Making the dream come TRUE

Constantly busy thanks to word of mouth recommendations from happy customers, Martin Hughes has still found time to give something back to his network as a Business Developer

More and more customers are getting wise to the benefits of the ChipsAway SMART (Small to Medium Area Repair Technology) repair system. During such difficult economic times the cost of a ChipsAway repair compared to the heavy cost and inconvenience of a body shop repair means it is a simple choice for customers and ChipsAway franchise owners are reaping the benefits of rapidly growing demand from a massive, multi-billion pound marketplace.

A case in point is Martin Hughes (pictured) - a typical franchise owner (and Business Developer) for ChipsAway. A former Service Manager for a main car dealership, Martin spent 19 years in the motor trade and understands the automotive services marketplace better than most. Martin has been running his ChipsAway franchise for five years and has many happy customers on his database. In fact he has recently re-signed for his next five years with ChipsAway - Martin is proof that you can make the dream come true and is looking forward to taking on a second van and employees.

Martin ensured he did his research before deciding on ChipsAway. Firstly, he attended one of the free weekly find-out-more Open Days which the company holds at its Head Office. Potential franchise owners have an opportunity to see the business, meet the ChipsAway Management Team and chat with existing franchise owners. The day includes a demonstration of the ChipsAway SMART repair system and also gives visitors a chance to try their hand at a repair.

Having completed a comprehensive training course, Martin launched his new business in November 2004, supported by a ChipsAway Business Developer. Business Developers are existing ChipsAway franchise owners who help new franchise owners in the first few months of starting their own business. From assisting at the launch weekend to queries over the phone, they are there providing invaluable support.

"I already had a lot of experience in dealing with customers and their cars, but I was really nervous about my launch," he explains. "My Business Developer was excellent. He was really calm and kept me on track both days. Between us we generated about £10,000 worth of enquiries over that first weekend, despite the cold weather!"

Martin followed up his launch promotion with a series of leaflets, telephone calls and special offers. "I turned over £4,500 in my first month and I've been busy ever since," he says. "These days I don't do much in the way of promotion, mainly because I am constantly busy with work generated by word of mouth recommendation from happy customers."

Five years down the line Martin feels that he has complete control of his life and, most importantly, is able to spend more time with his family. He adds: "I also now have more time for my golf. I finish work at 4pm on a Thursday and head straight for the golf course!"

Praising the "fantastic" support he's had from ChipsAway, he continues: "The team at head office are always there for you if you have any queries or problems - not that I need much help these days - and the other franchise owners in the network are really supportive too."

Keen to put something back into the network, Martin volunteered to become a Business Developer as soon as he was able. "I'd done some training and mentoring in my previous job, and that was probably the only element of being employed that I'd missed. Now I gain great satisfaction from helping others achieve what I have achieved!"

ChipsAway is one of the most successful franchises in the UK with around 350 franchise owners operating nationwide and a network of Master Franchisors overseas. Based on unique technology, the ChipsAway system continues to dominate in the 'on-the-spot' SMART repairs sector, removing scratches, bumps and scuffs to car paintwork on a 'same day' basis and usually at a fraction of the price of a traditional body shop repair. ChipsAway has recently launched a national advertising campaign which, among other things, included its first national TV advert. This has already proved a great success with repair leads up 70 per cent year on year!