'Pen Pusher' turns automotive paint repairer!

Swapping the boardroom for a ChipsAway franchise has given John Scholey a stress-free, happier life

When former company director John Scholey decided to opt out of the demanding, highly stressful corporate world he'd occupied for 20 years, he was looking for the opportunity to be his own boss without boardroom responsibilities or shareholders to please. His children were older and his mortgage paid off, so he figured the time was right to start a new chapter and do something completely different with his life.

John's first move was to visit a franchise exhibition, armed with a shortlist of business opportunities to investigate. 'I looked at quite a few different franchises before I found myself on the ChipsAway stand,' he recalls. 'Their presentation was really professional and I was able to chat to ChipsAway franchisees as well as the management team. I was struck not only by the flexibility of the franchise itself, but also by the clear commitment and enthusiasm everyone had for the business. I quickly decided to sign up for one of the company's Open Days to find out more and the rest - as they say - is history!'

ChipsAway is the world's leading specialist in SMART (Small to Medium Area Repair Technology) repairs to automotive paintwork, a concept pioneered in the USA and introduced to the UK 14 years ago. The technology enables franchisees to make invisible repairs to minor scratches, bumps and scuffs to car bodywork, quickly and cost-effectively, restoring vehicles to commercial quality in a matter of hours. Franchisees operate from professionally liveried vehicles customised as fully equipped mobile workshops, enabling them to undertake repairs at customers' convenience, or can opt for a static workshop branded as a ChipsAway CarCare Centre.

'It's certainly hard work to start with, but you get great ongoing support from the ChipsAway team,' says John, who launched his franchise in March this year. 'Following an excellent launch I was making money right from day one. The initial outlay is not high, so it's a very accessible franchise opportunity and the flexibility of the business model means you can grow it into a multi-vehicle operation if that's what you want. Personally, I'm very happy working on my own just now. I've done the big team thing and it's great not to have responsibility for others - I have the freedom to please myself!'

John adds that, increasingly, new business is generated by word of mouth recommendation from delighted customers. He concludes: 'I take great pride in my work and the job satisfaction is tremendous. My stress levels are non existent, my life's my own again and this former 'pen pusher' couldn't be happier that he took the major lifestyle decision to become a ChipsAway franchisee!'

Interview by Megan Dunmore