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
BOUNCING BACK FROM REDUNDANCY - Ian is driving forward with ChipsAway!
Former Financial Services Executive, Ian Whitlock has had a lot to smile about recently. Not only is his ChipsAway business a huge success, but he has just swiped his second prestigious ChipsAway award.
Since starting his franchise in 2009 Ian has been motoring ahead. After just 12 months he expanded from his initial ‘man and a van’ mobile operation into a ChipsAway CarCare Centre (a fixed base workshop) and more recently has taken on two part time employees to help him with the growing demand for his business.
“My ChipsAway CarCare Centre is a blinding success,” he says. “I’ve secured additional work and I can process even more vehicles in my unit.
Business has been booming and I don’t want to have to turn anyone away so I have recently taken on two part time employees to help me meet my customers’ demands.”
Having been awarded ‘Newcomer of the Year 2010’ at ChipsAway’s franchisee awards, this year Ian was voted ChipsAway ‘Marketeer of the Year’, Ian described the accolade as an honour and is particularly looking forward to sharing his expertise with others as a Marketing Mentor and in his role on the Marketing Liaison Group, which is a panel of franchisees who regularly get together to discuss marketing initiatives for the benefit of the network.
He attributes his success to ‘first class repairs backed-up by a first class service’.
Since moving into his CarCare Centre, he has introduced a courtesy service whereby he collects customers’ cars and delivers them back when repairs are complete – an added extra, greatly appreciated by many of the people in Ian’s territory of Eastbourne.
Despite the fact that a lot of Ian’s business comes from word of mouth recommendation from satisfied customers, he believes it is important to keep building momentum through local marketing.
He has also developed a fixed pricing initiative and has expanded to cover damage to custom alloy wheels, both of which have gone down a storm.
“It’s important to keep moving and not let the grass grow under your feet” he advises, “to be successful you must be able to spot an opportunity and to be brave enough to put it to the test!”
For Ian, after a rollercoaster experience of working in the financial services sector, investing in a ChipsAway franchise has offered security and financial rewards.
“Having been made redundant twice, I was ready for a change” he reflects “What I liked about ChipsAway was that there was no unrealistic promises or guarantees, simply if you work the system it will work for you. After two years this has been my experience, if you are prepared to work at it ChipsAway offers a business model for success.”
Within his first two days of launching Ian had written 114 estimates worth £18,595 and booked £4,335 of repairs into his diary, with a further £5,160 of bookings flowing in over the following weeks.
“It’s not rocket science or luck,” he says. “You make your own luck by working hard, planning your marketing and giving it 100%!”
Business has continued to boom ever since and Ian confirms that levels of work have meant that he could have worked every single day since his launch, had he wanted to.
“I wasn’t expecting to be this busy or for business to be this good,” he concludes. “I’ve had as much support from my franchisor as I need and I have no doubt I’ll continue to receive first class support as my business expands even further.
"I’m very much happier in my new life – I enjoy the hands-on role and most of all I’m glad to be free of the stress of the corporate world. My health has improved dramatically since I became a ChipsAway franchisee and my wife says I’m a different person! The rewards are brilliant and I simply love what I do – I wouldn’t change my life now for the world!”
ChipsAway is the UK’s leading specialist in minor automotive paintwork repairs, with around 350 specialists in successful operation around the UK and a network of Master Franchisors worldwide.
Franchisees operate from liveried vehicles customised into fully equipped mobile workshops and CarCare Centres, fixed base units. They provide convenient, high quality paintwork repairs within a matter of hours and at a fraction of the cost of traditional body shop methods.
With over 34 million vehicles on the road and up to 17 million minor damage repair opportunities every year, ChipsAway estimates that currently it serves only 3% of its potential marketplace.
The quality, value and convenience of ChipsAway ‘on-the-spot’ repairs ensure the company remains the dominant brand in this lucrative and rapidly growing marketplace with franchisees having the opportunity to expand rapidly into a major management franchise with multiple vehicles, territories and CarCare Centres.
GREAT! WHAT'S MY NEXT STEP?
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