The company began in 1991 as Mr Carports and our first franchise commenced trading in 1996.
While working for Executor Trustee as a Business Consultant, my co-worker and I were asked to help restructure a steel roll-forming business. This gave us an insight into the building industry and potential opportunities in selling and building carports, verandahs, pergolas and decks, so we decided to give-it-a-go and started the Mr Carports company.
Our key advantage in the home improvements industry, then and now, was the development of the computer program which allows us to provide customers with on-the-spot quotes, unheard of in those days.
We began by employing excellent tradespeople to build high-quality structures at a fair price, working closely with customers to ensure their satisfaction with the finished product. We found that by being professional in our approach; arriving to appointments on time and leaving a written quotation at the first meeting, our success rate boomed.
The business grew until we were unable to cope with the demand. We knew we had a great business model to work with so we decided to franchise and approached a couple of local builders in South Australia to open our first franchise.
We continue to improve our computer program—incorporating detailed engineering specifications, cutting lists for suppliers and builders, council applications and business reporting systems. An additional benefit of using computer design programs like ours, is that one can minimise material costs, reducing waste and maximising the profit for each job.
In early 2009 Outside Concepts Franchising Pty Ltd purchased the Mr Carports franchising operation. This change in name better reflects the diversity of outdoor structures we are now building and the expectation in the community to be flexible and adaptable to their needs.
Our long term goal is to continually improve our products and constantly raise the bar to remain market leaders in our field.
It is critical that the franchisee enjoys people and possesses good communication skills and native intelligence. It is a necessity of the job to be well-presented, well-spoken, consistent, with an eye for detail and the organisational skills and ability to project-manage a job from quote to completion.
The cost of a franchise, including training, is $57,500 +GST.
You will need working capital of around $10,000 for advertising—it takes between 6 and 12 months for a franchisee to start achieving their potential in sales and income.
Many of our new franchisees continue with their existing employment whilst building the business, or they take a part-time job to cover living expenses until the franchise provides suitable profits.
The majority of our franchisees have indicated that they work between 35 and 45 hours per week, but we do have a few doing a lot less hours to earn a smaller income and some working longer hours to earn a substantially higher than average income.
Keep in mind though, that the first six months of operation involves a lot of learning and most new franchisees do not make a profit during this establishment time.
Jock brought several attributes to the business which have contributed to his success including, an engineering background, computing skills and high level customer focus. These combined, provided the platform to create long-term and profitable relationships with his customers and culminating in winning the Franchise Council of Australia (FCA) SA Franchisee of the Year in 2005, 2007 & 2009 as well as being elected to the SA branch of the FCA, and the FCA Franchisee Forum.
Jock will retire from the Franchise in April 2013.