Home' The Franchise Review : December 2017 Contents THE FRANCHISE REVIEW
The Franchise Review (TFR): Can you tell us about G.J. Gardner
Homes’s growth to date, and your plans for continued growth
into the future?
Darren Wallis (DW): G.J. Gardner Homes started as a small
residential builder on the Sunshine Coast in 1983. Deciding
to franchise in 1995 saw G.J. Gardner Homes expand up
and down the east coast of Queensland. Then, in 1997, we
expanded into New Zealand, where for many consecutive years
we have been the largest residential builder. We also expanded
into the United States in 2006, and currently have operations in
California, Colorado, Florida, Indiana and Texas.
G.J . Gardner Homes is Australia’s seventh-largest detached
builder, the largest builder in New Zealand, and is ranked in
the top 100 of the Franchise Times Top 200+ list, making it the
number one Australian franchise in the United States. Our total
annual sales now exceed $1 billion.
We have further expansion opportunities in Australia, with
another 30 outlets planned for the immediate future, and the
most significant market for expansion is the United States.
Future plans are also in place to enter Canada and Europe
within the next five years.
TFR: Ongoing success is not possible without continuous
improvement within the organisation. What are some of the
initiatives you’ve implemented over the past 12 months to ensure
that G.J. Gardener Homes continues to grow and prosper?
DW: Initiatives we have implemented over the past 12 months are:
• investing heavily in digital and online marketing, search
engine optimisation and conversion-rate optimisation
• repositioning the brand as ‘Your Trusted Local’
• commencing work with a multimillion-dollar software system
update for our franchisees to ensure that we have the latest
in technology to help them run and control every part of
We were also voted Australia’s number one builder on
ProductReview.com.au, which is Australia’s largest
independent review website.
TFR: How does G.J. Gardener Homes foster a culture of
continuous improvement across your franchise network?
DW: We continually work with our franchisees to ensure that
we know what is happening at the coalface. We are preparing
to roll out a new software system across the network in the
next two years, and integrating the same accounting system
for all of our franchisees. There is also our annual conference,
which is run over three days, and includes inspirational
speakers, workshops, training and network updates.
Communication across the network is important; we have
redefined our communication protocols over the past 12
months to ensure that we are communicating efficiently,
effectively and in a timely manner with both internal and
external stakeholders in our business.
TFR: What training and professional development does G.J.
Gardner Homes provide, both for new franchisees and on an
ongoing basis for existing franchisees?
DW: We conduct training at a state level for all new franchisees
so that they understand how to use our systems, how to operate
their business and that they, as a franchisee, are aware of the
support offered to them by joining an internationally recognised
brand to become the biggest builder in their market.
Continual ongoing training days for existing franchisees and
their staff are run parallel to regular franchise meetings, and
can include anything from systems training to accounts training
or use of in-house applications.
TFR: Can you tell us about some of the charitable or community
work that G.J. Gardner Homes is involved in?
DW: At a corporate level, we support local school fundraising
activities, community events and so on, as well as state-based
charitable and community work.
Nationally, last year we ran a successful Australian
Movember campaign, which was championed by corporate
office, and raised more than $100,000 for the Movember
Foundation. Such was the Australian network's response to
this activity that this year, the United States network is also
The New South Wales branch is heavily involved with the
children's charity Variety Australia, having built several
Variety Freedom Homes over the years, which are auctioned
in support of the foundation. This activity has raised several
hundred thousand dollars, with the most recent house that was
auctioned raising more than $375,000. In addition, every home
built in New South Wales donates $500 to Variety.
As a commitment to the environment, the Victoria branch
has been planting 15 trees for every home built since 2013
Having taken out three major awards at this year’s MYOB FCA Excellence in Franchising
Awards, it’s fair to say that G.J. Gardner Homes is doing a mighty job of expanding
and providing a positive example to the rest of the industry. The Franchise Review sat
down with CEO and Managing Director Darren Wallis to discuss the franchise’s ongoing
expansion into international waters, its emphasis on ongoing training for continuous
improvement and its recent charitable work.
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