From floods to fire, Aspray proves profitable

In a recession-proof business Aspray franchisees are specialists in managing all types of property repair. The company reveals how its aim of reducing stress for people hit by disaster is achieved by offering a one-stop-shop for all their building repair work

Aspray offers a free service to the general public, project managing building insurance claims and refurbishment schemes using local and qualified subcontractors.

If a homeowner needs to make a claim on their household insurance, as the policyholder the insurance company expects them to get quotations from several reputable contractors. This is often at a time when their home is flooding or their roof is leaking. Ringing builders, plumbers, roofers, etc. to arrange for quotes is a hassle that they can probably do without.

Aspray franchisees project manage the claim from start to finish by first submitting an itemised building schedule to the insurer, liaising with the insurer to progress the claim as quickly and smoothly as possible and if necessary meeting with the insurance company loss adjuster. Once authorisation is received the franchisee arranges for the repairs to be completed to the homeowner's satisfaction.

James Whittle, co-founder of Aspray set up the company with business associate Rob Taylor over two years ago. Both bring the right skills and backgrounds to the company, including James's extensive experience in franchising, earned from running a franchised removals business for 12 years. Aspray's 22 franchisees have found the work to be plentiful and worthwhile.

Throughout the year insurance claims offer a constant flow of enquiries from small fires, water leaks and minor structural damage giving high margins and steady income. Weather accounts for a huge amount of insurance claims, (the cost of recent floods alone fast approaching £3 billion and the number of claims reaching 60,000) this is a highly lucrative market. With talk of global warming as it is, this trend looks set to rise.

David Spafford, Aspray Sheffield, helped many residents who suffered dreadfully from the floods in June 2007. In the 22 working days of that month he visited around 40 homes and quoted for almost £25,000 of work. 'When something like this happens it's not only the buildings that are damaged, peoples lives are affected dramatically,' says David. 'Part of our job is the service to these people in their hour of need. I feel I'm doing something worthwhile, and get job satisfaction from that as well as ensuring excellent repair works are completed.'

Payments are made direct from the insurance companies so are guaranteed and often made before the commencement of work. With first-year turnovers of £350,000 and net profit in excess of £50,000 possible, future earnings can be substantial.