Painting a picture of success with ChipsAway

Steve and Anne Martin had been successful property developers, but after the property crash of 2009, they were determined to find something different that offered a secure route to growth and found it with ChipsAway

Having successfully built up their own property business for 15 years, Steve and Anne Martin already knew the challenges of developing a company from scratch. When they decided to start afresh, they knew that franchising was the obvious way forward for them.

“We saw that well-established, powerful brands weather a recession better than small independent businesses,” recalls Anne. “Bearing all this in mind, we wanted to buy into a recognised brand with a proven business formula.

“I’m a naturally cautious person, so throughout the process I was taking the sceptical view. After attending the ChipsAway Open Day, we went through their figures and business plan with a fine-toothed comb. We found that it compared really well against other franchises. Eventually, I felt reassured that this was a sound proposition and, of course, one that would generate an income from day one, which was an important factor for us.

“Despite it being December, we had a tremendous launch, which generated lots of enquiries and several weeks’ worth of work. This was very reassuring as we knew that the winter can be a difficult time for many businesses.”

By the time the Martins had completed their first year, their business was achieving a turnover in excess of £150,000, giving them the confidence to invest in a ChipsAway CarCare Centre (a fixed base workshop) and another employee. This expansion of their operation enabled them to process significantly more vehicles as well as providing a better than ever service to their customers.

Now, approaching their third year anniversary and with two full-time members of staff, Steve and Anne are expecting to turnover in excess of £200,000 this year. With more and more of their work coming from referrals and recommendations – the couple agree they are at a stage where the business pretty much runs itself. This has led them to planning the opening of a second CarCare Centre and recruiting another team of technicians by the end of the year.

They are quick to pay tribute to the “brilliant” support they received from the ChipsAway management team, and acknowledge that while they clearly had a great deal of experience of running a business, the world of franchising and the automotive services sector was very new to them and in some ways presented a different set of challenges – as well as rewards.

“Although our background was in property, we drew on our previous experience of running a business and applied the same sales and marketing skills to build momentum for our new venture with ChipsAway,” says Anne. “Although there will always be those who try to undercut us, we’re not interested in competing on price. Our business is built on providing high quality customer service and great value for money. We’ve been delighted with our success so far, and firmly believe there’s still huge potential for us to expand further.

“We’re always busy and we certainly believe there’s plenty of potential work out there to sustain our plans for continued growth. ChipsAway has given us brilliant support and the opportunity to start small, but with an instant income, and to grow our ‘man and a van’ operation into a long-term, successful management franchise.”

ChipsAway is one of the most successful automotive franchises in the UK, with around 300 specialists operating nationwide and a network of Master Franchisors overseas. Operating from fully equipped mobile workshops and CarCare Centres, ChipsAway specialists provide high quality on-the-spot repairs to minor car bodywork damage, quickly and cost-effectively, restoring paintwork in a matter of hours.

Written by Melissa Davies-Lawrence