Selling Clean Water
In Southern Africa, access to clean drinking water is becoming a luxury. This is why over the past 25 years several water-purification franchises have succesfully expanded their footprint across the region.
Key players and Franchising Association of South Africa (FASA) members include H2O International, Perfect Water and Oasis Water. Tony Marchesini, managing director of H2O International, says that the growth in the industry has been spurred by several key factors.
“There is a greater demand for clean water by both big business and the consumer. People are also becoming more health conscious, so they are looking at the quality of their water more closely. But our business is lucrative on many different fronts, from the supply of water coolers to the refilling of water bottles and water treatment for big business. There are different income streams, and it’s up to the franchisee and their sales team to delve into the needs of the local community.”
Offering alternatives to bottled water
Marchesini says that while H2O International’s primary target market is individuals who are health and fitness conscious, its customer base has grown over the years. “Our products are also used widely in the hospitality industry, offices, light commercial businesses and factories. We’ve responded to the increasingly questionable quality of our municipal water supply and allowed customers to purchase water in their own refillable containers.”
Oasis Water director Naas du Preez says that they’ve seen growth in several areas of their business. “We refill water into existing containers at 300-plus stores. This is a value-for-money solution for customers and costs a fraction of the price of buying bottled water. We have also seen growth in demand for water coolers and office dispensers. This has shifted from being exclusive to corporates and businesses to include home and home offices.”
Getting your feet wet
Du Preez says that the start-up costs for a water-purification franchise are lower than those of a franchise restaurant, for example, but the standard and quality of service are high. “We do not cut corners in our purification and opt for state-of-the-art equipment,” he explains.