There’s another way to become a pool and spa maintenance professional: Buy a franchise.

There are a number of reasons to consider going this route.

Franchisors put newcomers through a comprehensive training program at their corporate headquarters where they receive hands-on experience under the tutelage of industry pros, as well as class instruction on how to operate a profitable business.

At the end of the training, you might earn an important industry certification. Those who graduate from the America’s Swimming Pool Co., the industry largest franchisor, attain a Certified Pool Operator designation from the National Swimming Pool Foundation. (Franchise or not, you really should become accredited through the NSPF or the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals. In some locations, it might even be mandatory.)

While you’ll still have to develop your own routes, franchisors will provide the marketing support needed to attract customers. This can be in the form of SEO services, mailers and print and broadcast advertisements.

Some also provide proprietary software programs to help you track inventory, calculate dosages, and log chemical readings, among other day-to-day tasks. A suite of back-office services to handle customer correspondences and billing also may be available.

Add to that professional branding and company-issued apparel, and you can see why franchises are an attractive model.

Before buying in, however, consider not only the upfront cost but any ongoing fees.