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The Great Franchisee: Charlie & Kusuma Hook, Pool Scouts, Hartford, CT

They’ve called it The Great Retirement, as nearly 3.3 million more workers retired in 2021 than in 2020. After 34 years as an engineer for some of the world’s largest tech companies, Hartford’s Charlie Hook is pivoting to pools, bringing the first ever Pool Scouts, to Hartford homes this summer with his wife and partner, Kusuma.

It’s true, that most people at Charlie Hook’s age are nearing retirement and can’t wait to sit back, relax and enjoy life; however, when Hook retired recently, he found himself looking for something to do. Now opening the first Pool Scouts* location in Hartford, Hook is putting his years of experience in Silicon Valley to work for the community, here’s what he had to say about jumping in with the 110-plus territory franchise, now in 18 states. 

1851: What did you do before franchising? 

Charlie Hook: I grew up in Oregon and attended college at the Oregon Institute of Technology, earning a degree in engineering. I worked in electronics for 34 years creating flash drives in Silicon Valley, California, including at SEEQ TechnologiesSanDisk, now owned by Western Digital and Toshiba. My career began when a flash drive was one megabyte (1 MB) today that same drive can hold one terabyte (1 TB) of content. It was a career that gave me the opportunity to travel the world, and I retired on February 5th, 2021.

1851: How did you perform your research/due diligence?

Hook: I learned a great deal about franchising through veteran franchise recruiter, Joe White of FranChoice. He asked a very pointed question: “What would you like to OWN (not do) with your retirement years.” I spent a lot of time on the phone with White asking questions.

1851: What made you say yes to Pool Scouts? 

Hook: I drove down to Virginia Beach and stayed two days to meet the team at Pool Scouts. It surprised me that they didn’t ask me to write a check right away, I appreciated that. I realized that my advantage in this industry is my experience working with my hands. Others seemed to excel at the business side of the franchise concept. That was when a lightbulb went off. The other companies I studied did not have a business system in place, but Pool Scouts did. Pool Scouts has wonderful marketing and operations departments, and the company isn’t the first brand for Buzz Franchise Brands, which means the system is tried and true. Leveraging information from their other franchises, British Swim School and Home Clean Heroes*, is genius. The other concept I considered couldn’t compare to the network of marketing, sales and billing support. The company’s CPA Bill Rhodes handles everything, and it was that fact that really sold me. I’m starting a small business, but I’m also joining a corporation, which gives me the support and peace of mind I need in retirement. The pool portion of the business is the fun part, and I get to enjoy that.

1851: What could have scared you away? 

Hook:  I live in the Northeastern United States, and questioned whether there were enough pools to clean in Connecticut, but it turns out there are ten thousand pools in the Hartford area alone. The only other concern I had committing to Pool Scouts was with the quality of my service, I questioned how well I could ensure my staff was doing what was expected of them.  

1851: What makes you stand out as a unique business owner in the local community?

Hook: I enjoy visiting with people and making sure they are comfortable, so I’m hoping both my phone calls and in-person consultations are comforting and friendly. When community members call me, I hope to be ready to make an appointment then and there. I plan to be organized. Ultimately, my goal is to make sure people return to their backyards and start enjoying them again. 

What do you hope to achieve with your business? Plans for growth? 

Hook: I would like to own three trucks by next year, and six trucks by the year 2025. I’d really like to build my Pool Scouts business deep, as in with relationships. I want people to know they can depend on me. Ideally, people will have a great experience with our business and referrals will come with consistency.


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 over 110 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.


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