Car Park Valeting: Own a multi-site franchise business

Providing a "natural fit"for customer service-focused individuals, Car Park Valeting offers a multi-site opportunity for aspiring business builders.

Prior to running car valeting franchises in Gloucestershire, Graham Lorimer ran a printing business in Zimbabwe and raced rally cars around the world. To the untrained eye, this may not seem like a conventional career progression, but to Graham it was a natural choice.

'When I moved back to the UK, I wanted to find a franchise opportunity that would provide the support, compliance and brand that would increase the value of my acquisition,' he says. 'I have franchised before and know that it offers benefits and assistance that are not available to people setting up alone. I loved the Car Park Valeting (CPV) customer proposition and business concept so it was a natural fit for me.'

One of Graham's most important criteria when selecting a franchisor was being able to build a multi-site operation. Within 18 months of opening his first CPV site at Tesco in Cheltenham, Graham had three operational sites in the area and has plans to expand this further within the next 12 months.

Graham knows that although managing several businesses represents challenges, there are far greater advantages. He describes his three main advantages as:

  • Customer proposition and service: 'I know that the model is right, both operationally and from a customer point of view. All I need to do is implement the CPV model on each of my sites and I can be confident it will work.'
  • Recruitment and staffing: 'I have built up a reputation as a good and fair employer which means that my staff and managers work hard and are trustworthy - important in a cash business! It also means that staff come to me looking for work, so ongoing recruitment is easy.'
  • Economies of management time: 'There are economies of scale for ordering stock, detergents and consumables as well as administering the business.'

Graham acknowledges that building his business and opening more sites has been made easier by the support that CPV has offered. For Graham, the two most important support streams he receives are in area management (site visits) and compliance. He says: 'I have run businesses all my life but still find Chris Dixon's support invaluable both operationally and as a forum for exchanging ideas. Chris is also an important help in monitoring my sites and ensuring my staff are working in line with CPV client expectations.

'I also rely totally on CPV's expertise to make sure that my business is compliant, for example with the Environment Agency, planning authorities, water effluent, etc. Dealing with compliance would be a serious headache for an uninitiated individual but CPV deals with all of it for me, letting me concentrate on running my business.'

Car Park Valeting now has over 80 sites operating nationwide, which provides franchisees with a network of operators who can exchange ideas to promote business practice and successful initiatives. Cirencester Tesco Store Manager John Korner says: 'It is a pleasure to work with Graham and CPV. We work together to offer the best service to customers whose feedback is excellent.'

This is great news for Graham, who is hoping to open two more sites by the end of the year.

Reported by Joanna Graham