last updated 10/12/2020
last updated 10/12/2020
Boom times for Ecomist as franchisees help businesses and homeowners tackle pesky pests
New Zealand’s long and humid summers mean a welcome break for many, but they’re also a time of opportunity for all sorts of pests, both at home and work. With so many businesses disrupted this year, not to mention the warm winter, conditions have been ideal – and that means plenty of demand for Ecomist franchisees.
Ecomist provides programmable dispensers to help businesses maintain pest-free environments for their customers and staff, and to keep homes pest-free too. Franchisees can also help with sanitising issues and, where there are bigger issues with rodents or perhaps infestations, have pest management qualifications to get rid of the problem.
‘If you’re running a food outlet, our franchisees can help you maintain your all-important Food Hygiene Certification,’ says Ecomist General Manager, Ian Robertson. ‘They also work with aged-care facilities, child-care facilities, banks and many more, so if you want to stay safe this summer, make an enquiry on our website or call 0800 75 75 78. One of our highly-trained local franchisees will be in touch directly.’
All in the family
Jay and Anna Cave are the reigning Ecomist Franchisees of the Year. When they first took ownership of their Bay of Plenty franchise in December 2016, they had little business experience. Jay was a qualified electrician and Anna had been working in a bank, but their brother-in-law Jesse owned Ecomist franchises in Northland and Auckland, so they knew the company’s reputation and training were first-class. When he told them the Bay of Plenty franchise was on the market, they took a leap of faith and bought the business.
‘Starting at the busiest time of year was a bit of a baptism of fire, but the excellent training and support from the Ecomist support team made it pretty straightforward,’ Anna says. ‘There are very clear guidelines covering every situation, and lots of help available from other franchisees, too. We catch up with each other at the annual conference and on-line and locally in-between. It really does feel like you’re a part of a family – we all know each other really well.’
So good they almost sell themselves
Anna says the Ecomist products and services almost sell themselves, and word of mouth recommendations are extremely common. ‘Ecomist’s automatic aerosol dispensers are a familiar fixture in homes and businesses, with insect repellents that feature chrysanthemum daisy-based natural pyrethrins. We install the dispensers in businesses and then keep them stocked with a regular servicing call cycle, which gives us the chance to spot any other issues.’
Customers can also order and pay for products online via the Ecomist website. Orders are fulfilled by franchisees in their own exclusive territories, which provides steady and recurring income while allowing franchisees to develop and nurture ongoing relationships.
With Ecomist a division of Rotorua-based manufacturer Damar Industries, its 18 franchisees around the country have a secure supply chain, as well as access to newly-developed products such as the ArmiSan hand sanitiser and aerosol surface sanitiser range – a big seller as clients responded to the risks posed by Covid-19. Jay and Anna say that’s one reason why they were able to bounce back so quickly from the lockdowns. ‘Online sales went through the roof, and the Ecomist business model meant we all got the benefit.’
In fact, their business has grown so fast that although many Ecomist franchises start by operating from home, Jay and Anna now have commercial premises – just as well, with a two-year-old boy and a baby girl. Jay’s role has changed from initially servicing customers himself to employing staff, which has freed him to focus more on business development. ‘It keeps things really interesting and I liken it to having a career change within my own business!’ says Jay. Meanwhile Anna loves the fact that she can still help out with the business and not have to rely on day-care or income from another source.
Solid, profitable business
Ecomist franchisees come from diverse backgrounds. ‘What they have in common is energy, self-motivation and sound business acumen,’ says Ian Robertson. ‘Full training is provided – mostly on-the-job in your own territory – plus external training to receive a Level 3 qualification in urban pest management.
‘We have a few new and established territories available around the country and I’m keen to hear from people like Jay and Anna who have the enthusiasm and drive to create a solid and profitable business of their own.’
As for Jay and Anna themselves, they have no regrets. ‘Winning the Franchisee of the Year award was really cool and an absolute surprise,’ says Jay. ‘It was a recognition of our consistent hard work and growth, which came as a direct result of following the system and doing the small things well.
‘At the same time, we never forget why we invested in this business in the first place – for the lifestyle and flexibility. After four years, we’re still enjoying the business so much and we can’t think of anything else we’d rather be doing.’
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