It’s no secret that the Australian economy has been hit hard over the past three years. First, the global pandemic and long-term lockdowns with restrictions, followed by a cost of living crisis, and finally, the insufferable amount of interest rate rises nine times in a row since May last year. With more and more discourse centred around the Australian economy and whether or not a recession is on the horizon, many of us are, yet again, left feeling uncertain about our futures–desperate for stability through unstable times.
Many people looking to start their own business will turn to franchising as there are a number of advantages to joining this industry. In my view, there’s no better time than a looming recession to reassess life goals and career aspirations, and for those with an entrepreneurial spirit, becoming a franchisee can offer the freedom, opportunity and fulfilment they require.
Fifteen years ago, Australia was the only major economy to avoid a recession during the 2007-08 Global Financial Crisis (GFC) mainly due to demand from China for its natural resources. Thousands of Aussies were laid off when the GFC hit, which sent shockwaves of uncertainty across our country, but on the contrary, Poolwerx gained a number of fantastic franchise partners (FP) to our network.
In fact, each FP who joined during this time grew their store footprints and revenue by more than 50 per cent in the five years following the GFC, and we anticipate a similar level of growth in the years to come. Another interesting 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. This is a huge positive of franchising and frankly the key point of difference in the world of business.
So what makes the Poolwerx franchise model so valuable? Diversification has always been in our DNA. While we started out as a domestic mobile pool service provider, our unique model now offers several income streams. These include retail sales, domestic and commercial pool servicing, spa and lifestyle product sales, commercial equipment sales and pool renovation. The mix of both retail and service, chemicals, equipment and labour sales provides great balance in the business. Our international footprint and size also enables us to choose and partner with the best global suppliers in the pool industry. By best I mean, strong profit margins, education and technical support, promotional support, local in-field back-up, unique extended warranties and innovative products.
Over time, Poolwerx has adopted a hub and spoke model in which a centralised ‘hub’ exists to maximise business performance. Everything from our products to materials is either originated in the hub or sent to the hub for direct distribution to consumers. It’s a unique recipe that we found works well and we’re excited that our FPs can continue to build on this revenue ‘stream’ now and into the future.
Whether it’s on a local level, international level or somewhere in between, the branding of an established franchise can serve as the biggest benefit before and after you invest. In most cases, there are teams of experts in marketing, supply, HR, IT, training, administration and sales just a phone call away. Little to no industry experience is necessary for an established franchise brand as people will receive the training and opportunities to upskill in all areas of the business.
Franchisees are given access to an existing client base with established brand awareness, meaning a much lower risk than starting an entirely new business, and there are ample opportunities for expanding a business to different franchise locations. On top of that, the flexibility of being your own boss, free to attend school events, take a leisurely lunch, and play a regular game of golf is an added bonus.
We are in a unique industry. There are not a lot of competitive brands with similar offerings in Australia, New Zealand or America. The pool industry is also vast, with multiple millions of pools in the US and Australia across domestic and commercial markets. Your pool is a living, breathing organisation, it must be properly maintained, meaning repeat business is high and our model is relatively resistant to economic downturns. Cultural changes over recent years and a focus on work-life balance have also propelled the growth of the home services market, as people seek to save time by outsourcing household duties like pool maintenance and spending more time in the backyard.
Without a doubt, the home service industry has proven time and time again to be both resilient and profitable. If you’re feeling uneasy about news reports of a recession and considering a career move, then I’d encourage you to be brave and embrace change. Why not explore franchising and see if it is the right fit for you and your family? If you’re looking for a new opportunity with a built-in customer base, buying power, faster return on investment, reduced risk of business failure, global in-house assistance, positive profit margins, and autonomy, with the backing of an established corporate brand—then Poolwerx may be the answer.
Nic Brill is CEO of Poolwerx.