iRobot Is Sweeping Up Profits

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- My wife and I both work, leaving little time (or desire) to clean the wood floors, vacuum the carpets or mow the lawn.

After adding three young sons and a 100-pound shedding machine known as Sam, our Yellow Lab, it's no surprise that my wife and I haven't gone to the theater to see a non-G rated movie probably since before the Y2K scare.

Floors don't care if you're busy or not, they need to be kept clean. Even if you don't have a lawn, you can believe me when I say they keep growing regardless of your enthusiasm to mow.

Most of the time I don't really mind cutting our lawn. I put on my pair of Bose noise-canceling headphones while holding a cold beverage in one hand and steering my Craftsman lawn tractor with the other. It's easy to know when I'm mowing because you can simultaneously hear the sound of a tractor and one remarkably out-of-tune singing operator, according to my wife and neighbors.

Most of the time isn't all the time, and once in a while the lawn mowing truly gets in the way. It's not easy finding a suitable lawn service that can fit you in right away on an on-call basis. I found out today that iRobot ( IRBT) may have the solution I'm seek.

First, allow me to explain why I started looking at iRobot again.

Like most people, I knew about the round robot vacuum cleaners, and for the most part I thought they were expensive gimmicks. Our solution to carpets and floors was hiring a cleaning service to come in. We tried every other week and weekly schedules, and it helps, but we're still cleaning almost every day.

About two weeks ago, my wife brings home a cheap robot vacuum, and I won't say my eyes didn't roll a little bit, but after 17 years of marriage, you can bet I didn't say a word. I didn't need to; within a few days it was returned.

While walking through Sam's Club I spotted a pallet full of iRobot Roombas for $300 each. I took a picture of it with the price so I would remember to learn about it online. A family friend bought one about a year ago, and I asked what he still had it and liked it. He said they liked it, and I'm planning on making another trip to Sam's to give it a try.

In the process, I discovered iRobot makes robot lawn mowers and recently launched a floor mopping robot called Braava. I'm not sure why they don't also make commercial grade products, albeit it appears when they do, iRobot could have a substantial boost to their earnings. Restaurants and taverns would love to have robots cleaning the floors after closing each day.

I can't help but think that if iRobot made commercial grade products they would sell well. For businesses, it's not a matter of convenience but economics. iRobot already makes defense products for the military, so it's safe to assume they know how to make industrial strength products.

It certainly makes the case that iRobot has an incredible amount of growth potential, and we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg. At $32.55 a share, the stock is 32 times the forward earnings estimate. I consider anything above 20 to be a rich premium, and if this was a fad, I would take a pass. However, it's a mistake to underestimate people's desire to have machines do as much work as possible.

Unless iRobot loses its leadership position, investors should view price dips as purchase opportunities. Investors should also expect earnings to catch up to the share price. You may not see the Jetson's Rosie at Sam's Club anytime soon, but Braava and Roomba are a marvellous start.

At the time of publication the author had no position in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.
Robert Weinstein is an active trader focusing on the psychological importance of risk mitigation, emotion and financial behavior of market participants. Robert co-founded the investing blog StockSaints, where he writes a journal about his trading activity and experiences.

In addition to TheStreet, Robert also contributes to Real Money Pro, providing real-time trading ideas for stocks, options and futures.

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