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last updated 16/04/2020


Helping franchisees #4 – Business & Commercial

last updated 16/04/2020


How are franchisors helping their franchisees during the current Covid-19 crisis? In the fourth article in this series, we talk to Pukeko Rental Managers

David Pearse of Pukeko Rental Managers

With 28 franchisees around New Zealand, Pukeko Rental Managers is the current Westpac Supreme Franchise System of the Year. Founder David Pearse has always put a lot of focus on systems and training to help franchisees deliver outstanding results for clients, and it is paying off in the current climate where he says it’s ‘business as usual’.

David, your franchise is in an unusual situation compared to franchises which are premises-based or mobile. Please tell us about the impact that the Level 4 lockdown is having upon your franchisees and their businesses, and how you are using this time to best effect. 

1. Are your franchisees able to do any part of their normal business at the moment and is any part of their business classed as essential? 

Being a home-based franchise, we're fortunate that it is business as usual for Pukeko Rental Managers. Our focus with Covid-19 is to assist the tenants wherever possible in getting assistance to meet their rent obligations. The only area of the job that is hindered by lockdown is the ability to rent properties and to do inspections. We have worked hard over the lockdown to provide training and support for virtual showing of the properties, the use of digital signatures for signing tenancy agreements and bond forms, and virtual inspections with the assistance of the tenants.

2. How are you supporting the financial well-being of your franchisees through this period? 

So far that has not been an issue – there has been very little impact on their businesses.

3. How are you supporting the personal well-being of your franchisees? What communication systems are you using? 

We have instituted Zoom Meetings and have ‘Friday drinks and chat’ to hear if there are any issues with tenants and owners. We also use the opportunity to have guest speakers.

4. How are you supporting yourself and your head office team in working from home? What are they able to do?

We have always worked from home, and our contractors (book-keeping and marketing) have continued working through. We are currently training three new franchisees doing sessions on Zoom and expect their training to be complete by the end of the lockdown. We will also have all their marketing completed and ready to go.

5. What steps are you taking to help franchisees to restart their business once this period ends?

Although it’s business as usual, we have used the lockdown to review the way we do things. I believe that we will not return completely to how we were doing things before as we see the efficiency of how we are operating during the lockdown period. 

We are using the time to review our USPs (Unique Selling Points) and inviting clients to be involved in Zoom ‘Owner Focus Groups’. We are also investigating new options for team communication which utilise integrated platforms instead of ad hoc software for operations manuals, form letters, document sharing, video meetings and conferences.

We will be doing field visits and annual reviews remotely for now, and are very pleased that we had already been working on paperless offices. 

David – it might be business as usual for you, unlike many others, but you and your franchisees are clearly making the most of the opportunities presented by the unusual circumstances to prepare for the future. Thanks for sharing.

See previous articles on this topic

Helping Franchisees #1 - Home Services

Helping Franchisees #2 - Cafes & Restaurants

Helping Franchisees #3 – Childcare & Education

More info

Read a summary with links of where to get up-to-date and accurate information about the relief available for businesses.

Franchise Accountants has prepared a resource which outlines how employers treat the Wage Subsidy and related matters. This guide answers a lot of questions and covers off some practical examples and tips. Download your copy of the guide here.

Note: the Franchise Association of New Zealand is hosting a series of 45-minute Virtual Meetings via Zoom for all interested franchisors and/or their staff on the topic Positive Actions Franchisors Are Taking. These are open to non-member franchisors – to be invited, email robyn@franchise.org.nz.

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