It's a franchising family affair

Families are forging ahead in the world of franchising. Jamie Brown and Jane Denny spoke with family members who own successful franchised businesses.

When former maintenance engineer David Allen was made redundant nine years ago, he recognised he had an opportunity to leave behind the pressures of constant travelling and long hours and fulfil a long-held ambition to set up his own business. He knew that a franchise would be the safest route to self-employment, which has proven to be the case, nine years on since staring his Car Medic franchise.

Today, David has widened his focus to encompass the massive potential marketplace of private motorists. His business is continuing to grow and increased demand for his services has led him to take on his grandson as an apprentice.

“Jack will be going to college part-time, as well as being trained by Car Medic,” David explains. “Joining my business will be a really good opportunity for him, and of course it will help me to manage my workload. In due course, I would hope that Jack will take over the business, but he’ll have to earn that right – and I’ll not be thinking of retirement for a few years yet!”

David puts his success down to hard work and a commitment to quality. He insists that the same care and attention should be given to every job, whether a quick £60 fix or a more serious £300 repair. “With every job booked in, there’s opportunity to identify additional work because Car Medic offers such a range of different services,” David says. “My customers trust me to do a good job and they recommend me to other people, so quality is incredibly important!”

“Job satisfaction,” he adds, “is part of what I like best about being a Car Medic franchisee. I take great pride in my work.” “It’s great to be able to see what you’ve achieved straight away – and of course, the customer really appreciates the results too. It’s certainly hard work to start with, but it’s totally different being your own boss. I really enjoy my independence and I’m proud that my Car Medic business has enabled me to give my grandson a really good start to his working life too!”

Over in Harrow, London, a hardworking family are busy building a successful franchise within the care sector. Prafula Joshi and husband, Munjal, opened their first Bluebird Care office in March 2009. In May last year the Joshi family opened a second office in nearby Brent, which they say is being run by their son, Chaitan, and daughter, Ushma.

Chaitan said: “The main thing about running a family franchise is that all of us have the same objective – deliver quality care for people who live in their home. “We share that objective and that’s what we love to do. Because we all follow that aim we all work well together and listen to one another’s concerns.

“We also put aside anything that is happening at home and any issues there may be,” adds Chaitan.
David Bibby, from Newcastle upon Tyne, wanted to work close to home and have the opportunity to run a business with his family. After a varied and extensive career in the construction industry, which saw him travel the world for some major projects in Europe, Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries, he finally decided to come home and set up his business with Minister Cleaning Services in 1997.

David explains why he preferred the chance to be back in the North East: “I got sick of early morning starts, flying from city to city, living in airports and the constant traffic on the M1.” After 15 successful years running the business on his own David, now 67, wanted someone in that could help him manage the workload and progress the business further. “The basic idea is that I can retire gracefully and let Simon take up the reigns from there.” David’s son Simon, 34, worked as a sales manager for 15 years before making the transition into his father’s business in February 2012 as Commercial Director.

Simon was at first keen to take the pressure off his father, but explains how he saw the massive potential that he could achieve with the already established Minister Cleaning Services business. “My main aim was to take the pressure off my Dad but with the benefits of a business already firmly set up with a long client list I saw the opportunities to expand upon it,” explains Simon. There wasn’t just commercial benefits in David and Simon teaming up together; there were the joys and pluses of seeing and talking to their family everyday as well as the satisfaction they have of running a successful family run business. “You get to have a laugh with your family everyday and having your son work with you means you can have a good shout as well.”