New Leather Doctor, Daniel Viljoen

We would like to welcome on board the newest Leather Doctor, Daniel.

Daniel has taken on the task of helping the good folks of Perth North Coast with their Leather repair and maintenance requirements. To help you get to know him a little better, we sat down and had a chat…

Here’s what Dan had to say:

What was it that attracted you to join the business?

Last year in October I was unexpectantly told that my position has been made redundant. I have always dreamed of running my own business and when applications for many roles all came back negative, I started looking for opportunities to buy a business. 

The Leather Doctor Franchise came up as a possibility in the right price range. Almost everyone I spoke to warned me not to buy a franchise business, but the whole process of working with the Leather Doctor team to get honest answers was just so positive and I knew this would be a great opportunity. 

Now I have the corner office with the best ever changing views and a flexible work schedule. And I’m now my own boss!

What do you most love about being A Leather Doctor?

Getting immediate feedback on what I have achieved. It is great to hear the comments of the customers when they see the condition of the product you have been working on and it looks great. I’ve never been given so much feedback in any role that I’ve been in – so it’s great!

 

How have you gone about promoting and growing your business?

I’ve learnt that doing my shopping at Bunnings is a winner 🙂

The most enquiries I had so far was from people seeing my van in the Bunnings carpark. They walk up and ask for a business card because my dog ate my couch…”. I also drop in and talk to business owners and managers in my area. I approach a variety of businesses, from restaurants to boating and camping places. 

But the honest truth is that repeat business has been coming in and I am not sitting around wondering where to find work. A lot of my private work comes from years of good service from the previous franchise owner which has helped tremendously. 

What did a typical day as a Leather Doctor look like?

First thing would be to load the van with all the spares and equipment I need for the day’s jobs. The neighbours must be concerned by now about our internet shopping habits, because almost every day a courier will knock on the door and leave something. I try to do my reports on the go between jobs, but that is not always possible and I find myself rushing from one job to the other. That means reports has to be done in the evenings and all the phone calls and emails needs attention too in the evenings. This is where my wife, Anna-Marie helps me out a lot. She is an accountant and does all my invoicing. She will also, as time permits, phone customers and book in appointments for me. I know, how lucky am I!

What have you been able to achieve via your time as A Leather Doctor?

Just gaining the skills and knowledge to learn the essentials of leather and vinyl repair has felt like a huge achievement already. The most exciting part of the job for me is the interaction with the customers.  Talking to the customers and helping them to understand the process and what can be done is rewarding.

What do I want to achieve? This is a big dream, but perhaps just some day, we can get the stores to send their customer support staff to us for a week’s tag along training so they have a better understanding of how furniture is made and repaired.

What advice would you give to someone looking to purchase a franchise/operate a franchise?

Get your finances in order before you commit. Use a broker to help with the loan application.

Tell us one interesting fact about yourself?

My love for leather started about 4 years ago when I did a knife making course with my son. After 3 days of forging and sanding we each had 2 beautiful very sharp knifes and had to wrap them in a cloth to protect the blades and our fingers. The knife maker showed  us in five minutes how he makes sheaves for his knives. We bought our first veg tanned leather and started playing with it. 

We made beautiful sheaves and I started playing with embossing the leather. My son Marco, took it way further and started making leather bound books and his own leather bags. His skills comes in handy when someone asks for hand stitching jobs. He has become my first sub-contractor. Then, sometimes I am his sub-contractor when he needs leather coloured. 

Describe your ideal weekend?

Heading into the unknown with our 4×4 and caravan. I love travelling and camping. It is almost winter so we can make camp fires again.

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