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Franchise Briefing with Graeme Clarke - Director of Thermawood Timber Double Glazing Systems

Graeme Clarke
Managing Director

Eden Exchange recently spoke with Graeme Clarke who is the director of Thermawood Timber Double Glazing Systems. Thermawood is a leading retro-fit double glazing franchise system. Its patented system allows existing windows to become energy efficient and reduce noise while also retaining their original character. With a strong presence in New Zealand, Thermawood recently launched in Melbourne and is looking to expand aggressively across Australia. Graeme discussed with us his franchising journey and provided some unique insights on the Thermawood business  in Australia.
 
Edenexchange
Thanks for speaking with us Graeme. Can you tell us a bit about your background and career? Why did you get in to franchising and how did you first get involved with Thermawood?
 
Graeme Clarke
I originally did an apprenticeship as a joiner thirty years ago and spent eight years as an aluminum joiner before ending up in the glass industry. I took over a glazing business in 2007. I grew the business installing a Lisec double glazing line and auto cutting tables and delivered double glazing around the south island on NZ.
 
While manufacturing double glazing I noticed a major problem around the installation of double glazing into wooden windows and doors. I would often get calls from joiners asking me to fix failed double glazing installations. I would turn up to the job and the double glazing was sitting in water in a non-drained square rebate.
 
This problem needed a solution so I combined my experiences as an aluminum joiner, where everything was designed around drainage systems, with the experience of the fellow directors at Thermawood to design the Thermawood drainage system.
 
My glazing business ended up in a national merger with CSR Viridian. One year after the merger, I resigned from my position with Viridian to develop the Thermawood Franchise model for Australia. That was in April 2013. Since then we have patented the system worldwide, have a network of installers nationwide in NZ, completed the franchise model for Australia and have franchisees running successfully in Victoria.
 
Edenexchange
In simple terms, what does Thermawood do? What differentiates it from other companies in the building services and construction industry?
 
Graeme Clarke
The patented Thermawood drainage system, draft sealing and processes are unique to Thermawood and offer peace of mind to the customer that their double glazing will last a long time. Longevity is a key aspect for Thermawood.
 
Edenexchange
You are currently expanding franchise territories across Australia.  Which areas are you focusing on? 
 
Graeme Clarke
Currently we have franchisees in Victoria/Melbourne, we are in the process of setting up our first franchisee in NSW/Sydney.
 
We also have had enquiry from other states, SA, WA and NSW so we will look at expanding into these territories as well.
 
Edenexchange
What major trends should franchise operators and buyers in your sector need to be aware of?  What’s your take on where the double glazing industry is heading?
 
There has always been a perception that double glazing is for cold climates. Double glazing is for every climate.
 
If you are in a hot climate we use double glazing to reflect heat away from your property and also make your air conditioning a lot more efficient and cheaper to run. Also with roads getting busier and noisier, double glazing can be used to reduce the noise entering a property making your home a better place to live.
 
Edenexchange
What advice do you have for someone looking to run a franchise for the first time? What’s the key message you tell new franchisees?
 
Graeme Clarke
The franchisee needs to bring passion for what they do, they need to have the right attitude towards customer service and believe in what we do. At Thermawood we really do change the lives of the customers. When we make their home warmer or cooler, drier and quieter, we transform the world they live in. if you believe in what you do, this will transfer to the customer.
 
Edenexchange
In your opinion, what makes for a successful Thermawood owner? What type of background and experience does a new franchisee need to have and what makes running a Thermawood businesses unique?
 
Graeme Clarke
The right attitude is the most important part. The prospective franchisee doesn’t need to be from any particular background. A trade background of some sort is an advantage but not essential.
 
Edenexchange
After a new franchise opens for the first time, what type of support does Thermawood provide? 
 
Graeme Clarke
Thermawood offers full training on the installation of the Thermawood system, business startup and ongoing support, business & marketing planning and ongoing support from the Master Franchisee who knows both the Thermawood installation and business systems. Support from myself at head office is also always available.
 
Edenexchange
Where do you see Thermawood in a year from now? What are your strategic priorities? 
 
Graeme Clarke
We have spent the last one and a half years researching and developing everything that is different from NZ to Australia. We have implemented these changes into the business and also developed new products for the Australian market.
 
We are now ready to grow the franchise network with new franchisees in Victoria, Sydney and beyond. In the next year I would like to see some new franchisees being trained and joining the Thermawood family.
 
Edenexchange
What challenges have you faced to get the business where it is today? On the other hand, what are some of the key achievements you are proud of?
 
Graeme Clarke
Things are done quite differently in Australia from New Zealand.  What we thought was normal in New Zealnd isn’t in Australia, so we have adapted our business model to suit the Australian market.
 
I am proud that the systems we have implemented both work and have proven to create successful franchises. I have pride in seeing people succeed especially when I have had a hand in that process.
 
Edenexchange
What’s the most interesting part of your job?  What drives you to do what you do?
 
Graeme Clarke
I really enjoy helping and in many cases mentoring people into business and sharing in their success. If they succeed, I succeed so it is in my best interests to have the franchisees doing well, this is why we have the support programme in place.
 
Seeing something we have developed from nothing into the business we have now is also very rewarding.
 
Edenexchange
Thanks for your time Graeme
 
Graeme Clarke
Pleasure
 
 
About Thermawood Timber Double Glazing Systems
 
Thermawood Retro-Fit Double Glazing System is designed to retro-fit double glazing into existing wooden windows. Proven systems and processes with the Thermawood Patented drainage system.  Retro-Fitting fitting double glazing into existing wooden windows allows the home owner to retain the character of their windows, be more energy efficient, reduce energy costs and reduce noise Along with installing double glazing Thermawood installers also fit draft/acoustic seals to all types of windows including double hung windows, casement windows and doors.
 
Become part of the success story with full training and ongoing support, strong industry growth, full advertising & marketing and a patented product new to the Australian Building industry.
 
We are looking for passionate self-motivated people to join the Thermawood team. Please contact Thermawood Retro-Fit Double Glazing on Info@thermawood.com.au for more information or call 0455 555 330
 

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