Q & A with Nic Brill: Chief Executive Officer, Poolwerx
Tell us about Poolwerx…
“Poolwerx was established in Brisbane in 1992 and is the largest pool retail and service business in Australia and New Zealand. With over 670 vehicles and 180 stores in Australia, New Zealand and the US, we offer franchise partners multiple revenue streams, repeat clients and limited competition.” “With a brand presence in over 500 territories, our clients have some of the best people and latest technology available anywhere they live or work to take care of their backyard or commercial pool.
“Our footprint in the ANZ region is expansive and partnerships opportunities in new locations and territories are available. We have developed a matchmaker program designed to facilitate conversations between prospective franchise partners and owners of existing brick-and-mortar stores.
“New franchise partners can seamlessly step into established retail stores with a strong client base while independent store owners take advantage of a smooth selling process that maximises their value.”
What is your main product/service?
“Whether you require regular pool cleaning and maintenance, equipment repairs or upgrades, water testing and treatment, or any other pool-related service, we have you covered. We are committed to helping our clients create backyards memories. “What’s more, our convenient mobile pool servicing brings our expertise directly to the client’s doorstep, saving time and eliminating any hassle.”
How are you different from your competition?
“Diversification has always been in our DNA. While we started out as a domestic pool service provider, our hub and spoke business model today combines retail, domestic and commercial services. It’s a unique recipe that we found works well and we’re excited to continue to build on this new revenue ‘stream’ now and into the future.”
“Poolwerx is an award-winning franchise network with more than 30 years’ experience under our belt, and in addition to expert advice, our team offers a range of practical and tangible benefits to all our franchise partners.
“We pride ourselves on our robust expansion processes, and ability to be ahead of trends, and set a new standard of excellence in franchising that’s respected across all industries.”
“Our Pool School program is delivered to all franchise partners as they join Poolwerx, regardless of your background and experience. Delivered through classroom and practical methods, this program prepares new franchise partners (FPs) to succeed from day one.
“This training is supported by field visits to ensure our FPs develop an authentic understanding of all concepts and is reinforced by information and modules at monthly business meetings, state conferences, the national Poolwerx convention held annually, and other special events.”
“When it comes to conversion recruitment, we’re leading the way in implementing this as part of our Partnership Program, which has seen 50 independent stores join Poolwerx over the past 10 years. This program provides an opportunity that not only allows unsupported small businesses to join a larger network but as franchisors, means we gain a ready-made client base and franchise partners who are experienced within the industry.
What type of person would ‘fit’ your franchisee profile?
“At Poolwerx, anyone can start as a mobile-only business and we have methodologies to get you to a multi-van business and teach you about leadership, then progress to a retail store with a hub and spoke model and grow from there. Some industries will not allow you to have more than one store, but with us, you can, as long as the last one proved successful.
“What’s intriguing about joining the Poolwerx family is that one doesn’t need to hail from a franchising background to thrive. Some of our most successful franchise partners come from diverse business backgrounds. For example, one of our partners with a banking background now owns one of our largest stores, having crafted a scalable business that sets a new standard for multi-unit partners within Poolwerx and the broader industry.
“Our other latest recruits include seasoned executives, farmers, teachers, and medical professionals — individuals driven by motivation and skill, seeking a new challenge in the incredibly rewarding lifestyle business we offer.”
How do you look after your franchisees? What support do you offer?
“As Australia’s largest franchise network of pool retail stores and mobile service vans, we’re committed to helping our franchise partners succeed. “On top of access to a team of experts in marketing, IT, training, administration and sales, we offer training support from our business development managers, our Poolwerx support centre staff in Brisbane and frequent interaction with fellow franchise partners through peer-to-peer and mentorship programs.
“This is reinforced by information and modules at monthly business meetings, our annual convention, training from our Partners in Profits (suppliers) and development season workshops.”
What are your plans for new systems/concepts in 2023?
“A key focus for us is technology and we’re constantly looking for ways to invest in these areas to improve client experience and allow our franchise partners to be well prepared in tackling any retail or digital challenges they may encounter. “We are finalising the rollout of new state-of-the-art water testing software across Australia and New Zealand to better support best practice for our franchise partners and ensure client’s pools and spas are healthy, clean and safe.”
“Our pool service team has a plethora of knowledge when it comes to pool water analysis. This, paired with our new software system for pool testing, means that a Poolwerx water test is much like going to a doctor to get a diagnosis. With our ‘Poolwerx Prescriptions’, we calculate what the pool needs in order to balance its water and provide detailed chemical recommendations based on water activity–another example of how we are implementing new technologies to improve our processes and the overall customer experience.”
“We also offer comprehensive pool servicing, advanced water testing and custom chemical prescriptions to ensure our clients receive the precise care they need to keep their pools clean, clear, and swim-ready year-round.
Q & A with Shauna Brigden: Poolwerx Franchise Partner, Clarence Valley:
Tell us how you became a franchise partner. What has your journey been like so
“My husband and I joined Poolwerx in June 2022 as a mobile-only operator in Clarence Valley and opened a retail pop-up store by November in 2022, then expanded quickly to a permanent, independent store.
“We both came from different professional backgrounds, I was in teaching and he was a farm manager for a large property out west. Leaving behind the familiarities of our previous jobs and diving into business ownership without any experience was a huge learning curve but a really positive one, made smoother by Poolwerx Support Centre staff, Business Development Managers and the FP network.”
“The initial opening went so well that we decided to extend our pop-up by two months and we got busier and busier from there. Then a small independent pool store became available for sale and that’s the moment we made the move from an unofficial pop-up store to a permanent retail hub.“
“From this acquisition, it gave us direct access to walk-in clients. The previous business had been established for many years and some of the owners had phenomenal reputations around town, so this helped increase our retail sales and value as people were naturally drawn to the pool store that had been there for years.
“Within 10 months we had gained 110 regular monthly clients which was incredible. The Poolwerx team was so helpful with purchasing the independent store and ensuring we had everything to succeed including the things you don’t think about like safety protocols.”
Why is there a need for this service?
“Servicing your pool is an investment in the longevity of your pool and the well-being of those who use it. Regular upkeep is essential for a safe, clean and enjoyable swimming experience.
“Grafton is relatively underserviced in regards to the pool and spa servicing industry. We saw a gap in the market and acted quickly but mindfully. “You need to support each other in small towns and I love that about Grafton – it still has a great community base and feel. The relationships we have with our customers are special to us and we pride ourselves on building a business that cares for their clients and puts their needs above all else.”
What is your advice for those exploring franchise opportunities?
“Do your research and clarify your personal and financial goals. Ask yourself what you hope to achieve through franchising and consider factors such as work-life balance, income potential, growth prospects, and the level of involvement you want in the business. “I would also suggest seeking professional advice from a legal perspective and speaking with current franchisees to hear first-hand feedback on their experience, in order to inform your trajectory.
“Poolwerx provides a whole support team of experts in marketing, IT, training, administration and sales just a phone call away – and the flexibility of being your own boss, free to attend school events or take a leisurely lunch is an added bonus.”