True creatives at heart, and with a shared interest in cars, a ChipsAway franchise was a natural fit for Jim and Caroline
Husband and wife team, Jim and Caroline Clennell, joined the ChipsAway network in 2016 after they both decided they were ready to start working for themselves. Jim previously worked as a translator, while Caroline worked as a studio painter. True creatives at heart, and with a keen interest in cars, the franchise was a natural fit for the ambitious couple.
“We both have a passion for cars, but having never been self-employed before, we wanted the backing of a strong, identifiable brand and something that would offer us support,” they explain. “These are things which can take years to develop if you are starting from scratch, but if you buy a franchise, you’re already in place.”
Once the couple attended an open day and decided to invest, the next step was to undertake training, covering the technical side and sales and marketing techniques.
“The training is amazing! It’s a month-long course to give you the skills, which is rigorously assessed and gives you an IMI qualification. The advanced course a few months later is crucial and a great opportunity to reconnect with the basics. The technical support is great - the team is always at the end of a phone, and the industry experience is invaluable.
“The one-to-one business support is also pretty amazing. We get a friendly, informative response to any query we have immediately. ChipsAway has been doing this for so long, it’s clear that the franchise has had a chance to perfect the support it provides.”
“As a couple, we were concerned that working together might be a problem for us. However, we are delighted with how close it has bought us. We love working together, running our own business and the freedom that brings. We’re delighted that we have a brand-new skill that we have the opportunity to perfect.”
Jim and Caroline got off to a flying start, and soon after joining were awarded Newcomer of the Year, 2017 at ChipsAway’s annual conference. We asked Jim and Caroline what advice they would give to people looking to buy a franchise, and also what their goals were for the future: “We would advise prospective franchisees to do your research and talk to franchisees - each will have their story and views and no two are the same. For us, it was important to have a passion for the industry, and we never underestimate how important customer service is to the sales process. We meet new people every day and It’s important to build trust and a rapport with our customers.
“In terms of goals for the future, we would love to grow and take on staff - and we feel greatly supported in our ideas by head office. Caroline is particularly keen to bring more women into the industry.”
At a glance ChipsAway International
Number of franchised outlets: 200+
Location of units: nationwide
Investment range: £29,995 +VAT
Minimum required capital: £15,000 +VAT
Contact: Laura Booth – Laura@franchisebrands.co.uk
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