McKnight Dives into Swim Business Venture

Posted: Sunday, August 26, 2012 4:00 am

Rick McKnight was looking for a career change and said going into business for himself was something he wanted to investigate.

He worked in the environmental programs area for the East Texas Council of Governments for years and was ready to see what opportunities might be available. Mc-Knight started doing research on his own into possible ventures when he enrolled in the eight week small business startup course offered by the Kilgore College Small Business Development Center this spring.

McKnight did not waste any time putting what he learned in the course to use in his own business. On July 1 he became the owner of a Longview-based franchise of America’s Swimming Pool Co.

“This is a good fit and a good opportunity for me,” he said.

Of the business startup course, McKnight said he would seriously recommend it to anyone contemplating going into business for themselves.

“I took a lot from it,” he said. “I was in the middle of the class when I found the franchise.”

Being in the class helped him know the right questions to ask as he investigated the opportunity.

“It was very interactive where we could ask questions about everything from marketing and bookkeeping the insurance issues,” McKnight said. He also appreciated the fact he was in an environment with others in the same situation he was in — they were either considering their own business or were in the early stages of kicking one off.

“Others in the class would ask questions you didn’t think of and that was helpful,” Mc-Knight said. “He also likes the fact that people who have taken the class can call on resources at the Kilgore College Small Business Development Center.

“I got a lot of good contacts, names of people that can help along the way,” he said. “The course was definitely worth the investment — I got a lot of bang for my buck.”

The franchise that Mc-Knight settled on offered the training he needed to learn the basics for entering his own business. America’s Swimming Pool Co. is based in Macon, Ga., and was established in 2001.

The firm offers swimming pool maintenance and repair services and provided training at the company’s headquarters.

The company had a good reputation and focuses on providing customers quality service at competitive prices. America’s Swimming Pool Co. in now in 93 areas in nine Southeast states serving more than 175 states.

“I’m starting from scratch doing everything myself — the sales, marketing, cleaning and maintenance — I wear all those hats,” he said.