We had the good fortune of connecting with Saro Hagobian and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Saro, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I come from a family of entrepreneurs. Even though everyone in my family who owns and runs a small business did start out working for someone else prior to going off on their own, They all eventually decided that they wanted to venture off on their own and be in full control of their future. With that said, I made the decision to leave the restaurant industry and switch gears into a profession that would allow me to: A) Be my own boss, B) Allow me to work a Monday-Friday schedule without having to work nights and weekends ever again! At the time, I was in my mid 20’s and was picturing my life in 10 years. I asked my self: Do I want to get married? Yes. Do I want my own family? Yes. That was it for me. I knew that if I stayed in the restaurant industry, I would not be able to achieve my two main objectives, even though it meant taking a massive pay cut to start. I tool a leap of faith, bought my first pool route, gave my employer a 2 week notice and the rest is history. Fast forward to today, 13 plus years later, married with one boy and another on the way, I would have to say this move was the best decision of my life.
What should our readers know about your business?
Well, this is a pretty loaded question, so I will do my best to touch on all points. I started out on my own, back in 2007, knowing I wanted to be self employed and have weekends and nights off. I purchased a small service route of about 65 accounts and was able to grow that to 155 within a years time. In the first 2 years, I wanted to quit about 100 times. I had minimal training and kind of figured it all out on my own. Then the Great Recession hit. I lost 60 accounts in one summer. I lost my brand new home and I lost my confidence. I ended up selling off all of my accounts and moved to North Dakota to work in the oil fields with my good buddy Chris. He had taken a job up there a few months prior. He called me one day and said that the money was great! Talk about timing. My business had gone to hell, I lost my house and I was dating a chic I really did not like that much. If there is any time to move to N. Dakota, the time was now! So I loaded my truck up and made the 27 hour trek from Phoenix to N.D. Pool Business One, Me zero My stint in ND lasted about 18 months. It was way to cold! Plus I went from making a lot to not that much. At least not enough to stick around. I started looking for jobs as a pool tech in Phoenix. In March of 2013, I was offered a position at a local pool company in Tempe AZ. I snatched it right up and got the hell out of the cold. About a year later, I had jumped to another company and finally realized, I need to go back out on my own. I scraped up and borrowed 25K dollars from a number of different high interest sources and purchased another route. From there, ,I knew that I needed to work for myself and was the happiest I had been in a long while. Within a couple years, I was able to get to about 54 pool accounts. Not too shabby. I was the pool guy, repair guy, receptionist, billing department and so on. My plate was quite full! Then, I get the call from my good buddy Chris. Him and his wife were ready to move back to Phoenix after spending 5 plus years in ND. He was not sure what he was going to do as far as work went. He contacted me when he was in town and presented an idea that I surely was interested in. He wanted to take the leap and jump into the pool industry. He knew I had been in it for a while. He had the work ethic and ability to pick things up quickly. We struck a deal, signed on the dotted line and that is when Poolside became an LLC. When Chris joined the company, I had 54 service accounts. I was content, making decent money and was not really motivated in scaling up. Apparently he was. So, we joined forces in April of 2016 and now, we have over 280 service accounts. Moral of this story is, I needed a little help and motivation. I needed to be hungry again. Chris and I work great together. We got here by having a similar vision for the company. And, we are not afraid to give it everything. There is much more to this story, but I gotta move onto the next question. Happy to elaborate more if need be.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Okay, so we are in a fantasy world where the Corona Virus ceases to exist? Here we go. I Love downtown Phoenix. I spent about 3 years living down there as a single dude, recently out of a 2 plus year relationship and finding myself essentially living the single life in my early 30’s. Yes, I just described one of the best times of my life. When friends would visit from other parts of the country, They could count on visiting a handful of local bars with in walking distance to my studio apartment. I love live music as much as I loved living downtown. I would take all of out of town guests to Copper Blues Rock Kitchen They would have a bunch of different cover bands perform on the weekends. They were all pretty good too. After a couple of drinks, we would usually wander over to a place called The Rose and Crown. This was a local English bar that I grew to love. The vibe was great, food and drinks were better. It had a massive patio in the front and it was just a great place to be, If it was a late night, wee would end up at Seamus McCaffereys, a very old Irish bar in the heart of Downtown. It has been there a long long time. They too would have live music, but way louder. At the time, if I was not watching bands perform, I was doing the performing. I was in an awesome cover band called Dayweather. My bandmates are and still are like my brothers. We would perform all over town, stay out late and enjoy music and life. I played the drums by the way,
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There isn’t ONE person, group, mentor, coach or book that has helped me get to where I am today. It is all of them! To really break it down, it really all started at a young age for me. I come from a hungry and driven family. My parents, first and foremost, instilled the “go getter” attitude in me at a very young age. Both parents worked so when I would get released from school, I would go to my dads photography studio and he would have me do certain tasks. I started out by emptying the garbage, sweeping the floors, dusting the display cases, organizing the rolls of film and so on. I was building that work ethic at such a young age and I did not even know it! I always took pride in ANY type of work that I did. I wanted to be the best at whatever task was thrown my way. With such a solid base, I took what I was taught and expanded on it through work experience, networking, coaching, support from friends and most importantly support from my wife. I am a lucky guy.
Other: Service Requests: https://clienthub.getjobber.com/client_hubs/76679015-ed15-4fac-8281-ac51abfa9c5b/public/work_request/new?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=gmb-listing
1st photo Julio @Ridgeline Marketing Not sure who the other ones were takin by. I can have more photos to you once I get them from Julio We had a photo shoot last week, waiting on edited images