Reap Real Rewards

Hard work combined with the solid support of the ChipsAway team has helped Lee Edgell build a business so successful that he has been able to reward himself with his dream car after only two years

Franchise owner Lee Edgell has had lots to smile about since joining SMART (Small to Medium Area Repair Technology) repair franchise ChipsAway International. In fact, he is currently chuffed to bits having bought his "dream car" - an Audi TT - after running his franchise for just two years.

"The Audi TT has always been my motivation," Lee explains. "If someone had said to me that I would own one after running a business for only two years I would never have believed it. I am currently working seven days a week, repairing two to three cars a day in order to keep up with the demand for work. If this is the demand during a recession then the future looks extremely good for me! Another benefit to being so busy is that my wife, who was made redundant, now looks after my accounts and doesn't need to find another job - so she can spend more time with the children."

ChipsAway has around 350 franchise owners operating nationwide and a network of master franchise owners overseas. Based on unique technology, the ChipsAway system offers 'on-the-spot' SMART repairs, 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.

Lee launched his new business on the first weekend in September 2007 and generated over £12,500 worth of enquiries in just two days. "Previously I was in the T-shirt printing business and had to be up at the crack of dawn every day," he adds. "I worked very long hours for not great rewards. Now I'm able to take my children to school and still have time to coach the local junior football team on Sundays. No wonder I have a constant smile on my face!"

In fact, as part of the marketing plan for his new business, Lee has sponsored the team and every youngster now sports the ChipsAway logo on their sweatshirt. "I have to say I cannot fault the support I receive from ChipsAway," he continues. "They consistently forward national advertising leads and have always done everything they have promised."

Lee admits he's a perfectionist - after all, the quality of his work is his best advertisement to potential customers - and he's making a name for himself locally. "One of my customers was told by his dealership that his Jaguar would need a new door," he says. "But by the time I'd finished with it, the car was as good as new and the customer became one of my biggest fans, recommending me to all his friends and colleagues. Another lady was quoted £1,800 by a body shop for repairs to her car, which I completed for her for £400 in less than four hours. Needless to say, she was delighted with the competitive price as well as the quality of the repair. I drew tremendous satisfaction from those two jobs and the phone has hardly stopped since!"

Lee is the first to agree that starting your own business is not easy, but it can be reasonably hassle free with the right support. "To reap real rewards you need to be prepared to work very hard, but the effort is well worth it," he confirms. "ChipsAway is a great franchise and you get tremendous ongoing support. I had a brilliant Business Developer who really helped me during my launch period and through the early days - but ultimately it's your business and it's up to you to make the best of the opportunity. When you invest in a ChipsAway franchise, you're buying the best. If you listen, learn and then give 100 per cent, you can't go wrong!"

Reported by Megan Dunmore