by V.I.P. Home Services
last updated 16/09/2021
by V.I.P. Home Services
last updated 16/09/2021
V.I.P. Home Services franchisee overcomes redundancy and lockdowns to create the life he wants
After a turbulent start and 14 busy months as a V.I.P. lawnmowing franchisee, Marc Simkin is very clear: ‘I wouldn’t change a thing,’ he says. ‘I’ve no regrets and no desire to go back to the corporate world. V.I.P. has brought me the lifestyle I wanted in beautiful Mangawhai.’
Marc had been involved with manufacturing and operations in large New Zealand companies since leaving college. ‘I’d always managed teams and operations with big firms like Fisher & Paykel, but after three redundancies I thought it really was time to try something different. I’d always hankered after owning a business and getting out of Auckland was also a priority.
‘I like to keep fit, having done many triathlons in my time, and that narrowed my search down to a business that would keep me in condition and active. The alternative, after my last redundancy in January 2020, was the consultancy world, but that would have meant Auckland again.
‘When I found V.I.P, I realised it was what I was looking for. In any business, sales and marketing is a fairly big part of your expenses – maybe 15-20 percent of the overall cost. But with V.I.P, you have so much of that handled for you – and a call centre to handle enquiries when you’re working. You therefore don’t have to waste time running around trying to get more sales and run your business. With V.I.P. you pay a fixed franchise fee, and once I’d crunched the numbers it made real sense. It also gave me a lot of confidence to have such a well-proven system giving me the support I needed – especially through the Covid interruptions.’
Ah yes, Covid. Marc started his career with V.I.P. at the worst possible time – March 2020. ‘Just as I signed on the dotted line, the nation went into the first Level 4 lockdown. I couldn’t even begin my training, which was very frustrating,’ he admits. ‘But that experience also showed me the value of being part of V.I.P. There was a lot of support coming out from the franchise team, not just practical tips but also well-being advice and regular check-ins with everyone. They even provided games for franchisees’ kids.
‘Estelle Logan (who with husband John are V.I.P’s national franchisors in New Zealand) phoned me regularly to make sure I wasn’t losing the plot during such a strange time, and that gave me the message that they really do care. As I couldn’t work, I got used to pushing a lawnmower by taking long walks every day just to get my steps in. Today, in August 2021, we are in lockdown again, but I’m sitting here quite confidently knowing I can get straight back to it when Level 3 is announced. The work will flow again soon.’
Marc is talking to us from the beautiful coastal village of Mangawhai, north of Auckland. ‘V.I.P. is very flexible and you can start small and grow, but I wanted an established area, and the people who’d been running Mangawhai had built it up into an excellent business. It all fell into place – my parents had recently retired to the area, and my wife Lucy and I have a house in Omaha, into which we will move shortly. Other than that, it was purely a lifestyle choice – all our children have finished school and we can re-establish ourselves here in the heart of the community.
‘Cameron Brooks, who sold me the business, was brilliant with the handover – he couldn’t have been more supportive – and I haven’t looked back since. I now have around 100 clients, plus a steady stream of new enquiries coming in through the V.I.P. system. At an average of 10-12 lawns a day, I’m earning well.’
And there’s more to come. ‘Lucy is a Plunket nurse, and our plan is she will join me for a couple of days a week, as there is so much scope to grow. As a lifestyle this business is fantastic – I enjoy being outdoors and having the freedom to work when it suits me. This is absolutely what we want.’
You can do it too
V.I.P. offers two different types of franchise: outdoor (lawnmowing, gardening and outside jobs) or indoor (all types of cleaning). ‘You choose the level you start at, part-time or full-time, and enjoy the security of an income guarantee while you are getting established,’ says Estelle. ‘The V.I.P. system is very flexible – it’s up to you – and there are no expensive premises or equipment, no rent to pay and minimal fixed costs.
‘Marc realised that V.I.P. was the best system available and a tonic for his former life in the corporate world. After 14 months, despite Covid, he knows he has a solid business.
‘V.I.P. has franchise opportunities available for sale in your area right now, with a varied range of investment opportunities. It’s always a pleasure to see people like Marc and Lucy building the kind of lifestyle they want through the tried and trusted V.I.P. system. If you want to do the same, no matter where you want to live, give us a call.’
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