The 5 biggest pool cleaning franchises in the Australian market


Edm Thumb The 5 Biggest Pool Cleaning Franchises In The Australian Market

5 Biggest Pool Cleaning franchises in the Australian market

Another in our detailed, researched lists!

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For a sunburnt country, we actually assumed we’d have many more pool cleaning related franchise brands of size pushing into the market. 

But, perhaps it's the consolidation of the market we're seeing, with some of the existing larger brands having conversion of independents as a core strategy plank in their expansion plans.

Pool cleaning has been a service offer that seems to have basically been considered if not ‘essential’, certainly often able to continue operating in restricted lockdown type environments.

There are some substantial brands in the market with high profiles, and the product and services mix is interesting between them.

We have the brands focused on purely mobile van small operation, pool cleaning and maintenance. These, with a lower entry cost and the smaller barrier to entry, are the ones where we also see many of the smaller independents sitting.

We have pool cleaning spun off from a clear broader retailing strategy, well-beyond just pool cleaning and chemicals. 

We also have the hub and spoke approach of brands positioning as focused pool specialists, with an established pool maintenance retail presence, with mobile van operations running off that.

As mentioned earlier, the larger brands clearly also have their sights set on a conversion strategy of existing independently owned pool maintenance businesses, as a key part of their expansion strategies.

Why we create these lists

We created this list to help make your research and decision making process easier.

We’ll update it as the market changes, and as we get more information for you*

1.  Poolwerx - 250+ franchises (AU mix store and mobile)

Retail pool stores, and mobile pool maintenance.

Poolwerx was founded by John O’Brien in 1992, who is a highly respected franchise leader and Franchise Hall of Fame Inductee of the Franchise Council of Australia. 

The brand positions itself in the market as Australasia’s largest pool and spa maintenance network. It has also expanded internationally to New Zealand and North America with a current global total of 153 retail stores and 575 mobile service units in the market.

Poolwerx is rated a 5 Star Franchise by FRANdata’s independent review of the brand, the top rating.

Not uncommon to the key competitors in this space, Poolwerx offers three options in joining the brand via;

  1. Buy an existing Poolwerx business,
  2. A new mobile van franchise, and
  3. Convert an existing independent business.

Most notable to this list was the absence of any new retail store locations to buy on entering the brand. Seemingly, with 153 retail stores in total (not all, but most in Australia), they are not offering new store locations at this time.

The brand notes that ‘Everyone who starts with Poolwerx will be expected to transition to a retail store.’. So, while a mobile van based option is there, it’s apparent that transitioning to a retail store will be required.

The web presence of the brand, like much of it’s footprint, is highly sophisticated. However, you do need to enter your details in order to get information beyond the initial basics really.

  • CEO = John O’Brien
  • Headquarters located = Brisbane, QLD
  • Franchising Since = 1992
  • Investment = From $110,000 to $500,000
  • Ongoing Fees = Sliding scale on service and marketing fees on turnover
  • Training = 40 hours online, then 3 weeks in-house, followed by a 12 month program.

Social Media Presence 

  • Facebook =  5.1k followers
  • Instagram =  1.5k followers
  • Twitter =  463 followers
  • LinkedIn = 1.8k followers

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2.   Jim’s Pool Care - 117 franchises

Mobile pool servicing

A further extension of the Jim’s Group service offer, Pool Care is one of the 50 or so  divisions.

Of the key players in franchised pool servicing, Jim’s is the clear brand solely dedicated to mobile servicing without a retail component as well.

The digital presence of the brand could be considered relatively unsophisticated in comparison to other key competitors. However, in saying that about the website, the brand has put effort into ensuring the investment details are quite transparent, which is great.

The only exception to this is the ongoing fees, which the brand suggests are best explained by them.

Again, a positive thing with much of the broader Jim’s Group offer, is the guarantee associated with joining the business. Jim’s Pool Care has a ‘Work Availability Guarantee’ of $1,500 p/w inc gst.

  • CEO = Jim Penman (Group CEO)
  • Headquarters located = Mooroolbark, Victoria
  • Franchising Since = 2003
  • Investment = $69,000 plus van 
  • Ongoing Fees = Flat fee structure
  • Training = 3 days Jim’s Group Business Trg, then 3 weeks intensive pool care, followed by 30 day in field work book with support.

Social Media Presence 

  • Facebook = 3.3k followers
  • Instagram = 1.3k followers
  • Twitter =  67 followers
  • LinkedIn = 103 followers

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3.    Swimart - 76 franchises

Pool maintenance, supplies and accessories (mobile and retail shop)

A well-established brand in the Australian market since 1982, the brand is owned and operated by Waterco, a publicly listed (ASX) company. The brand is currently in the transition phase of a rebranding strategy.

The company positions itself as ‘one of largest and most trusted pool and spa brands’ in the market, with a network across Australia and New Zealand. The company states in total a fleet of more than 250 service vans, combined with it’s 76 franchise retail outlets, and stating that ‘Swimart’s store network average turnover is in excess of $1million per year’.

There are three ways to get into the business according to the brand via;

  1. Independent pool shop conversion (they’ll find and negotiate with the owner),
  2. Purchase an existing Swimart shop, and
  3. A mobile pool servicing operation.

It is the only brand amongst this list that notably often refers to supporting both commercial and residential clients, whereas others don’t raise the distinction.

The brand shows good transparency (even without ongoing fee information) in that on their franchise information page, they provide a link to download their franchise info guide. This is rare, as most commonly brands of all types require registration of details to get such a detailed information pack.

  • CEO = Rick Graham (Executive Officer)
  • Headquarters located = Sydney, NSW
  • Franchising Since = 1983
  • Investment = From $45,000 (mobile), from $180,000 - $250,000 (retail store)
  • Ongoing Fees = Flat fees for service and marketing (on request)
  • Training = 23 day intensive training program.

Social Media Presence 

  • Facebook =  4.7k followers
  • Instagram =  1.3k followers
  • Twitter =  13 followers
  • LinkedIn =  276 followers

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4.    Clark Rubber - 60 franchises

Pool and related retailing, with pool maintenance

The longest established brand in the market in this list since 1946, with franchising since 1995.

It’s this longevity we can assume that has the brand refer to itself as ‘Australia’s most recognised franchise business.’. The brand does have a unique position in the market with a diverse product mix across ‘pools, foam and rubber.’ 

It could be assumed that tying in mobile pool servicing with that unique retail component, in addition to the standard pool treatment chemicals, gives it some opportunities that others in the space do not have.

Multi-site franchise ownership is a key point the brand is making in all it’s franchise related marketing. 

In a similar framework to the look of the Swimart offer previously mentioned, the brand has three levels of entry into the business via;

  1. Large format store (complete Clark Rubber range across pool, foam and rubber),
  2. Pool shop (small format store to support mobile pool service vans and retail for pool and spa customers),
  3. Mobile service vans for pool and spa servicing.
  • CEO = Anthony Grice
  • Headquarters located = Bayswater, VIC
  • Franchising Since
  • Investment = From $400,000 (new store) From $159,000 (pool & spa shop) From $29,990 (van mobile service)
  • Ongoing Fees = Flat monthly fees
  • Training = 4-week comprehensive training and orientation

Social Media Presence 

  • Facebook =  24.3k  followers
  • Instagram =  2.8k  followers
  • Twitter =  64  followers
  • LinkedIn =  1k followers

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5. V.I.P Home Service Pool Care - 28 franchises

Mobile pool servicing

The pool care component to the business feels more like a belated add-on at this point. At least that is how the presentation of the opportunity currently appears. The pool care component of the brand has barely any real presence in the market as a service offered by V.I.P.

The business has low transparency in looking to research in detail about becoming a pool care franchise owner. In fact, other than a page on their website where they mention pool care franchise sales, there is no detail on it.

In links about ‘Becoming a franchisee’, pool care does not even have a link to click out of the several options to join the brand. Nor does it have a link mentioned under ‘Services’ to provide to consumers.

It seems the broader home services opportunities are more of a focus for the business at this point.

  • CEO = Bill Vis (Group Founder and Chairman)
  • Headquarters located = Cowandilla, SA
  • Franchising Since = 1979
  • Investment = TBC
  • Ongoing Fees = Flat weekly fee
  • Training = TBC

Social Media Presence 

  • Facebook =   3k followers (Home Services)
  • Instagram =  556  followers (Home Services)
  • Twitter =    N/A
  • LinkedIn =  240 followers (Home Services)

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*Note: And of course, please contact the brands direct for the most up to date information, as while we've done our best to be as accurate as possible, we know some of this information can be a moving target at times unfortunately!