How one franchisee family has found the good life with Clark Rubber

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Inside Franchise Business: Clark Rubber franchisee Danny SinkovicDanny Sinkovic and his parents were newbies in the business world. He had notched up a couple of years in real estate, but embracing the challenges of business ownership was a totally new experience.

The family had been customers of Clark Rubber for 10 years, and loved the idiosyncratic mix of products: mattresses, pool equipment, rubber items. “It’s rare to find something that has such a broad product range, and we could always find what we needed there.”

So armed with an appreciation of Clark Rubber’s niche market and its special position in retail, the Sinkovic family invested in a franchise. “Mum and Dad put their house on the line and we got a loan,” says Danny.

They could not find an existing business of the right size, and were happy to start with a new store. But with hindsight, he wonders if buying a greenfield site was the best option. “It was not far from another store, the one we’re in now, and it was a challenge to build up customers.”

To make it work, the family worked every day for four years. “Our mindset was, it’s this or nothing. We had to make it work. We didn’t have a back-up plan.”

Clark Rubber’s head office was always supportive, he says, and the store was meeting its financial targets. Then the GFC hit. The family rode out the tough times, pitching in again when it had to let a staff member go, and now has four permanent staffers and a part-timer.

The senior Sinkovics have taken a step back and work on a casual basis for the business.

In time, the first store was sold, and they snapped up the neighbouring outlet. That really boosted the business, says Danny.

In the franchise network for more than a decade, and just renewed for a further term, he reflects on how longevity has helped the relationship with the franchisor, and given them a better shot at achieving a good return on investment.

“I could to this on my own, but then you think, what does this mean? I would need a marketing guru, I’d have to find product suppliers and build up a product mix that’s right for our store. I’m already time poor with young kids,” he says.

“I can call in casual staff if I need to, it’s all getting easier. I have a good life.”

For the future, Danny sees the business as a springboard for further investments, perhaps into property, that will maximise his profits.

“I’m always looking for the next challenge. I have goals and dreams that keep me going.”

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