The Young Report: ChipsAway set to launch PCC brand

Ken Young reports on Professional Car Cleaning, the new valeting venture from vehicle body and interior repair franchisor ChipsAway

One of Europe's leading franchise organisations, ChipsAway International is poised to launch a brand new sister franchise at the British Franchise Exhibition in Manchester. I interview ChipsAway Chairman Roger Wild to find out more.

KY: ChipsAway is a highly successful and expanding franchise, so why the new venture?
RW: Quite simply, we're responding to market demand. From an automotive viewpoint, we know that there is a significant gap in the marketplace for high quality, professional valeting services, so we're introducing a fantastic new valeting franchise which we're calling Professional Car Cleaning (PCC). Our considerable experience and excellent reputation in the automotive services market means that ChipsAway is ideally placed to launch such a franchise and to foster its future success.

KY: Why in particular do you believe that PCC will be attractive to potential franchisees?
RW: From a franchising point of view, we are bowing to market pressure. We have encountered significant demand from would-be ChipsAway franchisees for an alternative, lower priced franchise package in the automotive marketplace. A ChipsAway franchise can require an investment of as much as £30,000, which is simply too high for some otherwise excellent candidates.

With the PCC franchise package, we are able to offer all the experience, service and product quality that we offer with ChipsAway, but at a substantially lower price. Undoubtedly, this will open up our franchise opportunity to a much wider potential audience.

KY: So will PCC operate as an entirely separate franchise?
RW: Yes it will. We have recruited a highly experienced General Manager from the sector, who will be responsible solely for the training and development of PCC franchisees.

Having said that, as part of the ChipsAway Group of companies PCC will be operated - at least in the foreseeable future - by the same management team, and so franchisees will benefit from ChipsAway's industry expertise, as well as from the credibility of the ChipsAway brand. Effectively, to start with PCC will be taken under ChipsAway's wing.

KY: What is the PCC franchise package?
RW: A PCC franchisee will be delivering an extremely professional valeting service to customers - both general public and corporate customers. He or she will operate from a smartly liveried VW Caddy, fully fitted out with all necessary equipment (including an inbuilt specialist vehicle washing system), together with a range of around 40 top quality own brand products for cleaning the interior and exterior of the car, specially developed for PCC requirements and exclusive to PCC franchisees.

The package will include training - particularly sales and marketing techniques - as well as ongoing business development support. We will provide the best standards of training, service, products - everything you would expect from a quality franchise. All franchisees will have to do is find customers, and we'll help them to do that too!

KY: There are already a number of players in the valeting marketplace, including franchises. What will differentiate PCC from the rest?
RW: Professionalism, quality of service and a strong corporate brand. It's actually quite difficult for a member of the public to find a reliable valeting company that operates outside of the motor trade. The industry has a reputation for being 'cheap and cheerful', with operators buying their products wherever they can cut the best deal. In our case, product quality will not be compromised, franchisees will only use PCC products and service will be king.

KY: What will be the main benefits for a PCC franchisee?
RW: A massive marketplace, which is currently under serviced, and opportunity to sell both to the general public and to corporate accounts, and a repeat service requirement, particularly for corporate customers.

We will support franchisees in framing supply contract agreements to enable them to build up a 'milk round', which in turn will be an attractive proposition when it comes to selling the business on, increasing the value of their initial investment.

In addition to all the above, perhaps the best of all is the major advantage that PCC franchisees will have direct access to the established ChipsAway network, which already has a strong customer base and a stream of work. Clearly, there's real potential for a symbiotic relationship between the two networks. Most vehicles whose owners require minor blemishes to be removed also want their cars to look pristine, and as such are obvious targets for the PCC valeting service.

KY: What level of earnings do you estimate for your PCC franchisees?
RW: We estimate that a hard working PCC franchisee could clean on average 10 to 12 cars per day. Service ranges from a wash and brush up to full detailing throughout the vehicle, and we expect busy franchisees to be earning up to £1,000 per week gross.

Other benefits include flexibility, the ability to be based at home, and a low cost entry point into a lucrative marketplace.

KY: What are you looking for in a potential franchisee?
RW: Exactly the same as for any franchise - a person who is prepared to work hard and 'get their hands dirty'; someone who is enthusiastic and determined to succeed. Possible recruits will be invited to a no-strings-attached Discovery Day in the West Midlands to find out more about the franchise, and ideally we like partners to come along too - family support is an essential ingredient in the success of any new business venture.

KY: How many PCC franchisees are you looking to appoint in the first year?
RW: Numbers are not important to us - we are more concerned about recruiting quality franchisees and getting the new business off to a successful start.

KY: You have mentioned the lower price point. What will be the cost of a PCC franchise?
RW: We will be launching the franchise at the end of January with a price tag of only £9,995. However, that is a short term introductory offer and we anticipate that the price will go up to £12,500 and is likely ultimately to settle at £15,000.

We believe this is a franchise with tremendous potential, and those seizing the opportunity will benefit not only from being one of the first in a brand new venture, but will gain a significant financial advantage too!