Kwik Kerb - Cover Story
This article appeared in Issue 3#4 (May/June 2009) of Business Franchise Australia & New Zealand
THE WORLD LEADER IN CONTINUOUS CONCRETE EDGING
Owner-operator Tim Keller (pictured on the cover) talks about the freedom and flexibility of his lucrative home-based business.
“I’ll be alone in someone’s backyard: it’s quiet; there’s no one around; the birds are chirping; and it’s absolutely beautiful. It’s physical work but exercise is good for everybody, and at the end of the day you feel really good.”
Tim Keller, 40 years of age and father of three, bought his Brisbane-based Kwik Kerb business in October 2006 with his wife Vanessa. Purchasing during drought conditions, Tim says the climate has not adversely affected the demand for curbing: “It’s stayed fairly steady all the way through, even though it’s very dry.
“You only have to look at Sunday night television to see the enormous amount of outside and backyard renovation programs. And newsagencies have a thousand different outdoor magazines and they’re not solely garden magazines anymore. House design has changed as well; people are putting big bi-fold doors in and using their outdoor spaces. And garden edging fits into all that, as one segment of beautifying your garden.”
Tim admits that all over Australia people have had a reasonably tough time with water supply: “But from an edging point of view, it’s a good opportunity. If you edge and mulch it, it will help retain the garden that you do have. You can still have beautiful gardens virtually without water nowadays.”
Initially, Tim heard about Kwik Kerb through a former work colleague who lost his job. “He was high up in the steel industry and he bought a Kwik Kerb business back in the early 1990s.” When Tim later required some curbing and landscaping, he thought of his old friend.
“I got him to do a fair bit of work for me. I was away at the time and when I got home I couldn’t believe how good it looked. I thought ‘it’s amazing – you go away and come back and all these concrete edges have been laid’. It was always in the back of my mind that Kwik Kerb was a very interesting business.”
Ten years later, Tim moved to the Brisbane area. A butcher by trade, he’d also worked in many different trades such as steel companies and manufacturing. Keen to work for himself, Tim looked at the many different opportunities at a Brisbane franchise exhibition, finally identifying with Kwik Kerb due to his earlier experience and their unique offering.
“Like most people”, says Tim, “we weren’t aware of how it worked; that it wasn’t really a stereotypical franchise. Kwik Kerb is a little bit different - they don’t have territory restrictions and there are no franchise or ongoing fees – that was attractive to us.
“We really liked the Kwik Kerb system because we could work from home and still make a reasonable income without the big overheads. It’s also flexible. Should you want to move to a different area, you can.”
Tim stresses the importance of putting sufficient time and money into an effective marketing plan. “People wanting to go into a business hopefully are sharp enough to think ‘well I’m not just going to be carried along by the company’s marketing machine’, because if you allow that to happen, then you’re just an employee.”
Starting the business in the latter part of a year, Tim explains he wasn’t listed in the phone book for 12 months: “We missed the cut for things like the Yellow Pages, but that was good in a way. We paid for space in shopping centres to talk to people face to face. We did markets and promotions through garden centres.”
Although Kwik Kerb’s Head Office has been extremely supportive, Tim says: “You still need to feel that you’re in control and get out there and do your own thing. You get a lot of satisfaction from generating your own work and getting paid. If you realise you can do that once; you can do it for as long as you like.”
Earning on average $800-$1,200 for a day’s work, Tim says he could work every day: “I choose to work four to five days a week, but that’s flexible. If I want to turn it off one day and go fishing or play golf, I can do that too – and you can’t do that with a job.”
For more information on owning your own Kwik Kerb business, visit www.kwikkerb.com.au