My Home Services franchisee Doug Riddell has clocked up almost 12 months as his own boss. And what a year it has been.
When he bought his Gold Coast business, the franchise was My Home Watch, catering for absent householders owners needing home and pet care.
All of a sudden, the demand for services vanished as travel stopped and lockdown restrictions were introduced. Real estate services which had been important to the business model came to a halt.
For founder and CEO Natasha Morgan it was a massive challenge; she was faced with a 95 per cent revenue drop.
Her first move was to assist franchisees by waving their monthly franchise fees from March until November.
“I didn’t have to think twice about the decision I made to support our franchisees, I knew it was going to sting the company but it was the right thing to do,” she says.
She then made a swift move into the essential home service sector, adding home and office cleaning, window cleaning and lawn and garden care into the franchise.
Natasha says “We needed to leverage a competitive advantage. The brand is strong in the market, and now our customers love us even more! Through resilience and the willingness to quickly adapt to change it has pulled us through our toughest time.”
As a result, My Home Services Group is planning an aggressive recruitment push for 2021.
And for Doug, the shift has been only positive.
Q&A with franchisee Doug Riddell, Redlands/Logan & Gold Coast North
How have you found adapting and changing to the new services?
I have always had a customer centric mindset and love to try new things, so when the new services were added I saw it as an opportunity to not only grow my business, but to do something a little better or differently.
Do you enjoy the variety of services you offer as a franchisee?
The opportunity to value add for my customers is the best part. They may want their lawns mowed, but l can also water their gardens whilst I’m there or clean their home and then mow the lawns. The variety in the daily jobs is great.
Tell us about working through the past six months
My franchise started in January 2020, so l didn’t have a lot of history and was just starting to build my customer base when Covid-19 kicked in. I have not looked back since about the start of April and my business monthly average has now doubled in November and December looks like being the same.
What are your 2021 plans for business growth on the Gold Coast?
I have just put on my first contractor to assist me on some of my bigger jobs and will be looking to put an employee on in the new year.
The transition from My Home Watch to My Home Services Group has been a game changer for my business and with the help of some great marketing by our franchisor, I’m getting new customer leads on a daily basis.
I’m really enjoying what l do and love the opportunity to meet or talk to new people every week.