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Get IT out of town: running a tech company in a regional area

Get IT out of town: running a tech company in a regional area

The benefits outweigh the drawbacks

Jeremy Attwood and Kannyn MacRae outside Belkin's head office on the NSW Central Coast, about an hour and 30 minutes north of Sydney.

Jeremy Attwood and Kannyn MacRae outside Belkin's head office on the NSW Central Coast, about an hour and 30 minutes north of Sydney.

Regarding transport, most of Belkin's staff live in the nearby area so the typical commute is around 30 minutes.

“Compared to Sydney that is considerably less,” Attwood said. “We are just off the freeway so we can be in Sydney in 80 minutes or Newcastle airport in 60 minutes. It all adds up to a much calmer and more focused workforce.”

Belkin's marketing director Kannyn MacRae said Harvey Norman is a large customer so “it's not difficult for us to do business from here”.

“We use a local freight provider and in-bound freight is more expensive, but not significantly,” he said, adding with 135 car park spaces in our site parking is not a problem.

On skills, MacRae said searching for staff takes longer, but the company never had great difficultly recruiting and being based on the Central Coast means there are thousands of people who commute to Sydney looking for a job closer to home.

“So the time difference becomes compelling,” MacRae said. “There is about a 10 to 15 percent reduction in the cost of staff, and they accept that because they have a better lifestyle, but we try to pay normal market rates and we don't think just because we are on the Central Coast we can underpay people.”

“We have longer searches for good people and have to shuffle through more resumes.”

MacRae said the main disadvantage of being in a regional area is when the company invites people to come to its offices for a meeting it can be difficult.

“That's not to say that won't come,” he said.

Attwood said the question of why locate a tech company out of the city is asked a lot and one of the main reasons is one of the founders of the company purchased by Belkin lived on the Central Coast and it was less expensive to start a business in the area.

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