Specsavers has entered the Australian audiology market with the launch of its first audiology business on Queensland’s Gold Coast.
Specsavers Runaway Bay, the first Australian optical store to host an audiology clinic, held a launch event on the morning of 30 August 2017 to mark the occasion and welcome its first customers. A second audiology clinic will also open on 31 August 2017 at Specsavers Tweed City in New South Wales.
Each new business has an individual franchise partner – Andrew Fraser is leading the Runaway Bay audiology clinic while Andrew’s sister, Rochelle Fraser, is opening her business within the Tweed City optical store. Both Andrew and Rochelle are audiologists of more than 15 years standing.
The two audiology franchise openings foreshadow a national rollout of Specsavers Audiology businesses across Australia, with Specsavers optical stores to act as hosts to all the new businesses.
“We aim to bring the same level of accessibility and affordability to Australians requiring hearing aids as we have to those needing glasses and contact lenses,” commented Specsavers Audiology Executive Director Darrel Magna. “As we open the first of many, many audiology businesses across Australia, we stand by our commitment to offer the highest quality professional service and the best possible value in hearing device technology.”
According to a report released by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission in March 2017, hearing aids are currently priced at up to $15,000 per pair. Specsavers Audiology customers will be able to purchase a pair of hearing aids from $1,495 per pair.
Partnering with audiology
Darrel confirmed that each Specsavers Audiology business would be hosted within a local Specsavers optical store but would operate as a separate franchise business, with audiology professionals working alongside their optical colleagues.
“It is an exciting model that sees a distinct audiology business opened in our optical stores,” he said. “Each individual Specsavers Audiology business pays a fee to the host optical franchise partners. The optical store partners do not have any ownership of the audiology business at all; that is reserved for the audiology franchise partners.”
As the first two audiologists to start up Specsavers Audiology businesses of their own, the brother-and-sister duo were excited to get started. Rochelle noted that “the model is well suited to audiologists like me”.
“There is no major investment required of partners, just a working capital loan into the business which is paid back by the business after two years,” she explained. “And Specsavers shows real confidence by guaranteeing a market-rate salary and superannuation package for all its partners, so you don’t have to worry about building the business with no personal income. And of course, as an owner you have an asset to build over time, which was an important consideration for me.”
Andrew agreed, adding that there were a number of items that helped him decide to open a Specsavers Audiology business: “The fact that we will work off the existing Specsavers optical customer base means I won’t have to build the business from scratch; the clients we will look after are already used to coming in to Specsavers and our service will be mentioned to every single one of them, as they come in to the store. The level of support, the Specsavers marketing and pricing all work to provide real value to clients, which is exactly what I wanted.
“I also wanted to situate my Specsavers business on the Gold Coast. Getting in early has enabled that to happen; if I had waited I may have had to go further afield to secure a business location,” Andrew added.
Specsavers has already established a network of more than 900 audiology businesses across Europe, and is now aiming to open 100 Australian audiology businesses within the coming 12-18 months, with a view to providing audiology services in up to 200 Specsavers optical locations.
For more information on the Specsavers Audiology business, visit specsavers.com.au/hearing
For details of audiology partnership opportunities, visit audiology-anz.com