Poolwerx pivots to support partners through pandemic
Business Franchise magazine spoke with John O'Brien - CEO and Founder of Poolwerx, to find out how Poolwerx is adapting to the current COVID-19 crisis and what measures the company has put in place to protect their staff and customers.
Are Poolwerx retail locations open?
Yes, they are, and our stores and mobile business remain busy. As people spend more time at home while they practise social distancing, we’re helping them keep their pools and spas clean so they can make the most of it.
We’ve also increased our already stringent cleaning and sanitising regimes to maintain the wellbeing of both our clients and our team members, and are actively implementing social distancing instore between our clients and team members.
Is it safe to swim in a pool or use a spa at home during the COVID-19 crisis?
Yes! The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to humans through the use of pools and spas. Proper operation, maintenance, and disinfection (e.g., with chlorine) of pools and spas should remove or inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19.
This is why it’s so important for pool and spa owners to keep their pool water healthy and balanced. Without proper care, which includes the treatment and balance of water, dangerous bacteria including E.coli and Shigella can grow in pools or spas, which can make people sick – the last thing we need right now.
As an industry, we have an important role to play in keeping Australians safe while they’re spending more time at home to ensure backyards remain safe and pools healthy.
How is Poolwerx servicing their retail and mobile clients during the COVID-19 crisis?
For us, it is business as usual, and we’ve pivoted quickly to roll out a range of contact-free services to keep backyard pools and spas healthy for the whole family as people self isolate and spend more time at home to help flatten the curve.
People can come to our retail stores to get their water tested without leaving their car. This is part of our new ‘park and test’ service, we take the reading and deliver the chemicals to their car boot while they wait. Our qualified technicians are also continuing residential and commercial servicing with newly implemented contact-free options available. We have also launched a delivery service if people want to test and treat their water themselves.
Alternatively, we are also rolling out a ‘dropbox’ where client drop their water in a box outside the store, leaves and either return later to collect their chemicals or has the required products delivered.
In our retail stores, we have increased our signage to help people navigate social distancing guidelines, and all franchise partners and staff are in the process of online ‘Infection Control Training’.
How is Poolwerx supporting their franchisees during the COVID-19 crisis?
Our business development managers are in daily contact with all our franchise partners to ensure they have access to all the help they need. The network also receives a daily update from our SLT to update on updates from within the business or government information they need to be aware of. We have expanded our Franchise Partner Support Centre or ICU unit to help our network navigate these uncertain times and troubleshoot issues as they come up, and ‘Adjacent Partner Support’ which acts as a buddy system between franchise partners so locally, they can also support one another.
We also have in place a store shutdown procedure, so if some of our businesses need to go into hibernation, they have a step-by-step guide to support them through rent, vehicle leases, utilities, etc.. Our in-house real estate manager is prepared to approach landlords should we need to, to work with them on a rent reduction program.
We’ve also been liaising with governments at state and federal levels to ensure they understand we, as an industry, provide an essential service. It is important we are able to continue to treat water and deliver chemicals to ensure pools don’t go green, which would pose another health risk.
What measures has Poolwerx put in place to protect their clients, employees and franchisees?
We have implemented strict sanitisation procedures in line with government guidelines, including providing technicians disinfectants to wipe down vehicle surfaces, tools and equipment. Poolwerx technicians always use their own equipment, instead of clients’, to help prevent cross-contamination.
As a business and in-store, we are also increasing the frequency in which we disinfect commonly shared surfaces and increasing operating procedures to ensure the health and safety of both our clients and Franchise Partners.
Also, stores will also have social distancing signage to ensure the safety of our clients and team members, and we will continue to work with our network to develop solutions to ensure Australian pools remain healthy and safe.
Poolwerx is the world’s largest pool service brand in the industry. Founded by Australian CEO and entrepreneur John O’Brien in 1992, Poolwerx has grown to be the only global pool brand with over 570 service vehicles and 160-plus stores in Australia, New Zealand and the United States. With significant investment in a professional development strategy, recurring revenue streams and a technology-driven and scalable model, Poolwerx swims ahead of its competitors. Poolwerx is also a champion of promoting the importance of teaching lifesaving water skills through its annual community initiatives, Responsible Pool Person and Learn2Swim Week.