It’s been a record year for residential pool construction. As a direct result Pool Scouts has had a busy year helping homeowners keep those new pools maintained and sparkling clean.
Despite the choppy economic waters that COVID has caused, it’s turned out to be a record year for growth for the Pool Scouts franchise. In 2020, Pool Scouts has signed 14 new franchisees and added 32 new territories!
“We have had a fortunate year,” Michael Wagner, president of Pool Scouts said. “Most businesses have faced some pretty substantial headwinds this year. We’ve been the opposite. We’ve had some great tailwinds going with us.”
Ironically, one factor helping spur the growth has been the pandemic itself, Wagner said. “People have been stuck at home, so they’ve been spending more time at their residential swimming pools than ever have before,” he said. “It’s a safe haven.”
The Centers for Disease Control agrees. The agency said that there is no evidence that properly maintained swimming pools are a conduit for the spread of COVID-19. “As a matter of fact, properly sanitized, chlorinated swimming pools kill the coronavirus,” said Wagner.
Those factors have driven an unprecedented boom in residential swimming pool construction this year, which comes after more than three years of quarterly growth in new pool construction.
Existing franchisees discovered 2020 was a great time to expand into new territories, even during the pandemic. In the Dallas-Fort Worth area alone, Pool Scouts experienced a 30% growth, expanding to 15 territories.
That growth includes an existing Dallas-Fort Worth franchisee, who expanded to reach the growing demand in the area as well as new franchisees. Additionally, Pool Scouts also welcomed Michelle and Steve Stern in North Dallas and Park Cities; Michael Luckey and Jason Richardson in Northwest Dallas; and Curtis Boyden in North Fort Worth to their franchise family.
The brand is also expanding its reach in Houston, with two new signings in the Northwest Houston and Cypress areas.
With all those new pools, families need a trustworthy company to help care for them and their pools. That’s where Pool Scouts comes in. Deemed an essential business, pool service pros don’t even require face-to-face interaction with customers to get the job done, which has turned into a big plus this year.
“Our business is really touchless delivery, we’re only in people’s backyards,” Wagner said. “As a matter of fact, we came up with messaging to kindly tell our customers, ‘We love you, but we don’t need to see you face to face,’” Wagner says.
That messaging resonated well with Pool Scouts customers, and helped them feel safe and comfortable with Pool Scouts technicians being in their yard and providing service to their pool. Instead of seeing a dip in business, the company has thrived throughout the pandemic. And people looking for opportunities to own their own franchise noticed this success.
During economic uncertainty, interest in owning a franchise has increased as people look to secure their economic futures by investing in their own business, Wagner says.
Pool Scouts is also attracting smart, experienced multi-brand franchise owners who have leading names like Mosquito Joe, Smoothie King and an Amazon Delivery Service Partner in their portfolios. That’s because these savvy operators know outdoor service brands like Pool Scouts had a great year, especially when compared to businesses that require a brick-and-mortar presence.
“We saw a lot of really high-quality candidates come into our franchise system,” Wagner says. He also noted that the company has had better-than-ever conversion rates of franchise candidates to owners.
“We saw better than ever conversion rates, despite the fact that our franchise development process usually culminates with what we call a Meet The Team Day at company headquarters in Virginia Beach, Virginia.”
This year, in-person meet-and-greets with potential franchisees were replaced by virtual meetings. “It makes it a lot easier, a lot quicker, and a lot cheaper. But most importantly, it works.” Pool Scouts also supports existing franchises by providing video presentations and operational materials to support franchisees with day to day operations.
It’s not just new franchisees who are helping to expand the system. Existing franchisees are also doing well in this environment, says Wagner.
“Our first franchisee was Tiffiny Consoli, who is based in Raleigh, North Carolina. She started her business in August 2016. During 2020, she has grown 55%. When you look at a business that’s four years old and is growing at a rate of 55%, that’s a really good indicator of the opportunity.”
With a goal of awarding 36 new franchises to 18 new franchisees in 2021, Wagner predicts that Pool Scouts’ momentum will only increase over the next year.
He’s adding a second operations manager to help franchisees succeed and keep their business running smoothly.
Ultimately, Wagner says that the brand’s growth rate comes down to a few key questions: “Are franchisees happy from a financial perspective? Are they happy from a support perspective? Are they telling you about the brand, with the same level of excitement that I have?” If they are, then, man, we’re gonna get a lot more franchisees in the future.”
Read the full article by 1851 Franchise.