Career switch secures Cromwell couple’s financial future
He used to work in a suit and tie, transporting the rich and famous around Queenstown, but when Covid hit and Vikram Singh’s income plummeted, it was a cleaning business that secured his future.
“There’s so much unpredictability in the world right now regarding employment and money, but the cleaning industry has been way more resilient compared to anything else out there,” says the CrestClean franchisee.
Vikram and his partner Brooke Braddock bought their cleaning business in March this year after their jobs were impacted by ongoing Covid restrictions.
A private hire driver, Vikram’s turnover dropped significantly, while Brooke left her job as a housekeeper at an apartment complex as reduced hours meant it was not financially sustainable.
“I had a lot of customers and it was pretty good, but when Covid happened and there were border restrictions, that all changed,” says Vikram.
“I stumbled across CrestClean and got in touch to find out more about the turnover and the kind of work I would be doing. Obviously, it was very different from what I had been doing!”
The numbers stacked up and, after meeting with Queenstown Lakes and Central Otago Regional Manager Danny Mastroianni, Vikram decided to invest in a franchise.
Buying a CrestClean business meant the couple were able to continue to meet the payments on their Queenstown section, which they had been struggling to service.
“We had put a deposit on the section in 2018 when Queenstown was booming and we were making really good money. Unfortunately we can’t foresee what’s going to happen in the future,” says Vikram.
“I needed to have something where I had a good amount of money coming into my account. Danny gave me confidence that the market was still resilient for cleaning businesses, so I pivoted this way.”
Initially Vikram and Brooke had customers in both Queenstown and Cromwell, commuting between the two. But as they picked up more work in Cromwell, they decided to move there, reducing their living and travel costs.
“We were renting a three-bedroom house in Queenstown for $850 a week, but in Cromwell it’s $400 — and we don’t have to share it with anyone!” says Vikram.
“We’ve saved an awful lot of money compared to if we were in Queenstown.”
While the couple still plan to build on their section in Queenstown, they will most likely sell it and buy a property in Cromwell.
“Our work is here and it’s really nice in Cromwell. There is a lake, plenty of biking tracks, not much traffic, plenty of parking and it gets hot here in summer so it makes me feel like I’m back home in India.”
Vikram says he is also enjoying the physicality of the work.
“Otherwise I’d be still sitting around in Queenstown waiting for the borders to open up for business. Now I feel like I’m more active, it’s good.”
Danny says, while Vikram and Brooke only joined CrestClean this year, “it feels they have been with us for ages”.
“They have learnt very fast, take pride in their job and have been providing an outstanding customer service,” says Danny.
“Having them relocate to Cromwell meant we could accept new customers again and start fulfilling the high demand for reliable and high-quality cleaning in the area.”