Pimp My Cable: Founder Michael Schwab in Interview
Three new Aquaparks in Germany, plus a new approach to the topic of sustainability. Founder Michael Schwab dishes the dirt on what his company has been up to.
We reach this likeable Austrian in his office near Graz. As always, Michael is on time and ready to go. Let’s get to it!
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Hi Michael, can you quickly introduce yourself and Pimp My Cable?
I’d love to. I’m Michael, one of the founders of Pimp My Cable. We come from beautiful Styria, in the south of Austria. I studied manufacturing science and my colleague Eric, who founded the company with me, studied architecture. So we both come from a technical background, and have also been passionate wakeboarders for over ten years. With PMC we’ve turned our hobby into our job.
We first heard about you through your cooperation with Shape Obstacles. Tell us a little bit about your start in the industry.
Originally we got started with the idea of building a platform that could be used to exchange obstacles between cable parks. That led to us building our own obstacles, which eventually resulted in a partnership with Markus Katzengruber and Shape Obstacles. At this point we began offering new as well as used obstacles for rental. Now we offer this rental option for all of Europe.
How does your rental service work? Is it like leasing a car?
There are two options. The first is purely rental. For a new feature, the minimum rental period is three years. Any feature in our catalog can be rented this way. After three years, the renter has the option either to return the feature, or to buy it by paying the remaining value. If, however, the customer is ready for a different feature after three years, they can return the used feature and rent a new one.
Interesting. What’s a normal amount of remaining value for a feature after three years?
Let’s take Wakepark Goitzsche as an example. They rented a double kinked stepdown—that’s a downrail with a step in the middle and two kickers on the side—with the option to buy at the end. The yearly rental rate was €3,500. After three years, the residual value of the feature will be €8,000. Six months before the rental contract expires, they’ll be able to decide if they want to buy the feature or not.
You also offer your own aquaparks for sale. How did that come about?
In our conversations with park owners, the topic of aquaparks has become more and more present since around 2017. So in 2018 we decided to build our own PMC aquaparks. Wakeparks offer ideal conditions for waterparks, because usually the infrastructure is already in place.
“A waterpark and a cable park can be combined easily. At the end of the day, waterparks offer an additional source of income that can be used to buy—or rent—new obstacles.”
Which target groups can you tap into with an aquapark?
Most of all, new target groups, since waterparks are a great first point of contact. Visitors often come to the aquapark, then see the wakepark in the background and want try the next step—that is, wakeboarding. We see this transfer happen often. It’s a great introduction as well as added value for the whole family. The little kids have something to do while their parents go wakeboarding.
You’ve just added two new locations. Tell us about them.
We’re very proud of our projects this year. In total we’ve built three big PMC waterparks in Germany. There’s one custom-made aquapark at Brombachsee, a big park in Goitzsche, and an additional one is currently being built at Wakepark Wolfsburg.
What are the advantages for your clients for being supplied with waterparks as well as wakepark features from a single source?
We can offer our clients the full package. On the one hand, we offer an array of rental options for obstacles and can make great offers in combination with aquaparks. For all aquapark sales we can also offer our customers individual features on top. This total package is what makes us stand out. In addition, our clients value our experience, and the fact that we come from the scene and we’re familiar with the problems that park owners face.
For example, which features might come “on top”?
That depends on the size of the aquapark. Even with a “Small” model you get an extra feature—it goes from an ollie barrier up to a rail, depending on the size of the park. We’re very flexible and open to the wishes of our customers. It happens that when a customer buys an aquapark, we’ll include team series features on top for a year’s rental. By the way, things are definitely going to continue with Shape Obstacles, and so there will definitely still be the possibility of receiving a free Shape Obstacle when buying an aquapark in the future. But I don’t want to reveal too much about this yet.
What does a PMC aquapark cost?
That depends entirely on the size. They start at around €35,000. Our biggest park, with over 2,000 square meters of playing surface and a capacity for 250 people, costs around €120,000. Brombachsee is an intersting example, because they’ve settled for a multi-year process. They started with a customized park between the small and medium size, and we’re planning to expand it on a yearly basis. We’re very excited about that.
“The ongoing expansion of the aquapark at Brombachsee will be financed from the income produced by the existing layout.”
What sets the aquaparks from PMC apart?
On the one hand, as I already pointed out, we can create customized packages for our customers. Our clients also value our quick service and our easy availability. On the other hand, sustainability is a very important topic for us. We’re committed to increasing the lifespan of our parks by using more durable materials, additional weld seams and more D-Rings.
“Material strength is primarily about grams per square meter, and we’re already at over 1100 g/m² there—we’re already using this thickness now.”
We are currently conducting onsite research with the Joanneum University of Applied Sciences for Production Sciences and have scientific support on the topic of sustainability. As a company, we want to actively reduce our CO2 footprint. Our core focus here is on regional production, increased product life, and up- as well as down-cycling of the aquaparks.
Regional production—does that mean that you’re currently producing in Austria?
Not yet at this time. We have two production partners. One of them is in Europe and we would like to expand this more intensively so that everything from the raw material to the end product can be produced regionally within a radius of a few hundred kilometers. When one of our parks reaches the end of its service life, our customers have the possibility to return the park to us. We put the materials to new use, and the customer gets a discount on their next park.
Michael, we understand you’ve got a promotion that you’d like to tell our readers about.
That’s right. Until October 30, 2022 we are offering our customers either 10% off the catalog price or a free obstacle, depending on the aquapark size. For aquapark orders of “Large” or larger, we’re also offering free setup support, as well as a drone shoot that the parks can then use for their marketing.
|PMC Waterfunpark Small||21×20 m||Shape Ollie Barrier|
|PMC Waterfunpark Medium||30×21 m||Shape Vulcano Kicker|
|PMC Waterfunpark Large||30×30 m||Shape Straight Rail|
|PMC Waterfunpark X-Large||72×20 m||Shape Elephant Box|
Customer feedback from Wakepark Brombachsee:
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