"My business is simply flying!"

So impressive were Andrew Cooper's early experiences as a ChipsAway franchise owner, that he quickly invested in a second territory and is now managing a rapidly growing business

One result of the challenging economic climate is that motorists are keeping their cars on the road for longer by looking to preserve their vehicles' lives and bolstering their resale values. This means increased business for franchise owners in the network of automotive paintwork repairer ChipsAway.

Andrew Cooper is a case in point. Now approaching his third year of owning and operating his franchise, he has seen a steady increase in volumes year on year. Andrew expanded to take on a second area adjacent to his initial territory only seven months after launching his franchise and has become so busy that he has had to gear up his business to cope with demand. "It got to the point where I was fully booked with repairs and unable to find time to respond promptly to enquiries," he explains. "Customers don't want to have to wait several days to have repairs done and I was losing potential work. Now I've recruited someone to help and my business is simply flying!"

Andrew is no stranger to running a business or to working long hours. His family owns a convenience store, which Andrew ran for a number of years before deciding to branch out on his own and join ChipsAway. "The problem was simply no quality of life," he asserts. "You have to keep a local shop open long hours and seem to be forever working. Although I was prepared to work hard, my wife had given up her career to look after our baby and I wanted to have time to spend with my new family. That was the point at which I decided to look at franchise opportunities."

Having always loved cars, Andrew looked around for a franchise in the automotive industry and says ChipsAway instantly appealed. He attended one of the company's informal Open Days, held at ChipsAway's head office, to find out more and was highly impressed by what he saw and heard. "Watching a ChipsAway repair being done at close quarters was amazing," he confirms. "The quality of the repair was superb and it was clearly not a difficult technique to learn. I recognised the great market potential and knew I could make a real success of a ChipsAway franchise!"

Almost three years in, Andrew describes himself as 'totally happy' with his business and insists the decision to join ChipsAway was 'absolutely right'. "It doesn't feel like work most days," he says. "Usually, you're flying around from job to job, meeting new people and basking in the real satisfaction of a job well done. As for those snowy winter days, you can spend the morning building a snowman or getting out sledging with your kids, which is definitely a pleasure I couldn't have enjoyed when I ran a shop!"

ChipsAway is one of the most successful automotive franchises in the UK with approaching 350 franchise owners operating nationwide and a network of master franchises overseas. Operating from fully equipped mobile workshops, franchise owners make high quality ChipsAway repairs to minor car bodywork damage, quickly and cost-effectively, restoring paintwork in a matter of hours. The quality, value and convenience of ChipsAway 'on-the-spot' repairs ensure the company remains the leading brand in this lucrative and rapidly growing marketplace.

Reported by Megan Dunmore