Pool care franchises: take the plunge [part one]

By Sarah Stowe | 29 Oct 2015 View comments

With summer on our doorstep there’s plenty to get excited about, and a new business opportunity in the pool care and pool building industry could be one of them.

The pool care industry is about more than just testing water samples and selling pumps. Depending on which system you choose, as a pool care franchisee you might have to juggle an in-store presence – where you will not only be required to perform pool tests and answer questions as varied as ‘why is my pool green?’ to ‘which pool toys will my kids beg for this summer?’ – but you may also have to actually design new pools while also operating a mobile arm of the business, visiting homes and solving customers’ pool care problems hands on, year-round.

Here are two franchise options.

CLARK RUBBER : Jeff poyser, network development manager

TELL US ABOUT THE FRANCHISE

Clark Rubber is a national brand with a 65 year history. We see ourselves as leaders in the foam, rubber and above ground swimming pool retail market. Our extensive range of pools, pool chemicals, pool equipment, accessories and spare parts combined with our Onsite Pool Care services make us a one-stop pool shop.

HOW MANY OUTLETS ARE THERE IN AUSTRALIA?

There are 77 Clark Rubber stores and one Clark Pools and Spas store.

WHAT ARE YOUR EXPANSION PLANS FOR THE NEXT 12 MONTHS?

Four to five new stores.

WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN A FRANCHISEE?

Our number one concern is that all franchisees have the right attitude, because we can teach them the rest.

DO FRANCHISEES NEED INDUSTRY KNOWLEDGE OR EXPERIENCE?

Experience always helps but it is not a requirement. And again if they have the right attitude we can teach them what they need to know.

DESCRIBE THE TRAINING PROGRAM FOR NEW AND EXISTING FRANCHISEES

Key areas in which we provide initial and ongoing support are in retailing, administration, marketing, IT, training and business growth. We have created and continue to develop a franchisee support system that not only gives our franchisees the knowledge and skills they need but also ensures they have the tangible business tools needed to help them run their business. Combined, this gives our franchisees a platform that enables them to build their own successful business.

HAT DO YOU DO TO DRIVE SALES IN THE COLDER MONTHS?

The pool part of our business is seasonal, but the advantage a Clark Rubber franchisee has is that the foam and rubber component of our business is quite steady throughout the year.

WHAT ARE THE INVESTMENT COSTS FOR NEW FRANCHISEES?

$450,000 – $500,000 depending on the size of the store and other factors.

WHAT LOCAL AREA MARKETING INITIATIVES DO YOU ENGAGE IN?

Our franchisees spend a certain percentage specifically on local area marketing. This could be in the form of catalogues, mailouts, sales, sponsorships or many other things. We work with each individual franchisee to develop a local area marketing program specific to their business.

NARELLAN POOLS: Chris Meyer, managing director 

TELL US ABOUT THE FRANCHISE

Over the past 40 years we’ve grown from a small family business in Sydney to become a successful global company. For 40 years Narellan Pools has been recognised as the benchmark in the manufacture of fibreglass swimming pools. Our clients love our extensive product range of shapes, sizes and colours as well as the short period of time it takes to install one of our pools.

HOW MANY OUTLETS ARE THERE IN AUSTRALIA?

There are currently 24 franchisees, who cover over 70 locations around Australia. Many of our franchisees have been in the system for over a decade.

WHAT ARE YOUR EXPANSION PLANS FOR THE NEXT 12 MONTHS?

We expect to add up to 10 new franchisees to the system in metro and regional areas in Australia, as well as our continued international growth which includes the Middle East, Europe, Australasia and the Americas.

WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN A FRANCHISEE?

Being a licensed builder is not a requirement, but could be helpful. The key to being a successful Narellan Pools franchisee is passion, determination, business acumen and a strong desire to succeed, together with a commitment to the customer, to our vision, mission and values and to building a service-oriented business.

DO FRANCHISEES NEED INDUSTRY KNOWLEDGE OR EXPERIENCE?

Franchisees don’t need industry knowledge or experience as full training is provided.

DESCRIBE THE TRAINING PROGRAM FOR NEW AND EXISTING FRANCHISEES.

Initially you will complete a comprehensive six week induction course that is a mixture of both theory and practical components. In addition to training you on the Narellan Pools pool installation process, we give you a business template that you can use to help structure your business as well as assist with your business and marketing plans. We train you to provide the highest levels of customer service and industry-best selling skills. Much of our focus is around financial management, profitability and benchmarking.

WHAT DO YOU DO TO DRIVE SALES IN THE COLDER MONTHS?

When the weather is warmer people tend to think about swimming pools, but it is a year-round business. Our marketing is annual and therefore much of our focus is building leads for franchisees throughout the year and our sales promotions still occur during the winter months, encouraging people to make their purchase so they are ready and swimming in time for summer.

WHAT ARE THE INVESTMENT COSTS FOR NEW FRANCHISEES?

Franchises start from $100,000.

WHAT LOCAL AREA MARKETING INITIATIVES DO YOU ENGAGE IN?

At Narellan Pools our marketing initiatives are focused on driving enquiries for each business. This includes a mix of digital, TV and print campaigns, which are all managed by the franchisor. In addition, we support each local business by providing relevant templates, which have a proven success so that these can be localised to take advantage of opportunities in local regions.

We have a wide variety of campaigns all aimed at generating leads for each business, and a number of opt-in local area campaigns for each franchisee to choose.

  • Look out for part two when we look at PoolWerx and Swimart…coming soon