Russell Orme has worked in franchising his whole life and decided the best next step for him was a vending franchise. Since then he’s managed to cut his previous working hours in half and goes on four holidays a year.
How did you get started?
Tubz: How did you get started with Tubz?
Russell: I started with a hundred bundle because I knew I was going to be doing it full time. Five years on, I’ve got 230.
In the last five years I’ve invested when and if possible. Half are sweet machines, half are Pringles machines, and I have around five or six toy machines.
For those 230 I’ve probably got 120 sites, as most of my machines are in twos in each venue. So it cuts your fuel costs down and when you get to a venue you’re collecting two, three, four machines when on a normal basis you’d be collecting one.
T: Is that working well for you?
R: Yes, of course.
T: What did you do before this business?
R: I’ve only had three jobs in my life. I was a milkman for 11 years on a franchise basis, then I moved into petrol stations for 10 years on a franchise basis, and then I’ve just had Tubz.
T: Why did you want to move from petrol stations to this kind of franchise?
R: The petrol station was 24 hours a day, 70 hours a week. I wanted to halve my hours, so this is what I looked at. I looked at a few other businesses first but this is the one that me and my financial adviser chose because of the minimal risk. I haven’t looked back.
T: So how much did you invest at the beginning?
R: For the hundred, it was £20,000 but you’ve got to go for it if you want to work full time. Obviously, I’ve got my money back now five years down the line. I should imagine it’s probably worth £60,000 now with the amount of investment I’ve made. That’s what you’ve got to look at.
What challenges have you faced?
T: What challenges were you expecting when you first started up with the Tubz business?
R: You’ve got to make sure you’ve got the right kind of clients and the right kind of footfall. You’ve got to get the machines out first and then you’ve got to give it another month to see how things are going. That was the first major task and then it was finding routes and finding out when sites are open.
T: How long is your working week?
R: I probably do around 30 hours a week now, cutting in half my previous workload which was in the petrol stations. That’s what I wanted to do and I’ve done that.
T: That was the goal, to cut your working hours?
R: You can’t just keep doing 70 hours a week. Staff are ducking, you’ve got to do their hours as well. No, it’s impossible. So after 10 years, I’d had enough.
How has your lifestyle changed?
T: It must have been a change to your lifestyle taking on the new business?
R: Yes, it was. I wasn’t getting any time at home, really. I looked at that as well as other franchise options and saw that with Tubz you could leave the machines for a week and still be earning a little bit of money. Plus at the end of my time running petrol stations I’d lost £19,000 in drive-offs alone, so that stress is gone.
T: So its had a real impact on your free time?
R: We just got back from Mexico last week.
How do you run your business?
T: You say you have about 230 machines now, do you manage those by yourself?
R: Yes. As I’m just talking to you now I’m at a site.
T: Is the flexibility something you’re happy with?
R: Absolutely unreal. I went down to Tubz and met everybody, I’ve got them on Facebook and we’ve got a dream team. I get on with them there pretty well.
T: It sounds like it’s had a real positive effect on your life.
R: The hour cutting and and halving the workload, and I’m on my own. I don’t have to rely on anybody else. If you’ve got staff that are moaning and complaining they can’t come in, that part of it I don’t miss whatsoever. Now I can pick my hours whenever I want to. I haven’t got to get up at two in the morning and cover somebody’s shift. I can go at ten in the morning or six at night; it doesn’t really matter. I’ve worked it to my advantage. I tend to have three or four holidays a year now.
T:How challenging is the day-to-day running of the business?
R: Let’s put it this way, we came back from Mexico and I had about 13 or 14 calls, a couple of emails and I’d got through 20 boxes of Tubz products in 6 days.
What are your plans?
T: So you’re happy with 230 Tubz machines at the moment?
R: We’ll see how it goes when I’ve got some more money. I know some of the Tubz people, they’ve got 300 and 400 machines but I’m sure they need people to go around with them.
T: At a certain stage you would need staff?
R: You would, it would be impossible. Then it’s a money issue and it’s a trustability thing. That was the thing with garages. If you had any days off you were wondering what was going on. If you’re on your own, it’s only down to yourself.
T: So you’re happy going solo for the moment?
R: I wouldn’t do it any other way now.
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