Jay marches ahead with Revive!

Having spent 12 years serving in the Army, Jay Belam wanted to ensure his young family had a settled environment while he pursued a new challenge as a Revive! franchise owner

Jay Belam, had always intended to join the Army, become a mechanic and then work for himself – a dream he has realised by becoming Revive! Guildford franchise owner.

He spent seven years as a vehicle mechanic in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, before becoming an Exercise Rehabilitation Instructor in the Army Physical Training Corps. For six years, he helped with the rehabilitation of injured soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan, before deciding to leave the Forces and start his own business.

“After 12 years in the Army, where I’d been housed, clothed and essentially protected from the commercial world, I was ready for a new challenge,” explains Jay. “I also felt that moving every two years was not fair on my young family. My eldest son, Oliver, starts school next year and I wanted to be able to put down some roots.”

Jay spent more than a year researching franchise opportunities and finding the right kind of work and business model to suit him. He knew he wanted to work with vehicles, although he didn’t have any experience looking after bodywork or paint spraying, so a franchise opportunity, which provided excellent training, was a prerequisite for him.

“The Army equipped me with some great practical skills and useful business skills, like time management, people management and a good customer service ethic,” he explains.

“As such, I was used to superb training, so one of my first priorities was finding an organisation that could train me properly. As soon as I visited Revive! and saw its training facilities I was impressed. The team was very friendly and professional and I had a good feeling immediately.

“The training Revive! provides truly is worth its weight in gold. It was so thorough and progressive and it didn’t stop once I’d completed my initial five weeks of training.

“I must have called my trainer twice a day for the first two weeks, and he was always helpful and supportive, which was great while I was finding my feet.”

Knowing that Revive! head office is just a phone call away has helped Jay enjoy success after success since October 2010, when he launched his SMART repair business fixing scuffs and scrapes to vehicle bodywork and alloy wheels.

“Revive! gives me so much support – from doing my bookkeeping and invoicing, to giving me sales and marketing advice, and there’s work from the national accounts too,” he adds.

Nearly a year on, Jay has found being his own boss is a world away from his life in the Army. “It is a challenge coming from such a cosseted environment, where you get a pay cheque regardless of how hard you work, to having to hunt for every penny,” he says. “However, that’s why I left – because I wanted a challenge. I wanted to grow a business of my own and build a team. The buck stops with me now and although it can be scary, I am providing for my family and I’m proud of what I’m doing. I have no regrets at all about leaving the Army.

“The only thing I miss is the banter. My customers like hearing my Army stories though!”