Mark: Morning, everyone. It’s Mark Harris here, franchise development manager for Stroud Homes. I’m here with Dave Adams from the Brisbane East franchise.
Mark: How are you, David?
David: Good. Thanks.
Mark: Yep. So, this is my first visit to a site since the COVID lockdown. It’s really good to be out and about. I’m here just asking David a few questions about being a franchisee for Stroud Homes. So, if you’re thinking about being a franchisee, David’s got some insight on that. So, how long have you been a franchisee for, David?
David: Just on three years now.
Mark: Okay. How did you first hear about us?
David: Through word of mouth. So, a good friend of mine owns the Brisbane West Stroud office. And we were carpenters together, did our apprenticeships together, and that’s how… When he started working for Stroud, and then, obviously, brought his own franchise, how I, sort of, got involved with Stroud to begin with.
Mark: Great. So, how have you found the journey? So, how was your first year and the support that you got from the Stroud office?
David: Yep, really good. So, at the start, it is very daunting. It is very scary. It’s a big decision. It’s, sort of, like anyone buying their own home. It’s a big financial commitment and decision. And, yeah, obviously, one we didn’t take lightly. But, yeah, no, eventually, through that, you see the positivity. And starting from scratch with a new business, you get all of those information, all of the systems in there to, sort of, give you that level up at the start. So, instead of scratching your head and wondering what to do, those systems are there to help you to begin with, and obviously, the people and support there as well. So, not only the head office support but the fellow franchisees around me, who were already established were also able to help me to begin with.
Mark: Well, that’s great. And what were you doing prior to joining Stroud?
David: I was working as an inspector, as a building inspector for the QBCC, so the Building Construction Commission. Previously, I worked as a commercial and domestic foreman as well, and obviously a carpenter.
Mark: Okay. So, how did you find the transition going from being on a salaried income to suddenly being, you know, your own business owner? How did you find that initially?
David: Honestly, great. So, obviously, you basically control your own destiny. So, with the QBCC, it’s a lot of negativity, a lot of bureaucratic processes that sort of tie you down as an inspector rather than being able to help people. So, instead of seeing the negativity from that side, I came over to the positivity of building and showing people we could build their dream home and showing them the finished product and houses that we’re proud of. And, yeah, that completely changed things around. Instead of going to work knowing that someone’s going to be negative, knowing that something isn’t going to go right, was really not the place I wanted to be in. And going to work, working for yourself, working for Stroud is completely different. You can… The sky is the limit sort of thing.
Mark: Great. So, where would you perceive the advantages to be with joining a Stroud Homes franchise with regards to other opportunities that are out there for other franchise brands?
David: Yeah, just people knowing the brand. So, automatically people walk in the door, and they might have built for another franchisee around the corner and/or their friend did, and they had a really positive experience and that’s why they’re on your doorstep. So, people who know the product before you even talk to them, so.
Mark: Okay. And how have you found the support from Stroud Homes through these testing times with COVID-19, you know, and how has the business been going through these times, these tough times?
David: Both really good. So, head office have constantly being updating us. Even James Stroud himself has been updating the entire network of Stroud builders quite regularly, daily, if not a couple of times a day in some instances when there’s new updates. So, that’s been really positive to, sort of, know the head office are looking out for our best interests as much as they can. And but the industry itself, there obviously has been a slowdown with people being quarantined, people having to stay at home and self-isolate. However, there’s still been inquiry. So, the world we live in, technology is king, people are still making Facebook inquiries. They’re still putting inquiries in the website, still phone calls, so we’re still turning over quite a lot of interest, which is really great. And still making sales. People are still committing to building their homes during these times. So, it is really good and it’s still been really positive. And now that we’re sort of coming out of restrictions a bit, it’s even increasing, you can say. So a lot of activity around.
Mark: Well, that’s really good to hear. Do you think it’s because of our business model that gives us that edge on coping with these times?
David: Yeah. Well, basically, as soon as the news broke about COVID, there was already, like, an action plan in place that Stroud was coming out with to market towards it and make sure that we didn’t just think it was the worst thing in the world and say, “Okay, well, let’s pop our heads back up when this is finished.” It was, sort of, let’s adapt to the times, see what we can do, see what we can do to keep the customers coming into us. And also, customers understanding that we’re not going anywhere. We’re still going to be doing our work.
Mark: Well, that’s great to hear. Thank you, David.
David: Yeah. Not a problem at all.
Mark: It’s been good to come visit you today. And, yeah, all the best of luck.
Mark: Okay. Thanks.