KiwiSpan’s Newest Licensees Grow Business in Tauranga Amidst a Pandemic
Introducing Jill and Darryn Astill – the network’s newest license owners who are bringing fresh energy and local business experience to KiwiSpan Tauranga.
In September 2021, one of the network’s longest-running license owners, Len and Donna Hogg, passed on KiwiSpan Tauranga to Jill and Darryn Astill. “We actually knew Len and Donna, and worked with them to put up a KiwiSpan shed on our own property,” said Darryn.
Having had the KiwiSpan customer experience, Jill and Darryn realised the quality of both KiwiSpan’s product and service. As well-established business owners in the region with previous collaboration with the Donovan Group brand, Jill and Darryn were thrilled to take over the Tauranga license when the opportunity came.
Combining business experience with industry know-how
Jill and Darryn are no strangers to the construction industry. With a thirteen-year background in engineering and fabricating, Darryn is well-versed in structural building and design. In 2007, the duo established Ground Up Services, a Tauranga-based fencing business specialising in rural and lifestyle fencing, landscape construction, and retaining walls.
Darryn and Jill’s prior experience has been helpful as the entire construction industry continues to experience supply delays and shifting market conditions. Jill explains, “As long as you’re open and honest, and you don’t try to make something sound different than it actually is, people are often very understanding. Transparency goes a long way.”
Jill and Darryn are combining industry expertise with a solid understanding of the local market and previous business success.
As a family of four, the Astill’s are ingrained in their community, and support several local sports clubs, schools, and events as well as sponsor food bag donations through their local New World.
Learning the ropes through a pandemic
Taking on a business in the midst of last year’s pandemic meant that Jill and Darryn trained with the national office entirely through distance learning and zoom meetings. Jill explains, “The process wasn’t hard, but certainly a very different experience being unable to meet in person. Everyone was incredibly helpful and encouraging through our transition period.”
Jill and Darryn have transitioned into the KiwiSpan network with confidence and a willingness to connect and learn. “The support we get from Head Office is wonderful,” Jill explains, “There are no silly questions, and we feel that we can ring up any time and get direct, clear answers.”
A bright future for KiwiSpan Tauranga
Looking ahead, Jill and Darryn strive for success and growth. “We have a good brand so it’s an easy product to sell,” says Darryn, “but we’d like to keep pushing and achieve great things in our region.”
In their first year of business, Jill and Darryn have traveled around the North Island to connect with other licensees, from Wellington to Whangarei. They look forward to meeting the wider KiwiSpan network at this year’s annual conference in September, and to being more established in the licensee community.
With more projects signing on, Jill and Darryn were able to expand their team in March by adding another full-time staff member.
The team is nearly finished with projects inherited from the previous licensees, and are now beginning a range of new exciting projects, from habitable buildings to beautiful lifestyle sheds.
“We love that these projects are all bespoke,” says Darryn. “We’re starting to gain a reputation for offering unique and very high quality sheds – and we’re excited by how much momentum there has been over the last year.”
As a national network, KiwiSpan offers experienced industry leaders the opportunity to own and operate a regional license with the support of Donovan Group. For more information about becoming part of the national KiwiSpan network, view our regions for sale or download the Licensee Prospectus.
KiwiSpan: a Network Supported by Donovan Group
There’s a lot to consider in today’s market before taking the next step in your construction portfolio. Security, business potential, and brand identity can take years to build – especially in a quickly-changing market.
KiwiSpan offers experienced construction professionals the opportunity to own and operate their business with ongoing support from Donovan Group. With a national reputation for excellence, Donovan Group provides added security and growth opportunities for KiwiSpan licensees.
Is now the time to invest in a construction business?
It’s no secret that the construction industry is currently facing unprecedented challenges. Delayed shipping, limited supply, and rising petrol prices are being met with increased pressure and frustration from clients. It’s not an easy time to be an independent building professional.
With inflation on the rise and uncertainties clouding the future, it’s important to invest in security for your next business venture. Joining the KiwiSpan license network allows experienced construction professionals to maintain their independence as a business owner, while also reaping the benefits of a strong national support system.
Donovan Group has a proven track record of developing strong license systems, modelled to support each business owner with ongoing training, marketing exposure and engineering expertise. Plus, licensing has a lower statistical risk of failure – even through uncertain times.
Ongoing training and support
Working with Donovan Group means joining a network of driven business minds who consistently look for ways to improve, innovate and perform at a higher standard.
Part of being a licensee is receiving training through the KiwiSpan Support Office. Our Commercial Manager regularly visits licensees to monitor progress, and help achieve business and revenue goals. She also facilitates regional catch-ups for the network, as well as our annual conference, where licensees are able to share ideas, develop stronger relationships, and positively grow as business professionals.
Day-to-day support is also available with full access to Donovan Group’s in-house engineers. Being a part of the network allows licensees valuable support from experts with a wide range of skills, experience and knowledge.
Marketing an established brand
KiwiSpan is one of the leading New Zealand brands for quality and experience. Operating under the name offers new licensees immediate business momentum and authority in the industry.
The national marketing team delivers cutting-edge exposure of the KiwiSpan brand on an industry-wide scale – while also providing individualised support for local marketing initiatives.
KiwiSpan promotes the success of each licensee with the Donovan Group reputation for quality and innovation. A national backing doesn’t just offer clear and proven marketing tactics – it also helps provide a sense of security to new clients.
National pricing agreements
Quoting and costing in a constantly shifting market can put additional pressure and risk onto independent business owners.
KiwiSpan licensees can predict better financial stability with national pricing agreements for top-quality inventory and supply. The collective buying power of Donovan Group means immediate and significant savings for material costs when operating under the KiwiSpan brand.
We are dedicated to long-term partnerships with our licensees. More than half of the current KiwiSpan business owners have been operating for over ten years. We believe that speaks to the ongoing strength and support offered through Donovan Group.
To learn more about KiwiSpan’s licensee opportunities and our territories for sale, get in touch with our expert business team.
The 2021 KiwiSpan Award Winners
Owning a business is no small feat, and nobody knows that better than our KiwiSpan network. The network consists of over 20 independently owned licenses, that are based throughout the country. Together, they have helped build KiwiSpan’s reputation as one of New Zealand’s most trusted steel shed suppliers.
Here at KiwiSpan, we don’t let hard work go unnoticed. Every year, we hold an annual national Conference to host the network, share company updates, and most importantly, recognise those who stood out for their exceptional work and business savvy. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic we weren’t able to host the Awards Ceremony in person but we look forward to the event taking place later this year in Wellington.
We’re proud to announce the winners of the 2021 KiwiSpan Licensee Awards are:
Licensee of the Year – KiwiSpan New Plymouth
Owner and operator Joel Schrader, alongside his team, are awarded KiwiSpan’s top award for New Plymouth’s all-around commitment to driving success in their business.
Licensee of the Year Runner Up – KiwiSpan North & West Auckland
This award recognises KiwiSpan North & West Auckland’s relentless pursuit of success and their outstanding performance during 2021.
Highest Sales Achievement – KiwiSpan Waikato
This award recognises Waikato’s determination to succeed, and their admirable sales to show for it.
Highest Sales Growth – KiwiSpan Whakatane
Gary and Deb Woollett, along with the Whakatane team, received this award for their ongoing dedication to sales, and their drive to achieve great results.
Operational Excellence – KiwiSpan New Plymouth
Behind the numbers and margins, a great business is operated with integrity and efficiency. Joel Schrader and the New Plymouth team have shown excellence in operations in New Plymouth.
Operational Excellence Runner Up – KiwiSpan Rotorua
Phil Clark and Jacquie Mcleod, demonstrated outstanding leadership and efficiency throughout their Rotorua business.
Regional Marketing Champion – KiwiSpan Wairarapa
Relatively new on the KiwiSpan block, Tonya Harrison and Rowan Thornton from Wairarapa showed creativity and enthusiasm when it came to marketing in their local community and driving exposure for their business.
Regional Marketing Champion – KiwiSpan Rotorua
When it comes to marketing, there aren’t many that do it like Phil Clark and Jacquie Mcleod from the Rotorua region. The Rotorua team showed great initiative, resourcefulness and creative thinking in 2021.
Network Appreciation Award – James Marsh
As the owner and operator of the Wellington and Kapiti Coast licenses, James secured the ‘good bugger award’ by consistently contributing positively to the network and showing support for other KiwiSpan business owners and their success.
A Day in the Life of Rowan and Tonya from KiwiSpan Wairarapa
Rowan Thornton and Tonya Harrison first opened the KiwiSpan Wairarapa franchise in late October 2020, and the following months were a whirlwind of hard work, reward, challenge, delight and many learning curves.
Rowan and his partner Tonya were drawn to KiwiSpan for many reasons. The New Zealand brand, founded in 2003, designs and builds quality steel sheds that are tailored specifically to every customer. The Wairarapa team were excited by the product and reputation of KiwiSpan, as well as the opportunity for growth in their region. Tonya says that at its core, the business helps deliver dream sheds to everyday Kiwi’s around the country.
When the two saw the chance to own and operate their own KiwiSpan business, Rowan and Tonya jumped at the opportunity. It was a natural step for the couple who were craving to get more out of their respective careers and build something for themselves that would provide financial stability for their growing family. Before owning KiwiSpan, Rowan and Tonya founded RTC Construction, mainly subcontracting in the shed building industry. The pair say that owning their own construction business prepared them well for the career change and was a great stepping stone to KiwiSpan.
As a jack of all trades with experience in structural engineering, Rowan is no stranger to a construction site. He spends his time running all of the day-to-day duties on the building site. A typical day for Rowan includes managing customer quotes, visiting potential clients on site, liaising with subcontractors, organising material deliveries and overseeing projects. Tonya’s background is predominantly in administration and marketing, and much of her role in the business is supporting Rowan in delivering a seamless customer experience. Her duties include paying bills, invoicing out claims, and implementing marketing activity in their local community. It’s a perfect balance!
Tonya and Rowan knew from day one that they wanted to build a strong team around them. While their team is small and close-knit, every single member has been instrumental to their early success and navigating the challenges of starting a new business.
What they didn’t expect was the rapid first year growth of the business. Being in a location that was previously trading very little, Tonya and Rowan exceeded KiwiSpan’s own expectations within their first year of trading. In fact, the Wairarapa team have even rivalled their neighbouring regions in sales which is an impressive feat for the newcomers. It goes to show that Rowan and Tonya’s strengths, while different, are a great combination for success.
While this growth has been incredibly rewarding, it has brought challenges around ensuring that they could still deliver a high level of customer service. Adding Tonya’s sister Emelia to the team as an Office Assistant has been a great way to handle the increase in enquiry, while Tonya says it’s been rewarding to watch her sister flourish in the role.
When asked if purchasing a KiwiSpan business was the right move for them, the couple said yes – 100%. Even though it is hard work, and there are some late nights, the couple are proud to be working towards financial stability for their family. More than that, they’re proud to be involved in a collaborative network that supports them while delivering “cool-as” buildings!
If you’re interested in purchasing your own KiwiSpan license, you can learn more about our territories for sale here.
Tips For Getting Your Storage Shed Placement Right
If you’ve decided that you want to invest in a storage shed then one of your next decisions will likely be where you’re going to put it. Where you put the shed will of course be influenced by its size, your property as well as building and council requirements but there are a few other elements you should also consider including:
How are you planning on using the shed and what will be the most convenient spot for it to be located based on it’s intended usage? These are two questions that are important to ask yourself when deciding on where to put your storage shed. For instance, if you intend to use the shed to store garden supplies and equipment then it makes sense for it to be easily accessible in your backyard or, if the shed will be for bike storage then you may want to install it closer to the front of your house.
Another consideration for choosing where to put your storage shed is how convenient, safe, and easy it will be for you to access. If your shed is located a fair distance away from your house hidden away behind trees and overgrown shrubbery it’s unlikely that you’re going to be keen on venturing out to it very often, especially if you’re lugging heavy equipment with you. It’s a better idea to have the shed positioned closer to your home in an open area which is easily accessible.
We know that KiwiSpan sheds are a sight to behold but it’s up to you to decide whether you want your shed to take centre stage on your property or if you would like to tuck it away in your backyard. We believe that an appealing and well planned shed can add value to your home, so don’t be afraid to show it off! To help your new shed assimilate into your property you may want to have the shed painted a similar colour to your home or to build a path between your home and the shed.
Whether your shed is located in direct sunlight or a shady spot can have a great impact on how comfortable your shed will be and how often you’ll use it. Having a shed which is in full sun most of the day can have negative impacts on your gardening supplies. Plus, if you plan on converting your storage shed into an office, studio, or workshop down the line then you could find the heat most unpleasant.
By putting careful consideration into the location of your new shed you are bound to get the best use from your structure. KiwiSpan sheds are incredibly durable and custom built to last a lifetime, so give us a call to get the ball rolling on your storage shed project.
Shedquarters: Make Working From Home Work For You
Shedquarters are growing in popularity amongst homeowners across New Zealand, but what exactly is a shedquarter and how could having one benefit you?
The first question you may be asking yourself right now is ‘what exactly is a shedquarter’? Essentially, a shedquarter is just another way of describing a tiny space in your backyard. Unlike a standard backyard garden shed which is typically only large enough to store your tools and maybe a lawnmower, a shedquarter is well constructed and acts more as an office space or retreat room which you can escape to in order to relax or focus.
With COVID-19 forcing many people to work from home and children having to take school classes online, some people found their homes getting a bit crowded and opted to install a shedquarter in their backyard. Despite most of us having returned back to work these backyard offices are still an excellent way to create an inspiring and productive space that is close to home yet totally unique and separate from the rest of your house. They’re great for people who work remotely to have a space to escape to away from the distractions within their home.
When you’re considering the design of the shedquarter it’s important to consider the visual elements including the colour, cladding, personalisations, and how it will fit in with your home and garden. Our environment has a huge impact on our energy levels, moods, and productivity so designing an effective space can be a total game changer.
What style would you want the interior of your shedquarter to be? Is your preferred look cosy and decorative? Or do you lean more towards a minimalist and stylish aesthetic? Do you find yourself captivated by the latest design trends, or do you strive for classic elegance? A good place to begin is by deciding whether you lean towards modern or traditional stylings. If you like patterns, rich velvety colours, and lots of details then a traditional style could be perfect for you. However, if your personal style favours crisp colours, clean lines, and open space then you may be leaning towards modern design.
Your design choices for your KiwiSpan shedquarter isn’t solely limited to the interior. We offer a fully customisable design experience which puts the power of choosing the size, cladding, doors, windows, roofing and colour scheme in your hands. We know that you don’t want to settle for a run of the mill shed, and with us, you don’t have to.
Versatile and functional, KiwiSpan shedquarters are designed and built in New Zealand using high-grade materials and are completely customisable to your needs. With your existing landscape in mind, we work with you to create the perfect space for you to work, relax, and play.
Explore our range of quality steel sheds today
Here’s How to Maintain Your New Shed
No matter the season, shed maintenance is vital but in winter it can be a particularly tough time for your shed. From strong gusty winds to heavy rain and even snow, your shed will need to resist and stand up against harsh weather.
Whether you’re looking after a simple garden shed or a large structure, we have you covered with some handy tips for keeping your shed maintained and prolonging its lifespan:
Check the gutters
KiwiSpan sheds are known for their robust quality and durability which makes them ideal for a variety of purposes. They’re designed to hold up against the elements, making them an enduring solution all year round.
One of the many great things about steel sheds is that they don’t require a lot of maintenance. However, to make sure that your shed remains in tip top condition you’ll need to keep an eye on the gutters. Firstly, you’re going to want to make sure that all of the gutters are still firmly attached to the structure and remove debris including leaves, branches, twigs and other miscellaneous debris that has gotten caught.
Watch out for damage
Whether it’s a cracked window, hole or dent, it’s important to fix problems as soon as they happen. However, sometimes issues aren’t obvious so you need to be proactive with your approach to looking out for future issues in order to prevent them.
As with your home, inspecting the roof of your shed for any leaks or damage is also important. If you don’t keep an eye on this, leaks in the roof could allow water to drip into your shed and damage what’s inside. Even if your roof seems to be in good condition, water can still make its way in so look out for discolouration on the ceiling and walls which may indicate that water is getting in.
Like with the gutters, it’s important to keep the roof of your shed clear too. If you live somewhere that experiences snowfall you will need to keep on top of removing it as excess snow and debris can cause weight issues and the constant presence of moisture can be damaging to your roof.
Keep the pests out
Have insects or rodents made themselves at home in your shed? Not only can this be annoying to you but they can also play a role in the deterioration of both your shed and what you’re storing inside of it.
To keep your shed free from pests here are some handy tips:
- Keep the grass around the perimeter of the shed trimmed.
- Don’t stack firewood against the outside of the shed.
- Don’t store rubbish inside the shed as it will attract insects and rodents.
- Sweep or vacuum your shed semi-regularly. Pests like to settle in places which seem undisturbed so having a regular cleaning schedule will help keep them out.
Okay shed owners now you’ve got some tips and tricks to keep your shed maintained. However, maybe your current shed is in such a state that you’re considering a new one or perhaps you’re considering a second shed. Either way, KiwiSpan offers a great range of fully customisable sheds to meet your exact needs.
Explore our range of quality steel sheds today
An Evolution of a Kiwi Classic – The Garage
The garage has always played a special role within the Kiwi home. Whilst it has been used primarily as the place to store the family wagon, it has also housed old sporting memorabilia, family heirlooms and keen hobby equipment.
But garages have evolved over the years. Today we want garages to not only be super functional but also look stylish, regardless of size – from single and double to triple-bay garages. KiwiSpan can fully customise a garage built to fit your desired aesthetics, in most cases matching your rooflines and cladding for ultimate visual appeal.
More and more homeowners are wanting their garage not just for storage, but also for work and play. The opportunities can include a personal gym or yoga space, an art studio or a wine cellar. The modern garage can even have carpet on the floor, giving it a more polished homely feel. Other things to consider are, should the space be warm? The addition of insulation can create a significantly more comfortable extra living or play space.
Post COVID-19 the trend to work from home has grown hugely in popularity, and a new garage can offer a home office type set up that gives you the professional space to be flexible in this area.
One of the common complaints from homeowners is that their current garage becomes the ‘dumping ground’ for anything unwanted in the home. Taking inspiration from commercial warehousing storage, there is now a range of storage solutions that can get items like bicycles and golf clubs off the floor and properly stored. By doing so, you then have a range of creative options on how to use your space, from a workbench that can double as a table tennis table or bar leaner, or useful household items like hanging wall racks to dry clothes.
By maximising the use of your garage space, not only will this enrich your current lifestyle but also deliver value to your home or property when it comes time to sell. Depending on your use of your new garage, make sure you consider its role in resale and that it can deliver on being a multifunctional space.
The best bit about your new garage? With KiwiSpan, you’re guaranteed it will be built to last. Made with New Zealand fabricated steel, your garage will be built to the highest standard and made to withstand the harshest conditions. You can rest easy, knowing you are getting a functional, stylish and reliable garage that won’t let you down.
Contact us HERE today to get the ball rolling on your next Garage project.
Some Great Things About Buying Kiwi-Made…
When it comes to building quality sheds for Kiwi’s, KiwiSpan sets the standard.
One of the keys to our success since 2003, is that 100% of our sheds and buildings are made with quality New Zealand steel. This means they’re built to the highest standard and made to withstand the harshest NZ conditions. It also means that KiwiSpan is supporting the local community and economy as a true kiwi-made product.
The impact of COVID-19 has seen many local businesses severely impacted. A recent Auckland Business Chamber survey revealed nearly one in three businesses will not survive COVID-19, along with industries like tourism and hospitality being severely affected. On the flip-side, one of the positive trends of the pandemic has been the tendency amongst New Zealanders to support local manufacturers and retailers, in a bid to boost the local economy and jobs. There have also been several local campaigns urging kiwi-shoppers to buy New Zealand goods, which have helped to drive this purchasing patriotism.
A major advantage of being kiwi-made is KiwiSpan’s local know-how. KiwiSpan will deliver a shed, barn or carport that is suited to your needs, but perhaps more importantly, to your local conditions. Built to last, every KiwiSpan warranty is formulated on the basis of your site and its needs. Your local KiwiSpan licensee will supply a tailored warranty that is specific to your build and will work with you to ensure you understand your maintenance obligations and warranty terms.
Perhaps KiwSpan’s most important kiwi-made element is our people. We have a nationwide network of experienced licensees, all fully owned and operated here in NZ. With the increase in online purchasing habits, KiwiSpan encourages all of our customers to do their research online, but also understand that sometimes nothing beats sitting down and talking with the local professional about what KiwiSpan can do for you. With KiwiSpan teams spanning from Northland to Christchurch, there’s a local shed expert around every corner.
Whether it’s a shed, farm barn or carport, KiwiSpan has the solution for you. Contact us HERE today to get the ball rolling on your next project.
Your Barn, Your Way
KiwiSpan has been paving the way in the New Zealand outdoor building and shed market since the early 2000s. Whilst KiwiSpan started out with the kiwi dream of building the very best shed, over the years we have innovated into many different types of outdoor buildings to suit the New Zealand landscape, for example, a growing trend is the popularity of farm sheds and barns.
What is a barn?
A barn by definition is a large building used by farmers to store equipment or crops. Depending on whether it is a hay barn, or machinery storage shed, a barn’s framing system is one of the critical elements to maximising the use of your new space.
The second important element in building a barn in a rural location is that it is made to last. The KiwiSpan range of farm sheds and barns have all been designed with New Zealand’s harsh environment in mind, built with hard-wearing durable steel of a higher spec than many other options in the market, and by expert builders with years of experience. So you can rest assured your KiwiSpan shed will stand the test of time.
How can I customise my barn?
Perhaps the most exciting feature is that your barn can be customised to your exact farming or lifestyle requirements. Optional extra’s include partition walls, awnings, garaports, as well as being able to design a variety of sizes, lengths and heights.
‘Barn living’ has become an international trend overseas, with more and more people leaving their city surroundings for a simpler life. KiwiSpan’s barns can be customised to include a home or hobby office or even a “man” cave. Your new barn can also easily be personalized with different choices in colour cladding, different window and door choices. This trend is growing in popularity because it represents the best of both worlds – a functional working space for your equipment or farm supplies, coupled with space that you can make your own – we’re thinking a man/ she-cave or new office.
Contact us HERE today to get the ball rolling on your new barn project.