Winning Formula: New Autosheen service hits the spot with customers!

A fantastic new polishing and paint rectification technique that leaves car paintwork with a flawless mirror shine is proving highly popular with Autosheen franchise owners, attracting new customers and opening up lucrative extra revenue streams.

Autosheen's new service, which removes light scratches from car paintwork and polishes out the smears and swirls known in the trade as 'hologramming', requires skill and specialised training and is offered by very few companies and commands premium prices.

"Frankly, we're not interested in competing with 'a man and a bucket' valeting companies, our reputation is built on providing specialist, top of the range services that owners of prestige vehicles value, regardless of the tough economic climate," says Paul Fennell, Managing Director of Autosheen. "Our franchise owners are certainly finding that services such as paint protection, clay barring and now machine polishing and paint rectification are proving increasingly popular with customers and provide real competitive advantage."

Chris Schild has been an Autosheen franchise owner for two years and was one of the first to take advantage of the new training opportunity. He could see the potential it offered to make extra income and was eager to add another string to his bow.

"It's a very good course and the results are really amazing," he explains. "I've had lots of enquiries about the new polishing service and it's proving really profitable for me. I can complete a job within between 20 to 30 minutes and can charge more money for it than for a standard service that would take much longer."

Chris has spent all his working life caring for cars. He was formerly a windscreen fitter for the RAC, but became fed up with the erratic working hours and also wanted to be working to line his own pockets, rather than those of somebody else.

Passionate about cars, Chris has a number of vehicles of his own, he travels abroad to owners events and confesses that before he joined Autosheen he habitually spent up to eight or nine hours cleaning each of his cars.

"That's where the idea for starting my own business valeting cars came from," he says. "I was cleaning my car one weekend and suddenly thought: 'I could get paid for this!'. "Here was something I enjoyed and knew I would be good at, so I began to look round for jobs in the first instance. In the process I discovered Autosheen and when I found out that the company would train me, provide all the right kit and would support me in building a successful business, I thought why not give it a try! "

Although Chris has benefited from work generated by Autosheen's substantial National Accounts customer base, he has always been keen to establish his own customer base. Accordingly, he joined a local business networking group last year, generating a steady stream of new contacts and he regularly promotes his services at trade shows.

"I find shows really work for me," Chris explains. "Demonstrations are one of the best ways of attracting new customers - people are invariably really impressed by the quality of the finish. Other than that, my business has grown by word-of-mouth referrals from satisfied customers."

He adds that he is much happier being his own boss and is much less stressed than in his former role. "My routine in some ways is very similar to my previous job," Chris explains.

"I start at the same time, plan my appointments and go out to customers to get the job done. The big difference is that I'm doing it for me and not having to answer to a supervisor - and, of course, the reward for my work goes directly to me."

Business is going really well, he confirms. Regular customers are keen to see the results he can achieve with his machine polishing techniques and his new skills have also enabled him to pick up some fresh contracts - including a local company specialising in classic Aston Martins and Ferraris.

"I'm pretty ambitious and prepared to work hard," he states. "I've always been focused on building a 'high end' customer base by providing prestige detailing services. It suits me not to rush jobs through, but to target high value jobs that I can take time over.

The Autosheen approach allows me to do just that, and now that I'm trained to offer an even wider range of exclusive services, I'm feeling more positive about my future than ever!"

Reported by Megan Dunmore