Austin’s Patriots: One Man’s Climb to Small Biz Success with Yelp

We were recently tipped off to a business owner who has annual growth of 40-70% and has added 26 top-tier technicians to his team in 7 years. Who is this mystery man? Hal Denbar of Austin’s Patriot Pool and Spa, and he loves Yelp. After checking out his Yelp page, we knew we just had to sit down with him to hear his story.


How did you get started in this industry?

I graduated from Texas A&M University in 2005 and had no idea what I wanted to do. My grades weren’t great, and I didn’t have a lot of prospects for work. It wasn’t until I read an article about local construction that said more pools had been built in Central Texas that year than in the entire state of California. I figured that sounded like a good gig and I could learn more on the job. I decided right then and there that I was going to make pools my profession and Patriot Pool and Spa was born.

How do you stay ahead of the competition in your industry?

“Communicate as much as you can, as fast as you can, as well as you can” is one of our team’s most important mottos. It’s so important it made it into our ‘Patriot Constitution.’ All our technicians are operating on iPads and communicating through email in real time, where typical industry-standard is to leave a paper hanger on the front door to let people know that you were there– we’re going digital in every aspect possible and investing in equipment and customer service software helps us to maintain the best customer experience possible, no matter how big we get.

What’s the most helpful piece of customer feedback you’ve received?

Every little bit of customer feedback we acquire is tremendously valuable. We internally survey our customers on a regular basis because if we don’t know we are doing something wrong, then we have no ability to fix it.  If we don’t know when we are communicating a process or idea poorly, then we have no way to know that it is not being understood on the consumer side. We LOVE it when a customer is willing and open to telling us what we did well or what we did poorly because without that knowledge we have no chance to improve the way we operate.

“Somewhere between 60-70% of our new leads currently come from Yelp.”

I attribute the company’s success to three tenets: Never stop learning, be open and honest with customers and employees, and use any and all online resources and tools possible.

What online tools do you use for your business?

Our primary means of communication day-to-day is Slack. We have threads dedicated to our different departments and teams, to recognize and address complaints and “shout outs,” to make company wide announcements, to talk trash in our company fantasy football league, and to have random conversations throughout the day.  Additionally, we also use Yelp, Bonusly, MailChimp, and Tap Inspect to reach our customers, promote our work, and get the job done and done well.

How has Yelp played a part in growing your business?

Somewhere between 60-70% of our new leads currently come from Yelp. It has been the primary snowball for my business. Yelp accelerated us from a three-person company to a ten-person company quickly, and at this point, it has been a driving force in getting up from a ten-person to a 25+ employee operation. I know with certainty that the success we have seen would not have happened without Yelp.

What are your favorite business owner tools on Yelp?

I love being able to host a video on our Yelp page. It’s part of our advertising program. We made a commercial a few years back and I feel like having that on our Yelp page is a real differentiator. I don’t think anyone else in our market is doing that in my industry, so it’s a nice personal touch that when Yelpers click on us they can see our video. I love the pictures too.

Do you have any words of advice to offer others in your industry?

Don’t be afraid to utilize all possible resources to you. Nothing is out of reach, no idea is too crazy, no matter the industry standard.


Patriot’s great reputation stems from their commitment to customers and drive to digitize business for quick and easy service. Their commitment to quality is why they do so well on Yelp, responding to reviews, answering questions quickly and showing their company personality.

Take a peek at their website to learn more about Patriot Pool and Spa. You can also follow Hal and his team’s adventures at @patriot_poolandspa or ask us your Yelp questions at @yelpforbusiness. 

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The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.