Business Profiles

by Freedom Companion Driving

last updated 18/09/2020

Finding Freedom

by Freedom Companion Driving

last updated 18/09/2020

Freedom Companion Driving offers maximum potential and minimal overheads in a rewarding business

Dean Stewart: Growing fast

Freedom comes in all sorts of forms. For someone with limited mobility, it might look like a car turning up for every appointment with a helpful, friendly driver. For a disabled child requiring help to get to class, it might look like a trusted, reliable ride. And for someone looking for a solid business opportunity, it can look like a Freedom Companion Driving franchise.

Angela Barker and her husband Gavin have been running their Freedom franchise in Whangarei for over two years, with one car and a wheelchair-access van. ‘We knew we wanted to work for ourselves and chose Freedom because it’s a valuable service that will always be in demand. As well as giving us a very good life/work balance, our income from the business has exceeded our expectations, and the support from franchisors Joanne and Mike Bush has been amazing. Right at the start they took us to meet local people at ACC and the DHB to introduce our services and help organise the paperwork, and we’ve gone on growing ever since.’

In turn, franchisors Joanne and Mike Bush are full of praise for the Barkers and the other 21 Freedom franchisees around the country. ‘During the various lockdown levels, they’ve been positive and enthusiastic, and that’s been welcomed by their clients,’ Joanne says. ‘Of course, it was tough – schools were closed and many of our elderly clients weren’t able to go out during the lockdown, but we did provide services for shopping and medical issues. Being ACC-approved transport, and with most of our franchisees  Total Mobility Service providers, business bounced back fast.’

A full-time business

Joanne says that Freedom Companion Driving is an affordable way to create a business that’s both personally and financially rewarding. ‘If you love working with people but have perhaps lost your job or returned from overseas looking for a fresh start, we have opportunities all around our beautiful country, including Hastings, Palmerston North, Central and  South Auckland, Christchurch and Invercargill.

‘This is a full-time, work from home business with minimal overheads – no commercial property leases, no stock and, for most of our franchisees, no employees. An investment of $33,000 +gst includes exclusive territory, training and initial start-up package; a suitable vehicle (less than 5 years old) and necessary licences are additional, costing in the region of $20–25,000 depending on vehicle. As well as generating a good income, franchisees are also building a saleable asset for the future.’

‘When it comes to the actual role, you have to like driving and have a kind and patient personality,’ says Joanne. ‘Because many of our customers are elderly and may be hard of hearing, you need excellent communication and language skills and a good, clear phone manner.

‘You also need a bit of ambition and initiative – the confidence to get out into the community and talk to people, such as setting up a meeting with a rest home manager and going in for a chat to introduce yourself and the Freedom service. It’s a nice, ‘feel-good’ sector to be in, and we provide full training and support, but to grow your business you have to put in the effort.’

Quick starters

In Christchurch, Dean Stewart and wife Jeanne are new to business ownership. They bought their Freedom Companion Driving franchise just weeks before the Covid-19 lockdown but are now very definitely driving in the fast lane. Dean put his many years’ sales experience to work to establish relationships with disability organisations and institutions, while Jeanne drove ACC clients. Within weeks they were operating a wheelchair access van as a second vehicle.

‘I’d grown disheartened by companies I worked for putting sales ahead of customer satisfaction,’ explains Dean. ‘We started looking at self-employment opportunities and saw Freedom Companion Driving. Due diligence confirmed that Freedom is all about relationships and customer care. As the first franchisees in Christchurch, we’re now starting to get word-of-mouth recommendations and growing fast. We’re looking forward to exploring other opportunities, too, such as driving tourists visiting the city and district.’

Joanne sums it up. ‘If you love to help people and want to be self-employed, Freedom Companion Driving is a great opportunity. Call me for a chat and find  out more.’   

See this advertorial on page 41 of Franchise New Zealand magazine Year 29 Issue 3

Contact details for Freedom Companion Driving

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