Women opening the doors of franchising in the building industry

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Hotondo Homes, one of Australia’s largest building networks, has just welcomed its third female business owner within the franchise network. Lesleigh Davis, Fiona Petterson, and Alyssa Pepper head up Hotondo Homes Noosa, Port Macquarie and Caloundra respectively. Lesleigh Davis of Hotondo Homes, Noosa. Image: Hotondo Homes

While women only represent 17.5 percent of the building and construction industry, they continue to emerge in trades, operations and management roles.

We caught up with Lesleigh Davis and new addition to the tribe, Alyssa Pepper, to find out more about their experiences working within a male-dominated industry.

Meet Lesleigh Davis: Hotondo Homes Noosa

Davis worked in her own building company for almost 10 years before taking over the Noosa franchise in January last year.

In her view, franchising was the best move for her due to the industry’s market presence. Working with a national brand is also a perk, as well as the support available in the network for sales, and advertising.

Although Davis hasn’t faced any major challenges in franchising, she highlights the importance of potential franchisees doing their homework and researching the business and its expectations.

“Franchises aren’t for everybody,” explains Davis.

She admits that sometimes clients expect her to be male, considering the culture of the building industry.

Her advice for other women considering taking up franchises in male-dominated industries is to do research, pursue a passion, and be proactive about developing a client base, even though support is available in the network. She also believes that an understanding of business is a plus.

However, she advises potential franchisees to pursue their interests and “deal with the hurdles as they come up.”

Meet Alyssa Pepper: Hotondo Homes Caloundra

Pepper, who joined the network in late January, will operate in Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast in April. Alyssa Pepper of Hotondo Homes, Caloundra. Image: Hotondo Homes

After spending more than a decade as a project manager with a range of builders, she decided it was time for a change by focusing on her growth and professional development.

“I worked with a lot of builders on a lot of projects including medium density and commercial builds,” she says.

Pepper loves the building sector, and wanted to see what possibilities the franchise network could offer, including marketing and business support.

“It came to a point where I decided it was time for a change and time to focus on myself so I went and got my Builder Licence and here I am.”

Despite the no-woman-in-sight stereotype about the male-dominated building industry, Pepper says there is no scarcity of women in the business. In her experience, women are involved, albeit not in the front line of building, but certainly in the project management side. She believes that the key skills needed to franchise are common sense, a broad understanding of the industry, and good management and communication skills.  

“Equal opportunity is out there,” says Pepper.

Her advice for other women considering opening up a franchise in a largely male-dominated industry is to have attention to detail, to be skilled in the job, love the job, and have trust in others.

Noha Shaheed

Noha writes for Inside Franchise Business. She has worked across the communications landscape, with a background in PR, digital communications, and editorial. She is no stranger to digital and print media, as well as social media platforms.  View More...
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