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A smoother ride now for a cou­ple who made the shift.

It’s a smoother ride now for a young cou­ple who gave up the fly-in/ fly-out em­ploy­ment “prison camp” lifestyle for the ben­e­fits of run­ning their own fran­chise.

The fly-in/fly-out (FIFO) life is not easy, and de­spite Justin van Camp and his wife Deb­bie hav­ing a joint in­come of $400,000, he likens the work to “be­ing in a prison camp for two weeks at a time”.

Their work­ing life saw them shar­ing the same two-week work ros­ter, but at dif­fer­ent min­ing sites (BHP and Rio Tinto), with a week at home to­gether. But af­ter Deb­bie be­came preg­nant, it was time for a change.

“I wanted to quit be­ing in FIFO be­cause we were look­ing to start a fam­ily and wanted a busi­ness we could do to­gether,” says Deb­bie.

The lifestyle change has been sig­nif­i­cant for the cou­ple as they can now be home ev­ery night as their daugh­ter grows up.

“NO BRAINER”

“The de­ci­sion to choose a Bridge­stone fran­chise was easy,” says Deb­bie. “Justin knew all about the brand from his experiences as a me­chanic, and he fig­ured there is al­ways a de­mand for tyres and ser­vic­ing.

“He leaves home around 6.30 ev­ery morn­ing to beat the traf­fic and make sure he gets to the store early to do some ad­min stuff and make sure ev­ery­thing is sorted for the day.”

Deb­bie has a full-time job but sup­ports her hus­band with ac­counts, and the cou­ple be­lieves there are many ben­e­fits in be­ing backed by a brand like Bridge­stone.

“They were with us the whole first week, help­ing and sup­port­ing us, and they’ve been just a phone call away ever since,” says Deb­bie.

Justin says the ben­e­fit of the in­dus­try is a “no brainer”.

“You could prob­a­bly guar­an­tee that al­most ev­ery house­hold in Aus­tralia is go­ing to have 1.5 cars,” he says. “Ev­ery car is go­ing to need ser­vic­ing and new tyres.”

Although this is his first busi­ness, he says fran­chis­ing was an easy choice. He val­ues the sup­port of the fran­chisor most, es­pe­cially when it comes to ac­ces­si­bil­ity.

“If you need help, they’re there to help - and they do help.”

BOOTS AND ALL

Justin bought a new Western Aus­tralia site, Vic­to­ria Park. He says that find­ing the right site was luck and a mat­ter of “be­ing at the right place at the right time with the right at­ti­tude”.

H e s ays the site’s pre­vi­ous u se a s an Ul­tra Tune out­let was beneficial as the client base was al­ready there. For­mer Ul­tra Tune cus­tomers would come in and still be able to have their cars ser­viced.

While he also gets along well with the fran­chise devel­op­ment man­ager, he ad­mits that run­ning a busi­ness is not al­ways easy.

“Straight off the bat we were run­ning,” he says. “I still put in a lot of hours into the busi­ness, but when it’s yours, it’s your baby...”

W hen h e s tarted o ut, v an C amp w as work­ing 10-hour days, six days a week. “I’ve never worked so hard in my life,” he says. Now, al­most two years later, he is clock­ing eight and a half hours a day each week.

“If you’re go­ing to do it, you need to have a goal. I tend to jump into things boots and all. If you don’t do it, you’re

never go­ing to know.”

H e a dmits t here w as m uch t o l earn a t t he start. He and Deb­bie re­fi­nanced some of their prop­er­ties to cover the ini­tial in­vest­ment cost.

STAFFING CHAL­LENGES

A ma­jor chal­lenge is that van Camp is still yet to find a staff mem­ber who can de­liver up to his stan­dard. He says it is im­por­tant to main­tain cus­tomer ex­pec­ta­tions, and he does like things be­ing done a cer­tain way.

“I need to know ev­ery­thing about my busi­ness,” he says. “Don’t be­come mates with your staff mem­bers - you need to be care­ful: there is a line. At the end of the day, you are their em­ployer and it can be hard to put your foot down later.

“Try t o a void e mploy­ing y our f riends, a nd do not go into busi­ness with your fam­ily. It can com­pli­cate re­la­tion­ships.”

And his goals for the busi­ness?

“I reckon three sites would be pretty good,” he says. “With ev­ery store now hav­ing to be opened as a Bridge­stone Se­lect, which in­cludes a full range of au­to­mo­tive ser­vic­ing, not just tyres, it would be dif­fi­cult with­out an au­to­mo­tive back­ground.”

His ad­vice for po­ten­tial buy­ers: “Be pre­pared to work hard, as you only get out what you put in. How­ever, it is in­cred­i­bly re­ward­ing.

“It has given us the in­de­pen­dence to work the way we want to work. We’re do­ing some­thing for our­selves in­stead of work­ing for some­one else.

“Don’t b uy a b usi­ness j ust b ecause y ou want one, do it be­cause you have a pas­sion,” he ad­vises.

Don’t buy a busi­ness just be­cause you want one, do it be­cause you

have a pas­sion.

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