ChipsAway franchisee Carl Hardiman is one of several franchisees currently celebrating five years with the world's leading SMART repair specialist. ChipsAway's Megan Dunmore reveals how he has signed for a further five years to coincide with the launch of his new ChipsAway Car Care Centre, extending his already expanding business

Usually franchisees join ChipsAway from full-time employment, but Carl Hardiman formerly ran a pizza delivery franchise. However, he found that despite hard work and long hours the rewards were simply not there, and finally became fed up with spending his Friday and Saturday nights working.

Carl says that the success of his ChipsAway franchise has transformed his quality of life - and reclaimed weekends for the family! 'Previously my social life was seriously curtailed by having to work on Friday and Saturday nights,' he says, 'but that experience has made me value my quality time more than ever.'

Now Carl books weekend breaks as often as possible - whether a romantic weekend in London with his wife, or a fishing trip with the lads. 'I have my weekends back and the necessary income to make the most of them!'

Carl describes himself as busy 'all the time' with work. So profitable was his ChipsAway franchise that Carl purchased a second ChipsAway mobile franchise only 18 months after the launch of his first. Now he is poised to open a ChipsAway Car Care Centre to cater for the demand for his services. Carl has two employees and says that on average his business repairs eight to ten cars a day, with full order books weeks ahead. His hard work has earned him a nice house and plenty of time to enjoy himself with family and friends, 'which is what it's all about!' he concludes.

Carl's story is far from unique at ChipsAway. Another franchisee recently signing up for a second term shares a similar story of success. Andy Darby, a former soldier with the Royal Engineers, explains: 'After 11 years with the army I wanted to do something different and thought that franchising was the best route to running my own business. I was very keen and did all my homework before visiting the franchise exhibition, so went straight to the ChipsAway stand.

'Looking at the size of the market and the obvious demand for small repair services, I decided that I could definitely make money out of this franchise. I haven't looked back. I now have three franchises running successfully.'

Andy has certainly reaped the rewards of running a ChipsAway franchise. He has moved to a new house, has just returned from a holiday in Mexico and is the proud owner of a new BMW Z4 sports car. ChipsAway Inc. developed the first ever SMART repair system (Small and Medium Repair Technology) 15 years ago in the USA. Five years later ChipsAway International introduced this revolutionary concept in the UK, and today the unique ChipsAway system remains market leader in this rapidly expanding sector.

ChipsAway franchisees repair over 300,000 automotive paintwork scratches, scuffs and chips to the highest quality finish every year. Repairs are normally completed on a 'same day' basis and usually at less than half the price of traditional body shop resprays. With some 30 million cars on the road and around 10 million repair opportunities a year, clearly ChipsAway has hardly 'scratched the surface' of this £5.5 billion marketplace.