An Australian Franchisee Case Study
Why did you go down the franchise route? And why did you choose your franchise?
My wife Deb and I were looking at having a crack at establishing a business. With this being our first business venture, we did some research and decided that the franchise concept was definitely for us. We loved that there was already a system in place, and all we had to do was establish a store and go in and work the pre-determined system. The odds of succeeding in a franchise network seemed to be infinitely higher than if we had opened our own business.
We chose the Clark Rubber franchise after looking at a few different business primarily due to the style of product that Clark Rubber had to offer. I liked the nature of the products, particularly the pool products, and the fact that it was a business with lots of products for the ‘do-it-yourself’ crowd really appealed to me.
What did you do before taking up a franchise?
Prior to opening up our Clark Rubber store, I was in the police force for 24 years. I’d worked my way up to a middle management position and found that I’d become increasingly bored with the paperwork and wanted to something else as the active side of the police force had passed me by.
Having young children at the time was a key motivator also. Now that I run my own franchise I have the freedom to drop the kids off at school which is something that was unfathomable during my time in the police force.
I’d always loved dealing with people and had aspired to doing something myself which then led me to the Clark Rubber business.
How did you raise the finance?
My wife and I borrowed money to buy in to the business. As Clark Rubber didn’t have any accredited banks at that stage, we drew down on our mortgage and acquired the finances from our existing lender.
What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?
Clark Rubber offers an in-house training package to all new franchisees. The training system is comprised of just over two weeks worth of in-house training at Clark Rubber’s Franchise Support Office in Melbourne.
We got to chat to all of the members of Clark Rubber’s executive team, whilst also visiting a number of suppliers and gaining expertise in the various product categories.
Financial training was also a large part of the induction provided at the head office, learning how to manage all the back-end systems as well as ensuring we’re adept at using the Clark Rubber systems.
What is a typical day for you as a franchisee?
A typical day as a Clark Rubber franchisee starts just before 9am. I’ve got a great team who open the store for me most days, so I can drop the kids off at school and then head in.
Depending on our staffing arrangements for the day, I typically work in the office doing all of the back-office paperwork and management and ensuring the administrative side of the business is taken care of.
I work in the store on the floor when I can and love dealing with the varied customers we get in the store on a day to day basis. I typically work through until 5.30pm and then head home.
What challenges have you faced?
A few years ago I was diagnosed with cancer. At the time, my wife and I had opened a second franchise not long before my diagnosis. With the obvious pressures faced both personally and financially associated with cancer, we had to close our second store at a fairly large financial cost.
Throughout the entire process Clark Rubber’s head-office was incredibly supportive in assisting me manage the closure of my second store, whilst also ensuring that I was doing everything I can to keep my head above the water from a financial point of view.
I really drew on the support of the franchisor in my time of need, which truly justifies the decision to enter in to a franchise system as opposed to tackling a business on our own.
Has becoming a franchisee changed your life, if so how?
Definitely! Having come from a highly disciplined system in the police force, moving in to owning a franchise and working within the franchise system is something that I’m definitely comfortable with.
I’m certainly working harder than I ever have before, but it’s enjoyable. It’s changed my life now that I can take advantage of my kids best years and that quality time with my family that I didn’t previously have so much of.
There’s also a huge sense of personal satisfaction stemming from running something that I own which you can’t put a price on.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of buying their first franchise?
I’d encourage anyone that’s looking at buying their first franchise to first of all ensure that they’re satisfied with the products or services on offer, and the business style.
Seek out other franchisees and ask what they like / dislike about the business. Find a mix of franchisees that are happy and ones that aren’t and have a chat to them, that’s the best way to source a balanced, honest view of the business.
Most importantly, keep an open mind and make sure you’re happy with your decision!
What are your plans for the future?
Our plans for the future at this point is just to increase our year-on-year turnover, and to continue learning and servicing the community as we have been.
Would you do it again?
Without hesitation. I’ve had my ups and downs but I wouldn’t change anything, I’ve had a good ride.
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