Poolwerx franchisee rockets into multi-million dollar business

By Sarah Stowe | 29 May 2020 View comments

“I  bought an existing store with a good solid customer base. It was relatively fresh but the owners didn’t put much effort in to it. We put a rocket into it to drive business.”

Peter Vogel came to the Poolwerx network with a high-powered background in IT senior management in the Asia Pacific. 

“My wife and I reached a point when we came back from Asia we wanted to work together, to do something we both understand, that we could comfortably work in and take time off too.

“That’s still a wish,” he laughs.

Why they chose Poolwerx

The couple set strict search criteria: it had to be a clean environment and a product that helped people. 

As he researched the market Peter saw independent pool shops had no economy of scale, no growth, and nowhere to go.

What the pair saw in Poolwerx convinced them there was a good alignment with their requirements.

 

Peter liked the way Poolwerx matched the business skills with their business, finding an existing location that would suit the couple.

“They could have offered anything that fitted my budget but they sensed a real opportunity, that’s what I like.

 

“My wife and I bought large geographic territories, split into three. They were severely underdeveloped for business.”

The region had high pool ownership and an equivalent need for retail and service and renovations of old pools. 

They doubled the business then hit the wall

“We inherited a very large footprint in the western corridor of Brisbane. So I knew we needed to invest and grow, and I also had a contractual obligation to develop the area.

“I knew I had to do it while the iron was hot, otherwise inertia sets in. The next store at Chapel Hill is in a small commercial area, I approached local business there and someone was moving on so sub-division created an opportunity for us.”

From there the Kenmore business was destined to be theirs. Peter recently stepped in to take over from a dedicated business owner who had run the store for more than 30 years and was running out of steam. 

There will be a complete renovation of the store which was acquired in October 2019. Peter is already ahead of the financial plan.

“Typically the business we bought is in the $800-$1m turnover bracket. That’s the Poolwerx expectation for a retail store. Now we have three stores and very good profitability. 

 What drives profitability

“We’ve increased, not because we’ve been leaner or more aggressive, though that is part of it. But what drives profitability is taking a holistic approach to customers’ backyard installation. 

“We’re not just servicing chemicals, we’re adding to existing equipment, rejuvenating systems or the pool surface itself. We’ve shown an appetite and expertise to go beyond the pool servicing model.”

It’s a long way from the cabana boy, doing a quick in and out service.

“In our case, we wrap our arms around every aspect of the swimming pool. As a result, we grew the business threefold.

“If you can do that, and preserve your infrastructure, and pay attention to rent in store, and work with landlord on reasonable rents, then you have a profitable business.”

Inspired by Peter’s story? You can read the full article in the May/July edition of Inside Franchise Business, available, free of charge, exclusively in a digital format.

Could the poolcare sector hold your future? Check out the options here.