{{ propApi.closeIcon }}
Our industry
Our industry $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Housing industry insights Economics Insights Data & forecasts Tailored research and analysis Advocacy & policy Advocacy Policy priorities Position statements Submissions News and inspiration Industry news Member alerts Media releases HOUSING Online
Business support
Business support $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Become an apprentice host Hire an apprentice Why host a HIA apprentice? Apprentice partner program Builder & manufacturer program Industry insurance Construction legal expenses insurance Construction works insurance Home warranty insurance Tradies & tool insurance Member perks Toyota vehicles The Good Guys Commercial Fuel savings See all Planning & safety solutions Building & planning services Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS) Solutions for your business Contracts Online Advertise jobs Trusted support & guidance Contracts & compliance support Industrial relations
Resources & advice
Resources & advice $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Building it right Building codes Australian standards Getting it right on site See all Building materials & products Concrete, bricks & walls Getting products approved Use the right products for the job See all Managing your business Dealing with contracts Handling disputes Managing your employees See all Managing your safety Safety rules Working with silica See all Building your business Growing your business Maintaining your business See all Other subjects Getting approval to build Sustainable homes See all
Careers & learning
Careers & learning $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
A rewarding career Become an apprentice Apprenticeships on offer Frequently asked questions Study with us Find a course to suit you Qualification courses Learning on demand A job in the industry Get your builder's licence Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Find jobs
HIA community
HIA community $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Join HIA Sign me up How do I become a member? What's in it for me? Mates rates Get involved Become an award judge Join a committee Partner with us Our initiatives HIA Building Women GreenSmart Kitchen, bathroom and design hub Get to know us Our members Our people Our partners Support for you Charitable Foundation Mental health program
Awards & events
Awards & events $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Awards Awards program People & Business Awards GreenSmart Australian Housing Awards Awards winners Regional Award winners Australian Housing Award winners 2024 Australian Home of the Year Enter online Industry events Events in the next month Economic outlook National Conference Events calendar
HIA shop
HIA shop $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Most popular products National Construction Code Vol 1 & 2 Waterproofing wet areas AS 3740:2021 HIA Guide to Waterproofing HIA Guide to NCC Livable Housing Provisions Top categories Building codes & standards Contracts & documents Guides & manuals Safety products Signage For your business Contracts Online Digital Australian Standards Digital Resource Library Forecasts & data
About Contact Newsroom
$vuetify.icons.faMapMarker Set my location Use the field below to update your location
Change location
{{propApi.text}} {{region}} Change location
{{propApi.successMessage}} {{region}} Change location

$vuetify.icons.faPhone1300 650 620

Confidence and collaboration

How do you take an idea to a thriving reality? For HIA members Megan and Stewart of Baulch Services it’s about a unified team, expert advice and the courage to go the distance.
{{ tag.label }} {{ tag.label }} $vuetify.icons.faTimes

Q: How did Baulch Services start and how did you make sure it stood out from the crowd?  

Stewart Baulch: Before starting Baulch Services with my wife Megan I was a licenced plumber working in maintenance plumbing. We had decided to focus on smaller bathroom renovations, kitchens and laundries, which I found quite rewarding in comparison to digging holes. Entering into the renovations market, we found our point of difference in Megan. She is a project manager by trade and brought her expertise into our business, running our schedule to perfection. Our customers really appreciate her being behind the scenes meticulously planning their projects.

Megan and Stewart Baulch

Q: Baulch Services looks after the entire renovation process from design to execution, how did you make it as efficient as possible?

Megan Baulch: Our process was definitely far from perfect initially and we had no idea how to incorporate design into our business until we joined forces with Giulianna del Popolo – director of GDP Interior Designs. We met her at a Reece bathroom designer range launch when we were still finding our feet. We felt so out of place but we went there with the right attitude and were fortunate enough to meet Giulianna. We knew we wanted to incorporate design into our process, we just had to work out how to build a product and process to do this. Once she joined our amazing team of subcontractors and suppliers we perfected our now three-step design process to include both face-to-face and virtual communication options.

We bring designs to life with a complete set of CAD drawings and 3D layouts into the mix to help our customers visualise the renovation before we lift a tool. I couldn’t imagine our business without design in the process. It’s a small investment to ensure our customers love what we create for them for years to come.

Q: What is the key to success in running your own business?

SB: We are a part of a male-dominated industry and guys can sometimes have trouble asking for help or advice, but it’s important to remember that doing so is a good thing. More people would benefit from letting go of their ego and fear, and accept that they don’t have to know everything. Having a positive support network and the confidence to ask for assistance with areas that aren’t your expertise is just as important to your success as applying the knowledge you do have.

MB: Times were tough for us this time last year and we decided that we were only going to give it another 12 months to make it work. To help us ensure we gave this 12 months the best chance of success we hired a business coach. In my opinion, our greatest business achievement to date was recognising that we needed help. Since then, we have gone from strength to strength. The team at Business Benchmark Group are amazing! The program is intense but effective, they have an incredible depth of knowledge and are so inspiring. We are also doing a Masters in Small Business to further our knowledge. Our business is now doing better than ever – we won’t be closing anytime soon.

Recently, we had a Zoom meeting with some clients who were comfortable enough to dial in wearing dressing gowns and holding a glass of wine

Q: How has COVID-19 impacted your business?

MB: COVID-19 has actually helped massively. It was very concerning at the start, we took a massive dive in sales and we thought our whole business would collapse, but in hindsight we see that people were just uncertain and scared. We worked hard to keep our minds and actions focused during this time.

COVID-19 has been devastating to the world but if we can find a silver lining it’s that it has forced us to refine the way we conduct business and work as a team.

SB: Most of our clients are responding really well to shifting the business process online. The technology available has allowed us to continue having face-to-face meetings so to speak, rather than having conversations over the phone, which we find can be very detached and impersonal. Recently, we had a Zoom meeting with some clients who were comfortable enough to dial in wearing dressing gowns and holding a glass of wine – that was a huge positive in our eyes.

It has also helped us complete projects faster because the whole team’s on the call and can answer any questions raised in a single meeting. Our first virtual design meeting was the quickest design we have ever done. The clients were walking around the house FaceTiming our designers throughout it, adding much needed visual to the design process that we didn’t have when conducting meetings in the office. We have nearly finished that project on time and to budget. Zoom is our new best friend and using it has become standard business practice for us.

The Baulch team at their Christmas party

Q: How do you stay on top of all your jobs?

SB: We have a project management software program that took us a couple of years to customise but it now holds all communications, from initial quotes to completion. It’s all created and stored in a portal that clients can access remotely. They get notifications when changes are made and receive daily updates. If there are ways things can be done better or ways to make life simpler it’s worth the effort to make sure it suits you. For us this software does it all.

Q: What advice would you give to those looking to start their own business?

SB: The idea is the easy part. It’s tough to start off, but you have to have confidence in yourself and not be afraid to ask for advice. You have ups and downs, some days we think we should just go and work for someone else because you don’t have the constant responsibility sitting on your shoulders, but then we remember why we started working for ourselves and the fun we have doing it.

MB: In the tradie world, small businesses are often husband-and-wife teams, and that can be challenging. We’ve had disagreements in the past around who does what and when work finishes. To try to resolve this we hired a business coach and it has been the best thing we’ve done as a couple. It’s such a good investment having someone less involved but who still wants your business to succeed as much as you do. For us he is like a psychologist as well as an investor and we definitely wouldn’t be in business today without him. We feel like we have grown as a couple as well as a business.

You might also like:

Design Inspiration Sustainability Kitchens Business and digital
Making a splash
Daniel Ferretti and Theresa Leonardos run ISPS Innovation, a one-of-a-kind bespoke kitchen and cabinetry establishment that embraces sustainability, craftsmanship and entrepreneurialism.
Jun 24
4 min
Read full article $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Awards Business and digital Payment Trends
Resources - autumn 2024
Looking for technical information or design inspiration? Here are the latest tools to narrow your search and advance your knowledge.
Apr 24
2 min
Read full article $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Apprentice Awards Business and digital Residential
A building franchise with a difference
Personal, collaborative, supportive, flexible and user-friendly: not always words we might associate with franchises. But these words capture the spirit of the national building franchise Integrity New Homes.
Apr 24
5 min
Read full article $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Apprentice Business and digital Education Networking
Jumping-off point
To give apprentices the tools to stay on the job longer, they can learn from the best in the building industry. HIA Apprentices offers various initiatives, including its targeted BuildHer and LAHC programs.
Mar 24
7 min
Read full article $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Residential Renovations Awards Business and digital
Set up for success
National award winner Hudson Homes is focused on steady growth but not at the expense of the customer experience.
Nov 23
4 mins
Read full article $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Australian Standards Building developments Innovation Business and digital
Build + Tech – Summer 2023
Builders, large and small, know one thing: whatever saves you time, negates risk and improves workflow and communication is bound to be the makings of a better business. 
Nov 23
Read full article $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Australian Standards National Construction Code (NCC) Business and digital
Resources - summer 2023
Looking for technical information or design inspiration? Here are the latest tools to narrow your search and advance your knowledge.
Nov 23
4 mins
Read full article $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Business and digital Trends Safety
Resources - spring 2023
Looking for technical information or design inspiration? Here are the latest tools to narrow your search and advance your knowledge.
Aug 23
2 min
Read full article $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Business and digital Expenses Small business
What's in it for me?
HIA provides members with a large range of industry products and services to help you manage, operate and grow your business. Here are some benefits you can access today.
Aug 23
5 min
Read full article $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Business and digital Business operations Construction Customer service Digital marketing
Pride and passion
From custom homes to specialised housing projects, Ben Garraway of Garraway Developments is passionate about quality construction and delivering beautiful homes in regional Victoria.
Aug 23
6 min
Read full article $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
National Construction Code (NCC) Sustainability Accounting Business and digital
Resources - winter 2023
Looking for technical information or design inspiration? Housing rounds up the latest tools to advance your knowledge.
Jun 23
3 min
Read full article $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Budget Renovations Construction Business and digital
To chatbot or not
A jump into virtual technology is resonating for Trendsetter Homes. With a clientele now wedded to life online, the dividends speak for themselves.
May 23
4 min
Read full article $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight