Kitset Assembly franchisee manual

How a Kitset Assembly experiment proved the franchise concept

Sarah Stowe

Every franchise buyer wants to see proof of concept when they are researching a business, and one company has taken this to the next level.

Kitset Assembly Services has invested in understanding what a day-in-the-life of a franchisee is really like, as network growth manager, Liam Flew, explains.

“We have a lot of experience, and a lot of franchisees in our network but we were growing so fast we needed to ensure our operations manual was meeting requirements.”

Liam was well-versed in writing effective manuals, and he drew on all the knowledge in the network to create a brand-new operations handbook.

“However, there was no way to say categorically this works, without testing it in the real world.”

So, Liam put his life on hold and moved from Melbourne to the Gold Coast to establish a Kitset Assembly business from scratch – using only the manual as a guide.

Kitset Assembly experiment

There was no Kitset Assembly franchise in the area, no money spent on marketing, and no involvement from head office.

“I started from nothing, to see what could be done in six months. It started off quite slow, and you would expect that as a brand new business. As a small business owner you work on a lot of things at the same time. Then suddenly there is a tipping point, and it takes off.

Liam generated business by offering his services to local retailers but also gained individual customers.

“The Kitset Assembly branded vehicle is very eye catching. When you are sitting at the traffic lights, you see everybody’s head turn. That definitely brought in some new customers,” he reveals.

The six-month experiment proved highly effective; revenue was 25-30 per cent higher than expected, and business grew faster than predicted.

“I followed the manual to a T, and we were very happy that we only needed to make a few tweaks to it.”

The operations manual is a comprehensive 280-page document that walks franchisees through their day-to-day jobs.

It includes detailed information from walking into a customer’s home, and leaving the residence, to managing jobs, utilising the proprietary software (ToolKit) and it covers all the compliance in between.

“Guidelines include making sure you knock on the door politely, always move to remove your shoes before you walk in the house – it’s a nice gesture – making sure you follow customers to the destination of the items rather than walk ahead. These actions all help customers feel safe and respected in their home. 

The operations manual is a guideline for business

“It is crucial that all customers (the partner suppliers and end customers) get the same experience. That maintains the reputation of the brand,” Liam says.

Kitset has built proprietary software and systems to ensure it meets the specific demands of the business.

“That gives us some advantages with our online bookings. It is, super easy for customers to get an estimate, and it allows franchisees to track what they are doing and manage their cashflow.”

For Liam, following the system outlined in the manual paid dividends; he could easily track his progress.

“I wanted to see what I could do in a short amount of time; I was going fairly hard from the beginning. 

“Once you are established it is a constant but flexible lifestyle; as you get better, you know how long it will take you to assemble certain items.”

Of course, even an experienced assembler can mis-read assembly instructions or find an essential part is missing. 

“Sometimes you put a part upside down, then you have to start again and fix it. I’ve been doing this long enough, there’s always a way to make it work. 

“Customers are paying us to assemble the product, so if we have to call the supplier to get the right instructions or organise additional parts we try and do it,” he says.

Kitset Assembly franchise concept has great potential

Liam is now back in his network growth role, sourcing new partners in different sectors. There is so much potential beyond the obvious IKEA or Bunnings business, he says.

“Customers can employ us to assemble a BBQ, fitness equipment, a garden shed, greenhouse, sauna, all types of furniture…the list goes on.”

Liam’s experience proves the operations manual delivers for franchisees. It is a vital tool that enables them to build a business from the ground up and is comprehensively covered during a franchisee’s initial 4-week training period with the franchisor.

“As a Kitset franchisee your role is assembling products for your customers, and you follow the product instruction manual to do that. An operations manual is simply instructions for your business.”

Of course, the franchisor is continuously available throughout all processes to support franchisees. 

“We’re always open for questions and the field manager is on the ground to help franchisees in their own business.

“We understand the time struggle and juggle, so we’ve developed efficiencies throughout our systems so our franchisees can feel the same ease completing the task for the customer, that the customer feels by having someone completing the task for them,” says Liam.

Whether it is marketing guidelines or business development, Kitset franchisees have advice at their fingertips to help their business grow. It’s all in the manual!