Stuart Spittle spent 20 years as CEO of a large manufacturing company, before deciding to move out of corporate life in the mid-2000s and take control of his own destiny. Unfortunately, Destiny had other ideas.
‘My wife Carol and I had a couple of franchised businesses but lost them in the Canterbury earthquake of 2011,’ he explains. ‘So we changed tack and moved to the Bay of Islands where we bought into the motel industry. We sold out in 2016, planning to retire, but after a couple of years we thought we really needed to do something to get re-engaged again.
‘I was looking for a high-performing, well-operated opportunity with good systems and profitability,’ he explains. ‘When the Aramex Northland Regional Franchise came on the market, it ticked all the boxes. Having been a franchisee before, I knew what to look for, and with my background in logistics it has proved a very good fit.’
Aramex is one of the biggest courier companies in the world, operating in 72 countries. It joined forces with New Zealand’s own Fastway Couriers in 2016, with the Aramex name now firmly established here and operating through a well-established network of 18 Regional and over 250 Courier Franchisees.
Regional Franchisees operate the depots in their respective regions, providing logistics and back office support services for individual Courier Franchisees as well as managing administration and contracts in their area. Courier franchisees own their own territories and provide pick-up and deliver courier services for our clients, as well as building on-the-ground relationships and generating new business. Courier Franchise opportunities are available nationwide and can be viewed at www.aramex.co.nz/franchising/courier-franchise.
Stuart and Carol might have thought Destiny was after them again when, just four months after taking over their Northland business, the whole country went into lockdown. ‘Instead, it was certainly a great boost to us so soon after we started,’ says Stuart. ‘It accelerated the take-up of online shopping by about five years, and who’s going to deliver all those parcels? We are.’
Scott Jenyns, the CEO of Aramex, confirms: ‘From May to July 2020, our Courier Franchisees were picking up more parcels every day than on their busiest single day in 2019. For a short period, volumes effectively doubled, and they have stayed high as Kiwis became accustomed to the convenience of online shopping.
‘Aramex customers throughout the country were able to ride the e-commerce wave and adopt online sales almost overnight thanks to Myfastway – Aramex’s self-service, electronic label consigning platform. Opening a Myfastway account only takes minutes, and thousands of new customers signed up in a few short weeks.’
Such a massive surge could have taxed the new Northland franchisees, ‘But the systems Aramex have in place make any fluctuations in volumes easy to handle,’ says Stuart. ‘The big benefit we enjoy is that Aramex’s regional franchisees and depots interact with each other seamlessly. Although we are all independent businesses, we work very much as a team.’
‘Coming into unfamiliar territory as a franchisee, having the right support is required to cut down the learning time and become more productive. I think it is probably the same with any new venture – there is always a settling in period as you adjust and develop sufficient skills to push forward.
‘We started knowing we had a robust system, then Covid trampled through the middle of everything yet we were flat out. As a Regional Franchisee you are dealing with quite a lot of moving parts: we have roughly 14 vans spread between depots in Warkworth, Whangarei, Kerikeri and Kaitaia. Most belong to Courier Franchisees who are business owners themselves, so you need a strong system behind you as well as your own management skills to bring it all together. The support from Aramex made the experience much easier.’
Stuart has also been impressed with the Aramex franchise agreement. ‘Unlike many franchises, there is a perpetual agreement with no renewals required provided a level of performance is maintained,’ he says. ‘That’s true for both Regional Franchisees and Courier Franchisees. Also, many such agreements allow for a franchisor to make arbitrary changes when licences are up for renewal, but Aramex doesn’t. That gives you confidence to invest.
‘I have to say that Aramex has exceeded our expectations already in terms of both operation and performance,’ concludes Stuart.
Scott Jenyns says that anyone looking at purchasing an Aramex franchise can expect to be backed by high-calibre support. ‘Collectively, our national support team has more than 100 years’ experience and many of them have owned and operated one of our franchises themselves, so they have direct experience.
‘For anyone concerned about becoming self-employed in the current climate, this business has ridden out many crises over the past 36 years. With the growth of online retail, there’s probably never been a better time to become part of our team across the country. Contact us to learn more.’