With more than 60 years of experience, and as one of the only building franchisors in the world, Hotondo Homes has certainly made its mark in the industry. A well-known national brand today, Hotondo Homes began life when the Renwick family started building houses in country Victoria in 1953.
Still family run, the company is now owned and operated by Managing Director Michael Renwick, who bought the company from his father 10 years ago. Although Michael studied as an engineer at university, he began his career in the family business and has worked in building and construction ever since. "I never practised as an engineer," Michael says. "I just went back into the building industry and the family business. Nearly all my life has been a family business, from commercial through to domestic building, and I really worked my way up."
Since he bought the company, Michael has been trying to ensure that the company is in a position where it could continue if he left. He's set the foundations for a successful succession plan, and is now focusing on growing the company and increasing its reach. "I've put on a CEO, so my expectation of growth is higher. That is really in a nutshell what I am looking at. We spent 10 years laying good foundations in a building sense, and we need to capitalise on them. I'm not too ambitious, and thats probably a problem. That is one thing. And the other thing is by setting up an advisory board, setting up a CEO, I can see this lasting a long time now, whereas before it probably relied more on me." We have made it into something that could last a long time.
Since taking over the company, Michael has implemented a new strategy and has worked to turn the business around. He has a long-term vision for Hotondo Homes and is working to make that possible. The first change he made was to see to it that every builder in the Hotondo franchise was committed to the business and was profitable. "We have grown in terms of professionalism," Michael explains. "We had a lot more builders in our franchise system before, but we were unprofitable. Now we have fewer and we are far more successful. You have to be able to put good people on and retain them, and move on people who aren't good enough. I don't think that is unusual for anybody, and it wasn't possible with my father to do, either; he wouldn't remove bad ones and we couldn't keep good ones. I say my success is because once we got hold of the company and we were able to make the decisions, we were able to put in really good people."