Autosheen has given me my life back!

Moving from 60-70 hour weeks as a driving instructor to owning a mobile valeting franchise with full support from an experienced head office has allowed Lee Andrews to transform his life

Autosheen Professional Car Cleaning franchisee Lee Andrews is a man in his element. He is mad about cars and is paid handsomely for the loving care he lavishes on the prestige and super cars he valets each week. 'I have such passion for the job I do, each car is absolutely immaculate by the time I'm finished with it,' he explains. 'That's why my order books are continuously fully booked with loyal, regular customers who trust me and are prepared to pay top dollar for my services.'

Indeed, he reveals, it is his loyal customers who have seen him through these potentially difficult times. Although the majority of his contracts are corporate customers, increasingly private customers fill in the gaps in his diary.

'One chap, whose Rolls Royce I valet regularly, owns a truck rental company, so now every time the tractor units have been out on hire he books me to clean them up,' Lee continues. 'Another lady, one of my weekly customers, has introduced me to her brother who has four cars which, on her recommendation, I now valet regularly.

'Of course I've lost some business to the recession, but I've also gained new contracts. For certain companies, keeping their fleet smart and clean is essential to their image and the current economic problems seem not to be affecting the super rich - I'm still getting calls from a local company that services Lamborghinis for customers and likes to offer a top quality valet as part of its customer care.'

Lee is a former driving instructor and so was already used to being self-employed before he joined Autosheen, but had felt ground down by long hours and lack of support. 'I regularly worked 60 or 70 hours a week, including weekends,' he recalls. 'I had next to no home life and felt very isolated. After five years I decided that I wanted to continue to work for myself - and with cars - but in a totally different business.'

Lee took a look at several franchise opportunities, but nothing really caught his imagination until he spotted the mobile valeting franchise, Autosheen. 'I was impressed by the high potential earnings for a lot less hours,' he says. 'Also, I could see the possibilities of expanding the business in the future. Currently, my business is a single van operation, but in due course I expect to expand further and take someone on to help me. Eventually, I plan on having a multi-vehicle business and maybe taking a more managerial role. For the moment though, I love the hands-on contact with fabulous cars that most other people never even get near!'

Lee has deliberately marketed himself as a prestige car valeter and has no qualms about picking and choosing his customers. 'At the start you take all and any business you can, but once you become busy you have to make some choices,' he explains. 'I focus on prestige cars partly because I get a buzz from cleaning them and partly because that's where the real money is.'

A sister company to the highly successful ChipsAway franchise and part of the Franchise Brands Worldwide Group, Autosheen provides a comprehensive, high quality franchise package backed by one of the most experienced franchisors in the industry, offering a proven 25 year track record and a portfolio of blue-chip National Account customers. Operating a mobile service from smartly liveried, fully equipped vehicles, Autosheen franchisees provide high quality valeting services both to private individuals and to businesses alike.

Lee says that his Autosheen franchise has transformed his life. He is much fitter physically, happier than he's been in a long time and earning substantially more than ever before. 'I've lost a stone since I started the business,' he confesses. 'I used to sit in a car for up to 12 hours a day, six days a week. Now I'm out in the fresh air and using muscles I didn't even know I had! At first I was very tired, but now I've got loads of energy and am really enjoying my work. Autosheen has given me my life back!'

Reported by Megan Dunmore