Franchise opportunities

Exclusive Interview: Mina Moussa, Gutter-Vac, Manningham

An Australian Franchisee Case Study

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Name: Mina Moussa
Melbourne, VIC
Gutter-Vac Manningham
Date launched the franchise:
Oct 2015

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you were doing prior to buying a franchise business?

When I completed my Mechanical Engineering Degree in 2009 it was during the GFC and almost every industry was downsizing let alone hiring graduates.

Hence over the following 4 years I worked in various roles across different industries including security, superannuation & recruitment.

In 2013 I finally landed a position at a Global Automotive Company which fulfilled my years of study of my degree.

Nonetheless as a result of working for so many companies I decided early on that I want to have my own business by the age of 30 (I was 28 when I purchased my Gutter-Vac business).

Why did you go down the franchise route? And why did you choose your franchise?

I spent years researching all sorts of business types from big name restaurants to starting my own niche business.

After all the due diligence including talking to lots of business owners I established that if I find the right franchise I would fast forward 5-10 years in learning the ropes or costly mistakes. I also didn't have any ground breaking inventions so selling a big idea for millions of dollars wasn't in my roadmap.

My strict criteria was I had to find a niche business, no office/shop rent so had to be mobile & service based. Gutter-Vac fit my main criteria.

How did you raise the finance?

I had some savings but that was enough for living expenses. So part came from Gutter-Vac being a recognised franchise by a lease company so the equipment portion came from there.

The rest was personal loan, credit card.. pretty much anywhere I could get a loan from.

What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?

Initial training was 7 days at Head office in Brisbane which was an information overload but an amazing stress relief as having never been in business I was confident in exactly what I need to do.

The ongoing support has never stopped after training and haven't felt alone in business.

What is a typical day for you as a franchisee?

A day on the tools;

Typical day is on the road by 8am with first stop at a petrol station for a latte caffeine hit accompanied by a muffin/donut (not a healthy breakfast). We then arrive to customers home and have a small chat and then they're usually heading off to work.

Once we complete the job we send before/after photos of the work and contact the customer about anything we see on the roof that needs their attention.

At around 12pm we head to any local small business cafe for lunch and then finish off the afternoon jobs.

A Marketing day;

Will head to the local bunnings at about 8:00am to stock up on anything we need for the trailer.

From there will head to a local small cafe to enjoy a nice coffee and breakfast while doing some work on the laptop.

By mid morning will be time for an appointment with a client for an on site quote. Once complete I will head to a busy street to have lunch so everyone sees my big red trailer during lunch time.

After a satisfying lunch will spend the remainder of afternoon visiting commercial sites to introduce myself and our services.

What challenges have you faced?

Being a brand new territory and other franchisees were not nearby the name wasn't familiar so the biggest mental challenge in first few months is when will the phone consistently ring and will I ever have a full week of work.

As the business has significantly grown the main challenge now is not to try and do everything in my business but instead focus on my strengths and find the right people for the different roles.

Has becoming a franchisee changed your life, if so how?

Yes has significantly changed my life. Having our young son I can balance my schedule to spend more time with my family.

Having my own business by working hard I can reap the rewards.

What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give someone looking to buy their first franchise?

Understand all the advantages and disadvantages of the franchise you want to get into and rather than look at what you would love to do focus on what will give you the success you want.

In your opinion, what makes a successful franchisee?

You have to listen to the process and system that you have chosen to partner with. Be passionate about what you do and deliver a product or service better than what you would expect if you were the customer.

What are your plans for the future?

Looking at hiring more staff in order to buy another machine and expand the business.

Would you do it again?


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