'We're leading the revolution...'
By investing in new systems, training and communication methods Hydro-Dynamix is aiming to lead the revolution in the cleaning industry. FDS South East Regional Director Malcolm Porter interviews Hydro-Dynamix Managing Director James Every
Malcolm Porter: How long has Hydro-Dynamix been trading?
James Every: Hydro-Dynamix was started in 1999 and first franchised in 2000. The business model was originally a traditional franchise concept whereby the franchisees were equipped, trained and then sent out to develop their own business, remitting a percentage of revenue to the franchisor, but we have changed that to a low fixed fee and our revenue is based on the work that we can allocate to our franchisees.
MP: Can you describe the service your company offers?
JE: At its most basic level cleaning and restoration, but using much more powerful systems and technology than is available elsewhere. Providing they follow the training, our franchisees can beat anybody on both quality and value.
MP: What is the investment requirement from franchisees and how much can be borrowed?
JE: The initial start-up package requires around £40,000 which includes some working capital, but this will depend on the equipment level opted for. All the major banks seem to like what we are doing and are happy to offer 70 per cent of the total required. We have an independent advisor who can help franchisees put together a solid business plan.
MP: What is the earning potential of the business?
JE: The earning potential of the business is virtually unlimited since the business can grow into two territories without extra cost. Each territory is sufficient to support at least three vans and each van can earn £300-400 per day. A one man, one van operation should be able to turn over £7,000-£10,000 per month, with limited overheads.
MP: How has your business and franchisees been affected by the 'credit crunch'?
JE: We noted a slow down in domestic work earlier this year as uncertainty has put people off spending, but much of that work is now coming back. We hesitate to say that we are recession-proof, but there is much more saving to be made by cleaning and restoring than by replacement.
MP: How does your business respond to increasing demands to be more 'environmentally friendly'?
JE: Our business is all about restoration and mitigation. As a result we can clearly demonstrate that our contribution to protecting the environment is very substantial and we can also improve any client's contribution just by making use of us. Furthermore, we are moving increasingly to chemical-free cleaning, using technology to achieve even better results than cleaning chemicals.
MP: Your market share in your industry sector is steadily growing, what do you attribute your continued success to?
JE: Our insurance sector clients are slowly waking up to the fact that we can save them vast costs simply by applying our knowledge and effective technology to mitigate their losses. We regularly find that by using speed drying and validated hygiene cleaning we can reduce their final bills by 30 per cent or more. On a large loss claim in excess of £50,000 this starts to become 'serious money'!
MP: We understand that you have formed a new company that will increase the workflow to your franchisees?
JE: DAM-mit (Damage Mitigation Ltd) is a new joint venture between Hydro-Dynamix and two other companies in the restoration sector. We have put together a package that offers not only a highly professional approach to the work, but also a new claims management system that allows our clients full transparency on all that we do.
MP: How is your technology evolving and what new developments are in the pipeline?
JE: Most damage restoration technicians still use technology that was developed before WW2. Our trailer-mounted rapid drying systems are unique in that they offer huge cost savings, especially in the field of commercial loss. With our partners we have developed a new, much cheaper, portable unit which is likely to become the standard drying system over the coming years.
MP: What are the biggest changes in your marketplace and what is Hydro-Dynamix doing to stay in front of the competition?
JE: With our partners we are leading the industry by investing in new systems, training and communication methods. We recognise that the industry is due for a revolution and we are leading it. Our principal customer base remains our nationwide account clients and we see franchising as the best method of delivering the kind of service that we promise. Nevertheless, we still support our franchisees in a multitude of ways, not just with training, but also with sales and marketing, technical help and in any other ways that we can. As a result we believe that our franchisees get a much fairer deal out of us.
For more information about Hydro-Dynamix see page 78.