Pipe relining is a niche market within the plumbing sector and an evolving industry. Owning a franchise with this technology has many benefits and can open doors to new groups of clients and give another point of difference to your business.
Here’s a few fun facts if you’re thinking about plumbing franchise opportunities in Australia or New Zealand:
Fact 1: Consumers are increasingly time-poor. When it comes to most things (even plumbing) they will tend to go with big names they know and trust, rather than one-man-band operators who may come and go. Particularly in cities, it’s no longer the case that everyone has a friend or relative who’s a plumber, electrician or carpenter.
Fact 2: Heavy development in urban regions means water and waste systems are often buried under roads and buildings. This makes excavating to repair broken pipes the traditional way is becoming more expensive, impractical and disruptive.
Fact 3: Uptake of trenchless methods of pipe repair (such as CIPP relining) is, therefore, increasing significantly and plumbers who don’t offer these options are reducing their capacity to give their clients the best possible service.
Fact 4: The franchise sector provides an environment that facilitates entrepreneurial activity and encourages innovation 1. It offers aspiring entrepreneurs the opportunity to run their own business while being backed by an established and proven system.
Fact 5: Franchising is a growing industry sector in developed countries, representing four per cent of the Australian economy.
These are some of the reasons forward-thinking operators are considering plumbing franchise opportunities in Australia and New Zealand around drain cleaning and composite resin pipe relining.
This article will look at some of the benefits of franchise opportunities and detail the important steps one should consider if they want to own a franchise.
It will also look at the Nuflow franchise model and explain why it is one of the best plumbing franchises to buy in Australia.
THE BENEFITS OF OWNING A FRANCHISE
One of the strongest trends in this new millennium is the growth of entrepreneurialism. But our images of the entrepreneur as being the head of an IT start-up or a young go-getter on Wall Street are skewed. In fact, the most popular entrepreneurial ventures are franchise businesses in things like services, foods and the medical/health industries.
For tradespeople, that can mean having the foresight and business acumen to look beyond what’s happening today in order to see where things are headed in the future.
Owning a franchise offers the best of both worlds.
Firstly there are the benefits of not having to think about (and do) all the boring stuff yourself. Franchise opportunities generally incorporate tried-and-true models of how to do things. They have standard forms which should cover all aspects of operations (WHS, warranty documents, insurances etc.). They usually include centralised, co-ordinated marketing that gets the brand messages out to consumers and which have far greater reach than most self-employed or family operations can achieve.
Training and education is another area where franchise models come into their own. Large organisations often have their own education, research and training arms. These areas of the company are responsible for staying abreast of industry trends and developments. They are also responsible for conveying this information to franchisees. This means you have someone with their finger on the pulse keeping you informed. The training and education is also vital for keeping you (and any staff) up-skilled. The franchisor really is a stakeholder in each franchise’s success, and they want you to get good results. A failed B2C relationship in one franchise can reflect poorly on all franchisees and the company as a whole, so a good franchisor will always be there to offer advice and support.
The other side of the coin is that you can still have your independence and a flexible lifestyle. Most franchisors will allow individual operators the flexibility to make plenty of choices about how their business operates. You can also have a number of franchises at once, or run a franchise alongside other businesses, meaning you are not putting all your eggs into one bucket.
In 2018 the top 10 franchises were mainly food and services:
- Battery World
- Foodco (Muffin Break, Dreamy Donuts and Jamaica Blue)
- Coffee Club
- Mad Mex
- Skinny’s Grill
- Baker’s Delight.
The franchising industry outlook (2019-2024) has predicted average industry growth for the period with a strong demand for service-based franchises over that time. Obviously the recent global health crisis will impact all industries, however, in terms of essential services (such as plumbing), it is likely that there will be a significant bounce-back in 2021-2024.
But buying a franchise is not necessarily the right choice for everyone. There’s a difference between someone who is good at what they do (i.e. a talented plumber) and someone who has the business expertise to run a successful franchise.
At the heart of it, a good franchise manager is an entrepreneur. They need to have some business experience before starting because it’s the business elements that count the most. Things like managing finances, converting enquiries to sales, record-keeping and even human resources (who you have on your team and how you manage them) can be the real keys to whether a franchise succeeds or fails.
WHAT TO CONSIDER IN PLUMBING FRANCHISE OPPORTUNITIES
Like any business decision, you should consider franchising carefully and follow the right processes because a franchise (like any business) can still fail. There is a franchising Code of Conduct administered by The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) which both franchisees and franchisors must follow.
Before you buy a franchise, government agencies stress that you should consider the same issues as you would if you were purchasing or starting any other business. Do your research and understand how it works. Also, consider the issues specific to franchises, such as what happens if the franchisee (you) or franchisor fails.
If you’re thinking about a plumbing franchise opportunity the most important thing to consider is the current and projected growth rate of the market sector you are aiming to enter. In many areas of plumbing traditional methods are being quickly superseded by new technologies, so ensuring there will be an ongoing market for the product the franchise offers is a key consideration. This is not the only important factor, but it’s definitely one of them.
What focus does the franchisor place on branding?
Check how much effort the franchisor puts into branding. The brand is really one of the main things you’re paying for in a franchise, so you need to know that they are going to be spending the necessary dollars to make their brand a household name. Research conducted in 2012 by the Griffith University Asia-Pacific Centre for Franchising Excellence found that whilst the majority of franchisors reported increases in product sales and profitability, these increases had required related increases in promotional spend to stimulate business activity (p.12).
What technology, research and system resources do they have in place?
It’s all well and good to have a great idea but has the franchisor put the effort into developing unique technology and systems that can ensure differentiation in the market and competitive advantage? If the ideas (and technology) are easily replicated by others, it won’t be long before competitors are coming at you from all directions, so ensuring the company has unique specialisations and processes which will keep you ahead of the curve is vital.
What level of support will they provide?
The level of support you will get if you undertake a plumbing franchise opportunity is integral to the success of the venture. Support from corporate headquarters (the franchisor) can be in the form of:
- research and new product development
- ongoing training and education
- warranty management
- in-the-job advice and assistance.
Good levels of support usually make it easy for a franchisee to build wealth.
The most successful franchises focus on technology and systems that create a repeatable experience for consumers. Try to talk to existing franchisees and ask them whether they feel they are adequately supported.
Check for market oversaturation.
Another risk is an oversaturation of a concept in one area. A good franchise model will account for this by having only a set number of franchises available in each area, but there is nothing to stop competitors entering that market aligned with other franchises. Check how much competition for the franchise product or service there is in the area you wish to operate. It may be a great idea but if there are too many operators already for a particular market profits will be reduced.
WHY NUFLOW IS THE BEST FRANCHISE TO BUY IN AUSTRALIA
Nuflow has taken the most successful elements of franchise models around the world and created what they believe is the best plumbing franchise model in Australia.
Firstly, Nuflow has invested heavily over the past two decades in research and product development; creating their own unique and highly successful products, processes and installation equipment. This means they have a range of products that can be used to fix pipes made from virtually any material and which cater for bends, angles and joins in vertical, angled or horizontal pipes of almost any diameter. These include products that are fully approved and safe for relining:
- pressurised pipes carrying potable water
- heavy load-bearing pipes, manholes and culverts (Sumoline)
- industrial pipes (acid resistant, high temperature or high impact)
- fire and sprinkler systems
- submerged pipes (with our underwater-curing resin).
But Nuflow’s success is about more than just their products. They have identified five pillars upon which their organisation is built. They are:
- Their team
- Their product
- Their business model
- Their education and training programs
- Their Code of Ethics
Importantly, Nuflow offers excellent warranties which franchise partners say is an important factor in many of their clients’ decisions to buy. Convincing consumers to embrace new technologies can often be challenging, but the warranties help overcome this barrier. Specifically, they:
- cover products for up to 50 years
- include a 10-year installation warranty
- reduce the risk of consumers being caught up in a battle between two different companies; the (overseas) product and the (local) installer
- can be lodged and processed locally.
Nuflow franchisees are people who have:
- Industry knowledge (of drains, pipes and plumbing)
- Business knowledge (in the running of a successful business)
- Drive to achieve (because they’re passionate about what they do and believe in doing a great job – every time)
- A passion for innovation
- A customer focus
- The ability to plan (Achieving work-life balance by taking time for planning, ongoing training, business development, down-time and self-care)
- A love of learning (learning from others about new or different practices, products and approaches to business and sharing ideas)
- Ambition to build on current success (Usually they’re already running a successful business but want to take things to the next level)
- A desire to be challenged (finding ways to do things a bit differently to (and a bit better than) everyone else. Gets satisfaction from achieving solutions to problems others prefer to avoid)
- Understanding of the value of a team (they enjoy working independently but also understand the benefits, power and potential of being part of a positive, productive and supportive team).
Plumbers say they chose to own a franchise with Nuflow because the company:
- is locally based (Australia and New Zealand)
- invests in ongoing research and product development
- provides extensive training, education and ongoing support to franchisees
- is setting standards and leading industry development
- excels in customer service and solving difficult problems
- encourages teamwork and sharing of ideas and resources
- is rapidly growing and investing in market development.
With limited territories available and competition likely to increase as more consumers learn about the benefits of relining, those interested in finding out more should contact Nuflow today to get the ball rolling.
- Frazer, L., Weaven, S., & Bodey, K. (2012) Franchising Australia 2012, Griffith University Asia-Pacific Centre for Franchising Excellence, Griffith University, Brisbane.