Aleksandar Spasovski wants to change people’s lives, and he’s using his own small business to do it.
Alex learned the hard way that life can throw up curveballs, and through his Fenceology franchise he is determined to help others turnaround their lives.
“I got into this by coincidence,” he says. “I started fencing about 12 years ago. I worked for a builder and a colleague was talking about how much money there was in fencing. My wife was pregnant at the time and so a better income was very appealing.”
With no hands-on expertise but brim-full of determination, Alex started up the Melbourne Fence Company.
It was an audacious move.
“For about six years, I was running one of the biggest fencing companies in Melbourne and still didn’t know how to do it myself. I had 10 subcontractors.”
Alex was running the business around his full time job, doing quotes and management tasks in his lunch break until he decided to take the plunge and fully commit to his own business.
He started working alongside his sub-contractors and discovered they all built fences differently. Alex picked the best methods from all of them and developed his own approach.
Then came a curveball. Two residential builders he supplied services to went bankrupt, leaving him with massive debts.
It wasn’t the first time Alex had faced hardship.
High school dropout
“I grew up in a broken family and there were times when there was nothing to eat. I dropped out of school in year 9 and all I know how to do is work.”
His luck turned around when he was picked to join Jamie Oliver’s TV show as a young kid with potential.
“I was in Jamie’s Kitchen. I was working a lot of hours and I saved up enough to buy my own home at 18 – $300,000 with a 5 per cent deposit.”
But when Alex faced bankruptcy himself because of his clients’ failed businesses he didn’t want the bad luck to spread further.
“I sold the house. I always had a bigger picture, and I didn’t want to go bankrupt on my suppliers.
“It was the hardest time of my life.”
But Alex still had that entrepreneurial urge to do something for himself again.
“I realised I didn’t fail, I had learned lessons and I decided I wanted more from my life. ”
With the full backing of his wife – and still working – he recreated his fencing business as Fenceology, quoting for work in the afternoon of an early shift, or building in the morning when he had an afternoon shift.
“I did it for two years. Then I started thinking, surely other people want to change their lives?”
And that train of thought brought him to franchising. He developed a systemised process for the fence building method he had put together, including a premium customer service element.
There are two franchisees now, both in business for a year, with an average $290,000 turnover and each employing staff.
Alex says “It’s important when creating a franchise, there is the ability for a franchisee to build a business asset, not just employ themselves.”
Changing lives by building fences
He’s keen to pass on lessons learned from his mistakes – but he wants to share with the right franchisees, people who are seeking a fresh start.
Alex knows firsthand how difficult it is to reshape your life, and this is a project from the heart.
“When I build a fence, and you pay me, it doesn’t mean anything. I worked for it and you owe me. But in a franchise, you are paying me because you trust me. It’s more personal, like family.
“The first thing I ask is ‘why did you call me?’, ‘Why do you want to buy a Fenceology business?’ If it’s money, it’s not the best opportunity for them. If they want something other than money, I’ll take them on.
“Those people who want to change are most likely to succeed because something else is driving them.
“It’s hard work, but what’s stuck with me is, hard work always pays off.”