photography by Marc Ridel
Tiffiny Consoli wasn’t looking to go into the pool business. She was just looking to own a business, any business, that made sense.
“I didn’t have one thing I was particularity good at or knew I wanted to make bagels every day,” she says. “It wasn’t like that. I wanted to have a business.”
Since she wasn’t sure where she wanted to focus her entrepreneurial drive, Consoli turned to franchising.
“What I learned about franchising is they offer a lot of the structure and support you need to be successful quickly,” she says. “They’re going to do a lot of the hard work behind the scenes making sure you have the right technology to deliver and do a good job, good strong marketing so you can get your name out there quick and people will recognize you.”
After 13 years working in retail, Consoli launched her own Pool Scouts franchise in 2016. She was familiar with the Mosquito Joe brand, which falls under the Buzz Franchise Brands company. When Buzz started the Pool Scouts franchise brand, she saw her opportunity. “I thought they were a great organization and I realized it was great industry to be in,” Consoli says. “I love to be outside; I [understand] good customer service and felt like this is something I could learn.”
Having no experience in the pool industry, Consoli had a steep learning curve, which she helped overcome with training from Pool Scouts and hiring experienced technicians. She’s found it to be a fun challenge.
“Mostly at this point I’m in the office,” she says. “When we got started, of course, I was in the field quite a bit doing openings while we were still trying to get our team together and hire the right folks. Now I go out in the field as needed to work with my techs, but they’re really running the show out there.”
Fortunately, much of her business and retail skills translate to running Pool Scouts.
“A lot of things are very different from a technical and a hands-on standpoint, but in terms of customer service, business savvy, there are things that correlate,” Consoli says. “You have to budget, you have revenue and expenses and you have to keep customers happy and employees happy. The learning curve came with understanding pumps, filters, chemistry and all that. It’s been really fun to learn something new, and have a technical and hands-on approach to things. I’ve enjoyed that aspect of it.”
Two things surprised her about running her own pool service company. The first is a common refrain among most small business owners.
“I took for granted the amount of time to be able to do all aspects of the business,” Consoli says. “I can spend a whole day or 10 or 12 hours just taking care of customers and our employees, the operations part, but it doesn’t leave me much time for the back office part of it.”
The second was her expectations of owning and caring for a pool.
“Every backyard we walk into is different; every situation is different,” Consoli says. “That was the most surprising to me. ‘Oh, it’s cleaning a few pools, you learn it and you go from there,’ but it’s more challenging and there’s a lot more that goes into it.”
She says her employees and the industry have embraced and supported her as she’s completed her first year in August. Her Pool Scouts franchise serviced 250 customers in that timeframe.
“People who get into the business they stay because they’ve learned a trade that nobody else knows,” Consoli says. “I have been warmly welcomed into the industry. I have been really happy and pleased with how great the people are in the industry — it’s been a great experience. I’m learning a ton, and I think it’s a great industry to work in.”