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Exclusive Interview: "Turning over £1 million thanks to the strength of Chipsaway's name"

Name: Keith McGowan
Location: Glasgow
Franchise: ChipsAway

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you were doing prior to buying a franchise business?

My background is in the motoring industry, which is why I was first attracted to the ChipsAway franchise. He knew the strength of the brand and the company’s reputation for high quality minor paintwork repairs.

Why did you go down the franchise route? And why did you choose the Chipsaway franchise?

I have grown up in the body shop industry in a family business, but I could see that the traditional body shop method was broken and we needed to do something different. That’s what attracted me to a ChipsAway franchise – I came across the advertisement in a Franchise Magazine. The strength of the brand and their high reputation also attracted me – ChipsAway is a brand that people seek out.

My business grew very quickly, I started off as a man in a van, after 6 months I opened a workshop and took on my first employee, the following January I took on another employee and it snowballed from there.

I now have a 3rd generation workshop and operate the biggest ChipsAway Car Care Centre in the UK, have 2 ChipsAway vans and am turning over £1 million per year.

What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?

The Head Office provide excellent emotional and technical support as well as marketing and advertising services. It’s an emotional rollercoaster so it’s brilliant to have that support there when you are first starting out.

What is a typical day for you as a Chipsaway franchisee?

We have good, busy days for business, as well as bad, quiet days, but every day is an adventure.

What challenges have you faced?

Our biggest challenge was when the recession hit. Luckily, this was only for a 5-week period and we went from a low point to a very high point very quickly, as we secured a contract to work on 130 vehicles for a leasing company.

Has becoming a franchisee changed your life, if so how?

The whole journey has been an emotional rollercoaster with highs and lows, but it’s been excellent and I love what I do.

What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give someone looking to buy their first franchise?

You need to have a clear view of who you want to be and where you want to go. I have always had a clear vision of what I wanted my Car Care Centre to look like, as I didn’t think that it was the best that it could be and I wanted to improve the customer experience.

With a clear vision, I have been able to achieve my goals and now I operate the largest Car Care Centre is the UK which is extremely successful.

What are your plans for the future?

To expand the business and to remain successful. We are always looking for new ways to improve the business and looking for more work. For example, when we complete on a repair, we always ask if they have any family or friends that may need work done or if they need any more repairs – we get a huge amount of repeat business and customer referrals.

Would you do it again?

Yes, absolutely!

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