Franchises for Couples UK ChipsAway International Ltd
Dynamic duo Anatol Poyer-Sleeman and his partner Michelle Clark (pictured) have eclipsed all records at ChipsAway International, the world’s leading SMART repair franchise, having dramatically grown their business and added a third mobile workshop to the business in less than three years.
The couple went to one of ChipsAway’s informal Open Days in November 2003 and decided to buy a franchise in February 2004. They completed training and launched their business the following May.
“On our very first weekend we wrote 60 estimates for work and were fully booked well into the next month,” Anatol recalls.
Within a matter of a couple of months, Michelle and Anatol decided to extend their territory and take on a second vehicle. ChipsAway vehicles are specially customized into fully equipped mobile workshops, which enable franchisees to travel to customers’ premises – whether workplace or at home – to undertake the repairs, maximizing convenience for the customer.
“Initially, Michelle and I would travel out together and work on the same repair,” Anatol explains. “It’s a learning curve and the more repairs you do, the more quickly you can complete them, so after a few weeks we realised that with two vans we could each accomplish the same number of repairs and double the business we were doing.”
The experience of Michelle and Anatol reflects a growing demand for SMART repairs. The pair achieved £900 in their first week of trading, £4000 by the end of their first month, and the trend has continued upwards, Anatol says. “Earlier this year, we decided we were so busy that the only solution was to expand again and take on another vehicle as well as an employee. We are currently in the process of recruiting someone to join the team.”
Their success, they claim, has much to do with working together. “We bring different skills to the business. Michelle is a hands-on, very practical person and is brilliant at completing tasks efficiently and effectively. On the other hand I am a blue sky man – I do the strategic thinking and business planning. We’ve both completely invested in the business, financially and emotionally, and so we are committed to making it work,” says Anatol.
He adds, “Michelle and I love working together – we work hard, but we play hard too. This year we have had three separate skiing holidays, because we felt we deserved it - and we can afford to do it!”
Both are quick to praise the management team at ChipsAway, who strongly advised them to wait until they had more experience before going ahead with ambitious expansion plans. “We were keen to invest in a third vehicle and take another person on after just a year in business, because things were going so well,” Anatol confirms. “However, the team at ChipsAway discouraged us at that point, suggesting we should wait another year to consolidate our existing business before extending further. We took that advice and I’m really glad that we did. We’ve enjoyed steady growth and we’ve been able to cope well. I think perhaps if we had followed our original plans, we might well have over reached ourselves.”
Michelle and Anatol are also Business Developers for the network, supporting and mentoring new franchisees as they launch their own new businesses, a role which Anatol declares he particularly enjoys. “It’s good to be able to give something back,” he says. “We’ve had plenty of support and help, so we’re happy to do the same for others.” Mentoring and staff development was an area he was involved with during his previous career and Anatol is looking forward to taking on and training a new employee.
“We’re very excited about the future. The sky’s the limit for this business. Within the next twelve months, we’ll certainly be looking to expand again. Our ultimate goal is to build a small fleet of vehicles and a team of staff to undertake the repair work, freeing Michelle and myself to take more of a management role and enabling us to consider other strategic options for the business.”
According to Steve Bignell, Managing Director of ChipsAway International, the SMART repair sector is continuing to grow rapidly, making ChipsAway one of the fastest growing franchises in Europe. “Currently, demand for our services outstrips the number of repairs our franchisees can physically handle,” he asserts. “So our message to potential franchisees is ‘join us!’ It’s easy to make a ChipsAway repair, it’s easy to attract and satisfy customers, and most importantly of all, it’s easy to make money from a ChipsAway franchise!”
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