Make a splash with Autosheen!

Brimming with confidence thanks to his franchisor's comprehensive support, James Potter has transformed his misfortune through being made redundant into an opportunity by becoming an Autosheen franchise owner

When former mechanic James Potter was laid off last November he struggled for a while to find more work, before deciding that losing his job was not necessarily a disaster, but an opportunity for a new way of life. "I've always loved working with cars and so I was sure that I wanted to stay inside the automotive industry," he says, "but other than that I had an open mind."

His interest was piqued by a couple of valeting franchises, so he contacted both to find out more. "Autosheen offered by far the better franchise package," James recalls. "They provide so much support, helping you every step of the way, from preparing your business plan to helping you build a customer base on your territory. I felt sure that I could make a go of it, so I signed up a few weeks later and launched my Autosheen franchise in February this year."

Since then, James's business has grown steadily. He recently secured a preferred supplier agreement with Asda to provide valeting services to staff and customers at the company's extensive new warehouse, which recently opened on his territory. "Asda hosted a Family Day when they opened inviting local service providers to support the event," he explains. "I went along, was the only professional valeter there and had a really successful day. Lots of people asked for my details and I picked up leads from other local businesses too. Most importantly I agreed a special deal with Asda - I'm listed in their Staff Benefits booklet and with over 1,500 people working at that site there's loads of potential future work!"

James has also benefited from Autosheen's National Account portfolio, providing valeting services for customers including the Inland Revenue, and has won work from an increasing number of local companies, such as Easy Group where he valets up to 15 cars on a regular basis.

He confirms that Autosheen's range of specialist services has created a clear competitive edge for him locally. For example, in a nearby business park restrictions on washing cars apply keeping other valeters out, while Autosheen's Waterless Valeting System has enabled James to gain permission to valet for various companies on the park. Similarly, his recent training on Autoguard has already brought in customers prepared to pay a premium to have the special protective coating applied to their cabriolet hoods, upholstery or paintwork.

"It's been great," James concludes. "When I first started I was worried about how I would cope with approaching companies and trying to get their business. However I have had tremendous support from the team at head office, particularly from General Manager Adrian Steihl, and now I feel really confident about myself and about my business going forward. I've just picked up some new business from a local estate agent and am currently in talks with Williams Formula 1 team. If someone had told me back in November that I'd be doing all this for myself within a year, I'd never have believed it!"

Reported by Megan Dunmore