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The Great Franchisee: Francisco Vergara, Pool Scouts, Orlando

The Chilean immigrant, air force vet and serial entrepreneur is the pool-maintenance franchise’s first owner in Orlando, Florida.

After a career that took him from the Chilean Air Force to multiple business-ownership ventures in sectors ranging from telecommunications to furniture, Chilean immigrant Francisco Vergara is starting the next chapter of his life as one of the newest franchisees with Pool Scouts*, the 50-unit pool-maintenance franchise backed by multi-brand franchisor Buzz Franchise Brands.

After graduating from high school, Vergara joined the Chilean Air Force and earned a degree in telecommunications engineering, which he leveraged for a six-year career in the military. Then, Vergara took his first career left turn into civilian life, starting his own telecommunications business in 2011. Vergara started several more companies, including a hardware store and furniture factory, before taking his most recent left turn in 2019, when he learned about Pool Scouts.

Now, Vergara is introducing pool owners in Orlando to Pool Scouts' services as one of the brand’s newest franchise owners.

1851 Franchise: Tell us your story – what did you do before franchising?

Francisco Vergara: Wow, it’s a long story. After I graduated from high school, I joined the Chilean Air Force and studied telecommunications. After this I continued my college studies and graduated as a telecommunications engineer. I worked in the military for nearly six years, after which I returned to the civilian world. I worked at a large telecom company in Chile called GTD Group, but my ambitions went beyond that and I started my own telecommunications company. Thus, in 2011 Ethercom was born, my current telecommunications company in Chile. After Ethercom, I started other companies, such as hardware stores and a rustic furniture factory which were all sold a few years ago. The last thing I did before coming to the U.S. was cross Australia from coast to coast to understand the local market and see if there were business possibilities there. After I saw that the business possibilities didn’t meet our economic expectations, I finally ended up in the U.S.

1851: How did you initially find out about franchising? 

Vergara: In 2019, I took a trip with my family for three months, crossing from Miami to Los Angeles by the southern border of the U.S., and then returned to the center of the country. This trip helped us evaluate all the possible investment options, and at the same time, look for the best place to live while making our investment. During this trip, we selected Orlando as the best city to live in and started looking for investment options. During this process we contacted Jose Torres from FranNet, who recommended we launch our business in Orlando.

1851: Why did you choose franchising over starting your own business? 

Vergara: I chose franchising because, being a foreigner and a newcomer here, there are so many local things that I didn’t have a good handle on and franchising gives you a product that has already been tested and that you know will work. You also receive the necessary legal assistance to be able to start without problems. The last thing that caught my attention was the colors and logo of the Pool Scouts brand. 

1851: What types of brands did you look at?

Vergara: The truth is, I analyzed several businesses and different brands in order to make the best decision, but from the beginning, I was struck by Pool Scouts.

1851: Why did you choose Pool Scouts? What excited you most about the potential?

Vergara: I chose Pool Scouts as my first business in the U.S. because it’s an area in which I have some experience and is easier to work with. In addition, being the first franchisee in Orlando gives me great potential for growth.

1851: What are your dreams with the business? What does the future look like?

Vergara: To be the fastest growing location in the U.S. I hope to be able to flood Orlando with Pool Scouts vans, maintaining the city’s pools and to be recognized as the best pool maintenance company.

1851: What value do you see your business providing to the Orlando community?

Vergara: Our biggest value is to be able to give peace of mind to people who will be able to enjoy their swimming pool year-round, always with the best customer service and balance between price and quality.

1851: What advice would you have for others looking at buying a franchise?

Vergara: In the United States there are many franchises. You should look for a business where you have some experience and something that makes you feel good about what you’re doing. The most important thing is to be happy with what you’re doing and do it with pleasure, and not out of obligation.

1851: What do you do in your personal time? 

Vergara: Family is the most important thing to us. The five of us — my wife and three princesses — are always travelling and getting to know new countries and cultures, and when we aren’t, we are supporting our eldest daughter in her sport, basketball, by taking her to her practices and or competitions. I also play soccer.

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