by V.I.P. Home Services
last updated 14/09/2023
The Pursuit of Happiness
by V.I.P. Home Services
last updated 14/09/2023
Leaving the corporate world brings V.I.P. Home Services franchisee new life and liberty
I love working outdoors, I’m very happy with my V.I.P. business and I’ll probably carry on doing this until I retire,’ says Craig Farmer. ‘As other people from the corporate world have often said, I only wish I’d done it sooner!’
Craig had previously spent his entire working life in sales in the furniture and flooring industries. ‘My last company was English-owned and run from Australia, meaning lots of tedious reports and answering to several people at once. I was talking to a friend one evening and explained my desire for change. He was a V.I.P. franchisee, and that got the ball rolling.’
Never having been self-employed before, nor having much idea about franchising, Craig started to explore. ‘I looked briefly at other franchises in the market, but having met with Estelle Logan (who, with husband John, is V.I.P’s national franchisor for New Zealand) I had complete confidence. Two years on and I’m still very comfortable with my decision.’
Doubled his business
Living in Kumeu, north-west of Auckland, Craig bought a local franchise which had some regular customers already established. ‘It’s not an expensive business to get into, so I didn’t need to take out a loan.
‘I had four weeks of in-depth training with the local V.I.P. trainer, which was very valuable and covered everything from equipment maintenance to efficient work methods – there’s more to it than you might expect, and it makes a big difference to your profitability. It also covered business management. If you don’t have IT skills, that side of business can seem a bit daunting but I found Xero – the accounting software used by V.I.P. for invoicing – was quite easy to pick up.
‘Although I had to do a bit of travelling at first, I was able to group my customers by the day to make it more efficient, and as I’ve grown that’s got even easier. Such is the quality of the V.I.P. system that there is always more demand from customers. I’ve roughly doubled my business in two years and I’m now approaching the point where I will sell off some work to another franchisee so I can focus close to home.
‘Many V.I.P. franchisees have been through this experience before, and the conclusion is very simple: it works!’
Plenty of work
V.I.P. offers two different kinds of franchise: outdoor (lawnmowing, gardening and outside jobs) and indoor (all types of cleaning).
Working outdoors, Craig says he hasn’t found a huge difference in demand over the seasons. ‘We’d all probably like to forget this wet winter, but there are always other jobs which customers want done. I’m a bit scared of this spring in an excited kind of way, as I reckon the grass is going to roar away and the telephone calls and emails from customers will do the same.’
Craig jokes that he’s never had anyone suggest that getting out of the corporate world was a stupid idea. ‘Everyone I spoke to said, “good on yer!” and many were obviously envious. My wife, Sue, is in insurance and all her colleagues keep asking how I’m getting on. The reactions have all been very interested and positive.’
So are there any downsides to pulling out of the corporate world at 58 and starting your own business? ‘Not really,’ says Craig. ‘You are working on your own, which means you can spend a lot of time not talking to anyone, but we franchisees regularly meet for an early morning coffee, which is great for telling stories and swapping ideas and experiences.
‘V.I.P. is a great support network in its own right: we have regular evening meetings, and there are so many franchisees around who’ve “been there, done that” that it would be almost impossible not to find someone who has a solution to any problem you face. Everyone is always ready to help, and the franchise brings customers to my door.
‘It’s a healthy lifestyle, too – I’m a cyclist and I thought I was fit before, but purely from work I’ve lost 6kg and I’m very happy with that.’
A wealth of experience
‘Whatever the weather, V.I.P. franchisees will always have work,’ says Estelle Logan. ‘In fact, we have more demand than we can handle in many areas, so if you’re looking for a change, contact us now.
‘We’re always delighted to welcome mature people like Craig who are looking for solid business opportunities which offer both security and lack of stress – not to mention a healthy lifestyle. V.I.P. has been in New Zealand for over 30 years, so there is a wealth of experience for franchisees to draw on. That applies whether you’re escaping from the corporate world, want to move to a new area, or are looking to establish yourself in your own business for the first time.
‘We are currently seeking new franchisees for both services in many parts of the country,’ Estelle says. ‘Investment levels can be tailored to suit your needs, there’s a paid training period while you’re getting established, and then you can grow as big as you like.
‘Give me a call. As Craig says, this franchise really works!’
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