by STIHL SHOP
last updated 26/06/2020
by STIHL SHOP
last updated 26/06/2020
Stihl Shop manager grabs the opportunity to build a business of his own
Having been the general manager of three Stihl Shop stores in Canterbury, Bill Caines knows the company better than most. ‘I always told prospective licensees, if you want a successful business with a brand to be proud of, come and talk to Stihl Shop,’ he says. ‘Today, my wife Shelley and I have grabbed the opportunity and put our money where our mouths are by buying the Stihl Shop in Greymouth, and we are loving it.
‘I wouldn’t like to say I know the industry inside out, but I did start sweeping floors as a very young boy in a chainsaw outlet,’ Bill laughs. ‘I have a passion for this sector and after taking a break for a few years I came back to it. Stihl Shop is the largest network of outdoor power equipment retailers in the country and certainly the most professional. The chance to own our own outlet was too good an opportunity to miss.’
Stihl Shop has been a successful supplier of power equipment since 1926, and created its own licensed network of specialist stores to help provide customers with the best possible advice and support. ‘The company’s high profile marketing gets people into the shops, where they see the top-quality equipment they will be buying and experience our first-class service,’ explains Bill. ‘If you look after people, they become loyal customers, and we also offer regular servicing of the equipment that keeps them coming back and provides another income stream for licensees.
‘From efficient and reliable new equipment to spare parts and servicing, Stihl Shop’s reputation makes my life a lot easier,’ says Bill. ‘In fact, it has built a solid system for all our licensees.’
Making the move
Bill and Shelley say the move to self-employment has been all good. ‘Our family has holidayed on the West Coast for years, so when the Greymouth Stihl Shop came up we thought it was a great opportunity to move to an area we love and put our mark on a terrific business.’
Despite knowing the brand and the business so intimately, both Bill and Shelley have been delighted with the firm support they have had in their new venture. ‘We knew Stihl Shop’s reputation for looking after its licensees, but you realise just how valuable that support is once you’ve invested your own money in the brand! We knew the systems so didn’t need some of the comprehensive training that new licensees receive, but we had the Business Development Manager with us for the whole of the first week, then back for a couple of days, and we have a business mentor assigned to us. Really – we couldn’t have asked for anything better.
‘We’ve only been in Greymouth a few weeks, but we’re already making changes and customers have responded enthusiastically to our taking over with more stock and fresh faces. We’ve had a flood of interest and we are on track to double our turnover!’
What does it take?
So what do you need to be a successful Stihl Shop owner? ‘A passion for customer service,’ Bill replies unhesitatingly. ‘You need to like dealing with the public and be able to ask questions and express yourself clearly to help them. You also need some sales experience, remembering that in this business a sale is not a one-off – it’s a valuable service and the start of a relationship with an ongoing revenue stream. A bit of business acumen also helps.
‘If you have those skills, you’ll get all the ongoing training and support you need to succeed and it’s up to you to become a vital part of your community. Stihl Shop places a lot of emphasis on local sponsorship and education, so by running workshops on chainsaws and suchlike, you can make a big splash that way in a regional town.’
Investments with Stihl Shop start from around $500,000, depending on location, with opportunities throughout the country. ‘Give Stihl Shop a call and find out more,’ suggests Bill. ‘It’s a great business and a great life.’
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