ChipsAway franchise owner Jamie celebrates seven year high!

Jamie Birks has been celebrating seven years as a successful ChipsAway franchise owner while enjoying more time with his family.

In summer 2003 Jamie Birks made the life-changing decision to quit his high flying job in corporate finance to become his own boss, putting family first and reclaiming his quality of life. His business now yields around the same income level as his previous salary of £80,000, yet he now gets to spend more time than ever with his young family, as well as having plenty of opportunities to pursue his passion for outdoor pursuits, including mountain biking, canoeing and hill walking.

Having spent several years managing large IT projects and company mergers, Jamie felt he had achieved everything he wanted from corporate life. He’d just got married and while sitting on a beach on honeymoon in the Caribbean, he realised he wanted to do something completely different.

“It was quite a daunting decision to make, but I was determined to step off the corporate ladder and take control of my future,” he says.

First, Jamie made the decision to move from the South East of England back to Scotland, where he planned to buy some land and build a house in the Scottish Borders.

“Although beautiful, it is not the most thriving area, so I had to be careful in my choice of business,” he recalls. “After looking at various businesses for sale in the region – most were failing B&Bs and restaurants – I turned my attention to franchising.”

According to Jamie, ChipsAway came top of his list for a variety of reasons. It was clear to him that from day one, the franchisor and franchise owner would work together to mutual benefit, the investment in training and skills were first class and the business model would allow him to have a lifestyle which balanced work commitments with family life. ChipsAway is one of the most successful franchises in the UK with around 350 specialists operating nationwide and a network of Master Franchisors overseas.

Based on unique technology, the ChipsAway system continues to dominate in the ‘on-the-spot’ automotive paintwork repairs sector. Operating from smartly liveried vehicles, customised as fully equipped mobile workshops, franchise owners provide high quality repairs to scratches, bumps and scuffs, on a ‘same day’ basis, at a place most convenient to customers and at a fraction of the price of traditional body shop methods. With 34 million vehicles on the road and over 17 million repair opportunities every year, ChipsAway estimates that currently it serves only three per cent of its potential market!

Jamie admits that running your own business is hard work; but says when the rewards are yours and yours alone, it’s definitely worth it.

“With the support of the ChipsAway team, my business has continued to grow strongly over the years – even despite the recent challenging financial climate,” he says. “Frankly, I was prepared for a downturn when the banking crisis hit, but bizarrely it turned out to be my best year ever – what’s more, I look set to beat all records again this year!” Jamie is also a ChipsAway Business Developer, working with new franchise owners about to start their own business as well as existing ones looking to expand.

In the longer term, his plans include the expansion of his business into a multi-vehicle management franchise but he says that while his children are still young, his priority is to ensure he has time to spend with them.

“There’s no question that I could quite easily upscale my business when the time is right,” he concludes. “There is great potential to develop further. As it is, I have to turn work away because the demand for my services outstrips the time I have available.

“However, for the time being, I gain real satisfaction from what I do, work fewer hours and have less stress. I generate the same level of income as before, but am so much happier. What could be better than that?”

Reported by Megan Dunmore