The commitments

By Sarah Stowe | 29 Oct 2015 View comments

Andrew Renfrey loves his role as a South Australian franchisee with Appliance Tagging Services. But he has an absolute passion for lifesaving and his new lifestyle allows him to commit his spare time to his favourite cause.

Previously employed in the cut-throat world of airline support staff as an uplift clerk with Australian Air Express, Qantas and Australia Post, Andrew needed to make a break for freedom. Franchising was to be the way to a new future.

“I found out through a magazine that Appliance Tagging Services was one of the fastest growing franchises. I had no idea about them, I just rang up. It turned out we had friends and family in common so everything just fell into place.”

Andrew appreciates the flexibility of the mobile franchise after the demanding shift work he had to undertake in his previous employment. “I’ve got four kids and now I work hard, I’m away right now, but I’ll be back for the weekends. It’s so very different to before when I couldn’t commit to anything. I’ve always been involved with lifesaving but couldn’t commit. This has opened the doors.”

Andrew runs the nipper program with his wife, he’s involved in a program for children who are keen athletes, and has been heavily engaged in getting lifesaving onto the local school curriculum. Add in to the mix some cross promotion training with the football clubs, teaching special education kids surf safety, and stepping in to ensure a group of visiting indigenous Australians weren’t caught out by the dangerous surf, and Andrew has his hands full even before he gets back to the family. Every day of his life he’s in the ocean at 5am. Then it is straight to work at 7am and home for tea.

So how does he manage to fit all this in, and run a business? “It’s a juggle, I also do kayak racing and have at least three records on the Murray River. I used to do 100km marathons. I was conditioned to working like this at the airport so if I have more than four hours sleep I’m fine.”

All this activity allows Andrew to make the most of his ability to chat to anyone and everyone, and that’s how the business is built. A recent lead has been the Salvos, thanks to a contact made while jogging.

“I don’t do cold calling. I do my business by talking, I don’t sell the business, it comes up in conversation. I’ve joined a few groups and have heaps of contacts.

“There’s no hard sell. My van’s all tagged up, I tow the boards in this car, I’m in the Christmas parade, I’m out and about.

“It’s a very competitive market but my sales point is not the dollar value, it’s the service.”

Being a franchisee has meant a whole new way of life for Andrew. “I believe in the business and I’ve got a passion for lifesaving, getting kids to the beach, giving them some structure. My business allows me to get involved and I’m making more money and enjoying a better lifestyle.”