The Swimart pool and spa franchise network began back in 1983 as a single pool retail store in the Sydney suburb of Killara.
Over the intervening 34 years, it has grown into an extensive network of 73 franchise outlets and more than 250 mobile service vans across Australia and New Zealand. Swimart claims to have the largest turnover of any pool and spa network across Australasia.
Recently, the bricks and mortar business model has been enhanced by the launch of its first two mobile franchisees – one in Byron Bay on the NSW North Coast and the other in the Queensland city of Mackay.
Chris Fitzmaurice, Australasian manager of Swimart, says that although they are firmly committed to the bricks and mortar business model, they believe there is a market for mobile franchisees as well.
He says that before assigning a territory, Swimart does a SWOT analysis of the area and researches elements such as the number of pools in the vicinity, in addition to any existing competition to ensure it will be a viable and profitable business. The franchisee is then given exclusive marketing rights over that particular area to maximise his/her business returns.
“We are not interested in growing the Swimart network just for the sake of it,” says Fitzmaurice.
Digital solutions safeguard bricks and mortar
Fitzmaurice says that Swimart offers a digital solution and e-commerce on its website, but the need for specialist product knowledge and expertise means customers are directed to their local store for more technical items such as pumps, filters and pool heaters.
“This means we can compete with purely online competitors as we provide a premium service thanks to our ongoing face to face and online staff training programs,” he says.
“Not all online providers have the specialised knowledge base to offer the right advice that we can and we often get enquiries to help ‘fix’ the mess customers have got into due to ill-informed online purchases. We like to think of ourselves as a face-to-face Dr Google for anything and everything you need to know about pools and spas.”