by V.I.P. Home Services
last updated 31/03/2022
Live The Life You Want
by V.I.P. Home Services
last updated 31/03/2022
V.I.P. Home Services franchisees find the futures they are looking for in a supportive business
When daughter Samantha was ready to go to school, everything changed for Mark and Kat Jury. After being a stay-at-home mum, Kat wasn’t looking to return to her job at the IRD, while Mark was ready for a change after 22 years in transport and logistics. ‘Transport logistics is a 24/7 career, and I realised how much I’d been sacrificing,’ Mark says. We wondered how we could find a better balance.’
Mark took an offered redundancy and the couple started looking seriously. ‘It was the right timing for us to do something for ourselves. I had managed up to 120 staff before, and we thought it would be nice not to worry about anyone but ourselves. We had a friend who joined a lawnmowing franchise eight years ago and has done exceptionally well, so we looked at numerous different brands and V.I.P. stood out. Kat and I are huge on relationships and we wanted an organisation that treated us like a partner.
‘Right from the start, Estelle and John Logan (the national master franchisors for V.I.P.) laid out everything honestly and openly. They were very easy to talk to, very upfront, and answered every question. We decided to go ahead and bought a franchise in Christchurch.
‘Six months on, we’ve not looked back. We started with 50 customers, lost 3 as people moved, but increased by 32! Most new customers have come through word-of-mouth referrals from satisfied customers, but we’ve also had people come up as we’re re-loading the trailer after finishing a job and say, “That looks pretty good, can you come to my place and give me a quote?”’
Mark says that’s down to the V.I.P. training. ‘It’s all about learning how to use the equipment and time to do a professional quality job every time. But it’s about more than that, too – how you hold a line trimmer, for example, not only produces different results but can put less strain on you.’
‘Actually, that’s true right through the business, even accounting,’ says Kat. ‘V.I.P. set us up with Xero and gave us the training and support to use it, and now I do the admin in the evening after Samantha has gone to sleep – it’s pretty straightforward and doesn’t take long at all. As first-time business owners, we really appreciate all the training and support.’
Even better than we hoped
Kat says she’s always enjoyed gardening, and the great thing about V.I.P. is that it’s not just lawnmowing. When they started in May 2021, winter was just a month away, ‘Which meant we were able to spend a little more time with customers and get to know them,’ says Mark. ‘That’s paid dividends – we’ve had huge support from our customer base, tidying, gardening, all sorts of little outdoor jobs, and it gave us time to get used to all the gear and get our fitness levels up before spring.’
‘Now,’ says Kat, ‘We pretty much work school hours, although we take Samantha, who’s almost 6, along on the odd job. I’m teaching her what’s a weed and what’s a flower. We love it!
‘It’s going even better than we hoped – we never expected to get to this volume of work so quickly, and we’re continuing to grow,’ says Kat. Mark agrees: ‘Estelle and John and our territory manager, Ian Watson, are all very good people, and they clearly like to recruit good franchisees, too – everyone we have met has been so helpful and supportive. If we were independent, we wouldn’t be nearly as far on as we are.’
Outdoors or indoors?
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 and go through a comprehensive programme which trains you not just in working efficiently to maximise your earning power, but in goal-setting and business management, too,’ says Estelle.
‘There’s an income guarantee while you are training, and once you are established it’s up to you how big you grow and what hours you work. There are few restrictions: you can employ staff if you wish and, if you get more work than you want to handle, you can sell clients on to other franchisees. That can help you condense your area, reducing travelling time so you spend more time earning.
‘Both our indoor and outdoor franchises allow you to work the hours you want and be rewarded accordingly,’ says Estelle. ‘Some of our franchisees do very well from working part-time. 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.’
For Chilean couple Ronald and Marcela Sasco La Barca, buying their own V.I.P. business has been rewarding both for their bank balance and their lifestyle. ‘Of course, starting a brand new business was scary, but three years on we are turning over more than $150,000 and are well on the way to buying our own home,’ they say. ‘Had we stayed working in hospitality, we’d never have achieved this.’
Ronald first came to New Zealand 12 years ago and learned to be a chef in various establishments in Auckland and Taupo. ‘But chefs have to work all hours of the day or night, public holidays and all, so it is a stressful occupation,’ he says. ‘I always dreamed of having my own business and when I returned to Chile I met Marcela, a pastry chef with similar dreams to mine. We decided to come to New Zealand and look for a way to get into our own business – just not as chefs!’
Making it easy
‘We knew very little about business,’ Ronald confesses. ‘We’d always been employed, and this was a new country, so all the legal aspects and other details were unknown to us. Starting with a franchise seemed the best idea as we would have support and guidance, so we did our research. We soon came across V.I.P. Home Services, the cleaning and gardening franchise, and liked what they had to offer. We met Estelle and John, and they explained all the details we needed to know.
‘We quickly saw several advantages. Because it is such a well-known brand, we knew we’d always have work. Also, they have so many franchisees that there is lots of experience to tap into and you learn to do a quality job without taking too long, which makes a real difference to what you can earn. The income guarantee while you are getting established was very reassuring, as we were starting with no clients at all – we knew V.I.P. wouldn’t let us down!’
All the work we need
Marcela and Ronald started their new cleaning business in Papamoa/Tauranga in 2018, and haven’t looked back since. ‘V.I.P. held our hands the whole time – I dread to think what it would have been like if we had not gone with the franchise,’ Ronald says. ‘So much of the work had been done in advance by V.I.P. and their marketing and call centre brought in all the business we needed. The reputation of the franchise has travelled far and wide – we’ve had several enquiries from potential clients whose friends in a completely different part of the country use V.I.P. The extensive training all franchisees go through is universal, so clients can expect the best from us wherever they are.’
And perhaps the biggest advantage for this hard-working couple has been the change in lifestyle, as Marcela explains. ‘We have our own business with a mix of residential and commercial clients, and we choose our hours to suit us and match our personal goals. Currently we are working Monday-Saturday, but two days are short days so we can actually have proper family weekends. We really have a life at last – and very little stress.
‘We are just very pleased we chose V.I.P. If anyone asks, we say: “Don’t be scared – go ahead. V.I.P. will give you all the help you need.” We have learned so much about business, and about what it takes to be successful.’
It’s up to you
Estelle Logan says she loves to see people achieving the lifestyle they want with V.I.P.
‘Mark and Kat have precious time to spend with their daughter at last, and even take her out on jobs sometimes – how cool is that?’ asks Estelle, herself a proud grandmother. ‘And Ronald and Marcela have discovered that with V.I.P. they could establish a great business, save up for a home and have a better lifestyle. It’s a real delight to see them using the franchise as a springboard to a new future. In just three years, they’ve taken full advantage of the opportunity, and by working hard they are well on the way to achieving their goals.
‘If you want to do the same, we have opportunities available in your area right now, with a range of investment levels to suit. Give us a call and find out more.’
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