Onwards and upwards for Autosheen franchise owner

Following a successful first year under his belt with Autosheen, Rob Stobbs is planning to be one of the first franchise owners to offer the brand’s marine and leisure care services.

Having walked away from the stress and politics of corporate life, franchise owner Rob Stobbs has just completed his first year as an Autosheen valeting specialist and says he is delighted with the progress he has made in building his new business.

“You never really know what to expect when you make such a radical life change, but I would say my first year in business for myself has been better than expected,” he says. “It has certainly been hard work, but despite the difficult climate, I have continued to attract new customers and I am definitely still enjoying it!”

Rob looked at quite a few business opportunities before investing in Autosheen but, having considered several different options, he felt that as one of the UK’s leading valeting specialists, Autosheen offered the best package in terms of training and support, as well as an opportunity to expand.

“Like most blokes, I like cars and take pride in looking after my own, so a valeting franchise appealed to me. When I spoke to the management team and some of the franchise owners, nobody had a bad word to say about Autosheen. Then when I saw a demonstration of a full valet, I was really impressed,” he explains.

This year is set to be a particularly exciting one for Autosheen franchise owners, as the company expands from its core marketplace in automotive into the lucrative and virtually untapped marine and leisure care sectors. Supported by its parent company, marine-refinishing specialists, Farécla, Autosheen will be launching ‘Autosheen Marine’ a high quality mobile valeting service for maintaining boats and other waterborne craft.

Accordingly, having gained 12 months experience in providing specialist services to his automotive customers, Rob is now focused on developing his skills to enable him to take full advantage of these – and other – new opportunities on offer from Autosheen.

He is already able to provide top quality machine polishing and paint rectification services as well as Autoguard paintwork protection, thanks to the IMI (Institute of Motoring) accredited training he has received. Rob will soon be one of a number of franchise owners taking part in the latest marine course, which is being delivered free of charge by the franchisor.

“The marine training will open up even more business opportunities,” confirms Rob. “Once I have completed my full training, I plan to put two or three more vehicles on the road and take on some employees to help me. For now, though, I am relishing the freedom and independence of just being my own boss.”

Rob was able to tap into Autosheen’s lucrative national accounts customer base from the outset, which meant he had work booked in from day one. However, he emphasises that while national account work provides a welcome extra income stream and a great starting point, ultimately investing in a franchise means building your own business and developing your own local customer base.

He has already taken forward bookings for every month of this year from regular customers and says that, with his newly acquired skills, he hopes to secure a substantial contract with a local caravan park, which has 150 caravans in need of his specialist services.

Rob concludes: “Autosheen will support you all the way, but in the end you have to use their business tools to develop new contacts and demonstrate your services – I’ve made great strides with my business over the last year and I am looking forward to seizing the opportunity to grow onwards and upwards in year two!”

Reported by Megan Dunmore