Michael shines on with Autosheen

With 12 successful years in business under his belt, Michael Bale is one of the longest established franchise owners in the Autosheen network

Despite the economic downturn, business for Autosheen franchise owner, Michael Bale, is better than ever. In fact, he’s currently looking for the right person to join him as an employee and help meet climbing customer demand in his Blackburn territory.

“Although our valets range from around £30, we make our real money from those who are ‘too posh to polish’,” he grins. “They are pretty resilient to recession and, as a result, so are we!”

Immediately after he left the Army, Michael became a fitness instructor, so the physical work and the outdoors life that comes with being an Autosheen franchise owner suited him down to the ground.

“It was an easy decision,” he confirms. “A member of my family suggested an Autosheen franchise to me – it seemed a good fit and I’ve never looked back.”

When Michael first started, much of his work came from national account customers, but he says he always knew his long-term goal would be building up his own local contracts and establishing a regular customer base. He’s successfully achieved that and today his work diary tends to be booked up for two weeks ahead, leaving him struggling to fit in new customers as quickly as he – and they – would like.

“Around half of my customers are businesses, where I have contracts to valet the Directors’ cars,” he says. “When other members of staff know I’m going to be on site, many of them usually book in too, so those contracts tend to be very profitable because they are time and cost-effective for me.”

“I’ve just landed another contract like that, where the agreement is for me to valet the Directors’ cars,” he adds. “However, I’ve noticed that there are over 100 vehicles in their company car park, so I reckon there’s potential for plenty of additional work too!”

Although Michael is busy and still benefits from work for national account customer HM Revenue & Customs, he says his focus is now on developing lucrative premium services, such as detailing and providing specialist Tribos coatings. These are new, high value services from Autosheen, introduced since the franchise was taken over by world-renowned surface treatment specialists Farécla. Franchise owners have been given one-to-one professional training, free of charge, to enable them to provide these services, which respectively command prices of around £400 for a Tribos treatment and up to £1,200 for a top of the range intensive ‘Signature Valet’.

The new services are being marketed intensively, not only by Autosheen, but also by Tribos, which manufactures the specialist coating and includes some of the UK’s leading car dealerships among its growing customer base. Autosheen is not only recommended by Tribos, but has secured an exclusive product application agreement, which will directly benefit Autosheen franchise owners.

Michael concludes: “We get strong support at Autosheen. Our General Manager Adrian Stiehl is very knowledgeable and always ready with advice either in person or over the phone. As such, I know I can continue to rely on Autosheen as I look forward to scaling up my business. The products are top quality and the services we can now provide are better than ever, as long as you aim high and don’t sell yourself short, this is a great business to be in!”

Written by Megan Dunmore