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A Gillette moment

01 January 2012 swimart

A Gillette moment

A Gillette moment

Swimart customers change roles to become the owners

When a long-standing Swimart customer noticed a 'business for sale' sign on the counter, he had a 'Gillette moment' – and some months later he and his wife ended up buying the business. It's a decision they don't regret.

As regular Swimart Belconnen customers for over five years, Paul and Noi Burke were very familiar with the Canberra-based store. One day Paul noticed a small counter display advertising the franchise for sale and their fate was sealed.

"It was like the famous Gillette advertisement – we liked the business so much we bought it!" says Noi. "We were very familiar with the store and had used all its products and services over the years, so we knew it was a good business.

"We had been looking for something different to do after being in the public service for a long time. It was time for a change, so when the opportunity to buy the franchise came along we jumped at it. Paul wanted to be his own boss and make his own decisions and liked the idea of getting out into the field."

After working as an audit investigator at the Australian Taxation Office for 30 years, Paul was tired of the structured, controlled and restrictive nature of the public service. "There was too much bureaucracy, protocol, guidelines, reporting and forms to complete!" he says.

"I like fixing things and doing things with my hands and was very stressed in my previous role. Now I'm my own boss and have more control of my life. I feel I'm master of my own destiny and we reap the rewards of all our hard work."

Noi now wears two caps. Four days a week she works at the ATO as a federal liaison officer, and when not at the ATO Noi works at the Swimart store looking after the paperwork and accounts.

"The beauty is that owning a Swimart store provides flexible working hours," says Chris Fitzmaurice, Swimart's national manager.

And like many Swimart stores, Swimart Belconnen is very much a family business.

"Our children are also involved in the business. Our son Brennan is in year 12, but on weekends and school holidays he helps out in the shop and on servicing jobs. Our daughter Tessa is 14 and she earns some pocket money doing water tests, administration and stacking shelves. We think it's great for their work ethic, they get some good work experience and we get to spend time together," says Noi.

At the forefront
Boasting the highest rate of pool ownership in the world, Australia and New Zealand are at the forefront of the rapidly expanding international swimming pool industry. For several decades, our award-winning builders, manufacturers and service experts have earned a well-deserved reputation for contemporary pool design excellence, equipment innovation and superior pool care services.

Industry estimates indicate that there are well over one million swimming pools across the region and every year, on average, over 15,000 new pools are being built. And with the majority of pool owners requiring everyday assistance with their pools and spas, the retail pool care industry is fast becoming one of the most talked about franchise options among investors.

"Swimart is a diversified business, ideal for people like Noi and Paul who are looking to make the most of their people management and customer relationship abilities," explains Chris Fitzmaurice. "Our ideal franchisee will have expert management, sales, retail or trade skills to fully maximise the earning potential of the business.

"Franchisees are supported by an established and highly specialised management team dedicated to working with Swimart franchisees to maximise their sales revenue and profitability,"

Paul and Noi admit that Swimart has provided excellent training and mentoring support.

"As part of the package, all new owners are placed with other highly experienced stores to learn the practicalities on the job," Paul explains. "They learn about swimming pool and spa maintenance, cleaning, chemicals, pumps, pool covers and other products and services. In addition, they are provided with manuals and procedures and any questions they have are readily answered."

Prior to purchasing the franchise, Paul and Noi undertook extensive due diligence.

"With us both being accountants, we carefully checked over the books and records and then sent them to our own accountant and lawyer for a second opinion. They agreed the business was solid, so we bought it," Paul says.

"Our key objectives are to be successful, financially independent and able to retire comfortably. We believe that the business will provide that for us. We understand that anything worthwhile requires a lot of effort and hard work and we are prepared to do that."

From being satisfied Swimart customers, Paul and Noi are now satisfied owners – and it's a decision they haven't regretted.

"I would encourage anyone thinking about buying their own Swimart franchise to go for it. We are very happy and believe we made the right decision. We certainly have not been disappointed," adds Paul.

Diverse revenue streams

Swimart offers the entire range of pool and spa products and services, resulting in diverse revenue streams for franchisees. The assets and services of a new Swimart franchisee include:

» Swimart retail store – chemicals, equipment and accessory sales
» Pool servicing and cleaning – regular customer base
» Pool repairs and maintenance
» Pool owner induction and training
» Commercial clients – strata and corporate business
» Referral commissions

Interested in owning a Swimart franchise?

Just contact the Swimart National Manager:
Phone: (02) 98988608
Email: enquiries@swimart.com.au
Website: www.swimartfranchise.com.au