While we have been on the road part of our pondering has been around future ventures, how we invest our lives, our time, our money so that we make the best contribution we can to the kingdom of God at this point in our lives.
One of my ‘hunches’ was that I’d like to get a business up and running that could be both a source of income for Danelle and I as we get a little older, but that could also be a means of employment for people we would like to support – thinking mainly of church planters, or those needing a ‘fresh start’, or other folks who we may want to help from time to time. We chatted about 3 options that all had some potential. We looked at possibly buying another caravan or two and slowly building a hire business… That would require a storage yard and other staff… The numbers didn’t look great on it unless you go big. We knew of a lucrative evergreen school bus run that was due for sale and when we enquired it was $100K less than we thought… but unless we drove it ourselves the investment return was pretty ordinary – and then that would have consigned us to living in school terms again… nooooo. Then I noticed 2 or 3 competing irrigation businesses for sale via business brokers…
We ran the numbers on each opportunity and they all came up less exciting than we anticipated. Each opportunity introduced an extra layer of complexity to life and as we pondered it we felt none of of them were going to be worth the investment of time or money. We sensed we may end up ‘being owned’ by our business and possibly we would get distracted from our core business of being who we are as missionaries and Christian leaders. Maybe they are just ideas for another phase of life… A few years back I wrote a post about 3 core values I wanted to keep in the way we operated – they were simplicity, autonomy and flexibility. They are still big for us so any larger operations may well see them compromised.
Then a week ago I was camped up at 80 Mile Beach near Broome when an older guy walked over and began chatting with me. He had ‘just retired’ at age 70. What were you doing I asked? ‘Mobile caravan weighing was my business’ he said. I did it for 5 years then 3 weeks ago I was on a job and talking to a client about possibly selling the business and right there and then he bought it!’
‘Interesting,’ I said. ‘How do you weigh caravans? And what’s the going rate for a caravan weigh? Do you weigh other stuff? How busy were you?’ I barraged him with questions.
What followed was a very brief conversation about his enterprise and how he found himself a little overwhelmed with work. Really?… I thought… Hmmm…
It is a fact that caravans have become bigger and heavier over recent years and weight is a genuine concern for people. I wondered how many mobile caravan weighing business there are in WA? It turns out there are just 2. Certainly room for another in that market… And with the going rate being $200/weigh it seems like a fairly easy gig if you can get the work.
From there I began researching ‘mobile caravan scales’, (as you do) and all matters related. I think I have read the entire internet on caravan weighing in the last week! And the conclusion was that for the investment in simply buying a set of scales, as well as some web dev and marketing stuff, we could have a new business that can slowly kick off in the background of Brighton Retic and hopefully in 10 years time will be at a point where it can employ someone all year round and perhaps even be saleable. And it will be simple, flexible and allow us autonomy.
One thing that attracted me to a business of this type is its potential portability. Now we have a service we can take on the road any time we travel and a source of income if we want to make some $$ while travelling.
TBH I doubt we will see a lot of action in this first twelve months, but as the word gets out and the marketing happens we will begin to generate work. So if you are interested you can head to our website here and like the FB page… And of course the great irony is not lost on me – that ‘she’ll be right Hamo’ is now running a business that is all about safety… Chuckle…