Jim Tarvet needed an income to help him have a comfortable retirement when his electronics business ended after 30 years
Scottish businessman Jim Tarvet was in need of a new career at the age of 60, after the closure of his electronics business. Five years on he operates over 230 Tubz vending machines.
How did you get started?
Tubz: Before you decided to invest in a Tubz bundle, what was it that you were looking for? What kind of opportunity?
Jim Tarvet: Well, I’d had an electronics business for nearly 30 years and the end was a bit of a disaster, really. At the height of the business I was employing about 20 people and then the electronics industry decided to leave the UK. So I was losing customers every month and I went from 20 people down to 4 at the end.
I managed to wrap it up without going bust, but it wasn’t a very pleasant experience. Making people redundant is horrible. So at the ripe old age of 59 or 60, I managed to salvage a few quid out of it but not enough to sail off into the sunset. So I looked around at franchises thinking ‘I’ll just buy a little business out of a box’.
Why did you choose Tubz?
T: Why did Tubz appeal to you?
JT: What attracted me to Tubz was several things:
1) It’s a cash business so no chance of companies going bust on me.
2) No employees. You know, just working on your own and no premises, no rent and rates. Just working from home appealed to me.
T: Why was Tubz a better option than other franchises for you?
JT: When I looked at all the franchises, a lot of them are what I would call a van-type franchise, where you pay 50 grand or something and you get a van and a bunch of leaflets. What I liked about Tubz was I could start off for less than 3 grand, so it didn’t seem like a big risk.
T: Was it easy to make the decision to go with Tubz?
JT: I still thought it sounded too good to be true so, having spoken to John Bailey a couple of times I jumped on a plane and went down to have a look at the place.
I’ve visited a lot of offices and factories in my time and I’d like to think I can tell quite a lot when I visit. You know, the usual thing is you go into a place and there’s loads of big Mercs in the car park and they don’t let you past reception, and you wonder what’s going on in there. With Tubz, there was none of that at all.
I got a complete tour of the whole place and what impressed me was where the money is. The money’s in the stores, stacked with product; floor to ceiling. The people are enthusiastic and keen and have nothing to hide. And I thought ‘This is good. Good atmosphere.’ I like John and Simon, just real ordinary people.
I went ahead on the day and I bought the bundle of 10. I put them all out there and everything they said was true so I bought another 10, and then another 10, and then another, building it up.
Where are you now?
T: How many machines do you have now?
JT: At the moment I’ve got about 230-odd. I’m not out to take on the world; I’ve done that. Been there, done it. So I’m quite happy with it. I might take on a few extra machines or I might not.
T: Is that just yourself looking after those machines?
JT: Yes, I’m not employing anybody, I just do it myself. And I can do it usually working 4 days a week.
T: Who was involved in the decision-making process when you decided to go with tubz?
JT: I discussed it all with my wife and she had a few questions. But it was basically me.
T: And you said you liked Tubz because of the company’s transparency and the people working for it?
JT: Yeah, the quality of the people. They were keen, enthusiastic. John’s great, he’ll go the extra mile for you. He’s very helpful, very reliable.
And the thing I was saying about the stores being stacked full of product; I order a pallet of product every month. Last month I think it was about 70 boxes. I’m up in the middle of Scotland and and they’re in Kent. I’ll order it on a Monday and on Tuesday, bang, the pallet appears.
All the product’s there. There’s no shortages. There’s no ‘oh, we’re out of stock of that or this’.
How was the setup for you?
T: How long did it take to get up and running in the first place, when you got your first bundle of 10?
JT: Within a week I had about 3 sites and within the month, or about 3 weeks, I had 10 sites and ordered another 10, so it was quite quick.
Actually, the mistake I made, I was probably a bit too cautious in the beginning. I had the money left over from the business. I coulda just bought a couple of hundred machines and gone out if I’d had the confidence, but I was just being a canny Scot.
But I started to see cash after about 2 weeks.
T: Did the set-up meet your expectations? Did it go smoothly?
JT: Oh, yeah. There’s no major problems at all. The key to this whole business is getting good quality sites.
What I’ve found is you have to be quite ruthless. If you’ve got a site and you’re only getting an average £2 or £3 a week that’s no use. Take the machine out and get it re-sited. That’s the key to this.
I’ve brought over a couple of people up here who started off either with Tubz or with their competitors and they maybe buy 10 or a dozen machines. They get frustrated with it. They lose 2 or 3 sites, or they’re poor quality sites and they give up.
And often you go see these people and they say ‘I’ve got 12 machines for sale. You want to buy them?’. ‘Yes, okay. What’s the sites like?’. ‘I’ve only got 3 or 4 sites, the rest of them are in my garage.’ You’ll never make money if the machine’s stuck in your garage.
How do you find successful sites?
T: How do you find the sites? Did you do it yourself or did you get some help from Tubz?
JT: Tubz found most of my sites. I’ve used other site finders but, to be honest, I keep coming back to Tubz. They’re good at it, they’ll get you good sites. And that’s the key to it all.
T: So now you have 230 machines, what kind of income do you bring in from that many machines?
The actual turnover is about £71,000 this year.
How does the business suit you?
T: How challenging is the general day-to-day running of the business for you?
JT: I wouldn’t say it’s challenging. You come across problems. You walk into a site and somebody says ‘I don’t want that machine anymore, take it away’. That’s the biggest problem you get.
Compared to when I was running the electronics business and the hassle I had there. It’s pretty hassle-free, I would say.
T: Is it just what you were looking for after that stress?
JT: Yes, it’s proved to be exactly what they said it was on the tin.
You can also find Jim’s testimonial here.