Franchise expands model with mobile franchisees


By Alice Richard
Tuesday, 07 February, 2017

Swimart has enhanced its bricks-and-mortar model with the launch of its first two mobile franchisees, one in Byron Bay and the other in Mackay. This expands the company’s network to 73 franchise outlets and more than 250 mobile service vans across Australia and New Zealand.

“Although we are firmly committed to the bricks-and-mortar business model, we believe there is a market for ‘mobile franchisees’ as well,” said Chris Fitzmaurice, Swimart’s Australasian manager.

“We are not interested in growing the Swimart network just for the sake of it. We base our business growth strategy around the financial viability of each territory. We want strong businesses and we are proud that so many of our franchisees have been with us for so long — a testament, we believe, to getting the mix right. Our franchisees enjoy a good balance between profits and lifestyle, which we know holds a big appeal.”

The company has recently moved into the sale of spas, above-ground pools and pool slides, in part to help franchisees maintain a constant turnover throughout the year, avoiding the winter sales slump so often experienced in the industry.

Swimart attributes its ability to compete with online sellers to its specialist product knowledge and expertise. While the company offers a digital solution and e-commerce on its website, technical products such as pumps, filters and pool heaters are only available in-store, which prompts customers to visit their bricks-and-mortar stores.

“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,” said Fitzmaurice.

“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.”

The first Swimart store was opened in the Sydney suburb of Killara in 1983. Swimart’s franchisor Waterco was founded in 1981 and listed on the ASX in 1989.

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