Description: ChipsAway International is the dominant player in the lucrative and rapidly growing SMART automotive repair market. Opportunities: Franchises available in all areas of the UK and Ireland. Business Type: Franchise. Minimum Investment: £15,000 + VAT Home-based: Yes.
ChipsAway Automotive Repair Franchisee Interview
Success story continues for ChipsAway award winners!
ChipsAway ‘Franchisee of The Year’ Anatol Poyer-Sleeman and his partner Michelle Clark have celebrated another achievement, adding a 6000 sq ft ChipsAway CarCare Centre to their already extremely successful operation. The couple, who joined ChipsAway in February 2004, have built their business from an initial ‘man and a van’ operation, providing mobile automotive repairs to minor paintwork damage, into a substantial management franchise, which encompasses five territories, two fully equipped mobile workshops, a substantial fixed site CarCare Centre and a team of six employees.
“Opening a ChipsAway CarCare Centre was a significant investment for us, but was absolutely key to our strategic growth plans,” Anatol explains. “Having this very large facility, located on a busy ring road, has enabled us to process twice the number of vehicles we could previously handle. Our customers still value the convenience of a mobile repair service and Michelle is out in the vehicle full time, but now we can offer increased flexibility - we’re delighted that it’s going so well!”
The Anatol and Michelle success story started seven years ago, when the pair decided to invest in a ChipsAway franchise after attending one of the company’s informal Open Days. Having completed their training, they launched their business and over the weekend wrote 60 estimates for work - taking bookings well into the next month. They achieved £900 in their first week of trading, £4000 by the end of their first month, and the trend has continued upwards ever since.
In year two the pair decided to extend their territory and take on a second vehicle; by early 2006, they were so busy that they expanded again, taking on an employee. Subsequently they took the opportunity to acquire two further territories from their very successful neighbouring franchisee, substantially extending their area.
Anatol recalls, “It was a win-win situation. The outgoing franchisee made an excellent return on his investment, whilst we were happy to invest in two well run, profitable territories.”
Last year, Anatol was proud to be named ‘ChipsAway Franchisee of The Year’ in recognition of his substantial contribution in terms of time and support given to the franchisee network, as well as their business success. The couple have enjoyed seven years of profitability and growth and say they continue to feel very optimistic about future prospects – particularly in the light of sky rocketing car insurance premiums and increasingly high voluntary excesses.
“We’re very well recognised in our area now and so there’s almost an automatic flow of customers,” Anatol says. “Insurance premiums are rising faster at present than in any other period and people know we can repair their car paintwork damage for considerably less than their excess, so it’s an easy sell for us. The other area we’re currently focussing on is fleet work. We’ve recently gained a lucrative account with a large business locally, which generates plenty of work, so our marketing is geared to attract more contracts like that!”
He concludes, “We continue to enjoy a great lifestyle. We work hard, but we are also reaping the rewards – as well as our usual skiing holiday, we’ve also got a trip to Mexico planned and will be visiting Las Vegas later in the year. Our ChipsAway franchise has given us control over our own destiny and has equipped us with a great business which we have been able to grow and develop, whether the market is buoyant or tough. We still get a tremendous buzz from what we do and life is fantastic!”
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