How did you get into the industry?
I worked my way through college and grad school working on pools – and on into my early 30s. We had a good run – but it was still a small business…3 locations, a dozen or so vehicles. I saw that there was an opportunity in the pool cleaning and management services market and only until now was able to build a strong enough foundation to scale and capture the market share I knew was there.
What’s New in the Business or in the Franchise Model?
When I left the business, I had one so-called “day job” for a large multi-national manufacturer that happened to have a pool equipment division. They had thousands of dealers worldwide – whom I notice happened to have the same issues that I had as a smaller operator.
Then, during my time in the venture capital world, (where we did both startups and turnarounds), we noticed nearly all trade-based companies, (guys in trucks fixing, building and installing things) had the same issue regardless of the industry. We developed a business model to address those needs.
We use technology to expand capacity, accelerate growth rates and maximize profitability for every hour of the available technician – which we all know is a limited commodity. We formed Poolblu to be the platform organization to make that business model and the associated technologies available.
Where do you See Opportunities or Challenges for the Poolblu Franchise/Business Moving Forward?
The industry is highly fragmented – so acceptance of a larger, more consistent brand is well understood. The consumers welcome it, the technicians have better careers and the owners see the quickest start-up, most profitable operating, and lowest risk model they can find,
The biggest challenge is actually handling the demand. We have a 12 Billion $ a year industry, and currently, over 85% of the service organizations in it have less than 3 trucks or 5 employees. We have made an unprecedented investment in developing recreational water tradesmen to support the growth of the network.
What is your Goal for the PoolBlu Business Moving Forward?
In the short term, we want to accumulate a core team of operators that will be successful in their own markets – but ones that are creative and aggressive – that will be actively engaged in contributing to the overall team effort by involvement with our councils, committees, and various feedback loops.
Talk to us About Training and Support in the PoolBlu franchise system, How Do You Deliver?
The Poolblu Training Institute, (PTI) is unequalled in the industry, or really any other that we know of.
Much like a college course book – PTI outlines several career tracks and the available courses that can guide anyone there. It is a collection of courses that are centered around accumulation of skills. These skills define the services that can be offered – and from a field service perspective – the collective skill-set of the technicians defines what can be sold and delivered to the client.
When someone joins Poolblu – the most important part of their onboarding is the issuance of the PTI course catalog and materials. The teammate(s) role defines the track, and each track has courses with classroom content, field content, quizzes and a hands-on checklist that any mentor or instructor can sign off on to graduate the teammate.
Your most difficult moment in the Franchise Business?
We are deeply committed to our team. Because people work so much of their lives, we try to run our business with the same values we would run our home life. When a teammate doesn’t hold up to our commitments of reliability, supporting each other, respect, hard work, – things like that – we sometimes have to part ways. Overriding our compassionate desire for that individual to succeed – and acting for the good of the team is sometimes a tough call.
In its simplest form, we sell labor – and that’s people. If the product we deliver is not consistent, high quality and professional it is a bad reflection on the rest of the team and the brand. Letting someone go is a tough call.
Define the Poolblu Franchise Model:
Training and Support Model?
It is not just initial training – at all.
- PTI, the Poolblu Training Institute is an integral part of continual skill development for all team members
- PBS, the Poolblu Brand Services in its simplest form is a call center-based team of real-time support for any technical or customer-based issue.
What is the Fee Structure?
- typical franchise royalty and advertising campaign fees, plus
- % of labor sales-based payments to the Poolblu Brand Services of
An exclusive collection of zip codes defined by an area that can be realistically travelled in +/- 30 minutes by the technicians.
Day in the life of a Franchisee?
Highly seasonal business – in high season managing the completion of the service and repair orders. In the low season, a bit more focus on business development on the client-side, and training and skill development on the technician and team side.
- The Poolblu Vision System is the keeper of the schedule and the orders.
- Process the orders, check the future load
Who is the Ideal Franchise Candidate for the Poolblu franchise model?
Has a technical competence, or will hire folks who do. The core of the company will be tradesmen which we will train from scratch. Our System and the PTI make this ideal for business-minded folks who just want a fun, high growth high-profit opportunity.
Our multiple market – multiple revenue stream makes it attractive to seasoned business folks.
Service and Supplies: Local franchisees sell labor – but poolblu.com sells products. Franchisees have a built-in revenue source without having to develop it – and a unique to the industry opportunity – to provide service ad installation were other direct merchants, (websites and catalogs) cannot.
Upscale market: Approximately 5% of the single-family households own pools and spas. Very resistant to normal economic fluctuations.
Razor blades: Much of what we sell is required.
High margin: A lot of what we sell is not a commodity – offers a higher content of value-added technology and know-how.
Commercial and Residential: Many commercial customers have a direct understanding of the pool or spa quality as it relates to their sales and customer satisfaction. They place a high value on the quality and “no surprises” we deliver. For many residential customers, time is at a premium – they have other things to do – and just want 100% enjoyment time from their pool or spa.
Success Stories and Failures with Franchisees?
Successes include low turnover and high-value jobs. A technical team that is building careers, families, homes and retirements. Customer accolades have supported rapid/profitable growth everywhere.
Our branch office failures stem from our initial “flexibility” when affiliates did not follow the system. Timely utilization of our electronic system – and faithful adherence to our “hard-fought” lessons captured in our best practices is the best way to assure success.
What Goals Do You Have for the Franchise Model in the Future?
Cover North and Central Americas
For more information on the Poolblu pool management franchise, visit the corporate site: