SWIMMING ALONG

Written on the 7 April 2014 by James Perkins

SWIMMING ALONG BRISBANE franchisor PoolWerx is enjoying growth well above industry trend, recently reporting an 8 per cent increase in revenue for the six months to January 1.

The pool maintenance contractor, insurer and retailer is on track to exceed $75 million in sales, with retail sales up 12 per cent, excluding the impact of recent store openings.

The latest  IBISWorld Swimming Pool and Spa Equipment Stores report shows sector growth was 0.1 per cent last financial year and 0.2 per cent over the past five years, showing the company significantly outperformed its rivals.

PoolWerx founder and CEO John O’Brien (pictured) says it is the best first half for the company in a decade,” says O’Brien.

“The pool and spa care industry has almost fully recovered from the double decline; low spending in the wake of the GFC and water restrictions during drought years,” he says.

Technological advances in pool equipment, allowing for significant energy and water savings, is driving growth in those categories, while demand for traditional pool chemicals remained steady.

“Technology has also improved dramatically, with the latest energy saving pool equipment in high demand as electricity prices continue to rise. Innovation in such technology has been one of the most exciting evolutions we’ve witnessed in years,” says O’Brien.

PoolWerx research also indicates 40 per cent of home owners are planning an upgrade to their existing pool this year.

PoolWerx has opened six retail shops nationally, including one competitor acquisition since July 1 and is in the process of opening four more before the end of the financial year.

In Queensland it has recently opened new stores in Redcliffe, Calamvale, Mt Warren Park, Regents Park and Cooroy, plus several others on the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast in planning.

The company, which recently took out its second successive Multi-unit Franchise of the Year award, has welcomed 22 new franchise partners in that period, taking total franchise numbers to 225. O’Brien says he is confident the pool network can reach 350 stores and 1,000 mobile vans by 2020.

PoolWerx general manager Lee Moore says New South Wales is where the company sees the most growth potential, with many more franchising opportunities than the other states.

“Brisbane and Queensland is a marketplace where we have maybe one or two open franchise opportunities, it is pretty much a full house.

The company has developed proprietary software which pinpoints the best locations for new PoolWerx stores.


“The biggest thing for us is we still have 60 or 70 vacant places on paper in New South Wales and we have a very strong desire to complete that map,” says Moore.

PoolWerx also recently invested about $150,000 in a new training centre at Brisbane, where all new franchisees are educated. The industry has recently had pool and spa maintenance qualifications gazetted at certificate III and IV levels to provide a career pathway for workers in the sector.

“PoolWerx was quite instrumental in seeing that come to fruition,” says Moore.

Author: James Perkins Connect via: Twitter LinkedIn

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