Smart Pool Services Founder/CEO Fraser Ramseyer
Smart Pool Services Founder/CEO Fraser Ramseyer

The consolidation trend in the pool/spa service and repair segment continues with the entry of an industry newcomer.

Smart Pool Services, based in Austin, Texas, was formed with the intention of building a national network by acquiring existing service companies. It was founded by Fraser Ramseyer, who previously held a management spot with Pathway Vet Alliance, a healthcare provider with a similar business plan.

The company is backed by a number of private investors through Storr Capital, a private equity company founded by Ramseyer specifically to support Smart Pool Services (SPS).

The company has made its first two acquisition, both in the Austin area. The first was Crystal Clear Pools & Spas, based in Austin and founded 36 years ago by Jimmy Harvey. Harvey will continue with SPS as its partner, Texas operations. His team will remain as well, the company said.

SPS also added Lakeway, Texas service firm Tropical Scapes. Its principal, Ken Ford, now serves as SPS’s territory leader for Lakeway.

At least for the time being, the new company is focused on Sunbelt expansion. In addition to the Austin locations, it was negotiating with company owners in Las Vegas, Arizona, and at least two firms in other areas in Texas.

After selling to SPS, company owners are encouraged to remain, as Harvey and Ford have. “Nobody knows how to run a pool company quite like the founder,” said Lucas Dorrell, who heads the company’s business development. “If they managed to grow a really strong brand in a market ... you want the founder and the lead person to stay on.”

As SPS grows, it will treat its larger operations, like Crystal Clear, as hubs charged with expanding the territory. These larger locations often will retain their branding, while some of the smaller companies may adopt the names of their area hubs, Dorrell said.

SPS will then support its branches by handling administrative matters such as hiring, marketing, payroll, insurance, accounting, fleet management, employee training and benefits. It also touts its purchasing power as a way for small companies to combat supply-line shortages and price hikes.

Company owners who sell to SPS have the option of rolling some of their earnings back into SPS to become part owner, Dorrell said.

Management aspires to grow the company into one of the top service providers in the industry, Dorrell said. It currently hopes to have 20 locations within a year, but the goal keeps increasing, he added.