by Think Water Taranaki
last updated 07/12/2023
Just Add Water
by Think Water Taranaki
last updated 07/12/2023
Think Water Taranaki franchisees celebrate success in Singapore
When Steve Bevan left school, he was going to be a dairy farmer like his dad. His dad said no, do something else first – and that’s how Steve and his wife Ange ended up receiving the prestigious Think Water 2023 Franchisee of the Year Award at a glittering ceremony in Singapore during the international franchise’s three-day conference.
The Taranaki born-and-bred couple also won the franchise’s Renovation of the Year Award after moving their business into larger premises to cope with their ongoing growth.
Think Water is a growing franchise network of 62 irrigation and water management businesses across Australia and New Zealand. Each store is locally and independently owned and operated, whilst being backed by the strength of a major brand. Franchisees specialise in a range of products and services including domestic, commercial and agricultural irrigation, pumping, water harvesting and filtration, meaning that every Think Water outlet has a different mix of products and services to suit its local customer base.
Steve and Ange Bevan met when they were just 25, and have been together ever since. ‘Ange worked in a pharmacy and I had started working for one of the local suppliers in the irrigation business which, in a farming area, is hugely important,’ recalls Steve. ‘It was always our goal to own our own business by the time we were 30, so that’s what we did, initially on our own then joining the Think Water franchise in 2012.
‘We’ve been growing ever since. Today, we have 11 full-time and part-time staff and turn over about $2.5 million. We have an in-store sales team plus specialist advisors and installers who can help provide solutions for everything from veggie gardens to dairy farms.’
As you might expect given Steve’s roots, another focus of their business is the dairy farming industry. ‘Our team have a vast knowledge of milking systems and are able to test, repair and service all makes and models of milking products.
Think Water have become an essential part of the local community in the Taranaki area. ‘We work with builders, engineers, electricians, plumbers and a variety of sub-contractors, taking on a project management role,’ says Steve.
‘At the same time, we provide a 24/7 breakdown service for local businesses and households, which is very rewarding – people are pretty happy when they get their water back on and they can feed their stock, or even just take a shower!
‘We can also call upon the expertise of the wider group – everyone has different skills and experience, so when we were asked to install irrigation on a racecourse recently, we worked with another franchisee on the project. And there’s good leadership from the franchisor – they are genuinely passionate about the brand.’
Adapt and improve
The Think Water Franchisee of the Year Award is measured across a wide range of criteria including: business growth; health and safety; marketing; business processes; training; network participation; and workplace culture.
2023 is the third year that Steve and Ange have won the title, marking their commitment to ongoing growth. ‘This nomination highlighted Steve and Ange’s ability to diversify and adapt to improve their business,’ said the Awards judges. Think Water Taranaki was also a finalist in the Westpac New Zealand Franchise Awards in 2022.
Digby Seales, the NZ Operations Manager for Think Water, says, ‘Congratulations to Think Water Taranaki on their third Franchisee of the Year award in seven years. It’s a testament to their unwavering commitment and excellence in the field.’
Going on growing
Having hired a new Operations Manager two years ago, there has been a joint focus at Think Water Taranaki to grow and improve all areas of the business. This has also allowed Steve and Ange to take a longer-term view.
They moved to bigger premises in January 2023 which provide a fantastic profile, larger overall footprint and an increased retail space. That allowed them to become the authorised dealer for Husqvarna in New Plymouth, supplying and servicing a wide range of mowers, chainsaws, blowers and more.
‘It’s something that other Think Water stores have done, but we are the first in the North Island,’ Steve says. ‘The addition of Husqvarna gives the business an alternative profit centre to attract new customers to the store, and partnering with another strong brand lessens the risk for both Husqvarna and us.’
Backing a winner
Steve and Ange are planning a long holiday in Europe next year as a reward for their efforts. They’ll have some extra spending money, too, thanks to a fellow franchisee. ‘I had a $50 wager with Think Water Hawkes Bay over the final NPC match between our local teams,’ laughs Steve. ‘Taranaki won, of course, so he rang me up the other day and said, “What shall I do with the money?” I said, “Oh, stick it on Number 3 in the Melbourne Cup” – and it won! He’s got quite a lot of money for me now …’
That’s the friendly yet competitive spirit behind the success of Think Water Taranaki.
Contact details for Think Water New Zealand
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