Business is really motoring!

Less than two years on from the launch of his ChipsAway franchise, Rob Hussey is looking at expanding his business horizons and taking on an employee to cope with the volume of work flowing in

Despite the current economic climate, ChipsAway franchisee Rob Hussey continues to be working flat out, with full order books for weeks ahead. 'It's great to be in demand,' he says, 'but customers don't like to have to wait for a month or more to have their work done - and recently I've been working seven days a week just to keep on top of enquiries!'

According to Rob, although previously he'd spent 25 years working in the motor trade, becoming a ChipsAway franchisee has made a huge difference to his life. He has found that working for himself has brought him real flexibility and an excellent income. 'I work hard, so I like to play hard too,' he says. 'In the last year I've taken four holidays, which definitely would have been out of the question before, and until I got so busy I spent plenty of time following my favourite sport: horse racing.'

Of course, these interests had to go on the back burner to start with. He explains: 'It's really hard work to establish a new business and build up a secure customer base, but I'm frankly amazed that within a year my business became so successful and has continued to grow at such a rate, regardless of the so-called 'credit crunch'. At the ChipsAway Open Day I attended the team did tell us about the great potential of the business, but they also warned that some people don't make the grade - I can only think that those people didn't get off their behinds and put as much into it as they could!'

When Rob first decided that he wanted to work for himself, not unreasonably he looked around for a business opportunity that would enable him to build on his experience and use his skills. Accordingly, he looked at a range of franchises in the automotive industry.

'For me, ChipsAway outshone them all,' he confirms. 'They were really professional with a solid structure and good training. I didn't tell them that I worked in the trade when I first went along to the Open Day, but before long they guessed and after that we quickly developed a real rapport - they're great guys!'

The unique ChipsAway SMART (Small to Medium Area Repair Technology) system is very user friendly and easy to learn. As a trained motor mechanic and former general manager of a garage Rob was quick to pick up the practical skills and appreciated the strong support he received in the early days. 'My launch campaign was great, generating around a week and a half's work,' he recalls. 'I still do lots of marketing, from door-to-door leafleting to advertising in local papers, but increasingly, I have a solid customer base of people who don't even bother to ask me for an estimate - they know the quality of my work and trust me to get on with it. I also get loads of business from word of mouth recommendations, which is a great feeling!'

Rob is constantly booked for weeks ahead and says there is certainly no shortage of work. He is determined to maintain momentum while reducing the time his customers have to wait and reclaiming his precious leisure time. 'I'm making plenty of money and my business is booming, so there's only one way to go,' he declares, 'and that is up!'

He concludes that he definitely made the right decision with ChipsAway: 'I just love the job and the freedom of working for myself. I get loads of support - whenever you call head office with a query they answer you straight away, nothing is ever too much trouble. That's why I chose them and that's why I have the confidence to invest in expanding my business!'

Interview by Megan Dunmore