Melinda and Matthew Wyper can look back on their last 33 months with immense satisfaction. This go-ahead couple saw off the challenges of starting a business in lockdown and are now primed and pumped for expansion.
“It’s been terrific, rewarding financially and personally, and the people we deal with are like a part of the family,” says Melinda.
The couple decided the time was right to fulfil their dreams of business ownership. They approached Poolwerx about buying a mobile franchise in January 2020.
They were ready to purchase an area from another franchise partner duo who had built up an impressive five territories and were ready to scale down.
Spotting the growth potential
The couple could see there was real potential to take on a territory which had no competitors in the area.
Despite the threat of Covid and lockdowns, the pair decided to go ahead and signed up to the business.
“There was so much uncertainty everywhere,” says Melinda. “We had been thinking for a while we would do this, and now was as good a time as any. The Poolwerx values and culture aligned with ours and we knew we would get the support we needed. The training and culture is a cut above and Poolwerx supports growth.”
Matthew, a regional veterinary sales manager, and Melinda, a bookkeeper, had looked at other businesses but saw Poolwerx had the biggest opportunities for franchise partner expansion.
And they were loyal customers of the pool maintenance brand themselves!
“When we put our pool in in 2007, the builder advised us to go and see Poolwerx and we’ve been there from day one. We never went anywhere else.”
Poolwerx Rising Star’s 150% growth
Melinda and Matt started running Poolwerx Mill Park early July 2020 and within a week found themselves in lockdown.
“In the first three months we really thought we could have been the most shortlived franchise ever!” Melinda jokes. However once Matthew was able to get on the road and service pools the business escalated and was exceeding their expectations.
“We had been conservative, expecting it to be initially challenging, and projected figures for the first three years. We thought we would break even but we smashed it out of the park – 150 per cent growth through lockdown!
“We had 40 regular clients and our goal was 80 to 100 within 12 months – we got to 80 within nine months. Everything has been word of mouth, we’ve grown through referrals.”
Award winners two years running
Rather modestly Melinda reveals the pair won the Poolwerx Rising Star of the Year award for 2021 – and 2022.
“It is nice to have the recognition. We got the SPASA (Swimming Pool And Spa Association) award for rising star last year too!” she says.
“Our growth outstripped what we thought possible – and we had bullish targets. We already hit the 22/23 budget at the end of February,” she reveals.
Melinda adds the couple is now poised to buy a Poolwerx store. They are close to signing a deal for a brand new site, as the first, exciting step towards their bigger goal.
“Our territory is big enough for two, maybe three, stores. Once we have one store up and running, we’ll scope to do another. Then look at expanding into other territories.”
Poolwerx supports growth
The experienced and professional support on offer at Poolwerx was vital as Melinda and Matthew looked to take that next big step.
“I would give Poolwerx 10 out of 10 for the due diligence they do on a site. There was one site we really wanted but the rent was double what we wanted to pay. We kept number crunching to try and make it work.
“We worked with our local business development manager (BDM) but in the end he told us he couldn’t back us to take this further because the rent was just too expensive.
“He said ‘we have to look after people, we work together as partners’.”
“I respect them for that. It’s easy to say ‘Go ahead. We can tick off our job and open another store”. But if it failed, nobody wins,” says Melinda.
At Poolwerx, growth is always a mutual discussion between the support team and the franchise partner. One of the brand’s four key values is ‘dare to succeed’.
“Our BDM in particular is always looking for opportunities. Whether you have one van, one store or multiples, the team is looking out for you.”