Home is the new oasis


Demand for home services is surging through the COVID-19 pandemic as Australians prioritise their home health. With the home continuing to be the place for work, study and play, we are seeing a change in spending habits while people continue to cocoon at home.


Demand for home improvement, renovation, gardening and pool servicing has increased with many businesses extending their offerings to meet the demand. Home service businesses have experienced exponential growth in the past few months, and Poolwerx is no different. In fact, we have once again proved the home service industry to be recession-resistant.


As a result of this home cocooning, we have seen an increase in pool use of the past few months with many clients upgrading their equipment. In June, our heater equipment sales increased by 295 per cent and filter sales by 117 per cent compared to last year. This is a strong indication that families are spending more time at home and investing in their backyard oasis.


Our DIY options are also in high demand for clients riding the reno wave, and we have been able to quickly extend our offering with new services, including home delivery and test and deliver. Our extended range of contact-free services is proving popular across all locations and an excellent example of the importance of business agility in the face of adversity.






With the country experiencing a new wave of COVID cases, we’ll continue to see a preference for delivery and contact-free services, which Poolwerx and a number of service providers pivoted to earlier this year to meet consumer expectations and comply with COVID-19 restrictions. These proved very successful in allowing our stores to remain operational throughout the crisis, with clients still able to access our expert advice, service and products as safely as possible. Nationally, we also launched our COVID Safe Practice branding in all stores and service vehicles to reassure our clients that their health and safety was our priority.


Picking the right franchise


Franchising provides an opportunity to follow your passion with the support of a trusted network. It allows business owners to work in an established industry and build up a brand they feel a connection with.


But beyond the brand connection, picking the right model is critical. Some of the challenges typically faced by franchisees, particularly in the food retail sector, include high rent prices in shopping centres and staff wages. These costs can lead to significant margin compression for the business and have proven particularly disadvantageous during recent lockdowns. As such, there is a great opportunity for franchises that provide additional revenue streams.


Poolwerx offers three revenue streams for Franchise Partners:

  • Retail hubs, located in destination, local shopping centres
  • Residential pool servicing
  • B2B servicing commercial pools and establishing business partnerships


Multiple revenue streams provide an opportunity to increase overall profits and more importantly, can safeguard your business against troughs within the different sectors. Should a retail downturn occur, having a business model with multiple revenue streams will help future proof your business.


We expect an increase in the number of experienced business people entering franchising over the next year, as it provides the ability for an improved work/life balance while still building a successful business with the backing of our established support network. We also recently announced a $40,000 saving on all new franchises to help those wanted to start a small business and to support Australia’s economic recovery.


Riding the recession wave


With millions impacted by redundancies and reduced working hours as a result of the Coronavirus crisis, it is estimated 3 million Australians will consider a post-pandemic career change. We’ve seen an unprecedented surge in franchising enquiries in response to the significant lifestyle shift created by the pandemic.


I think there’s no better time than a recession to reassess life goals and career aspirations. As people were laid off during the GFC, Poolwerx welcomed a great group of franchise partners into our network. In fact, both our store footprint and revenue grew more than 50 per cent in the five years following the GFC, and we’re pre-empting a similar level of growth post-pandemic.


When it comes to picking a franchise, you should also look for brands, products and services that will stand the test of time. The current pandemic and subsequent recession have made it obvious that not all models are equal. Look to models that are recession-resistant – how a particular network performed during prior recessions, such as the GFC, will be a good indication of whether it will survive in the long term.


Another outcome of the GFC was people’s decision to secure their children’s future by

starting a family business that could offer them long-term employment. Potential new franchisees are jumping at the opportunity to control their own destiny and remove the risk of being made redundant again.


It’s much easier then you think to start a business, particularly when you buy into a respected brand like Poolwerx who can help you build a successful career. With diversified revenue streams, tiered buy-in options and multiple markets opportunities, franchise partners can go as big or small as they want.






As CEO and Founder of Poolwerx, John O’Brien leads the largest global swimming pool service and retail company. O’Brien founded Poowlerx 30 years ago and has grown it into a multi-award winning system.

Poolwerx has twice been recognised as ‘Franchise System of the Year’ and Franchise Partners awarded ‘Best Multi-Unit Franchise’ three times by the Franchise Council of Australia. The brand is a permanent fixture in the ‘USA Top 500 Franchise List’ and has been awarded ‘Best Service Franchise’ in New Zealand. 

O’Brien is past Chair of the World Franchise Council and the ANZ Swimming Pool Retail Association, an inductee into the Franchise Council of Australia Hall of Fame and a founding member of the Australian Federal Government’s ACCC Franchise Advisory Council.

Poolwerx is the world’s largest global franchise pool service brand. Founded by Australian CEO and entrepreneur John O’Brien in 1992, Poolwerx has grown to nearly 600 service vehicles and 160 stores in Australia, New Zealand and the United States. Poolwerx has multiple revenue streams, repeat clients, limited competition, is secure in the growing home services sector and is a technology leader. Poolwerx also champions the importance of teaching lifesaving water skills through its annual community initiatives, Responsible Pool Person and Learn2Swim Week, in partnership with Kids Alive.