Q&A with Lee Goodman, Multi-Unit Franchisee of Pinch a Penny Pool Patio Spa
Name: Lee Goodman
Title: Owner, multi-unit franchisee
Brand: Pinch a Penny Pool Patio Spa
Years in franchising: 7
Why did you choose to franchise with a service brand?
When I began to look at owning my own business, I knew I wanted to do something that was need-based. Coming from a longstanding career in hospital administration where we were providing vital medical services to patients, this was very important to me as I transitioned out of the corporate world. I started to look at my surroundings to find a business niche I knew would be recession-proof and have the ability to sustain me over the long haul. Plus, I felt that a service-focused concept would afford me the lifestyle I wanted for myself.
How did you choose the sector and brand you did?
I live in Sarasota, Florida, where swimming pools are a very common feature that come with many homes. Being a pool owner myself, I knew firsthand all it takes to care for and properly maintain a pool year-round, so I saw a lot of growth opportunity. Initially, I was going to buy my own pool route, but when I learned about the franchise opportunity with Pinch A Penny, becoming a franchisee was a no-brainer. Pinch A Penny is a reputable and trusted company throughout Florida and beyond. When I started to go through the process of becoming a franchisee, I was blown away at the level of support and resources that became available to me. The company brings a lot of things to the table that other franchises simply don’t. The biggest one for me was all the support and guidance I received from the team at the home office. They treat you like their extended family. For example, I have the direct phone numbers of the CEO and COO saved in my phone, and I know I can call them at any time and they’ll be there to help me with whatever I need. Not only that, but Pinch A Penny franchises hold their value and go up in value each year because more and more people are building pools, and those pools need our services. There’s great security that comes with that fact, and Pinch A Penny has the extensive track record of success to prove it.
What different skill sets are required for service brand franchising?
Becoming a franchisee of a service brand is like learning a new trade. You have to have mechanical ability, and you definitely have to have some sales ability because in a way you’re selling yourself. This is why having the support of a franchisor can be so beneficial, especially if you’re investing in a service concept that you don’t have previous experience in. There has to be a willingness to learn and get the knowledge base to effectively sell yourself, the services you’re offering, and why your company is the best at what it does. The education Pinch A Penny provides new franchisees was another big selling point for me. Coming from a hospital administration background, I didn’t have prior pool knowledge beyond what I knew about my own pool. Having access to best-in-class education and training was invaluable to me as I started this new venture.
What are the advantages to choosing a service brand?
Beyond the recession-resistant qualities that many service brands have, you’re given the opportunity to go out and “do.” For someone like me who likes to work with their hands, getting out there and interacting with my customers and employees brings a lot of joy to my life. There’s a sense of freedom that comes with operating a service-based franchise because you don’t have be stuck inside of a restaurant or other brick-and-mortar location – unless you want to. Additionally, you have more control over when you work and when you don’t. Being a Pinch A Penny franchisee has given me the best work/life balance I’ve ever had.
How does having a service brand benefit/complement your other brands?
Pinch A Penny is my only brand, but the amazing thing about its business model is that it’s like having three businesses in one. We have a retail store where we sell pool chemicals, supplies, and other outdoor equipment. We also offer maintenance services like water testing and pool cleanings, as well as repairs. Plus, there’s opportunity to grow because Pinch A Penny has a variety of ancillary outdoor services that can be built into the foundational retail-maintenance-repair pool business. These include pool renovations, power washing, landscape lighting, mosquito misting, and more. While I haven’t built all of these options into my current offering, with most other concepts you would have to invest in additional brands to diversify and offer what Pinch A Penny provides under one umbrella. The business model helps simplify and streamline diversification and allows me to grow my business gradually without creating unnecessary complications.
What would you recommend to anyone considering a service brand?
First, check out what you’re getting into and know the steps you’ll need to take before diving in – for example, understanding if you’re going to need to get a contractor license. Second, be sure to talk to people who are actually doing the work and spend time with them to get a better grasp on the ins and outs of the business and all it requires. Franchising is a terrific avenue to achieve business ownership, but some franchisees use their franchisor as a crutch or scapegoat if their business isn’t doing well. It’s important to remember that while a franchisor’s job is to support you and set you up for success, at the end of the day the business is yours and yours alone, and the actual franchise operator is what makes all the difference.
How have you benefited from Pinch A Penny’s multiple revenue streams?
While the revenue streams can be considered separate, they actually all work together and build on top of one another. For example, the proprietary chemicals we sell in our retail stores are the same ones we use to service the pools we help to maintain; and then the people from the pool service side contribute to the repairs and retail store. Far beyond the multi-pronged business model, having the reputation of Pinch A Penny behind me where there’s a system of 250+ other stores, a manufacturing facility, and over 45 years of expertise, it buys me a lot of goodwill when I’m growing my business.
What offerings does Pinch A Penny allow its franchisees to diversify with?
There are several. We integrated leak detection in our offering mix, but there are other owners who offer power washing, landscape lighting, pool installations, and more. You get the opportunity to build into your business model what makes the most sense for your bottom line and for your community’s needs. The beauty of it is that you can choose to slowly build in these additional offerings without spreading yourself too thin.
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