive-level jobs, Amy’s in real estate and Cody’s in the oil and gas industry. Rather than try to find jobs, the couple, who live in Cypress, Texas, north of Houston, decided to start a pool servicing company called Pit Stop Pools.
Cody Morgan ran a similar business to help pay his college expenses 25 years ago. The Morgans anticipated that demand for services like pool cleaning and maintenance would be even greater than usual with people spending more time at home.
“It became imperative that this pool service company happen,” Amy Morgan says.
The couple applied for and received a traditional Small Business Administration loan to fund their startup costs; because they applied before the creation of the Paycheck Protection Program, they were able to get the money quickly. They used a broker to help them find customers, and now have about 90. They’ve been able to hire six workers and have outgrown the shed that housed their office and equipment.
Still, they must keep expanding. It will take 200 accounts to replace one of the salaries they made pre-pandemic but the Morgans are optimistic that despite the competition for pool services in the city, they’ll be able to grow.
Like the Morgans, many new and prospective owners have chosen industries like home improvement or in-home gym equipment whose services are currently in demand, says Sara Moreira, a strategy professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
“They are betting on the idea that this demand will be sustained,” Moreira says. “Even if you have a vaccine in a few months, we will think about having a nice place at home for an office, more than in the past.”