VJ Tran: I started off working for my dad painting houses up in North Sydney. I fell in love with the designs and the building and decided to pursue the building career and it’s now been, you know, 15 years roughly so yeah. I had started off working as an estimator through to administrator, site manager, up to project manager doing both private commercial contracts from residential to commercial. I was looking into systems and procedures and structure. I enjoyed working as a project manager, working for other large commercial private projects including government contracts. The hours I had to put in was a lot, literally had no family life to the point where I decided if I’m doing these crazy hours, why not work for myself. I watched my family succeed in the franchise hospitality industry and obviously shopped around, looked at different building franchise systems. Stroud Homes had the systems in place, had the branding, the marketing, which I’ve never been taught how to do marketing. I needed that support, that structure, that help.
Speaking with James Stroud himself, that gave me an opportunity to understand how Stroud became successful as a small company. It came down to customer service and people and the structure of how they have systems in place and the sales process through to quality of the product, the cost management system, the safety procedures. That was the key difference. More important is the networking and the support through key stakeholders and a team that was very critical to how I see a franchise. They’ve got a specialised team to look after the finance, specialised team that look after marketing. They got the training provided for all the different software’s. The ongoing support, the ongoing communication, that’s probably the key thing in this business and it’s very important. When I actually make an email or phone call, the guys get back to me, head office gets back to me right away. If you don’t talk and open up and ask questions, you don’t get that help or support because people don’t know and that’s where Stroud Homes, James Stroud himself encourages communication.
People experience which I mostly looking up to James himself, he has a lot of experience. He’s been successful for one reason, because he can forecast, he can look at good times and bad times. He can also provide us a lot of help in regards to being prepared for events, scenarios, and that’s more important coming down to cash flow. Managing our overheads, increasing our margins, and being prepared for the future. Yes, it is hard for the first 12 months to 2 years as predicted in any business, but I can see the successes with the other senior franchisees, and with their obviously learning and improving systems, and education and also conferences and ongoing communication, I believe I can manage not just going to site or going to the office seven days a week, I can manage more through using devices and software systems communicating to the team in order for them to be my eyes and ears on site. They’re my frontline people that we help in providing the product and service to the customers.
It’s about family, it’s about my kids, for them to have opportunity to get into the building industry if they pursue the career, wherever they go through TAFE or university. That’s my aim, is to have not just selling the business, but also to create a long term generation after generation to take on building construction industry and business franchise systems and structures.