Raise your hand if you are reading this article and are unhappy with your job. Maybe you don’t like your boss, you feel confined in your office on sunny days or dread the monotony of staring at a computer and doing the same thing for 40 hours each week.
There is one emerging franchise that specifically targets people like this, those who are unsatisfied with their career and want to break away. America’s Swimming Pool Company (ASP) is the largest swimming pool cleaning, repair and renovation franchise system in the nation. Recently recognized as one of America’s top 100 fastest growing franchises by Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise 500®, the company currently has grown to almost 100 franchise partners in more than 245 different territories around the country since its inception in 2002.
Melissa Crow is an example of someone who turned to pool restoration after seeking a career change. She purchased an ASP franchise in Mobile, Alabama, after deciding she wasn’t satisfied with the job she previously held for two decades. Crow was introduced to ASP through her brother, who owns two franchises in Charleston and Columbia, South Carolina.
“I was a dental hygienist for over 20 years and just grew bored of being in the dentist office on a day-to-day basis, and wanted a little bit more out of life,” said Crow. “I always wanted to have my own business. It just seemed like an opportunity to do something different with my career.”
ASP offers a low-risk, high-reward franchise business opportunity for people who are seeking a career change into a field that provides greater autonomy and satisfaction. America’s Swimming Pool Company Founder and CEO Stewart Vernon specifically designed the company’s business model to have low barriers of entry.
While some potential business owners are intimidated by the thought of hiring employees and leasing a building, ASP eliminates those concerns. In fact, many of these entrepreneurs can start their business from home.
“The beauty of the business is that from day one, you can start it with one man, one truck — low overhead, low risk,” said Vernon.
That’s exactly what Vernon did when he launched the company fresh out of college in 2002. A self-described entrepreneur at an early age, Vernon sold baseball cards as a young boy and washed cars as a teenager with eyes on starting his own business after graduating from college.
After a friend mentioned that pool cleaning companies in the Macon, Georgia, area overcharged customers and provided shoddy service, Vernon had an idea. Driving around town in his first “company” truck in search of homes with pools, he would offer superior cleaning services at a cheaper price. His approach proved successful and within a few years he dominated pool maintenance services in the mid-Georgia market, bringing in more than one million dollars in revenue.
Vernon’s next step in growing his company was to franchise the business, which he began doing in 2005. He noticed his first two franchisees shared a common trait of hating their jobs and wanting to revitalize their careers by doing something they enjoyed. People like those owners and Melissa Crow are among the dozens of people who have turned to ASP for a high-upside business opportunity that revives their careers and gives them a sense of fulfillment.
Many owners are drawn to the opportunity to work outside and with their hands. Others are attracted to being their own boss, setting their hours and growing the business within their community. Either way, ASP has developed into a $38 million annual business through offering affordable, flat-rate prices for commercial and residential pool properties.
“It’s outdoors, it’s with people, it’s decisive, it’s hands-on, and those are the kind of things a lot of alpha males like to operate within,” said Bill Schlemmer, an ASP franchisee in Virginia Beach. “We are able to control our own destiny, be outside and lead a team to deliver great things.”
While the benefits of owning an America’s Swimming Pool franchise may sound appealing, particularly to those looking for a career change, would a lack of experience in the pool industry be a drawback for interested prospects? Not according to Vernon, who looks for entrepreneurs with the proper investment capital and desire to learn the trade.
“People often want to start their own business, but don’t know the best way of going about it,” said Vernon. “We make it easy for people to get started with America’s Swimming Pool Company, and we provide all of the proper training and equipment for them to be successful. From there, they can plan their own path to a fulfilling, profitable career.”
Since many ASP franchisees have little or no experience in cleaning a pool before getting their start, the company created a “Pool School” at its corporate headquarters in Macon. ASP officials provide comprehensive instruction and training on 14 different pools across its campus. Franchisees are educated on the proper techniques for pool cleaning, on-site repair, equipment, water analysis and safety training.
Following the 12-day Pool School training session, ASP franchisees are provided with ongoing operational support, marketing resources and administrative assistance. ASP created its own proprietary software called Pool Ops, which helps franchisees run their businesses. The platform creates weekly digital reports with information on a pool’s chemical balance, services performed and photos of the clean pool. Company officials believe this increases communication and accountability between franchisees and pool owners. This helps achieve ASP’s top overall goal — to offer exceptional service to its customers.
Brett Henry was an agricultural chemical sales representative before becoming an America’s Swimming Pool Company franchisee in Statesboro, Georgia. He never had any experience with swimming pools while growing up on a farm, but was attracted to the business and support given to their franchise owners.
“ASP is a terrific group of people who understand the pool business. I was looking for a franchise, so as I dove in to see what type of business it is and what it would take for me to be involved, the conversation with them was terrific,” said Henry. “I knew automatically that these are folks who would follow you through as you begin and get some experience. ASP is a phone call away and they know exactly what you are going through so they can walk you through it. That is a very comforting thing when you’ve invested an amount of money. It is a very enjoyable way to work.”
Provided with all of the necessary training and support, many people around the country are now taking the plunge into franchise ownership with America’s Swimming Pool Company to give themselves an enjoyable and productive career path.
For more information on ASP’s swimming pool franchise
opportunities, visit: www.ASPfranchising.com.