06 February 2024

What was your career background prior to starting your Refresh Renovations™ business.

I served in the NZ Army for 24 years, starting my career as a caterer, and advancing into instructional roles and logistics / supply chain management.  These management roles also provided project management opportunities which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Through the logistics & project management roles, I was able to gain some excellent skills which have transferred well into the construction industry - specifically involving the challenges of renovation building.  

What attracted you to Refresh™ as a business opportunity?

I moved around to fulfil various NZDF roles which included relocating to Waiouru, Christchurch and Palmerston North throughout this stage of my career.  While owning investment properties in the Manawatu, and through trying to complete maintenance and renovation work remotely from Christchurch & Waiouru locations, I saw an opportunity for a specialised renovation design & build company.  I found an online advertisement for Refresh Renovations™, and after looking into the opportunity decided to take on the Refresh Manawatu branch in 2012.  

What is the market opportunity?

People are always going to want to renovate, whether it's through necessity of age or product failure to people wanting to update and upgrade. The market isn't as defined as the new build home market.

What is the biggest challenge running this type of business?

Every project is different and you are always dealing with variables such as client personality types, existing structures, budgets and individual preferences.  However, that is also one of the most exciting aspects of the business.

What is your best advice to run a great Refresh™ Renovation business?

Align yourself with great people. Suppliers, contractors and staff. Take a personal and genuine interest in your clients and what they want to achieve.

‍Who is the ideal Refresh™ owner?

Someone who is results driven, wanting to achieve the best outcomes for their clients. You have got to be a people person with excellent communication and organisational skills. You also need an eye for detail and the big picture.

Why is the Refresh™ model so compelling for customers?

Most clients are overwhelmed by the prospect of renovating, the process and the number of different trades they need to deal with. Having one point of contact throughout the journey to help them to navigate and to deliver the desired results is so compelling to our clients.

What do you think of Refresh™’s marketing, and what are the most effective techniques you’ve used to find new customers?

The brand is clear and fresh with a strong reputation.  We are constantly striving to achieve excellent results and then allowing those results to speak for themselves through word of mouth and client/contractor referrals. Networking within your local community and building trust is really important.

What is it like working with clients?

Delivering a great renovation can be really rewarding and the client relationships can be fantastic. It is important to note that even well managed and planned renovations can be stressful for home owners so having compassion and patience are essential throughout the process.  You will be dealing with the highs and lows on the journey with your clients, so it is important to be sensitive.

What were key hires for you as you started building out your team?

Having technical expertise through someone with construction qualifications was really important but it is also important to consider the administrative requirements of running your business and to get professional assistance in this area as soon as you can.

Any advice for the start-up phase?

Network, network, network! Get out and meet people, merchants, council staff, trades, suppliers. Meet as many people as you can and start building these relationships. Learn as much as you can from these people. Also connect with other franchisees and the Head Office Team.

Any areas for improvement?

You will never achieve perfection because there are always things that you can improve on. Review your work and always look to improve.

Would you do it again

Yes I would do it again. Coming into Refresh™ now is very different to what it was when I started 10 years ago. I enjoyed starting out in 2012 but I think there is so much more potential and support to get your business running faster and much earlier nowadays.  I think taking on a Refresh™ franchisee now would provide even better opportunities than previously.

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