Ballarat is a charming, tourist-friendly city with a rich history in gold mining, located not too far from Melbourne. Times have changed for the town of nearly 100,000 in the past couple of decades, with industries coming and going, accompanied by increased tourism. So how has this affected the types of custom designed sheds that the local Ballaratians desire?
We recently spoke with the owner of Shed Boss Ballarat, Tony Gleeson, about how he got started with us and what his take is on the local market.
So how did you come to be a Shed Boss franchise owner?
I've only been here for six months. I was [previously] in another industry – the used car motor vehicle industry.
How it all came about was, this time last year, I was vacating my stock to let someone else in on July 1. It was all systems go until the last couple of weeks in June, when he changed his mind and didn't want to lease my yard. I went down to Shed Boss there to speak to them, to see it they were still interested in leasing my property (years earlier they had made inquiries about renting my premises). They said nah, they were selling [the business]. I asked them what they wanted and I came to buy it. I thought, ah well, I might try something completely new, had a chat to one of the staff members down there who has come on board with me, and we started on October 1.
What are the typical industries you cater for in Ballarat?
Ballarat's industries – most of the big ones – have all closed down now. We had a lot of industry here once, quite a few large companies, but they've all sort of disappeared over the last 15-20 years. Because of its history with the gold fields, it's more of a tourist hub now.
So who is your typical customer?
This district here has got a lot of lifestyle rural properties. There's a lot of people who come up from the city and buy these 5- to 10-acre blocks and they call them weekenders. They build a house, and most of them want a decent shed, so that's the area we want to tap into.
It's amazing how many people in the district live in Melbourne, and then have those weekenders – where they have somewhere they intend on retiring to in the future. They start off with just a shed, and eventually put a house next to it. A lot of that goes on in the district: lifestyle properties where people require that space. You know, their man cave where they can go in and do a bit in the shed. Some of them live in it until they've built the house.
Does the geography and weather of Ballarat cause any unique challenges?
Nah, our sheds are fine because they are built to cyclonic conditions. That's the difference with our sheds compared to a lot of others. The engineering in ours is probably some of the best, because they're known for their strength and engineering design. I think the other shed companies offer a lighter-weight product compared to ours.
So what's the future for Shed Boss Ballarat?
We wouldn't mind getting [a new branch] in Geelong as well, just down the road. If this takes off here, I'd like to have a presence in a second city, because I think we could use this as a central hub for all the quoting, and it would give us a much bigger area of coverage. Potentially we could maybe get twice as much business.
If you're thinking about purchasing your own weekender property, make sure you jump online to the easy-to-use Shed Boss app today for a free quote from Tony and his team.