How Mortgage Choice Noarlunga helped a young man realise his dream of owning his own company - and a 4WD bus named ‘Trevor’
“All I could think about was owning that bus,” said Bobby Hale, aged 23, of Hackham West.
“I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t concentrate, all I could think about was climbing into that bus - I’ve never wanted anything so badly in all my life,” he said.
It was mid 2015, and Bobby was employed as a Travel Manager for the Flight Centre Travel Group. But from an early age, he had always dreamed of owning his own company.
Bobby caught the travel bug young. His parents took him to the UK, to Hong Kong and to Singapore as a child, and he loved the life experience that travel provided him. He was raised on Kangaroo Island, in South Australia, but whilst still at school, aged 16, he travelled to the North Pole representing the youth of Australia at a Global Warming conference. He also visited China and walked a section of ‘The Great Wall’ as part of a cultural exchange program.
“I’ve always loved to travel, so when I left school I took a year off and travelled to Africa to work as a volunteer with the Maasai people in Kenya,” Bobby said. “I met a fantastic girl in Kenya, and she was from Jersey in the UK, so I just had to go there to see her,” Bobby said. “I also wanted to meet my UK relatives, so I hopped on a plane and ended up at Heathrow Airport with less than $5 in my pocket.”
“Luckily I have an aunt who lives in London. I used my last five dollars to call her from a public phone at the airport,” Bobby recalls. “She picked me up from the airport, fed me, gave me somewhere to sleep, and washed my clothes. They were so disgusting they walked themselves to the laundry,” Bobby admits, laughing.
When he returned home to Australia just before his 18th birthday, Bobby looked for a job that would allow him to travel. He joined Flight Centre as a travel agent, and established his reputation as an ‘action’ man. Over the next 4 years he visited more than 15 countries and worked his way up the ladder to become a Store Manager and then Travel Manager. “But I always dreamed of owning my own travel company,“ Bobby said.
He had come to realise that a desk and office job was not what he wanted in life. Browsing the net one day, Bobby saw an advert: ‘Company for sale - Outback Experience Tours.’
“As soon as I saw the ad, I knew I wanted to buy that company,” Bobby said. Outback Experience Tours had been running for 20 years, and consisted of a beautiful purpose-built 4WD touring bus, plus a list of loyal customers wanting to experience outback adventure tours.
“I couldn’t think of anything else. I was obsessed with reaching my goal - to step into the cab of that 4WD bus, and drive people around some of the best parts of Australia to show them the country I love. But I needed help - big time - to realise my dream,” Bobby said.
Bobby was recommended to Steve Pratt, at Mortgage Choice Noarlunga by a friend. “My friend told me - ‘he’s a really nice guy, and he’ll help you all he can,’ ” said Bobby. “So I gave Steve a call and arranged a meeting.”
Steve met with Bobby, found out about his ambitions, and then set about trying to find a lender to help Bobby realise his dream of buying Outback Experience Tours. It was not an easy task. Even though he owned his own home, because of his young age Bobby didn’t have a long credit history, and so some lenders were reluctant to offer him finance.
“His enthusiasm and excitement were infectious. I instantly knew this was a young man with a big future ahead of him,” Steve said. “I really wanted to help him. But his numbers didn’t add up with some lenders, so I really had to work hard to get a lender who was interested.”
Some lenders took one look and said: “Nah. No way. Too risky.” But because Steve has 25 lenders on the Mortgage Choice panel to negotiate with, he was able to find a lender who would offer Bobby what he needed to buy the business.
“Bobby’s case was not the easiest one I’ve taken on,” Steve admitted. “But I was absolutely determined to help him, because I could see his potential. That’s what gets me out of bed in the mornings,” Steve said.
It took some time from initial meeting to settlement for Steve to get Bobby the finance and insurance he needed. There were lots of ups and downs. But Steve continually advocated on Bobby’s behalf, and convinced a lender that Bobby was worth ’taking the risk.’ He eventually succeeded.
“At the end of the day, when settlement finally happened, I worked out I had received 78 emails from Steve and 59 text messages,” Bobby said. “I can’t count the number of phone calls we had. That is how hard Steve worked over all that time to get me what I wanted,” he said.
“What I loved about working with Steve was that I never had to phone him to ask ‘what’s going on, mate?’ because Steve would call me every second day or so to give me a progress update. He kept me in touch all the time, told me what was going on behind the scenes, and supported me throughout the process,” Bobby said.
“I knew I had a friend working for me, dealing with all the paperwork and finance stuff that I didn’t have the time or the knowledge to deal with. Steve did it all for me - and I didn’t have to pay him one cent for his service!
“But at the end of it all, when I got the keys to my bus, I did buy him a carton of beer to say thank you - just because I was so grateful for all he had done for me. He didn’t expect anything from me, but he gave me so much time, effort, and personal attention that I just wanted to buy him a beer or two to say thanks,” Bobby said.
Last week Bobby completed his first Outback Experience Tour to Kangaroo Island, SA, in his luxury 4WD bus which he has named ‘Trevor.’ He has also undertaken personalised winery tours in McLaren Vale, and is currently hosting a group of cyclists and their bikes on a cycling tour of the island.
Bobby and ‘Trevor’ will be travelling to Lake Eyre, the Flinders Ranges, Yorke Peninsula, Eyre Peninsula, the Oodnadatta Track, the Birdsville Track, and to outback VIC and NSW very soon!
You can visit Bobby’s website: www.outbackexperiencetours.com.au to find out more about his inspirational story, or you can contact Bobby on 0430 561 276 to arrange tour. Find out more at www.facebook.com/Outbackexperiencetours/ and please like his Facebook page!
Please contact Steve Pratt on 0427 390 929 or Fiona Manley on
0421 360 205 to get the same exceptional service to help you realise your own dreams!