Poolwerx to dip toe in US as part of growth plans for 2012
Pool and spa care franchise PoolWerx is looking for 30 percent growth next year in the Australian market and is finalising plans to launch in the US.
The planned growth in the domestic market should deliver an increase in total sales revenue of about 14 percent. Franchise founder John O'Brien said the business gear-up for strong growth follows the successful investment in systems to boost trading through a difficult year.
“We’re also now seeing an upswing in business development. In the 2010/11 financial year we only had three new PoolWerx franchises open, however this financial year we’ve already had six."
Entry into the US market
The renewed Australian expansion comes as the company finalises an international franchising agreement.
"We always intended to take the business global and were close a few years ago but when the GFC hit we had to shelve our plans temporarily. Now that market conditions have shifted we are currently finalising arrangements to take PoolWerx to the US. This will position PoolWerx as a truly global brand and really take our business to the next level.”
The Poolwerx model of three business elements - one third each domestic, retail and B2B - will be unique in the US market, where of the 8,000 pool stores one chain has 700 outlets and there is one franchised network of 150 stores, O'Brien said.
Speaking from the US where he was visiting key suppliers, O'Brien told Franchising, "We've had a number of very interesting enquriries from the US from multi-brand franchisors looking to add brands to their stables. We haven't found the right fit yet so we are taking the direct entry approach."
Poolwerx is poised to acquire a small three store business which it will take over in February.
"We'll run this for 12 months and get tweaks out and an Americanised system and then look to start US franchising."
This is most likely to be in partnership with a multi-brand franchisor and/or supplier, O'Brien said. "Most of our Australian suppliers of subsidiaries of global suppliers."
O’Brien said the domestic and international expansion was the culmination of 20 years of innovation for the franchise he founded in 1992.
“We created the world’s first ‘Career Path in Franchising’ giving franchise partners the opportunity to grow within a single marketing area or develop a number of profitable businesses with multiple vans, retail stores and marketing areas.”
This year the franchise launched its online store, offering the full range of products and services available at any bricks and mortar PoolWerx retail outlet.
“Instead of bemoaning the rapid rise of E-commerce in Australia, we wanted to ensure PoolWerx was a market leader in the online space. We spent more than a year developing our E-store which gives customers access to the full range of PoolWerx products and services. We even offer a free delivery and installation service with any online purchase," said O'Brien.
The franchise has been named a Rising Star in the Queensland 400 Gala Awards, after moving up from 225th spot in 2010 to 13th this year. The award was judged on business revenue, reach and expansion plans: founder John O’Brien said it reflected PoolWerx’ strategy of growing ahead of market trends.