Dave and Celia Baxendale say their Revive! franchise has made their lives a lot more flexible and a lot more fun
Dave and Celia Baxendale run Revive! Manchester. They’re one of the longest standing franchisees in the SMART vehicle repair brand’s network, starting their business over 20 years ago.
Dave is an IT professional and employed an experienced repair technician from day one. The business now employs four technicians and Dave say it’s vital to recruit the right people.
He explains: “We’ve always employed people we can trust. We look for people who are self-motivated and can look after their own day, so once we’ve given them the tools to do the job, with our support they’re independent and able to do things for themselves.
“It’s surprising how much we can find to do that isn’t painting. There’s a lot going on behind the scenes, including marketing, admin and finance, all the good things Revive! head office are training us to be better at.”
Celia adds: “Dave deals mainly with forecasts and marketing and I look after admin and finances. It really suits us.
“Now we’ve got the right team, we have more holidays, more time and more money. And I don’t have to go back to a 9-5 full-time job, so I can fit my work around the children. It has made our lives a lot more flexible and a lot more fun.
“We can run the business from anywhere, on the train or on holiday, and we can answer queries even when we’re away.”
Dave says there have been ups and downs: “But the fact we’re still here 20 years later feels like an achievement in itself.
“Right now, we’re pretty well-poised and that feels good. We’ve got our team working well and we’re looking for new recruits.”
Dave is a member of Revive! UK’s franchisee innovation group, who get together with head office to agree national marketing fund spending plans, as well as piloting new systems and reviewing innovations before they’re rolled out.
In addition, both Dave and Celia take advantage of the regular management and leadership training put on by the head office.
The next step for Dave and Celia is to build their team further and eventually get a management team in place, so they can step back, making the business more of a capital asset. At the moment though, they say, they don’t have an exit strategy - they have a ‘carrying on’ strategy instead.
Working together as a couple can be challenging, but Dave and Celia make sure they have full and frank discussions about the business and say that if something needs doing it always gets done.
“We may not always agree with each other, but we’ll thrash it out until we get to the point where we need to be,” Dave says. “We negotiate and agree and then I realise Celia is right!”
What’s their advice for people considering buying a franchise? “Don’t think you’re going to make a million pounds tomorrow. It’s a process and it takes time, but it’s worth it.”
At a glance Revive! Auto Innovations (UK)
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