Robert follows in father's footsteps as ChipsAway business expands

Robert Clift found the perfect solution to finding a job when he left school - join his father Paul's ChipsAway franchise and make it a family-run success story.

Proud dad Paul Clift is expanding his successful ChipsAway business, taking on a second territory and an additional vehicle, enabling his son Robert, 20, to help him in building a strong family enterprise. At a time when so many small businesses are suffering and young people are struggling to find jobs, Paul believes his ChipsAway franchise has provided the perfect solution.

"Robert joined me straight out of school to help with the business," Paul explains. "He absolutely loves it and wants to take a bigger role, which is fantastic as demand for our services has been growing strongly. In fact, if anything the financial recession has been good for us - lots of new customers have discovered that a professional quality ChipsAway repair means that their car maintains its value and lasts longer."

ChipsAway is one of the most successful automotive franchises in the UK with around 350 specialists operating nationwide and a network of Master Franchisors 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 to pristine condition in a matter of hours. The quality, value and convenience of ChipsAway 'on-the-spot' repairs have ensured the company remains the leading brand in this lucrative and rapidly growing marketplace.

Paul first joined ChipsAway two years ago, having spent all his working life in the motor trade, first training as a mechanic and later becoming Operations Manager for a body shop. After being made redundant, Paul decided to look for an opportunity to run his own business. Although he initially toyed with the idea of a few non-automotive franchises, inevitably he was drawn back to what he knew best.

Having attended one of the company's free 'find-out-more' Open Days, Paul decided that a ChipsAway franchise was definitely the right way forward. "The quality of the ChipsAway repair system impressed me; I felt that I knew the marketplace and wasn't going into the business 'blind'," he says. "Also, I wanted to do something I could be proud of - some businesses don't really offer the same degree of job satisfaction."

Paul was thrilled with his launch, managing to generate estimates amounting to £8,000 over the weekend and taking firm bookings worth around £4,000. "From day one I had work lined up for about three weeks ahead," he recalls. "Ever since, I've always had a full diary; my reputation has spread by word of mouth and currently recommendations account for about 30 per cent of all new business leads."

Robert came on board twelve months ago, helping Paul manage his increasing workload, but as the business has continued to grow, the extra vehicle is vital in order to provide the flexibility they both need, enabling them to improve their service to customers. "I like to be able to complete the repair within ten days of a customer's enquiry," he explains. "Sometimes it's longer due to high demand - most customers are usually prepared to wait, but clearly we'd much prefer to provide a quicker service. Now we'll be able to respond to customers sooner, get through twice as much work and have the capacity to grow further on the new territory."

Paul says his redundancy was certainly a cloud with a silver lining. "My ChipsAway business is doing really well and working with Robert is great. We're both really excited about the future and growing the business even further!"

Reported by Megan Dunmore