Mike Blake had already owned and operated his own pool cleaning and maintenance company for four years when he decided to convert it to the Pool Scouts franchise model. While his business, Sapphire Pools and Spas, was doing fine in its native North Dallas area, it was also stagnant, and he wanted to further scale his enterprise.
After researching franchising opportunities, he came across Pool Scouts and learned about its business conversion program. He decided to switch over and purchased three Pool Scouts territories in the Dallas-Fort Worth area—Frisco and North Plano/Allen—and started his franchisee training in February of 2018.
Blake is the first independent business owner-turned-franchisee in the Pool Scouts system. One year after making the switch, he is thrilled to have made the change. With Sapphire Pools and Spas, Blake was able to service several residential pools in the area; but since converting to the Pool Scouts model, his potential client base has expanded with about 20,000 residential pools being located in the territories where he currently operates.
In terms of revenue, Blake’s business grew by about 50 percent in 2018. He went from 40 customers to 110 customers after he made the switch. Customer retention has also improved.
“Having been a pool professional for several years, Mike Blake was very familiar with the space before joining the brand,” said Pool Scouts President Michael Wagner. “We have truly enjoyed seeing his success over the last year and look forward to the opportunities still ahead within the market.”
Blake’s main reason for converting his business over to the Pool Scouts brand was to take advantage of the brand’s marketing support. Indeed, the brand prides itself on the marketing support it provides its franchise system, which includes backend support plus systems and training.
“That’s why I joined; it was for help on the marketing side to grow the business,” Blake said. “My business had reached the point where it just wouldn’t grow anymore.”
Business owners who are looking to convert their independent pool maintenance businesses to the Pool Scouts model should note that they will be able to offer an enhanced product.
“At the end of the day you’re delivering a better product to your customer,” Blake said. “Your customers are getting reports related to your services and their level of satisfaction is higher. Just in talking to customers, I know that most of them like the reports.”
Plus, those who convert enjoy the benefit of having access to an entire franchise system with which to share best practices and support.
“It’s nice to have a community of owners out there when you’re having a bad day,” Blake said. “There’s always somebody you can reach out to when that sort of thing happens and they can help you out. I’m also in kind of a unique position in that another Pool Scouts franchise opened up right next door to me in the nearby town of McKinney, so we’ve been able to help each other out. It’s nice to have a fellow, local franchisee; somebody with whom to share resources.”
One way in which the brand helps to differentiate itself from other pool maintenance companies is the way it allows for customer feedback. The efforts have certainly paid off.
Within their first year of being Pool Scouts franchisees, Blake and his wife, Michelle, were recognized at the brand’s annual conference and awards banquet. They received the Best Buzz Award, which recognizes the brand franchisee with the highest net promoter score. Customers are asked whether they would recommend the business to a friend or family member on a scale of one to 10, and Blake’s franchise was recognized as the top franchise in 2018 for superior customer service.
The Blakes also received the Highpoint Award, which honors the franchisee with the highest overall score from the brand’s mystery shopper program.
Blake is thrilled with the way his franchise experience has gone and is looking to the future. He’s also appreciative of the Pool Scouts corporate team and how they have continued to be receptive to franchisee feedback.
“It’s been a good, positive experience and corporate leadership has been truly supportive,” Blake said. “If you have suggestions, they’re good about listening and making changes when they can.”
Typical startup costs for purchasing a Pool Scouts franchise range from 57,600-108,375, with an average initial investment of $95,000.