This intrepid couple go from seeing the sights to building a reputable business out of the back of their 4WD.
Lise and Richard Browning’s love of travel was all the inspiration they needed to come up with a reason to hit the road. Little did they know back then that they would combine their love of property with their building and project management skills to create a successful business.
“We fell into this business by chance,” says Lise. “As word of mouth grew with our business and our need to pay boarding school fees, we decided to take it to a more professional level and be more sensible about winning remote renovation work.”
“As we had no way of people finding us or contracting us because of the locations in which we work, we got a purpose built website specifically set up so we could be contacted, especially when we were travelling remotely out of phone reception.”
Well over 13 years ago after they started renovating and just five years after packing their tools and taking to the road, Lise and Richard have some pretty amazing renovation transformations to their name.
Not bad for a business that operates from a car and a caravan, but the enterprising Brownings have a passion for property investment, so bring their practicality and insight to every job.
There’s not many builders who make their skills available for jobs hundreds of kilometres from the nearest town, and who have the smarts to be able to deal with property owners, station managers and anyone in between.
That aspect was a turning point for the business – learning to manage each job properly with the right people.
“I am usually the first port of call to find the work,” says Lise. “Then we go in and see what needs be done, sound out some ideas with the clients and then Richard does an estimation of cost and materials. He is very organised with the books and paperwork and with keeping our accounting up to date.”
Their organisation skills are crucial when the thought of popping out to the hardware in reality could be a six-hour round trip by road.
“We do mostly renovations and some maintenance work,” says Richard. “Although the thing about where we often work is that nothing is square or plumb nor necessarily up to code.”
“We come across things and wonder how are we going to do that and realise each time that we do learn and deal with building challenges all throughout each project. Every renovation and situation is different so it’s very much about problem solving.”
Tapping into OBT’s expertise makes it easier to meet their tax responsibilities.
They were referred to Sue Dobinson over 10 years ago by a property investment friend as Sue has extensive experience with her own investment properties.
“Our friend had 24 cash flow positive properties to her name so we thought she probably had a very good accountant, which turned out to be Sue.”
“As soon as we gave all our stuff to Sue she managed to get $10,000 back for us in the first year! And she is just lovely to deal with.”
Being accessible mostly by radiophone or when they make their fortnightly trip into town, Lise and Richard have the peace of mind knowing that OBT is keeping their tax and BAS running smoothly.
They also ask Sue’s advice when purchasing equipment and claiming deductions, “Sue is always happy to hear our ideas and then researches the best way for us to go about things.”
“We are really motivated to get our business together,” says Lise. “Our major issue is working in the business which eats into the time we can spend working on it, so impacts our ability to attract new business. We need systems to allow us to get our name out there.”
Fortunately Remote Building Services and Profitable Renovations is a means to an end.
“With all the experience we have gained in sometimes challenging locations, we remain passionate about property and have had the privilege to see some beautiful places. Our aim is to be able to transform people’s lifestyles and create spaces for people that really work, but who may not have access to reliable trades, our skills and project management.”
Lise and Richard are also very much about building long term relationships. The market has certainly changed since they started out ‘flipping’ properties.
“We still want to build our property portfolio but we need to come up with more creative ways of making that happen. The old system no longer works nor functions without enormous debt. We’re moving into different times so we need to be creative, consolidate and move into a strong position.”
That doesn’t come without the challenges of each looming wet season, the seriously long workdays and fitting in extra business study. They are grateful that they get to do business on their terms under our wide blue skies.
For now Lise and Richard are stationed in Arnhem Land, with the drive back from town providing the perfect opportunity to work on their businesses. They will be coming home to Queensland for the four months over the wet season and then it’s back to the Kimberley again in March next year.
To find out more or to view their before and after gallery (which comes with a daggy dunny warning), please visit http://www.profitablerenovations.com/.
Copyright 2015. OBT Financial Group Gatton Lockyer Valley QLD #buildingyourfinancialsecurity