by V.I.P. Home Services
last updated 22/06/2022
20 Years At The Top
by V.I.P. Home Services
last updated 22/06/2022
V.I.P. Home Services franchisee retires after 20 years of friendship, support and success
Becoming a V.I.P. franchisee when I was in my late 40s was the best thing I could have done,’ says Ian Watson. ‘20 years later I can truly say I’ve had a lot of fun, made a lot of friends, and always been supported. I’ve also trained and mentored many new franchisees along the way. I’d do it all over again if I could!’
Ian had been in sales when he was made redundant back in 2002. ‘I’d always liked the idea of working in the fresh air, so I began to look at lawnmowing franchises – which I knew precisely nothing about. V.I.P. were the only ones to call me back and answer all my questions, then a visit to John and Estelle Logan, the national franchisors for New Zealand, sealed the deal.
‘I needed instant income as I couldn’t afford to start a business from scratch, and V.I.P. gave me a great customer base from which to work and build. I even had a paid training period and an initial income guarantee – just two of many benefits I enjoyed from the franchise.’
Indoor or outdoor
V.I.P. Home Services has a long history of franchisee satisfaction, with people staying for 20 years or even longer. There are two different types of franchise: Outdoor (lawnmowing, gardening and outside jobs) and Indoor (all types of cleaning). Ian chose outdoors, with an initial territory in eastern Christchurch, ‘Which was rather too big,’ he admits. ‘I wasn’t particularly fit when I started, but within a few short weeks that all changed! In fact, I soon found myself working 12 hours a day – not the work/life balance I’d planned.
‘But another great advantage of the V.I.P. system is that the company will buy excess work from you and give you a nice little capital boost, so over the years I was able to sell off some customers and shrink my territory into something easy to handle while training new franchisees into the areas I’d vacated. It has worked very well, and by building a smaller, efficient business you save yourself time and mileage, so you increase your earning power.’
Help when you need it
By 2010, all seemed set smooth for Ian’s growing V.I.P. career – he owned a thriving business smack on his doorstep, and had also become the local area manager for the franchise to help others succeed. Then the earthquakes happened and the land beneath Ian’s home was deemed unfit for rebuilding. ‘That’s when V.I.P. really came into its own,’ he says. ‘I immediately lost a third of my business, but the franchise suspended the fees, there was a whip-round from other franchisees which V.I.P. matched, and we had a government wage subsidy too. Trish, my wife, and I had to cope with the trauma, but my business steadily came back which made it much easier.
‘In the same way, when the Covid lockdowns hit 10 years later, V.I.P. were quick to offer help to franchisees around the country, including financial and emotional support for franchisees and their families. It cost a substantial amount, but it’s things like that which make V.I.P. such a special business – you know they really care.’
The next generation
Now, Ian is retiring and has passed his own business over to new franchisees Grant and Sharon Benns, who say, ‘We were looking for a flexible business and V.I.P. appealed with its ability to grow and work the hours you choose – it puts the power in your own hands. We have been very impressed with the extensive customer base, and the help and support of all the other franchisees. Ian himself has been amazing, and we can’t thank him enough for all his support. We really feel we’ve made a sound investment in our future.’
Ian’s retirement was marked with a formal dinner in Christchurch attended by 25 of the local V.I.P. team, including John and Estelle. ‘We’ll certainly miss him,’ Estelle says. ‘He has been a mentor to many franchisees, helping them build the business they wanted as well as training them to our exacting standards. His loyalty to us, the brand, franchisees, Christchurch and his clients has been exceptional. He has the true V.I.P. spirit of doing it because he loves the life, not just the monetary rewards, and we’re lucky to have others who feel the same.’
Customers waiting for you
V.I.P. has opportunities for both Indoor and Outdoor franchisees throughout the country, with work ready and waiting in many areas. ‘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 are few restrictions: there are no expensive premises or equipment, no rent to pay and minimal fixed costs. You can employ staff if you wish or, like Ian, sell clients on to new franchisees. And both franchises allow you to work the hours you want and be rewarded accordingly,’ says Estelle.
‘The V.I.P. system is very flexible – it’s up to you. Call us and find out more. You don’t have to stay 20 years – but you might just want to!’
See this advertorial on page 55 of Franchise New Zealand magazine Year 31 Issue 2
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