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From $16 in the pocket to $2,000 per week

From $16 in the pocket to $2,000 per week

Svend Jensen
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News Release July 2006

From $16 in the pocket to $2,000 per week

Svend Jensen is one of many Courier Franchisees who has found personal fulfilment and made a good living for himself and his wife, Mei, their 7 children, and 13 step-children through his own business with Fastway. His is a bit of a rags to riches story. He arrived in New Zealand from Denmark, aged 24, and with the equivalent of $16 in his pocket. He started off his working life here mowing lawns, progressing to bricklaying and finally purchasing a Fastway courier franchise.

His interest was initially sparked by a documentary about being a courier and then in 1993, he heard a Fastway radio advert, to which he responded. At first he was afraid that he was too old for the part (he was 54 at the time) but at the interview there was a 23 year old girl and he thought – "if she can do it, so can I". And despite the odd discouragement such as an under-ticketing customer, Svend has never looked back. He has been with Fastway for 10 years.

He recently returned to Denmark after 35 years – to catch up with his sister who was 15 when he left. She was 50 when I saw her again, he says, "with a bit more than 16 dollars in my pocket". He says the reunion was a wonderful and moving experience. "We held hands in the car from the airport as there was this intense need to bridge the gap caused by the many years we'd been apart. "However, with the exception of the ties he has with his sister, "Denmark is now a faded memory – I belong here - heart and soul."

Fastway Couriers, found and established in New Zealand 23 years ago, is the world's largest courier franchise, operating in 12 countries around the world and comprising more than 1500 Courier Franchisees, each reporting to a Regional Franchisee. The business model has always been straightforward – that is low costs and a high turnover. Founder of the franchise, Bill McGowan, gained the edge over his competitors through cost-saving initiatives such as pre-paid labels and using the franchise couriers themselves to exchange their parcels at the depots thereby saving on labour costs. Fastway is still at the cheaper end of the market, attracting small to medium sized businesses rather as well as larger ones.

Svend is very excited about his territory. Only three owners in total have had it. The income when he started was $800 per week until one of the bigger customers left. Then it was down to $400. His income has picked up again, however, and today it is $1,800 - $2,000 and his projected income is $4000. His strategy for success, he says is: "just being myself". Svend's long term goal is to build up his territory once the new motorway link to East Tamaki is opened up. "There is currently a huge opportunity for new business", he says.


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