Miguel Macias and his wife, Melissa, purchased their America’s Swimming Pool Company franchise in Reno, NV in 2016. Prior to opening his franchise, Miguel served as a Naval Supply and Logistics Officer as well as a Human Resources Officer. Franchise Business Review asked Miguel to share his franchising experience as part of our special Veteran to Franchisee series leading up to Veteran’s Day.
How is it that you entered franchising?
A friend of mine who owned an America’s Swimming Pool Company talked to me about his experience and the benefits of a franchise. After learning how America’s Swimming Pool Company ran the business, the thorough education they provide, and the tremendous support they offer, plus their veteran’s program, I was sold! Also being a military man, I was used to making plans of action and executing them so the fact that a franchise entails following an operations plan to be successfully appealed to me.
What have you found particularly beneficial about being a franchisee? America’s Swimming Pool Company has a very comprehensive and thorough operations plan. They cover just about anything you need to get started and if you have questions, they have an awesome technical support team you can rely on. They also assigned a “coach” to me during my first ten weeks of business to help me get going. The guidance and help were amazing!
How has your military training helped with running your business?
In the Navy, I learned decision making and attention to detail. These principles were ingrained in me since the beginning of my naval career. Our clients greatly appreciate our attention to detail. As an Officer, I also had to make decisions with incomplete information and to trust my decision. I may have had to make corrections, but the important part was that I made the decision and kept the ship moving forward. You have to do the same in business.
What is it that you like best about owning your franchise?
It is very rewarding to see my business grow as a direct result of my efforts. I’m my own boss and the decisions I make directly affect my business and employees. I like having that freedom and responsibility. I also like being in control of my time.
What steps should people considering purchasing a franchise take?
I suggest they carefully look at the franchise’s operations plans and learn about what kind of support they will receive as an owner such as marketing, website, and budgeting.
What is the first year in business-like?
Get ready to be stretched! Be flexible and be quick to adapt. Initially, the days will be long, but things will get easier. Know your operations plan and if you can, get a successful franchisee in the system to be your mentor so you can bounce things off them and get advice.
What is work/life balance like?
Things are a bit easier now as I’m more established and have finally found my rhythm. At first, I was working 12 to 16 hour days servicing pools and fielding phone calls. Things got busy for me really quick! After two months in business, I had to hire two employees and purchase a second truck to cover all the pools we had to service. Once my employees were ready to go out on their own, my time was freed up significantly. I still have lots of work, but it mainly involves engaging new clients and administrative tasks. I am now able to play tennis with my son after his tennis lessons, spend time with the family, and even play golf once in a while.
What is the most challenging aspect of being a franchisee?
As an owner, the buck stops with you so to speak. You are the decision-maker. It’s a lot of responsibility. And when things go south, it’s all on you to fix the situation. That said, my franchisor provides much guidance and support, but the results of whatever actions my employees and I make fall on my shoulders.
Can you provide an example of the support you received from your franchisor that had a significant impact on your business?
America’s Swimming Pool Company provided us with a 10-week start-up plan. We would meet once a week over the phone to plan the week and discuss a strategy to build the business. These meetings were very beneficial as I was able to discuss issues I had encountered and was provided much-needed guidance. The results were amazing! Halfway through the 10 weeks, I had to cut the meetings short because I had to attend to new clients!
What kind of support do you get from fellow franchisees?
I bounce things off other franchise owners and they are helpful. We have a Facebook group where we all share ideas and issues. It helps me learn from what others are experiencing.
Would you share your 2015 and projected 2016 gross revenue?
I opened for business in April 2016 and as of September 2016, our gross revenue is $78,000. Not too shabby for our first six months of business. I expect to at least double that next year.
Did you start looking for a franchise while on active duty?
I started looking for career options about a year before retirement. I looked at the VetFran website and attended career fairs. My command was very supportive of me taking time off to find my new career. I didn’t settle on America’s Swimming Pool Company until I was already retired.
How did you fund your franchise?
I applied to America’s Swimming Pool Company Veteran’s Program where they waive the franchise fee for a deserving veteran each year. I am grateful that they selected me! I funded the other start-up costs using my IRA via rollovers for Business Start-ups.
About the Author:
As the Editorial Director at Franchise Business Review, Emma Pearson reports regularly on today’s top franchise opportunities and the latest trends in franchising. She also oversees Franchise Business Review’s research and the publishing of FBR’s annual Top Franchises Guide, Top Low Cost Franchises Guide, and many other specialty franchise reports.