They did it ‘Perway’ – lessons from a stirling small business owner
Last week, we caught up with Andy and Louise Kearns at Perway Construction Services. Perway have recently moved on from Stirling Business Centre (SBC) into a larger office to accommodate their growing home renovation business. Andy and Louise have always had a positive mindset and ‘can-do’ approach so we wanted to reflect with them on their business journey and how things had changed over the last 3-4 years…
From humble beginnings to Perway Construction Services
Louise sentimentally shared with us the story of Perway’s humbling beginnings as a handyman business known as “Innaloo Handyman”, started in 2017 in their own home. As their services expanded, offering more than just house maintenance jobs, the business rebranded to what they are now known as – Perway Construction Services. The business now offers full home renovations as a registered Building Contracting business. The name has two meanings for the couple. Most importantly, it is a clever mix between Perth, where they now call home (“Per”) and Galway, Andy’s hometown in Ireland (“way”). It is also a short way of saying the “Perth Way” or “Perfect Way” which they think is the best way to describe their business ethos of always listening to their customers and guiding them in the direction that best suits their needs.
The common challenges of a start-up
On the face of it, it was the perfect set up; both Andy and Louise are experts in their own field with skills that compliment each other. Andy, Director, Builder and head of construction, has over 17 years experience in the construction industry including the residential, mining and commercial sectors, and Louise, General Manager, has many years experience in the corporate sector. Despite their extensive range of skills, they acknowledged there were often times they felt like giving up. They faced multiple challenges such as how to gain new clients, how to create lasting relationships with employees and subcontractors for that powering team, as well as ensuring operations ran smoothly. As a family business, there was also the constant worry about their financial security and work-life balance.
But this didn’t stop them from pursuing their end goal. As Louise says “you’ve just got to keep going. There will always be bad days. However, if you believe in something, you are going to do it no matter what.”
Finding Stirling Business Centre
Louise learned about Stirling Business Centre, including the office space and coaching support available, while attending some business skills workshops organised by the centre. As Perway grew, the need for an office became essential. SBC’s flexible office lease spaces and reasonable pricing was the perfect solution for them and they also took part in the in-house coaching program, Momentum. Louise and Andy met with coach, Justin, on a monthly basis to identify their challenges, develop their action plan and then be held accountable to achieve it. Andy and Louise regard this as one of their best decisions as it helped them build a strong foundation for their business.
The importance of support and guidance in small biz
During our catch up, Louise was open enough to walk us through some of the hardships Perway encountered in their small business journey. As a start up business, Louise shared that it was often overwhelming navigating the various challenges and they were in need of someone who could guide them in making the right decisions. And that’s exactly what Justin, their Momentum coach, did. As well as his coaching support, Louise also appreciated Justin’s flexibility and his check ins to ensure they were on track from a business perspective but also a mental wellbeing perspective. When we asked Andy and Louise what the most remarkable advice they got from Justin was, they both said:
“Get on the phones, make connections, get ringing.”
These quickly became the words they lived by and are still implementing to this day to keep their business growing.
According to Andy and Louise, SBC’s Momentum program has changed their outlook towards running the business. They have been able to create robust systems and processes so Perway can continue to grow. When we asked them whether they would sign up for the Momentum program if they were given a chance to do it all over again, the response was an enthusiastic “definitely.”
What’s next for Perway Construction Services?
Over the last four years Perway Construction Services has evolved into a solid, secure home renovation business and Louise and Andy are confident they will continue to accelerate on this growth. Louise acknowledged they will always continue to learn and improve to find better ways to run a building business. They are proud to place the highest emphasis on their client experience by understanding their needs and helping them renovate their homes in confidence. They believe in taking care of their team of subcontractors and valuing their contribution so that everyone can thrive and prosper together.
Louise was also eager to tell us that they are now working on their long term goals including plans of giving back to the community. We can’t wait to hear more in the future!
It was a privilege to be able to sit down with Louise and Andy in an open and honest catch up about their business journey from the maintenance services of “Innaloo Handyman” to being a registered Building Contractor – “Perway Construction Services”. It is clear that despite some hardships they encountered along the way, they have been able to access the support available at Stirling Business Centre to create a business that has allowed them to shape their own destiny – and with that, a sense of fulfillment in what they do.
Louise shared one parting piece of wisdom to anyone looking to start their own business:
“When things get tough, just remember it will get better eventually. If you can see it in your mind, believe and just keep going, one step at a time.”