Published on 10 Mar 2022 Time 9 min read Last update by 5 Feb 2024

Pool Scouts Franchise: An Honest Look at a Successful Business (2024)

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Patrick: Patrick Findaro here, co-founder at Vetted Biz. Today, I’m very excited to have on two executives from Pool Scouts.

Michael Wagner, who’s the president of Pool Scouts. As well as Natalie Weaver, who’s the director of Franchise Development. In today’s article, we’re going to go through the pool servicing industry that’s growing a lot in the United States. Especially with this work from home and a lot of people moving into the southern states.

We’re going to go through the difference between doing the franchise route versus going on your own path. If you’d like to enter this industry, and just talk a little bit about the economics for someone that might want to be entering into a Pool Scouts franchise.

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Pool Scouts Franchise Review

Patrick: So, Michael and Natalie, really appreciate you joining today. Maybe we could start with Michael. Just how you entered into the pool service industry, as well as franchising as a whole?

Michael: Well, thank you, Patrick. Excited to be here. Fortunate to have been part of Buzz Franchise Brands since 2015. I joined the company to start our second brand. Prior to that, Buzz Franchise Brands was the franchisor for Mosquito Joe, which was our first brand that started in 2012 and had tremendous success.

Kevin Wilson, who’s our CEO and founder, wanted to expand into additional home service brands or service brands. Kevin and I have been friends. We both have children that are seniors in college. And we met at a birthday party long, long time ago when our kids were really young. I stayed in touch with him, and I was fortunate to come on board to start the second brand.

I’ve done a lot of entrepreneurial-type things. Mostly setting up subsidiaries or wholly-owned subsidiaries for a company called Coastal Training Technologies. I set up offices around the world for that company. While they weren’t franchises, it was the same business model doing it across the globe.

poop 911Then I worked for a large credit union where we had 62 branches, all doing kind of the same consumer banking type things across the United States as well. So, while it wasn’t franchising, it was certainly translatable skills and opportunities there. I was super excited to be able to come on board here and to begin Pool Scouts. Which didn’t exist as a brand. So we hit the ground running in January, officially having made a small acquisition to start the business in Virginia Beach, Norfolk. Chesapeake’s area, with a small acquisition of, really a rout of customers. We hit the ground running from a franchisee perspective, signing up our first franchisee in 2016 as well.

We knew that there was a great opportunity to professionalize a very unprofessional, traditionally space in business. And so I got to come on board and help build the team and build the brand. But I’ve also been supported from day one by the Buzz Franchise Brands team. Which is super strong, experienced, and a great group of people ultimately. So, since then, we’ve been growing fast. Especially over the past couple of years, where the pool business, as you alluded to, Patrick, has been exploding across the nation. And lots of our franchisees we’re very happy to be Pool Scouts franchisees amidst the pandemic as our business grew, and grew fast and continues to grow.

The Pros and Cons of Joining the Pool Scouts Franchise

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Patrick: And I can imagine you’ve gone from 0 to 53 in about six years?

Michael: Yeah, 53. Opened 109 awards, and we’re in the process right now of opening 10 franchisees in the first quarter of 2022. Fast growth, afforded by ultimately successful franchisees. This is true with any franchise system as your early adopters need to show success, and then it becomes, I wouldn’t say easier, but more fluid might be a better way to describe it.

Bring on additional franchisees and make the ones that you have that much more successful.

Patrick: Well, Natalie, it’s a good transition for you, as you’re a huge part of all this expansion and recruiting new franchisees. How did you get into Pool Scouts and in franchising as a whole?

Natalie: Yeah. I started my franchise career about 10 years ago, actually started on the other end of the spectrum with legal and compliance. Then moved into franchise development for a large company out of Richmond, Virginia. And then did some consulting work through COVID-19.

It was pretty tough on the franchise industry, except for brands like this. I was lucky to find these guys and settle right in. I’ve been here for over a year and looking to help build the brand. Pool Scouts is a great franchise to show to candidates. Especially being resilient through COVID-19 and the growth that we have right now.

Patrick: I imagine people that own a pool. They get it, and they’re like, “Okay, I pay a lot of money on this. I see the ROI when I have a professional service person, maybe I tried it for a month, cleaning my pool, and it wasn’t worth it.” Those people get it, I’m sure, and they’re easy to talk about Pool Scouts with. But how about those other people like me that don’t own a pool yet and that want to know a little more about this industry and just the potential in it?

Michael: Yeah. I’ll take that. You know, I think I always love to describe our business and our business model as, you know, it’s not an Uber-sexy business at all. People don’t aspire to say, “Yeah, I want to go out and clean and maintain swimming pools.”

Patrick: That’s fine.

Pool Care Franchise

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Michael: Right? But what people do get very attracted to, in which things are components in the business that are sexy, is this recurring service. This predictability, knowing who your target customer is, and what you focus on are really important components of business that allow you to scale, grow, and ultimately understand the unit economics of the business. When you describe those things, people get more excited about the opportunity. Really, at the end of the day, we’re a community-oriented business. Our most successful franchisees will service over 1,000 customers this year. That’s a lot of customer relationships in a community.

Home Services Business Attracts People

The business owner or the franchisee is very prominently visible in those communities where they’re servicing that kind of quantity of customers. It’s a present in the community-type business as well involving people, not only customers but ultimately employees and technicians that are out there doing the work. Those are some of the things that we talked about, predictability, scalability of the business, and just the simplicity of the business model as well. People like those things a lot. Home service businesses offer those opportunities, and the pool business amidst the home services businesses has been a very attractive one.


Patrick: From a prospecting standpoint, you know which homes have pools. You can use different data, even Google Maps, and it’s evident who your prospective buyers are of your service. I imagine you the franchisor working with the franchisee to go after those leads.

Michael: It even starts ahead of that. When Natalie is talking with candidates, we provide the territory maps. Patrick, in our case, the territories are zip code protected and owned by the franchisee. Ultimately, those territories consist of 8,000 to 12,000 single-family homes within ground pools with incomes above a certain threshold. They get to see those maps before they ever sign up as a franchisee, they know what they’re doing.

Then, once they become franchisees, we do a lot as a franchise system to help them get the phone to ring to acquire customers for those specific target households. It’s a very focused effort that starts from the franchise mapping process very early on when Natalie’s talking to candidates. Natalie, I don’t know if you want to add some…

What’s a Successful Franchise: Pool Scouts Vision

Natalie: Yeah. You can see a big difference in interests when someone’s vetting out several franchise brands. They ask that territory question. “I’m looking at another brand, and they’re giving me eight zip codes.” And I’m like, “Eight zip codes of what?”. We have the data to back it up, and I go into exactly what Michael just said. We’re looking at this many homes with this much income, with this many pools.

I think it makes a difference to know that they’re like, “Wow, that information is already taken care of for me. And I don’t have to go out there and find it.” In addition, I think that makes a big difference to the candidate to know that we’ve got that kind of backing and resources.

Patrick: And it’s not vague.

Natalie: Yeah.

Patrick: You could say there are 100,000 households. But that doesn’t mean that that addressable market’s 100,000 for whatever product you’re selling. That’s a big appeal. Say like 10,000 pools to go after in a given zip code. What success, Natalie and Michael, to a franchisee? Is it getting 200 pools, 500 pools? What’s a successful franchisee? People measure success differently. And you have lifestyle entrepreneurs and those that want to be making 200k, 300k a year. But what do Pool Scout franchisees aspire to?

Michael: There are lots of metrics we use to demonstrate success in the early stages of the franchise. Patrick, we talk about how many recurring customers that our franchisees acquire and retain because that’s where this predictability in the business model is, ultimately. We do a lot through direct mail and digital marketing. Supporting them on community initiatives as well to help them recruit those customers. We help measure all the number of incoming calls, the number of clicks, the number of leads, etc. The conversion rates and.

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