From Diesel Fitter To Franchisee Of The Year
Steve Capochi might have come across the Totalspan franchise opportunity by chance, but luck has had nothing to do with the success he’s achieved in the 8 years since then - nor the ambitious plans he has for his future.
“Before Totalspan I was working for myself as a heavy equipment diesel fitter and doing a bit of steel fabrication as well,” he explains. “I saw the Totalspan display being built up here in Cairns and their ad in the paper - we just took things from there.”
The decision to go from sole trader to franchisee wasn’t something Steve and his partner Govinda took lightly however, “We had a look around at other options, but there weren’t many franchises in this industry – there were a lot of dealers, but nothing with the support network and established branding of Totalspan.”
Taking The Plunge
Steve says Totalspan ticked a number of boxes for them, making the decision easier. “A key advantage of the Totalspan model is that we’re the manufacturer as well as the builder – no one else could offer that,” he says.
“Also, it’s a national franchise, so the name, branding and marketing systems were all in place – the advertising was ready to go.
Finally, we wanted a quality product and we knew Totalspan’s product was up to scratch –plus you’ve got that national presence behind you,” Steve concludes.
A Foundation Of Partnership
Steve says another important aspect of choosing a franchisor was the potential for a positive long term relationship – knowing this would be essential to success.
“I didn’t want it to be an ‘us and them’ scenario. With Totalspan, it’s very much a two way street. It’s a partnership.”
“It’s been over 8 years now,” Steve continues, “There have been many times throughout the years where we’ve worked with head office on different projects and come up with different solutions.”
At times like that, having open and readily accessible support has been vital, he says, “We could always talk to our Business Development Manager or someone else on the management side, who would help us with whatever challenge we were facing.”
Steve now invests his expertise and knowledge back into Totalspan network, for the benefit of all franchisees. He says, “The support is getting better and better each year and making it easier for new franchisees coming on board. There’s a new franchisee in Townsville who calls us a lot at the moment. We went through the same things in our first few months, so he’s got support from us as well as head office.”
Freedom To Put Family First
Having won Franchisee of the Year a number of times, the dividends Steve receives from the business are more than just financial. “The advantage of a Totalspan franchise is that my partner and I can run the business, which means we have more time together.”
“Now that we’re a bit more established, we’ve got more time to ourselves on the weekends and we’ve got more financial security as well.”
Big Plans For The Future
“In 8 years we’ve gone from the smallest shed seller in Cairns to the biggest, so the next stage is to expand. In the next few years we’ll start looking at branching out with another display,” Steve ventures.
Steve is proud of how far they’ve come with Totalspan, “We started this business from scratch,” he says. “It’s something we’ve built and it’s ours. It’s still a franchise, but it’s your business - you’re making the decisions and when the job’s finished you’re proud of what you’ve done. There’s a lot of personal satisfaction.”
Steve’s advice for new franchisees:
“Do your research and you know what you’re getting into. Talk to other franchisees, they’ll tell you exactly how it is.
The first few years will be your hardest – it’s like any business, if you’re thinking of coming in and taking every second week off, it’s not going to happen. It’s your business and you’ve got to make it work.”
Favourite part of being a franchisee:
“When I was working for myself I had to do everything, there was no such thing as delegating, there was always weekend work – I just never had any time. Now we hire subcontractors, so that’s changed.”