Like many Australians, Justin Sires likes cycling to work. His company, Fresh Locker, makes active transport that much simpler, offering everything from towel delivery and laundry / dry cleaning, to bike servicing, fleet bikes and even end-of-trip facility design consultation and build.
When did you start Fresh Locker?
We started Fresh Locker in September 2010.
How did you come up with the concept?
Like a growing number of CBD office commuters, I enjoy using “active transport” (cycling) to get to work. However, I found that there was a lack of end-of-trip services available. For instance, you need a place to hang a towel and sweaty clothes to dry. A confined environment isn’t conducive to a pleasant aesthetic. In addition, my wife had to taxi my clothing to and from home at the start and end of each week, as well as transporting my bike when it broke down!
I realised that there were common needs among users of active transport. Using my marketing experience, I undertook extensive research to quantify and build a business model around the delivery of services and end-of-trip facilities that these users require.
Tell us a bit more about your suite of services.
My business partner – Mark Rossiter from Penny Farthing Pushbike Parking – and I are very passionate about enabling active transport. Combining our expertise and product / service offerings, we are able to offer end-to-end solutions that include consultation on facility (re)design, facility build / refurbishment and delivery of convenience services such as laundry, dry cleaning and bike maintenance. Our most recent service additions are fleet bikes and vending machines that stock healthy food, personal-hygiene items, bike spares and clothing (such as socks and cuff-links).
How would you describe your customer base?
Our customers generally fall into a medium-to-high socio-economic demographic and many of them are in mid-management positions. They work hard, play hard, take care of themselves and see active transport as a great way to save time, by combining exercise and
Approximately 80 per cent of our current customers are male, but
we think that there’s a real growth opportunity to encourage more women to join the active-transport trend. We’re playing our part, by developing and promoting more accommodating facilities and convenience services.
What kind of growth have you seen?
We have around 900 active personal-service users and 15 buildings that we currently service across Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.
Resource companies currently account for a large portion of our customer base, as the products and services we provide tie in so well to their sustainability and employee health ethos.
What aspect of running your own business have you found the most challenging?
As a small-business owner, I find that you have to be a jack-of-all-trades and operate in areas that aren’t necessarily your strengths. In big companies, there is usually someone whose job it is to do those tasks for you.
What highlights have you experienced?
It’s great when customers tell us how much they love our services, particularly when they move employers or buildings and want to help get our services extended to their new place of employment!
We’re highly customer-service focused but with the volumes of laundry we process, it’s not always possible to get things 100 per cent right the first time. There’s no better sense of achievement when we can turn a disgruntled customer into an advocate as a result of how we handle the situation.
It’s also great to see how quickly we’ve been able to expand the business’s national footprint.
From a personal perspective, I’ve experienced a lot of personal growth and satisfaction – being able to be entrepreneurial and start my own business.
You recently changed payment gateways to SecurePay, a business of Australia Post. Why?
Because of our customer volumes, we decided that we needed to more efficient and automated operation, which meant choosing a payment gateway that worked with our newly acquired CRM system, NetSuite. SecurePay is NetSuite’s provider of choice. SecurePay offered competitive pricing and I saw Australia Post as very reputable brand, which was important.
There were some challenges involved with system migration, including moving our customer data over from our old provider without breaching PCI compliance [the standards that govern access to customer payment-card details]. Our SecurePay contact was totally professional, took personal accountability and went over and above to ensure a solution was delivered – it really changed the game for us.
Thanks to our new CRM system and payment gateway, we can now spend time focusing on servicing existing clients and on developing new business, rather than redundant administrative tasks.
What are your goals for Fresh Locker?
We want to be seen by all as the provider of choice when it comes to the design, build and servicing of end-of-trip facilities.
We want to continue to offer a high level of customer service, even as we grow.
We’re planning to further expand our national footprint and there are opportunities for international expansion, too.
Useful tools and resources
- Fresh Locker offers end-to-end solutions for active transport (walking, running, cycling to and from work). This includes end-of-trip facilities (bike parking, lockers and showers), daily towel delivery, next day laundry / dry cleaning and same-day bike maintenance servicing.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and the interviewees, and not of Australia Post.
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