Family Fortunes

When his doctor told him to change his lifestyle, little did Michael Muncey know he would end up with 'the best feeling in the world'...running a business with his son

Leaving his parcels delivery driver job of 15 years to become an Autosheen franchise owner seemed at the time a huge gamble for Michael Muncey. However, within a short time he realised that he needed help to cope with the volume of work coming in.

His son David seemed the obvious choice. 'David is trained as a painter and decorator, but was struggling to find a full time job,' Michael explains. 'He jumped at the opportunity to be part of my Autosheen business and he's doing really well. We're picking up no end of work, including word-of-mouth recommendations from satisfied customers.'

For Michael, the freedom from stress that his Autosheen franchise has brought him has resulted in a dramatic improvement in his health as well as his quality of life. 'I was working incredibly long hours in my previous job and was required to do more and more for no extra reward,' he explains. 'It seemed to me that if I was going to be putting in that sort of effort, I should be feeling the benefit rather than someone else!'

Michael had been suffering from stress and was seeing his doctor regularly to control high blood pressure, so when he was advised to change his lifestyle he started to look around for an opportunity to be his own boss. Always keen on cars, Michael looked at a number of options before ultimately choosing Autosheen because of its support and professionalism. 'I was terribly nervous about the whole thing,' he confesses, 'but the Autosheen team were fantastic. I'd never done anything like this, but they talk you through the business model and support you every step of the way.'

Although Autosheen's portfolio of existing National Account customers was one of the major factors that attracted him, on the eve of his new franchise launch Michael was nonetheless anxious about just how much work there would be for him. 'I lay in bed on the Sunday night and wondered what on earth I'd done!' he recalls. 'I really needn't have worried though. From day one I've been really busy with National Accounts work for organisations ranging from Job Centres to the Inland Revenue and more recently the Royal Mail.

'Now David and I are up and running we're getting increasingly well known in the area and our private customer base has really taken off. People like the fact that we're a family business and because we 'go the extra mile' they tend to come back and recommend us to friends.'

Currently Michael and David are working seven days a week, although Michael points out that this is their choice. 'You don't want to turn work down when it's there - particularly in the present climate,' he says. 'We work round what our customers need. Some valeters won't work weekends, so we pick up all that work and customers like our flexible approach. On the other hand, if we want to start work later, finish early, or take a day off, then that's up to us.'

As the business continues to grow Michael and David may well add another member of the family to their team. 'My eldest daughter is keen to join the 'family firm' too!' Michael grins. 'She works on the till in a local warehouse and is very envious of her brother and me. She's been out with us a few times to see how we work and she can't wait to come onboard. Being out and about, meeting different people and working alongside other members of the family is the best feeling - we absolutely love it!

'I'm so much happier and more relaxed than I've been in years, my doctor simply can't believe the impact on my health. I'm really glad I've become an Autosheen franchise owner, I feel great and just really wish I'd had the nerve to do this years ago!'

Reported by Megan Dunmore