Revive! UK: Franchises that beat the recession

Revive! UK, the professional SMART repair provider sees itself in great shape as the UK comes out of recession

Revive! UK, the professional SMART repair provider sees itself in great shape as the UK comes out of recession. Not only has the company seen continued success with the addition of a number of prestigious national contracts but the franchise network has seen internal growth with franchise owners adding technicians to their own fleets.

The Franchise Magazine spoke to some of the Revive! franchise owners to learn about the issues and challenges of taking on and growing a business in a recession and the success that they have had. Adam Smith started his Revive! franchise in the depth of the recent recession. Despite the economic climate Adam has found immediate success and is now adding to his fleet.

Adam comments: "With the work available we need to grow to a three van operation by the end of the summer - and that won't be a bad achievement given the time we started and the fact that we will have only been trading for a year!"

Russell Hudson has been involved in SMART repairs for a couple of years now and saw 2009 as a tricky year. Nevertheless, Russell was still able to grow his business and took on a further employee last year to build his business to a three van operation.

The business has grown over 20 per cent in 2009 and Russell explains that he believes much of this is down to excellent customer service and customer retention.

"We expected the year to be tricky so to be up by 20 per cent is great. We initially worked hard to get an increase from existing customers - working with them to develop strategies that would give both us and the car dealership more income. To be honest, the first four or five months were really good and the customer retention was excellent - and so we needed to find another employee as we were really busy.

"The trickiest thing about last year was the difficulty in planning ahead. Because of the speculation in the press and inconsistent sales patterns it was sometimes difficult to judge how much work we had for the oncoming weeks.

"However we are delighted to have hit our target and look forward to further growth in 2010. We plan to get two more employees to allow me to come out of a van on a daily basis to really drive the sales forward and to manage the business. We hope to top £200,000 this year!"

Byron Lindsay also took on an employee in the first year of business and doubled the sales income. A 100 per cent increase in a year of economic recession was impressive and Byron points out that his hard work, coupled with strong help from head office allowed him to grow in this way.

"I got to the stage where I had so much work I needed to employ someone," says Byron. "The first employee I interviewed decided he liked the idea so much he bought his own franchise! I then found an ex-bodyshop technician who really liked the structure and who has really enjoyed the freedom and responsibility.

"It also really helped that when I employed we had a surge of National account work which kept us busy for the first month. I really don't know what I would have done without an employee!
"Having an employee has also allowed me to step back a little and reflect on how we are going to grow the business. I can spend more time with existing customers when necessary and more time actively marketing. While the snow in January made it a tough start to 2010, we are already full with work and so the process of putting the next van on the road is under way."

Managing Director Mark Llewellyn sums up: "The UK has suffered recently but I am delighted with the continued progress we have made. There are no substitutes for a great system and hard work and these results represent what you can achieve, even in difficult times, when you put these together."