Lee's still smiling with Autosheen

Lee Andrews has combined his love of super cars with a good salary since he became an Autosheen Professional Car Care franchise owner

Autosheen Professional Car Care franchise owner Lee Andrews is a man in his element. He is mad about cars and is well paid 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. That's why my order books are continuously full with loyal, regular customers who trust me and are prepared to pay top dollar for my services," he explains.

Indeed, it is Lee's loyal customers who have seen him through potentially difficult times during the worst of the recession, he says. Although the majority of his contracts are corporate customers, increasingly private customers fill in any gaps in his diary.

He explains: "Of course I've lost some business to the recession, but I've also gained new contracts. For certain companies, keeping the fleet smart and clean is essential to their image, and the current economic problems seem not to be affecting my wealthy customers who value high quality professional valets for their top of the range cars."

Lee is a former driving instructor and so was already used to being self-employed before he joined Autosheen but he 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 although I wanted to continue to work for myself - and with cars - I wanted to try a totally different format."

Lee looked at several franchise opportunities, but nothing really caught his imagination until he spotted Autosheen's mobile valeting franchise.

"I was impressed by the combination of high earnings potential for fewer working 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 on someone to help me. Eventually, I'd like to build a multi-vehicle business and maybe take more of a managerial role. For the moment though, I love the hands-on contact with fabulous cars that most other people never even get the chance to be 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. I focus on prestige cars partly because I get a buzz from cleaning them and partly because that's where the real money is," he points out.

Now part of the the highly successful Farécla organisation, whose well established range of car care products enjoys a worldwide reputation for quality, Autosheen is set to continue leading the car valeting market, while targeting new sectors such as marine and leisure vehicles. The comprehensive, high quality Autosheen franchise package comes with a proven 25 year track record, comprehensive training and strong ongoing marketing and business development support for franchise owners. Autosheen franchise owners operate a flexible and convenient mobile service from smartly liveried vehicles, fully equipped with water tank, an exclusive product range and every tool for the job. They provide regular, high quality valeting services, including specialist treatments such as full paint protection systems and waterless valets, to private individual customers as well as to the business sector.

Lee adds: "I've lost a stone since I started the business. 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! Autosheen has given me a new purpose - and my life back!"

Reported by Megan Dunmore