SETTING up an outdoor decking franchise in North Scotland during winter – in the height of the global pandemic – can either be classed as extremely brave or bonkers, depending on what side of the garden fence you’re on.
Roy van Vessem, originally from Holland, admitted that it sounded double-dutch when saying it out loud, but in the space of 12 months the adopted Scot from Elgin has recorded £420,000 in Lakeland Verandahs sales; from Dundee upwards and as far north as Orkney.
“It definitely felt bonkers when I started this career change in outdoor decking and it rained non-stop for the first month. I didn’t sell a thing for the first three weeks!” the 47-year-old said.
But as Roy acclimatised to the Scottish elements – a place he now calls home after moving to the country in 2015 – momentum began to build and he’s now set to become Lakeland Verandahs’ most successful franchisee.
In fact, so many residents are deciding to transform their gardens that the former awnings and blinds specialist is employing a new sales representative in March, with a turnover target of £750,000 over the next 12 months.
“From there, I should be able to hit the £1millon mark, which is significant progress in such a short space of time and against the backdrop of Covid-19.”
Roy, who lives in Elgin, put his success down to an unwavering work ethic and also a growing trend for people to maintain and improve their home environments, which was inadvertently accelerated by the global pandemic.
Lakeland’s back office team also kept supporting him through his initiation and has been on hand with 24/7 advice and knowhow, including flexible finance options, eye-catching marketing material, ordering support, training and of course, premium UPVC materials.
He added: “The lockdowns and various restrictions actually gave business a real boost, as there was little for people to spend on they they couldn’t go anywhere. So the home improvements sector was one area that began to thrive.”
“The downside was not being able to visit people’s homes and conducting meetings online, which made it very hard to bring our UPVC decking and fencing to life, but we found a way around this and managed to adapt well.”
In terms of the average distance clocked up from a typical customer visit, Roy allows himself up to three hours owing to the sheer size of his sales area in Scotland, which covers any property north of Dundee.
And while Lakeland Verandahs installations are synonymous with the spring and summer, Roy revealed that his busiest sales months were actually November 2021 and February 2022, to further underline his position of strength.
“Things are going really well,” Roy added, who now employs three installers.
“Scotland is a stunning country wherever you go, so there’s plenty more garden views and scenery that we can enhance south of Dundee too!”
For more information about Lakeland Verandahs and its franchise opportunities, visithttps://www.lakelandverandahs.co.uk/