Noosa franchisee lifts revenue from $100K to $500K

By Sarah Stowe | 26 Feb 2020 View comments

Pristine Water Systems franchisee success is exemplified by Noosa’s Steve McDougall, who has driven his business from $100,000 to $500,000 turnover in less than two years.

So how has this former construction and pool industry individual made such a difference to his mobile business? Inside Franchise Business spoke with Steve to find out the secrets to his success.

How have you grown the business?

“It’s been in the area about 15 years and had a few different owners. It had been fairly stagnant with a consistent monthly return. But from the first month I made some changes. I had a marketing background and I love being on the computer, doing social media marketing,” explains Steve.  

The first significant change he made was to digitise all the processes and to enrich the customer database. He even created an app for tracking jobs.

“Everything I do with my customers is digital. There are no handwritten quotes or invoices and I use SMS for communications. That’s really important – it’s always mentioned in our reviews from customers, that we have fantastic communications, staff are really knowledgeable, there’s confirmation of the job, and follow up.”

The follow-up mechanism encourages feedback and Steve is proud of the reviews on the website, and the discussions and advice generated on social media.

“What’s built the business is the communications with customers,” he says.

Steve extends this with a personal approach. Pristine Water Systems offers rainwater tank cleaning and filtration services. Instead of quoting for work over the phone he offers a free inspection service. What has worked in gaining new customers is the process of taking samples, giving advice on how to maintain the equipment and how to fix problems.

We’ve broken records every month. When I took over it was a $100,000 turnover. We took more than $500,000 last year. Profits have increased, I’ve taken on two more staff, and we’ve completed a lot more jobs.”

What’s next for your business?

Future growth plans are based on expanding staff roles so they take on more sales activity and start to add their own offsider. The structure of the territory-based business allows Steve to create different areas within his territory, and to reach into further-afield regions if there is the team and system to support it.

“It’s a fairly easy business with systems in place, with the right staff who are well trained.”

When sole operators in the franchise network are nervous about taking the big leap into employing a staff member, he offers a positive perspective.

“It’s motivating to have staff. I want to keep them employed so I’m always bringing the work in because it’s not just me, it’s about their families as well.”