Pool/spa service franchise Pool Scouts reported substantial growth in 2018, along with an extended education program to train their franchisees to care for pools and run a business.

The Virginia Beach, Va.-based company, which was established in 2016 by the exterminator franchise Buzz Franchise Brands, said in 2018 it doubled both client count and sales income across its various operations over 2017. Now with 17 franchisees in eight states, the company served 2,400 clients – 2.3 times what it had in 2017. While the company didn’t name its specific sales revenue, it said that 2018’s was 2.6 times higher than the previous year.

The company ended the year by signing with its 16th and 17th franchisees. Pool Scouts of Naples North (Fla.) opened in autumn, while Pool Scouts of Northern Virginia is scheduled to open in spring of 2019.

The company said it is exploring prospects in New York and New Jersey, as well as Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, N.C., Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Phoenix, and three cities in Florida - Jacksonville, Tampa and West Palm Beach. It has set a goal of signing 45 franchisees and selling 100 territories in 2019.

“We’ve identified a number of key markets where a service like ours is in high demand, and we look forward to finding qualified owners in those markets while closing out 2018 and entering the New Year,” said the company’s president, Michael Wagner.

The company also recently revamped its training to provide more hands-on instruction and technical support. The company has developed a nine-day course for new franchisees, to cover both the business and technical aspects of running a service company. The professionals travel to Virginia Beach and gain hands-on experience in the backyards of local Pool Scouts customers.

“These are real jobs out in the field working on real pools,” said Pool Scouts Director of Operations Todd Crowe.

This combines with in-office training and preparatory education that takes place from their own office, Crowe said. After the nine-day course, Pool Scouts will also send members of the operations team to visit new franchisees to help answer questions and work on strategies.