Beating a recession with franchise support

Thanks to the economy, the last few years have been a bit of a rollercoaster for all kinds of businesses. When faced with challenging times, franchise owners frequently find the relevance of the old adage; ‘being in business for yourself but not by yourself’ becomes ever more apparent.

Manjit Singh’s first experience of running a business was his investment in an independent wine shop. It was a successful business, but when he reached a point where he needed to move the business forward, there was no one he could turn to for advice. Manjit decided to sell and look at various business to business (B2B) management franchise opportunities, where advice and support would be readily available.

Time For a Change
Manjit chose Driver Hire. It’s an established B2B management franchise, providing temporary and permanent staff to businesses operating in the transport and logistics sector. Customers include international hauliers, major retailers, builders’ merchants, parcel delivery companies and local authorities. He purchased his local Driver Hire office in Enfield when it became available in 2007 and immediately got off to a flying start using the office’s lapsed database of existing clients. “Going from a turnover of £0 to £450k in year one had me planning grand things to spend the profits on,” Manjit recalls.

Credit Crunch
After a positive 2008, the impact of the credit crunch became apparent a year later: “In May 2009 I achieved my lowest weekly turnover since opening and made my first monthly loss that December. I started to seriously consider walking away,” says Manjit.

Manjit turned to Driver Hire for support. He recalls: “After a number of discussions with Driver Hire’s Directors, it was clear they believed I could both recover and take the business to bigger and better things. They pointed out that while some offices had seen revenues fall, there were many offices that – even in a recession – were in fact growing their business. This was a turning point for me; proof that Driver Hire’s core business was sound and that there would always be demand for its services.” Manjit made full use of Driver Hire’s regional meetings and conferences. He worked closely with his Area Development Manager and built good relationships with neighbouring franchise owners. He utilised the Driver Hire Press Officer and marketing team to boost leads and made operational changes to office job roles, bonus structure and tactical pricing.

Onwards and Upwards
The results are plain to see: turnover over the last two years’ trading was in excess of £1m. At time of print, his Enfield office was 23 per cent up on 2012/13 and pushing toward £2 million turnover this year. He’s even taken on extra staff to further invest in his business’ future growth.

Recognition
Manjit is a serial award winner too. He’s collected several internal awards for beating turnover targets and general outstanding business performance. This year Manjit’s excellent customer service was recognised with a nomination for the bfa ‘Franchisee of the Year’ Award.

Last Words
Manjit concludes: “Running a business is always going to be a rollercoaster affair with challenges along the way. However the support and dedication provided by the Driver Hire team and network has meant that I know I’m not alone and can push forward with a positive outlook.”