Buy a business without selling out your time

By Sarah Stowe | 14 Dec 2016 View comments

If you’re looking to buy an outdoor home-improvement business that allows you to work from home, why not consider Outside Concepts? Buy a business without selling out your time. Image: 

Specialising in outdoor home-improvement projects and services such as carports, pergolas, gazebos, verandas, decking and pool-and-spa enclosures, Outside Concepts is headed up by Brian Rohan.

“The Outside Concepts system runs on a laptop computer, so franchisees can work from anywhere,” he says.

Apart from visiting clients, projects are usually subcontracted, although franchisees can do some installations themselves. This means they can work from home most of the time. As for costs, a laptop and printer are the main requirements.

“There are no fixed hours in this business, so it’s great if franchisees need to drop off or pick up kids from school,” says Rohan. “Customers often like to organise their quotes after hours.”

New franchisees tend to keep their previous jobs until the business produces a regular income, which may result in the need to work after hours or at weekends until business picks up.

Each branch pays for its own advertising, amounting to $120 a month toward maintaining and promoting the group’s websites. The network contributes toward the answering service and 1300 numbers, which costs about $40 a month for each branch.

The initial cost for a franchise is $57,500, including training. There is also a package with a starting investment of $25,000 which comes with a slightly higher royalty until franchisees are ready to pay the rest of the franchise fee.

Training comprises a couple of weeks at the head office in Adelaide, then ongoing training (on-site and by email) that continues for as long as needed, usually six to 12 months. Ongoing support is provided by head office, and there is an annual conference in various locations designed to improve the business.