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TOUCH UP GUYS
HITTING THE GROUND RUNNING
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Touch Up Guys find customer demand puts the ‘busy’ in ‘business’
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Tom Williamson, Touch Up Guys West Auckland franchisee
Tom Williamson of Touch Up Guys
One thing seems assured when you buy a Touch Up Guys franchise – it’ll put the ‘busy’ in ‘business’. ‘That’s certainly my experience,’ laughs West Auckland franchisee Tom Williamson. ‘I only started four months ago and I’m already in big demand!’
Touch Up Guys is a mobile service that repairs stone chips, scratches, bumper scuffs and other paint damage to vehicles of all types. Franchisees also offer buffing and polishing, while some repair kerb-scuffed alloy wheels too. It’s a service that’s popular with car dealerships, fleet operators and private owners alike.
Martin Smith, the local master franchisee for Touch Up Guys in New Zealand, says. ‘Over the 22 years Touch Up Guys has been in business, we’ve seen the number of cars on the road grow every year. As a result, our franchisees have enjoyed a constant stream of work, riding out recessions and going on growing. Today, we have over 130 franchisees in Australia and New Zealand and the company is expanding into the USA, too.’
Tom Williamson is the newest franchisee to join the team in New Zealand. Not yet thirty, he spent nearly ten years as a panelbeater before becoming a sales and service representative for a software company for a change. ‘But I didn’t like the lifestyle so after a year I decided to try something different,’ he explains. ‘That’s when I heard about Touch Up Guys.
‘I’d never been self-employed but, like a lot of people, I’d dreamed of owning my own business. I wanted more of a challenge than just being another employee – I wanted responsibility and control over what I do. I started to make enquiries and the more I asked around, the more positives I heard – in fact, those who knew of the Touch Up Guys franchise only seemed to have great things to say about it.’
Then Tom ran into some familiar objections. ‘Some of my friends were quite negative about a franchise, thinking that you pay good money for nothing. Some of them asked, “Why don’t you do it yourself?” Looking back, I’m so glad I didn’t try – I wouldn’t have known where to start or what to do. The great thing about a good franchise is that so much of the work has already been done, and Touch Up Guys has all the experience, training, support and knowledge in place to make it quite painless.’
It still meant some big decisions. To fund their new business, Tom and his wife Melissa let out the house they owned in West Auckland and borrowed against it, while renting a cheaper property from Melissa’s aunt. ‘That has worked out really well, as our two small kids love being in the country with sheep and chooks and things!’
Like all intelligent franchisees, Tom also took the franchise proposition to a lawyer and accountant before signing it. ‘The figures certainly stacked up, but both parties were cautious about my first few months and suggested I arrange more borrowing capacity just in case. In fact I’ve earned above expectations and I’ve not needed to touch that cushion.’
Tom started work in August this year after three weeks’ training on the Gold Coast which he says was invaluable. ‘Every franchisee goes through that very thorough training and despite my knowledge of the industry, I’m really glad I did. The whole process is fantastic and all the info you need is in the manual if you forget anything. Once I got back, Martin spent two weeks with me in the van going round my area and as time has passed I’ve got very comfortable with meeting new customers and faster and better at the job, too.’
In fact, all Tom’s surprises have been good ones. ‘First, it has been much easier to get into the car dealerships than I expected – the reputation of Touch Up Guys just opens the doors. And secondly, I’m not working as hard as I used to! Most of our weekends have been spent on a bach up north which my parents purchased recently and needs a lot of renovation work. The family love it, and think it’s great I have a business which has given me the time and the cash to enjoy it.’
Martin Smith says that Touch Up Guys can be an ideal business for anyone, male or female, who likes working with their hands, has a good eye for colour and is a bit of a perfectionist. ‘The franchise package includes an exclusive territory, marketing support and a van fitted with all the equipment and colour matching technology you need so that, after training, you can produce a quality result every time. The investment required is between $88,000 and $120,000 +gst depending on van leasing options.
‘As Tom has found, our glowing reputation means we have opportunities nationwide for the right people. If you like being busy and want a business with a good name, good support and lots of customers, call me today.’
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This advertorial is taken from Franchise New Zealand magazine Year 24 Issue 4
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