Swimart Jindalee was the big winner at this year’s Swimart Awards, picking up both the Queensland Franchisee of the Year and Australasian Franchisee of the Year.
The annual awards ceremony held this year in Hong Kong at the conclusion of the company’s conference, recognised and rewarded its top franchisees.
“More than 60 per cent of small businesses cease operation within the first three years of starting but Swimart bucks the trend,” says Chris Fitzmaurice, Australasian manager of Swimart. “Since our inception with a single store in 1983, Swimart has grown into a successful franchise with 73 franchisees across Australia and New Zealand with a fleet of over 250 mobile service vans, so we must be doing something right!”
Fitzmaurice says you need motivated, competent teams that consistently offer a high level of customer service to succeed as a franchise in today’s highly competitive retail market.
“And in our business, you also need people who are prepared to keep abreast of the latest technological advances in pool and spa care.”
First year for Jindalee
What makes the awards even sweeter for Swimart Jindalee owner Ashley Weekes is that this is only his first year of operation.
“I have really enjoyed the challenge of running my own business and was initially attracted to the pool and spa industry as it has a mix of retail and mobile services, which diversifies the revenue stream. We’ve also added to the product range by selling spas,” says Weekes.
“Swimart has an effective franchisee support system, through online and face-to-face channels,” he says. “As well as formal support from Swimart, I was allocated a mentor store where you receive hands-on training with them but also a year of support where you’re able to call them with any questions you might have.”
Every year Swimart hosts a week-long conference which culminates in the Swimart Awards rewarding and recognising peak operators. The conference aims to encourage outstanding customer service and operational excellence and provides direction, support and training for the year ahead via presentations and workshops in essential business operation strategies and industry legislation.
Lawyer Steven Clare who founded MyAFSA (Australian Franchise Support Alliance) said in the Financial Review that one of the reasons franchises fail is inadequate support. Steven believes that “ongoing support is critical. Many franchisors fall down in this area simply because they lack the necessary resources to give franchisees the support they need.”
Fitzmaurice says a proven franchise system is certainly a great way to ensure the success and longevity of franchisees.
“We offer franchisees regular online customer service, chemicals, sales, marketing and product training through our Swimart Academy and also face-to-face support whenever it is needed,” he says.
“Our state franchise managers are also in regular contact with the franchisees, to offer advice and assistance, if required.”