A day in the life of Rob Stobbs

Rob Stobbs has been with Autosheen for almost three years and is one of the most successful franchise owners in the nationwide network. Before launching his Hemel Hempstead franchise, Rob gained more than a decade of retail experience as Project and Development Manager for B&Q, where he was responsible for introducing the ‘Trade’ section.

7:15am After breakfast, I prepare for the day ahead including packing my van, making my lunch and ensuring I have my diary, price list folder, note book and mobile phone.

8:15am Arrive at my first job – three executive valets for a Maserati, Audi Q7 and a Lexus CT200h. It takes about 90 minutes a car because I look after them on a regular basis.

While carrying out the three jobs I’ll also be taking calls, pricing, returning emails, helping other Autosheen franchise owners who may need advice, or booking more work in. My own approach is quite bold – when I see a newcomer in the area, I’m happy to walk straight into their offices, introduce myself and sell my valeting skills and services.

In terms of my schedule, I tend to work around two weeks in advance, so I’m usually looking for work for the third week of a month. Within that timeframe I also have to look after my good base of regular customers, who require my services either bi-weekly or monthly, as well as help out at the Discovery Days at Autosheen, where I give demonstrations to potential franchise owners.

1:00pm I visit a corporate customer, for who I have to carry out two basic cleans. These involve washing and drying the exterior followed by an interior vacuum of the seats and carpets, and dusting the dashboard. I call this kind of service ‘menu cleans’, whereby I break the programme cleans into individually priced items and people pick what they want. I only do this for corporate customers as it helps with all ends of the scale, cost-wise.

I am always keen that a customer receives the best result so will always offer ‘add-on’ services. When cleaning a car you get to see every detail that the owner doesn’t – hidden scratches, leather stains, carpet stains, a requirement for paint protection, polishing, or a clay barring treatment. However, it is important to make the customer fully aware of what genuinely needs rectifying and what doesn’t to maintain trust in the client relationship.

3:00pm My next appointment also involves carrying out two more cleans. As I have a lot of repeat customers I generally just turn up at the job and get on with it. For new customers (private and corporate) there are introductions, sometimes a risk assessment needs to be carried out where I review the work area, and formulate a quick mental plan of how to approach the job.

4:30pm I provide an executive valet plus hand wax the body of a car I love – a black supercharged Jaguar.

6:30pm I’m back home and often use this time to tackle the paperwork, which needs doing probably twice a week. I also spend an hour or so at the end of each month filling in my spreadsheet with turnover and costs.

Because I am my own boss, I can end my day whenever I choose but it’s great when I am busy because I do enjoy the challenge. I think the key to a successful business is to always have a plan, know your business inside out, keep abreast of new products and ideas, know the competition but never badmouth them – all while trying to keep one step ahead!