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From Broke College Kid to Successful Pool Scouts Franchisee

At 22, Ivey took the plunge into franchising with Pool Scouts while still in school. Now, at 25, he bought out his partner and is the sole owner of a growing business in a hot industry.

By Erica InmanStaff Writer
8:08AM 05/02/24

Jacob Ivey ventured into the world of franchising when he was only 22 years old. In fact, he was a still broke college kid when he first invested in a Pool Scouts franchise. 

While in college, Ivey spent his summers working for his cousin Rob, who owned a couple of businesses (including a vacation rental company). Ivey expressed his enthusiasm for business ownership to Rob, who agreed to team up with him to purchase an existing 

Pool Scouts franchise territory in Cape Fear, North Carolina. 

“While I was working for him, I thought owning a business looked very cool. It was a lot of stress but he got a lot of rewards in return. He looked at multiple businesses with me, including landscape concepts, but Pool Scouts really stood out to us,” said Ivey. “I was still in college at the time, and I was more of an IT major in college but after working for Rob, I decided to double major in management.”

Three years later, Ivey has just bought out his business partner and is the sole franchise owner of his Pool Scouts territory, with plans for continued growth in the future.

1851 Franchise spoke with Ivey about his journey into franchising and his plans for the future.


1851 Franchise: Frame your personal story for us. What did you do before franchising, and how did you decide franchising made sense for you?

Ivey: My cousin Rob is the one that pretty much bought the business for me. He has a couple of businesses and is the investor. I worked for him a couple summers in college and he has a vacation rental company here. While I was working for him, I thought owning a business looked very cool. It was a lot of stress but he got a lot of rewards in return. He looked at multiple businesses with me, including landscape concepts, but Pool Scouts really stood out to us.

There was an existing territory for sale and we got a fairly good deal. Because it was a franchise, I knew I could talk to people if I needed help. Rob helped get it all set up. I was still in college at the time as an IT major, but after working for Rob, I decided to double major in management. 

Rob wanted to sell so he could focus on his other businesses, but this is my full-time job. This is my nest egg right now. He agreed to give me a fairly good deal on it. I pulled out a loan and bought him out in December. 

1851: What was your perception of franchising prior to becoming a franchisee, and what do you want people to know about franchising now that you are in it?

Ivey: I’m not the best poster child for franchising. I feel like it's for middle-aged folks that have a full-time job and want to inch their way into business ownership. I was just a kid who was excited about business. I thought franchising with Pool Scouts was a good fit because I’m an Eagle Scout. 

However, for a young guy like me, it's great because I have the training wheels of a franchise. I was able to call the team if I ever struggled.

When it came to investing in the business, I was a broke college kid. I wasn’t able to pay for all this stuff. Luckily Rob helped me with that and in the end it worked out. I spent 60 to 70 hours a week cleaning and working on pools. I had time but no money. 

1851: What made you pick this brand? What excites you most about this company?

Ivey: Pools seemed easy. I cleaned grills for a while, that was so difficult; I would break out from the chemicals and just scrape all day and all night. This seemed so much easier. There are tons of pools around here and it’s hard to take care of them. There aren’t a lot of professionals in this industry and there’s a big need for these services.

1851: What do you hope to achieve with your business? What are your plans for growth? 

Ivey: I've almost automated the business at this point. I have two managers right now that do everything for me; I have a service manager who does my repairs and technical stuff and then I have a lovely office manager who takes care of the calls and payroll. This allows me to focus on growing the business. I’m considering buying the Myrtle Beach territory. 

Outside of franchising, I'd love to get more into the short-term rental industry. 

1851: What is the one thing about your story you want us to know?

Ivey: I am an Eagle Scout and Eagle Scouts are very reputable. I think that shows I am trustworthy, and I can take care of people’s pools. 

I hope that's what my homeowners see in me as they see a young guy in their backyard. 

There's a lot of older guys and all that but my buddies are seeing me do this and it is lucrative. If you just get one investor, like I had Rob, to prop you up, young guys can do it too.

I give Rob a lot of credit. He gave it to me and said run with it. He also let me struggle and learn from my mistakes. He let me experience the challenges of business ownership and he let me fail. That first year was difficult, but I learned a lot. 

1851: What advice do you have for other people thinking about becoming a franchise owner?

Ivey: It helps you skip a step in business ownership with a franchise because you have a team that can help you. The first year is going to be challenging whether you’ve planned it all out or not. A few years in, it becomes a lot easier. The sooner you start, the better. 


Virginia Beach, VA-based Pool Scouts is a premier pool service franchise focused on delivering a quality, consistent brand experience while providing pool cleaning, maintenance and minor repair services at residential properties. Technicians are trained in testing, monitoring, treating and servicing pools and can provide ongoing service as well as help at the beginning and end of the summer season. With 105+ territories across 17 states, Pool Scouts offers a great opportunity as a low-cost franchise in the pool services industry with available territories across the United States. For more information or franchising opportunities, visit

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.