Thomas Eldridge: I had a master’s in civil engineering in the States at the University of Colorado and then moved over to Australia with my wife. And here we moved up to Queensland, started with nothing, and I ended up getting a job with James Stroud at the original franchise, in Jimboomba, as a contracts administrator. I got promoted to an estimator, then the operations manager there, which I’ve been doing running the office for about three years.
So after working there for five years I had the opportunity to buy into the franchise and I could see the potential of the area in that Logan and Scenic Rim area. It’s gonna be a long-term profitable area for myself and my family. So when you start with Stroud Homes, there’s been so much time and effort put into the way that the systems integrate together. I think there’s so much to learn about it when you first start, but there’s a lot of complexity into how each of the computer systems tie together, the plans tied together with those systems, and it’s been thought through for a number of years. I’ve been involved in both developing that and working in it and now running it for other people to work in that alongside me.
When you buy a franchise with Stroud Homes, you’re able to get off the tools and you’re able to run more jobs at the same time with less input because of the systems that they’ve implemented and make available to you. So since 2013, we’ve been able to build around 60 to 70 houses a year, with around 9 to 11 staff. So because of the systems we’ve got we can have that staff over quite well and build those sort of numbers. So there’s a real chance for you to to better your life and get a bit of time back for yourself while simultaneously improving your income due to the systems that Stroud has got.
So since owning the business, my wife and my family and I have been able to build a new house for ourselves and just have the flexibility to have that family time and go on a few vacations. And even if they’re short so we can get back to running the business, they’re enjoyable, and get to do a little bit more of that than our other friends that we’ve got. So in the near future, I’d like to see us owning the entire franchise outright, of course, and building up our investment portfolio and just enjoying the journey with Stroud Homes. So recently I’ve split the area into an acreage side and a residential side so we can give that customer focus and not grow that acreage team, but we’ve brought in that secondary team and I think we’ll see that, hopefully, over the next four or five years, we will see the business double as we develop that residential side because right now we’re very focused on acreage.