In 2005, Hank Han from Guangzhou, China, moved to Sydney, Australia. In 2007, he bought PACK & SEND Mascot and his Service Centre has since been one of the top-performing stores in the franchise network. We sat down with Hank to understand his experience as a PACK & SEND franchisee.
What’s your business background?
Before moving to Australia, I was working in the import/export industry in China. After working for a big company for 10 years, I decided it was time for a change… a major change.
I packed everything up and moved to Australia seeking new experiences and opportunities. I did a Master’s degree for the first 2 years, and after that, bought the PACK & SEND Mascot franchise. Since then, I’ve never looked back. It was a risk leaving everything behind and starting afresh in a foreign country, but I’m so glad I made the decision I did.
What led you to buy a PACK & SEND franchise?
I had a friend who, at the time, owned PACK & SEND Surry Hills. He was the first Chinese franchisee in the PACK & SEND network, and I later became the second! It was upon his recommendation and endorsement of PACK & SEND that I decided to invest in a franchise.
Since I was familiar with the logistics industry, I understood that the industry was booming in Australia. In China, the industry, though massive, had pretty much reached a plateau where it was overly saturated and incredibly competitive. In Australia, however, the industry is experiencing an unprecedented period of growth, with opportunities abound. I realised that there was a real chance for me to make it here, and it was for those reasons that I decided to give it a shot!
What was the main thing that made you choose PACK & SEND over the numerous other franchise systems available?
Compared to other retail franchise businesses, there wasn’t a great amount of investment required. The business also does not require a lot of money tied up in large quantities of inventory. This business focuses more on labour and service instead of products, therefore, there isn’t a great amount of stock that we need to purchase upfront. The majority of our stock is boxes and packing materials. Unlike food products, for instance, these items aren’t perishable or ever go to waste.
Owning a PACK & SEND franchise is very manageable. There aren’t any industry requirements to meet such as getting food handling certifications or abiding by strict health regulations that those working in the food industry have to. Anyone with the right attitude, vision, and business focus will be able to be a PACK & SEND franchise owner, whether or not they’ve had experience in the industry! A lot of it is about learning on the job. The Head Office also provides an intensive training program for all franchisees, and gives us access to constant support.
However, the main benefit is the work-life balance I get to enjoy. Unlike other retail or food franchises which demand long working hours including the weekends, this is a regular 8.30am – 5.30pm job with half days on Saturdays. Especially coming from Asia where it is the norm to spend most of your day at work with barely any time left for anything else… this newfound lifestyle is something I greatly appreciate! Before, I didn’t have much opportunity to do anything else outside of work. Now, I’m the owner of my own business and have a great work-life balance. This has allowed me to have 3 beautiful children that I can spend time with. I wouldn’t have been able to do the same in China with the never-ending workload I faced. I lead a more balanced lifestyle here, and as a result my quality of life has greatly improved.
What are some advantages of being a part of the PACK & SEND network?
With PACK & SEND, I had the assurance that I would be fully supported by the Franchisee network and Head Office. They’ve built a proven and established system that I just had to follow. Being an already established brand, it is an advantage to be able to leverage off the brand name and its good reputation. In this business, people and businesses are entrusting us with their precious items, and they need to trust the brand that they’re giving their business to. I was able to use the reputation of PACK & SEND to win many big jobs. It’s definitely given me certain advantages that I probably would’ve struggled without.
We also get support from the franchisor which has a local business background and understands the local climate and demand. The Head Office runs nation-wide marketing and advertising campaigns to strengthen the brand. I find these aspects to be very helpful especially for migrant business owners.
It truly is incredibly helpful to have the support from a whole network of Franchisees. The annual conference is fantastic as we get to meet and interact with the other Franchisees. It is reassuring to know that we are never alone in this business – we have the support of likeminded Franchisees and the Head Office.
What do you find most rewarding as a PACK & SEND franchise owner?
I give 100% to my job and really enjoy it. Each day is always different and I always get satisfaction and pride after accomplishing a new job. By helping customers with their freight problems, I feel like I’ve contributed positively to their lives.
In my first year of operation, we weren’t a big business. However, I’ve built it up over the years and we now have many supportive suppliers and customers. It is rewarding to see this as it’s a tangible indication of the success I’ve received. PACK & SEND Mascot has received various industry awards and has established a reputation as leaders in the logistics industry, and that is something I’m very proud of.
What would you say to prospective Franchisees thinking about signing up?
Starting a business with PACK & SEND changed my life. Due to the importance of building relationships with customers in this role, I picked up local interaction skills naturally while on the job. Being a PACK & SEND franchise owner has helped me to build confidence in myself and in my ability to build rapport with locals. I’ve met with management-level executives from big local corporations like Qantas, Myer, and LJ Hooker, to name a few, and haven’t been fazed. If you’d asked me before I started this job whether I thought this would ever be possible, I would never have thought so!
I feel lucky to be working in the PACK & SEND group as it allows me to meet many people in different states! For example, at the annual conference, I get the opportunity to mingle and network with other Franchisees and our suppliers. There are also many friendly Franchisees in Melbourne that I’ve formed a close bond with. Being a part of the PACK & SEND group has not only extended my professional network, but also contributed to my social life. In it, I have found friends, I have found myself and a sense of belonging in Australia.