3 high-tech home service franchises

By Nick Hall | 26 Aug 2019 View comments

From Jim’s Mowing to V.I.P., home service franchises are some of the most iconic and profitable Aussie brands on the market.

However, the rising demand for smart houses is changing the way consumers interact with their domestic space. From small, household innovations such as robot vacuum cleaners to large scale planned investments like the Tesla home battery, the house and garden sector is evolving.

Thankfully, some of Australia’s most well-loved home service franchises are capitalising on the change, rather than resisting it. Here’s three high-tech home service franchises that have committed to innovation.

Hire a Hubby

Handyman business Hire a Hubby has seen it all come and go in its 25 years of operation. Starting out as a basic home-help operation, the brand has become one of the country’s most successful home service franchises models, launching globally in 2008.

CEO and founder Brendan Green acknowledged that while network growth was admirable, it wasn’t until 2011 that the brand really hit its technological straps.

“We chose to invest in technology in 2011 in a big way because we could see gaps in franchisee performance,” he said.

“As a franchisor in the past, I could send through 20 leads to a franchisee and I would have no way to measure the outcome of how those leads were serviced. So, what we did was build a job management system, where we could then look at what jobs the franchisee was completing, timeframe and return on investment.”

The investment paid off from a head office perspective, increasing market share and profitability, however Green reveals that the biggest boost was to the franchisees themselves.

“What we saw before we introduced the technology was a lot of guys burning out,” Green said.

“The moment we introduced that technology, we were able to develop a better plan and look at what the franchisee really wanted to get out of the business.”

More recently, Hire a Hubby has partnered with professional financial services firm PwC, to introduce a simplified invoicing system.

“Essentially, it can be used as a personal balance sheet, where information can be fed to banks, lawyers, accountants, financial planners. With all this information at their fingertips, we’re taking a very cottage industry and transforming it into something very professional.”

V.I.P. Home Services

In March, heritage franchise brand V.I.P. Home Services unveiled a network-first solar-powered trailer, allowing franchisees to monitor their electricity and energy usage.

Specially adapted and fitted with solar panels and a power pack, the sustainable trailer has an inbuilt tool recharging station, which in turn reduces franchisee downturn and pollution.

The latest initiative was spurred by an initial discussion with tool supplier Makita about their range of battery-powered tools, Tim Banning, V.I.P. Lawns and Garden regional franchise manager explains.

“The off-the-grid and camping crowd have been using solar-powered trailers for a while now but we believe we’re the first franchising company in Australia to utilise this technology. At V.I.P. we’re pretty excited about this — it’s a real win-win,” Banning says.

While the new solar-powered trailers address a growing environmental concern, Banning believes the initiative also has the power the greatly impact franchisee profitability.

“The new solar-powered trailers will mean reduced running costs and less downtime for our franchisees. The Makita power tools are easier to start and lighter than traditional lawn and gardening equipment so there’s less chance of muscle strains or fatigue. And of course, less pollution means a cleaner environment.”

SuperGreen Solutions 

V.I.P. isn’t the only brand committing to clean, green innovation, however. In June, energy efficient retailer, supplier and installer SuperGreen Solutions unveiled a network-first.

The brand rolled out an all-new mobile showroom, SuperGreen Direct, taking its unique and industry-leading catalogue of products and displaying them directly to clients, in their own home.

Sean Cochrane, SuperGreen Solutions founder and managing director says the new franchise opportunity was designed to reflect the evolving nature of retailing and ecommerce.

“Let’s face it, the way business has been done in the past will not be how business will be conducted in the future,” he says. “Bricks and mortar is changing, some people don’t want a five-year lease, that’s why we’re introducing this.”

The SuperGreen Direct vans are fully equipped with a plethora of energy efficient products, that serve a dual purpose as both a showroom and a mobile workspace.

“The van displays all of our products, everything that is in that showroom is now in the van,” Cochrane says.

“This is the disruptor. Shopping now is on your mobile phone. Five to ten years ago, people were walking down the strip mall, then they moved to a shopping centre, now they are shopping on their phone,” Cochrane says.

The SuperGreen Direct showroom is just one of the three new mobile models the brand is currently rolling out to combat the evolving sector.

High-tech home service franchises

Franchise brands in the home services sector invest hundreds of millions of dollars in marketing, often putting pressure on revenue growth.

Whether it be addressing the issue of franchisee tenure, like in the case of Hire a Hubby, or the growing need for door-to-door assistance, as seen with SuperGreen Solutions, forward-thinking home service providers are beginning to change their tune.