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Melbourne, Australia

Interview with Sarah Littleproud of Mr Rental Southern Downs.

An Australian Franchisee Case Study


Franchisee: Sarah Littleproud
Territory: Southern Downs
Franchise: Mr Rental

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

I decided to go with a franchise so we could receive the support and knowledge we would not get if we started a business from scratch. Also a franchise provides the opportunity to utilise a pre-existing network of more experienced franchisees in the same industry.

I saw there was a definite need for a service offering in house hold rentals in the region and felt that Mr Rental was a leader in this market. It’s the support structure Mr Rental offered that was what we were after.

What did you do before taking up your Mr Rental franchise?

I was the Chief Financial Officer of Warwick Credit Union, Risk and Compliance Manager at Management Accounting. I have a strong background in business and finances.

What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?

I attended a 10-day training course, and had ongoing access to a business coach and the National Support Office to prepare me for my role.

What is a typical day for you as a Mr Rental franchisee?

There really isn’t a typical day; it is very varied which is great. However staff management is an important part of being a franchisee as is customer relations. Without your staff and customers you don’t have a business.

What challenges have you faced?

I have overcome many challenges. It can be hard to find good reliable staff. I found that our initial investment style approach really did not work well for us. I needed to become involved for the business operations to reach its full potential.

Another challenge I faced was business growth. It is your goal to grow your business. However it is not always easy and you usually need to try several things to achieve your desired goals.
Other daily challenges include stock management and finding quality stock that is reasonably priced within required timeframes so that large quantities of stock are not required. I can also struggle with a lack of time meaning work life balance can become difficult.

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

Yes, it has been a really busy time with a young family and while it can be challenging and full on it does allow for flexibility most jobs don’t provide. Franchising can be really rewarding as you see the fruition of everything you do and you are ultimately responsible for everything. This makes each success feel that much better.

What marketing/promotional tools do you use to grow your franchise?

I predominately use the tools provided by the franchisor, which I adapt to my local market.. However developing business connections and relationships with community groups is also important.

In your opinion, what makes a successful franchisee?

A successful franchisee has the willingness to look for faults and weaknesses in their business and address these. They must also have the ability to see upcoming challenges and opportunities. Striving to improve is also a key attribute needed.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of buying their first franchise?

You must research the business thoroughly and plan to put in the time and effort. This will mean you get out what you put in.

What are your plans for the future?

I plan to continue to grow the business and develop long-term relationships within the community to help with this.

Would you do it again?

Yes, although I would have approached it differently and been more involved from the beginning.

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