Driver Hire franchisees reveal their secrets of success
Driver Hire is one of the UK’s longest established franchises. Now celebrating its 30th franchising anniversary, it’s built a network of 86 franchised offices across the UK.
The average annual turnover at Driver Hire offices is now in excess of £1 million (the industry average is £378,000).
Here are some top tips from a selection of its highly successful franchisees:
The right people
Since buying Driver Hire’s Hereford & Worcester territory in 2013, Sue and Vance Parsons have not only built a successful business, they’ve developed a great team and, along the way, collected numerous awards - at both local and national level.
“It’s important to get the right people on board with the right attributes - and that includes you,” Sue says. “You need to be driven and motivated to push your business forward.
“Remind yourself what your end goal is and why you chose to run your own business. In particular, you’ll need:
- The right ‘can do’ attitude.
- The ability to get on with a wide range of characters - especially if operating in the service sector.
- A strong work ethic - even more so in the early days of your new business. Be prepared for long hours, early starts, late nights and weekend working.
- Commitment. Being your own boss may mean your working hours can be more flexible, but running your own business is a 24/7 commitment. More than likely, you’ll never switch off totally.
- Flexible thinking - so you can work around any problems and be innovative.
- A good team mentality - even if you only have two-three members of staff in your workplace.”
Nic Chaviaris was originally the manager of Driver Hire Gatwick. When the opportunity came to buy the business, he took it and has gone on to be one of Driver Hire’s most successful franchisees.
“To stay ahead in business, you’ve got to move with the times,” Nic says. “That’s exactly what we’ve done over the past four years - quadrupling turnover.
“When I looked at a new office, I decided to invest in creating a positive work environment - both physical and mental. It encourages good behaviours and improves productivity in the workplace.
“Our new premises - we moved in 2016 - are double the size. Along with an open plan office, we now have separate rooms for driver registration and training. If the guys - I now employ four people - have any ‘play time’, there’s also a full size snooker table, basketball arcade, PS4 and table tennis.
“It’s important your work environment encourages staff to take responsibility and feel comfortable in sharing ideas. I think that’s reflected in our ongoing success.”
An accountant by profession and a highly successful franchisee for 9½ years, George Griffiths operates from two Driver Hire offices - Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich.
“I started looking at business-to business franchise opportunities and was hugely impressed by the Driver Hire franchise model,” he says.
“Their sales team were open and honest, encouraging me to talk to other franchisees. That’s my first tip - a good franchisor will encourage you to talk to other franchisees as part of the sales process.
“My second is to look for long established franchisors. That way you’ll be able to more easily identify why that particular franchise model has been successful over a long period of time. Buying a franchise provides you with a tried and tested business, where proof of success within the network can be identified.
“You’ll need to follow the framework your franchisor presents to you, but you also need to create structure within your own workplace. The people you employ need to know - on a daily basis - what they need to be doing and when.
“Having a day-to-day, weekly and monthly plan that’s adhered to will ensure all areas of the operation are covered and nothing gets forgotten.”
Gordon Hyslop is one of the directors of Driver Hire Ayrshire & Dumfries, Driver Hire’s current Franchisees of the Year.
Gordon, fellow director, Donald McClymont, and their team are currently in line for another record financial year.
“No matter what type of franchise you run, you need to set targets in order to succeed,” Gordon says. “As a starting point, your franchisor may set some parameters and key performance indicators as part of your franchise agreement.
“On top of this, you and your team need to agree on targets to measure the development and success of your business.
“The targets you set to measure progress can depend on the nature of the business you’re involved in. For instance, we find the following measurements on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis keep our team focused on what’s important:
- Sales activity.
- Candidate registrations.
- Sales revenue.
- Margin levels.
- Profit and loss targets.
“Numbers don’t lie and must be watched closely. A franchisee - with the right team and environment - focused on individually achieving all their targets and utilising the experience of their franchisor will, without a doubt, ensure a successful business.”
Bobby Mann, owner of Driver Hire Reading (pictured), was Driver Hire’s 2017 New Start of the Year. His progress is all the more remarkable because, prior to the purchase of his franchise, Bobby - who was a personal fitness coach - had no experience of either recruitment or transport and logistics. “When looking to buy a franchise, don’t be put off if you don’t have specific experience in a particular industry,” he says. “As my success has shown, your transferable skills and the skills of your staff are usually the key factors in determining the success of the business.
“In my opinion, the key skills for franchise success are:
- Good organisational skills.
- Discipline to work within a structured environment.
- Basic IT skills and a reasonable understanding of finance.
- Being a good communicator and having the confidence to sell and provide a high level of customer service.
“When building your team, look to hire skills that differ, but complement one another. A blend of experience within the team can help a franchise grow.”