ChipsAway International: Leave the Rat Race behind!

How many times have you thought about escaping the daily rat race and setting up a business of your own? Now's your chance. With a ChipsAway International franchise, you can be certain of a massive marketplace of over 30 million cars, the leading brand in cosmetic paintwork repair, and the comprehensive training and support you'd expect from one of the largest and longest established franchise companies in the UK.

Make that bid for freedom. Join other interested people at one of our regular informal Open Days to find out more about planning your escape!

'Practically Perfect!'

When Steve Field describes being a ChipsAway franchisee as the 'best job in the world', he knows what he's talking about. Megan Dunmore reports

Steve travelled the globe, teaching English in countries including Thailand, Korea and Japan. Once back in the UK, however, Steve decided to revert to a career that demanded practical skills. 'A friend of mine suggested franchising to me, and as I had always wanted to work for myself, I went along to a franchise exhibition to take a look,' explains Steve. 'I spotted the ChipsAway International opportunity, and that was it - perfect!'

ChipsAway International is the world's leading SMART (Small and Medium Area Repair Technology) repair operator. Using the unique ChipsAway system, franchisees provide high quality repairs to minor car bodywork damage, quickly and cost-effectively, operating either from ChipsAway CarCare Centres or from fully equipped mobile workshops, restoring paintwork in a matter of hours.

'I knew instantly that this was the franchise for me. I was impressed by the concept and by the company; I knew it was something I could do and that it was something I could make money at. There was really nothing else that interested me!'

Steve attended one of ChipsAway's informal Open Days, held at the company's head offices in the West Midlands, found out more about the franchise, chatted to existing franchisees and tried his hand at a SMART repair. 'The Open Day confirmed my confidence in ChipsAway and within weeks I had undergone training and was 'out there' doing the business,' he recalls. He launched just over four years ago in June 2002, generating around £5,000 worth of work over his launch weekend.

'It was a great start,' Steve says. 'I opened my doors on the Monday morning with about a month's work booked ahead and I've been busy ever since!'

Steve mostly deals with private car owners, although a couple of prestige dealerships locally have approached him to undertake their minor repair work too. He started in 2002 with a mobile franchise, providing SMART repair services at a location most convenient to his customers - whether at home or at work, but after a couple of years decided to expand into a ChipsAway CarCare Centre, taking on staff to help with the increasing workload.

'My turnover in the CarCare Centre is about triple what it was in the mobile,' he explains, 'but on the other hand, overheads are higher and there is extra equipment and employees to fund. Having said that, it was definitely a good move for me - I wanted to expand my business, and it was either more vans on the road or a static unit. The latter gives me more control. I like to see every job that comes through my business, which of course you can't if people are doing repairs out and about.'

Steve handles around 20 cars per week, with most of his work coming from repeat business or word of mouth recommendation. He describes himself as 'always busy' and has already invested in an extra workshop for future expansion.

'It's a great business,' he concludes. 'It has been exactly what I imagined it would be and it suits me down to the ground. I'd say ChipsAway is practically perfect!'