Training for success in the pool and spa sector: PoolWerx [part two]

By Sarah Stowe | 29 Oct 2015 View comments

PoolWerx offers a variety of franchise opportunities, from man-in-a-van operations to retail stores. Core to the success of a franchise is training – both upfront and ongoing. So how does this franchise chain handle the training issues? We ask some key questions here:

How long has the business been established?

PoolWerx was founded in 1990.

How many franchisees are in the network?

There are over 105 franchisees operating 240 active territories.

What is the term of a franchise?

Five years plus five years (with an option for a further five years)

What are franchise investment costs?

$89,800 + GST

LET'S LOOK AT TRAINING

What is your training philosophy?

John O'Brien is the founder and CEO of PoolWerx. "To be Australia’s leading pool and spa care specialist, training starts from day one and is ongoing to remain abreast of pool regulation changes, new technologies and products, and to keep up-to-date with qualifications," he says.

"Franchise partners are supported with the training needed throughout their franchise journey as they undergo a career pathway from a man-in-a-van business to a multi-van and multi-store operation."

How long is the initial training period?

Every franchisee undergoes a three week course at the induction and training facility in Brisbane. The Pool School is a new facility equipped with training rooms, retail store environment, and working pools and spas; franchise partners learn about the PoolWerx business, products and services, and how to run a successful business including everything from quoting through to marketing and retailing. 

"Ongoing field support is provided by the regional development manager who assists with the whole spectrum of business operation from quoting and financial reporting to client communication and checking stock levels. This assures correct business procedures from early on," says O'Brien.

"Franchise partners typically receive a visit from the regional manager every week and as they become more experienced meetings become fortnightly or monthly. Even some of our most experienced and successful franchisees speak with their regional development manager two to three times each month."

What sort of ongoing training do you provide?

  1. PoolWerx training: On top of training provided by regional development managers, PoolWerx runs Learning Seat modules that continually improve the professional development of franchisees and their employees.During the winter period we hold monthly full day training days in each state covering  all facets of the business and new technologies that have been developed. This training is available to all franchise partners and their employees. PoolWerx also holds a national convention each year where franchisees learn from keynote speakers, meet with our suppliers, and network with peers.
  2. Industry training: We encourage franchisees to gain their Commercial Pool Operator (CPO) certificate and take Pool Safety Inspector courses in line with relevant state requirements. We are also the first franchise to put our network through the Certificate III and Certificate IV in Swimming Pool and Spa Service – the first national qualification for the pool industry. We have appointed Traxion Training as the RTO to roll out the training.
  3. Supplier training: Suppliers also visit retail stores to train staff on new products and host training sessions at their warehouses so franchisees and their pool technicians can learn about equipment in an operational environment.

Who conducts the training?

  • Pool School: national training managers
  • Field training: regional development managers
  • Supplier training: suppliers
  • Industry training: PoolWerx/RTO

What are the costs for franchisees?

All training is funded by PoolWerx with some more specialised Learning Seat modules an additional expense.

How is training monitored?

All training is monitored and supported at a national level with regional managers focused on assisting franchise partners in their training and business development.

What new training element have you just introduced/will you introduce in 2014?

PoolWerx is taking all existing franchise partners through the Cert III and Cert IV recognised prior learning and developing a new Pool School training course with the National Swimming Pool Foundation (NSPF) and Traxion Training that will help all new franchise partners gain their qualifications from the start.

Why would someone invest in your business model?

"PoolWerx assists franchise partners in growing their business skills to become successful small business operators," says O'Brien. "Through our structured support platforms and ongoing learning and development opportunities, we offer franchise partners the opportunity to grow their business in line with their personal and business goals."