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Success Story - Wayne Gordon

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I was involved in NZ Army logistics for 24 years, which commenced with me qualifying as an apprentice chef, and then moving on into training roles. From there I moved on to broader logistics management. Anna (my wife, and Refresh Manawatu’s director, accounts & administration manager) and I were still both employed by the NZ Defence Force when we were posted to Waiouru.

As we had investment rental properties in Palmerston North, we often found it difficult getting routine maintenance or larger renovation work done on the properties because it was extremely hard to find 'one stop' companies or trades personnel to manage and complete all the work we wanted.

We found Refresh Renovations while searching online. Refresh was still a new franchise at that time, and there was no one servicing the Manawatu region. We got talking to Refresh about how much we loved the idea, and after a few months of phone calls and interviews we decided we would like to take on the Manawatu territory ourselves.

My project management experience has obviously been important in this role but we have found that all aspects of our business really come back to inter-personal skills, and communication. Relationship building is key, whether dealing with clients, sub-trade specialists or merchants. It's a challenging industry, and respect, support and cooperation are absolutely essential. If trust and a shared vision of successful outcomes isn't there you will really struggle to achieve quality results.

I have found the Refresh process beneficial as it allows you to break down complex renovations that can involve as many as twenty different stakeholders ranging through designers, engineers, trade specialist groups, merchants, and regional council representatives. It's thorough and fair, allowing agreed stages to be worked through, which really allows clients to make good informed decisions about matters that will impact on cost and budget.

Whether you are after a cost effective and practical renovation, or something entirely bespoke with design features to meet your personal style, we can work through our processes to design and cost a project to suit.

My advice to anyone who might be considering becoming a Refresh Franchise owner is to be prepared that Refresh is a ‘people’ business. You don't need to start off with a huge amount of technical knowledge of the industry, but you need to establish good networks of knowledgeable people quickly, who can provide the right advice. Build networks with your local merchants and ask around to get referrals for the sub-trade specialists you will need.

Introduce yourself to the local Building Services Council staff and don't be shy to drop in to ask what you think might be 'dumb' questions. You'll be surprised how often experienced tradespeople make incorrect assumptions, and the local council staff often appreciate you taking the time to ask their opinions to get the correct answers. 'There is no such thing as a dumb question", so ask lots, and don't feel too proud to admit when you need help or advice.

You will be responsible for delivering dreams, and clients will expect you to navigate through hurdles with their best interests at heart. Find good people to align your business to. If they can't meet your expectations, they won't meet your clients expectations either.

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