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Member Success Story: Top Knot Carpentry & Joinery

A leader in its field, Top Knot Carpentry & Joinery provides tips on what to ask for when fitting out or renovating your next office space and reveals how the company uses its Qantas Business Rewards membership to maximise reach.

When Top Knot Carpentry & Joinery began 12 years ago, it was a team of one – today the business is made up of more than 500 people across three states: New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. While most operations occur around headquarters in Sydney, Brisbane and the newest office in Melbourne, Top Knot also works on projects in regional hubs, from the Gold Coast to Newcastle and Wollongong.

The company specialises in high-quality carpentry and joinery work across residential and commercial projects, from timber flooring and wall panelling to kitchen installation and custom storage to large commercial projects including convention and exhibition centre fit-outs. One of its newest projects is Sydney whisky bar The Doss House, a Top Knot joint venture.

Managing director Eoin Daniels sat down with us to talk about what questions SMEs should ask when looking to hire a carpenter, plus how his company is using its Qantas Business Rewards membership to travel further around Australia and the world.

How does Top Knot stand out from competitors?

"We stand out because of our infrastructure. We've been around for 12 years and have grown from a team of one to a team of almost 500 in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. We have resources that nobody else is able to compete with, and we have a very consistent reputation – we don't let clients down, we're very reliable and we're contactable around the clock. Our quality is second to none; there's no point answering the phone if your work doesn't back it up."

What's your scope of work with SMEs?

"We do a lot of office fit-outs and renovations. We come in, help with design, strip a space out, re-fit it, and hand it back to the client. We can do full fit-outs, or just renovations, amendments and adjustments."

"A lot of clients have their own architects in place that will submit a design to us for tender but we also have our own team of architects that work closely with us allowing us to be a one-stop-shop for clients. We can visit, do a survey, assess what you want and create preliminary designs for approval."

What's your scope of work with SMEs?

"We do a lot of office fit-outs and renovations. We come in, help with design, strip a space out, re-fit it, and hand it back to the client. We can do full fit-outs, or just renovations, amendments and adjustments."

"A lot of clients have their own architects in place that will submit a design to us for tender but we also have our own team of architects that work closely with us allowing us to be a one-stop-shop for clients. We can visit, do a survey, assess what you want and create preliminary designs for approval."

Do I need permission to carry out carpentry work in my office?

"It depends on the premises the company is in. If they're in residential premises and the works are under a certain value and there are no structural changes then there are no applications that have to be done. But if you're crossing over into structural work and changes are going to be more visible on the outside then development applications, surveys, council approvals, fire engineering and access approvals are likely. That's where the whole thing gets more complicated. It's the same with any commercial project. We just fitted out Doss House bar in the rocks – it's a heritage project so we had to go through a lot of approvals to get the design over the line. That process can be very tedious."

"We do as much as our clients want us to do. If they say, ‘Just do the whole thing, I don't want to see anything until after it's finished,' we can do that. If they say, ‘I want to be heavily involved, I want to look after the approvals, but I want you to do the fit-out,' we can do that as well – or work anywhere in between."

How can I ensure carpentry work I commission meets deadlines?

"Commit to a design and stick to that design. If we give a client a lead-time and they've given us a design that's signed off we'll never have any problem with a deadline. It's when there are changes along the way that there is potential for delay."

"That said, changes are inevitable – there's a big difference between seeing things on paper then seeing them emerge before your eyes. These are hurdles, but we're still confident we'll meet your deadlines. It's something we stand by."

How is Top Knot earning Qantas Points?

"I fly to Melbourne and Brisbane at least once a week, and I'll often fly to regional destinations if it's too long to commute by car. My main senior managers also travel to Sydney about once a month, and we hold training with interstate teams every three to six months, which requires flying teams from Brisbane and Melbourne to Sydney. At the end of 2017 we flew the entire team and all their partners into Sydney for a combined national Christmas party. We fly Qantas, so we're earning a lot of points on domestic travel."

"I'm also in China fairly regularly as we do some procurement there and have partnerships with some of the country's large raw material suppliers. After the initial deal is inked, my project manager will fly over to China every six or eight weeks as well, with all flights earning us Points."

"Any time I travel overseas or domestically I always hire a car with Avis, which earns us four Qantas Points for every $1 we spend through our Qantas Business Rewards account. It's mainly me using this facility, although there are occasions where I've hired cars for staff as well."

"Whenever I book a flight, I'll always book hotels at the same time. I try book it all once, and love that the Qantas site is a one-stop-shop for this. I don't have much time and it's just easier that way."

"We also accumulate Qantas Points through direct spend on the company's Westpac and American Express cards (earning one point for every $1.50 spent with Westpac and up to two points for every $1 spent with Amex). We have cards that we prefer to use for certain things depending on the rewards offered."

How is Top Knot redeeming Qantas Points?

"I often gift Qantas Points to staff in the office – that's one of the real benefits of the membership, that it's easy to transfer Qantas Points to anyone you want. Last year I gave my accounts manager a flight home to Colombia for Christmas, and I often give team members domestic flights using points if they've been performing well."

"The other way the company redeems Qantas Points is to purchase international flights and also upgrade to business class on domestic and international flights. It's so easy."

What are the main benefits of being a Qantas Business Rewards member?

"It's great to be affiliated with such a prominent Australian company, and it's great to be able to earn points when we simply spend money through our business. The points are a value-add, if you like. I'd rather spend a dollar and earn points that go towards something then spend a dollar and get nothing else for it."

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