Autosheen proves a shining success for Nick

Ambitious franchise owner Nick Charles has broken all records for leading mobile valeting specialist Autosheen, expanding his booming business into a second territory within three months of his launch.

A former Area Manager for Nationwide, Nick Charles decided that after 25 years he had had enough of the financial sector. Accordingly, he ditched the long hours, the travelling away from home and responsibility for 20 branches, and instead looked for an opportunity to build a business and reclaim his quality of life.

“Lots of people ask me how and why I made the leap from financial services to valeting,” he says. “The answer is quite simple. I love cars and have always spent time taking care of my own vehicles, so valeting appealed to me. Having said that, I looked at quite a lot of different options before finally settling on an Autosheen franchise.”

It was important to Nick to find a flexible business that he could work around his family, but he also wanted a well-proven, professional business where the figures stacked up in terms of long-term growth and profitability.

“I was impressed by the Autosheen business model and track record and also liked the fact the franchise is part of Farecla, a world-renowned manufacturer of surface finishing products,” he continues. “What’s more, the training is independently accredited by the Institute of the Motoring Industry (IMI Awards) – I mean how many valeters can talk to their customers about their professional qualifications? It’s a real competitive edge.”

Nick is a firm believer in the power of demonstrations too and has found from the very start that the ‘wow’ factor associated with an Autosheen valet has proved his most powerful sales tool – that, and word of mouth recommendations from his happy customers.

“As part of my launch programme, Autosheen set up a series of appointments with businesses I had identified on my territory,” Nick explains. “General Manager Adrian Stiehl then spent a few days with me helping with the demonstrations and with further sales prospecting.Since then, I have been very busy – and although I have only been in business for less than three months, I can see massive potential for rapid expansion.

“There is so much work out there, particularly now Autosheen has developed a dedicated service for marine and leisure vehicles.”

He estimates that currently around 30 per cent of his new enquiries come from simply being seen out and about or at work, the remainder come from the national website or as a result of referrals.

“An Autosheen valet takes clean to a whole new level,” he explains. “Most of my customers have prestige vehicles and are passionate about their cars – spending money to keep them looking pristine is second nature to people like that.

“Customers just love that I can make their cars look – and smell – pretty well brand new. To be honest, I’m still often stunned myself by the end results. In that sense it’s a fantastically satisfying business. In my previous life, I never had a single customer express such absolute delight in the sheer quality of the job I’d done – hardly surprising I suppose, but that aspect is definitely an important part of the reward you reap from being an Autosheen franchise owner.”

Apart from job satisfaction and flexibility, the other big reward for Nick is financial. His long-term ambition, assuming that his business continues to flourish at the same rate, is to build a fleet of 10 vehicles over the coming decade.

“I’ve been really surprised at how my business has taken off,” he admits. “Within my first month I had tripled the figures in my business plan. In fact, I expect to be clear of debt within six months, including the additional outlay for the second territory!”

Nick concludes: “I’m really happy with my lifestyle now. I spend much more time with my family, love what I do and have a solid long term plan to build a really successful management franchise – and it’s all thanks to Autosheen!”

Written by Megan Dunmore